Preparations for the 2017 Thunder Over Evans are underway. As the Thunder Team is arranging vendors, booking entertainment, and meeting with organizations who share the same enthusiasm for our service men and women, we pause and reflect on how this Armed Forces Day community celebration came to fruition.
Supporting the Armed Forces
Eleven years ago, Andy Jones, Donnie Thompson, and Dale Phelon were having dinner and discussing how the Augusta area needed an event to celebrate Armed Forces Day. From this conversation, Thunder Over Augusta was born. This free admission event brings together the public and military for a celebration and tribute to those who serve. Gerald Jones Auto Group has invested over $750,000 to support the community event for the past 10 years. Wounded Warriors are bused from Fort Gordon to the event for their enjoyment. Veterans and service members are served complimentary meals under the VIP Tent throughout the day.
After out-growing its initial location in downtown Augusta, GA, the event was moved just 10 miles west, to Evans Towne Center Park, and renamed Thunder Over Evans; receiving over 35,000 attendees annually. “It’s about the community, and it’s about thanking the military,” Andy explains. “That’s all it’s about. Donnie and I are huge patriots and this day isn’t about us. We like to thank our sponsors, and they have a few signs out here, but at the end of the day it’s about these men and women in our community. We bring things out for the families – the entire family can come out, bring their dogs, and enjoy a wonderful day. We love our country and that’s what we do.”