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Former POW to recall experience with McCain
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Forsyth County News
He lives in Forsyth County now, but 40 years ago, Col. Lee Ellis was living across the globe, where he was being held as a prisoner of war.

During his imprisonment he came to know another American prisoner, who would later go on to become the likely Republican presidential nominee.

Ellis’ personal experience with John McCain will be the main topic during Tuesday’s Forsyth County Republican Party meeting.

“We think he has a very interesting story to tell,” said Andrew Miller, local party chairman.

“We wanted to take advantage of that and let him share his story, which is very timely right now... and to give members of the party and citizens of the county insight into John McCain the man.”

Both Ellis, who was shot down over Vietnam, and McCain were held as POWs for more than five years.

Though McCain is the presumed party nominee, he trailed Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee in Forsyth County, during February’s presidential preference primary.

Miller said learning more about the candidate will get the party more involved before Election Day.

“When you personalize a candidate, it brings people closer to him. They feel like they understand him more, they respect him more and he’s no longer just a candidate,” he said.

“I think positions of candidates and parties align people to who they will and won’t vote for. But when people feel that they know personally about a candidate, those are the people that will actually go out and campaign.

“They’ll tell their friends to go out and vote for this candidate and I think that will really get up the vote in Georgia.
“It’s a good way to start building a relationship between McCain and the people who didn’t really support him.”

Ellis, a retired Air Force colonel was head of the University of Georgia’s ROTC program, served as a fighter pilot, instructor pilot and was a veteran of 53 combat missions.

As a prisoner of war, Ellis was “changed by that experience,” said Miller.

“But he didn’t let it beat him,” he said. “When he got back, he kept pursuing his Air Force Career. He didn’t turn back on the military. He didn’t let that event turn his life.”

Ellis will also serve as a 9th District alternate representative to the Republican National Convention in September.