Everyone gathered at Enon Baptist Church agreed they were honored to be part of the ceremony awarding Chaplain Lt. Col. Alex Mills, Civil Air Patrol, with the Congressional Gold Medal.
U.S. Rep. Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga.. attended the 11 a.m. service Sunday at the church to present Mills, a member of the congregation, with the medal, one of the highest awards Congress can give a civilian.
Loudermilk also presented Mills with a framed copy of the speech Loudermilk gave on the House floor about Mills and the flag that was flown over the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
“That was one of the most meaningful speeches I’ve had the honor of giving,” Loudermilk said. “This presentation is one of the best I’ve had the privilege of being a part of. I get emotional when I talk about military service.”
The Civil Air Patrol was started Dec. 1, 1941, according to Col. Richard Greenwood, CAP.
“It was made up of a group of patriots who wanted to help protect our borders and our mainland,” Greenwood said. “They used their own planes and are even credited with sinking three German U-Boats during World War II.”
Several years ago, Congress began working on a bill to award the Civil Air Patrol members with the Congressional Gold Medal.
“We started on a journey to make sure we found the men who served and started the CAP,” Greenwood said. “Chaplain Mills has been a member since 1942.”
Rev. Ken Hinkley, pastor at Enon Baptist, called Mills a blessing.
“This church loves this man,” he said. “There is something special about this fellow.”
Mills himself was at a loss for words, he admitted.
“I just don’t have the words to express how I feel,” he said. “I am so humbled by this honor and by what everyone said about me.”
Mills was 13 when he first joined Civil Air Patrol, he said.
“I learned how to drill,” he said. “I just felt I had to prepare myself for what was happening then.”
One of Mills’ sons, Gary Mills, traveled from Colorado to see his father receive the medal.
“It was really amazing to see this,” he said. “I’m just glad our family was able to come together. We never really found out much about his service until they started asking for information about it for this medal. He was always very quiet about it before.”