DEA holds ribbon cutting ceremony of their new main building


On Thursday, April 4, David Emanuel Academy held a ribbon cutting in

celebration of their new main building. The new addition completed the first stage

of the school’s SOAR Capital Campaign campus expansion project which

provided administrative offices, security vestibule, restrooms, meeting rooms, a

commons area and two new classrooms for the school. The day brought the return

of many former teachers, alumni, students, family members and friends in the

community. After welcoming the guests, Haylee Free, DEA Head of School, was

honored to introduce alumni Patrick Gary as the guest speaker for the ceremony.

A 1983 graduate of DEA, Patrick (or “Pat”) Gary is the son of Loren and

(longtime DEA teacher) Shirley Gary, of Swainsboro. Following graduation, Pat

attended the West Point Preparatory School and the U.S. Military Academy at

West Point, New York, graduating in 1988. Pat was commissioned as a field

artillery officer in the Army and served initially at Fort Stewart, Georgia. He later

deployed as a platoon leader to the Middle East in support of Operation Desert

Shield/Desert Storm from August 1990 – March 1991. Pat later attended law

school at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia and upon graduation in 1996,

re-entered the Army as a Judge Advocate. Pat served in a variety of assignments

and locations including Hawaii, the Republic of Korea, another tour in Iraq, and

stateside locations in Alabama, Oklahoma and Virginia. He has served as a

prosecutor, defense counsel, litigation attorney, professor, and Senior Legal

Advisor, or Staff Judge Advocate. Pat retired from the Army in 2017 with over 26

years of active service. Pat currently serves as a civilian attorney with the U.S.

Army at Fort Belvoir, Virginia where he is the Chief of the Civilian Personnel

Litigation Branch of the Army Litigation Division. Pat and his wife, Ann Elliott

Gary, reside in Alexandria, Virginia. They have two daughters, Emily (26) and

Britt (24).

In his address, Pat reflected on the many wonderful memories he had of his

time at DEA. He described how the foundation he was given at DEA prepared

him for his future. The Army values of respect, selfless service and courage

mimicked the values he was taught at DEA. In Pat’s words, “What is it that makes

DEA so special? You can’t see it. You can’t touch it. But you can feel it!” As an

alumni who has a life-long love of DEA, Pat was so excited and thankful to see

the amazing things happening at DEA and all of the continuous improvements that

are being made.

After the ribbon cutting, guests enjoyed refreshments and toured the new facility.