This award has been presented annually for more than 30 years to recognize a Patriotic Veteran of the Year from Bradley County. The award was presented this morning by Mary Baier, chairwoman of the selection committee comprised of past recipients.
Avery was born in Fernandina Beach, Fla., in August 1949, and moved to Cleveland in 1954 where he attended Arnold School. He was among the first class to attend the new Cleveland High School.
Soon after graduation, he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps and was sent to boot camp training at Paris Island, S. C. After more training, his unit was assigned to combat duty in Vietnam in early January 1968.
He sustained serious injuries during a fierce battle on May 18, 1968. He was airlifted from the battlefield to a medical facility in Guam. After months of medical treatment for multiple wounds, Avery was honorably discharged from the military service in 1971.
Since returning to civilian life, Avery has been involved in various community and service organizations promoting patriotism, respect for the American flag and the value of freedom with appearances at area schools and other patriotic events.
“Terry Avery has been tireless in his dedication to serving and assisting other veterans in the community,” Baier said. “He was instrumental in upgrading the veterans section of Fort Hill Cemetery, including the installation of a permanent flagpole from which the American flag is flown daily. He is active with the committee working to locate the Cleveland/Bradley County State Veterans Home in Cleveland.”
He has served two terms as commander of VFW Post 2598 and is a life member of the National Veterans of Foreign Wars organization. He is a member of American Legion Post 81, a member of the Bradley County Veterans Firing Squad, a member of AmVets Post 13, Disabled American Veterans Chapter 25, Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 596, Military Order of the Purple Heart and the Marine Corps League.
Avery’s military awards include the Purple Heart, Combat Action Medal, Vietnam Service Metal with two bronze stars, Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with two palms, Presidential Unit Commendation ribbon, Republic of Vietnam Meritorious Unit Citation and Civil Action Medal with first class color with a palm.
Avery and his wife, Gundy, reside in Cleveland.
The program to honor a local veteran was initiated in 1980.
Pearl Harbor survivor George Allen was recognized as the 2011 Raymond H. Miller Veteran of the Year, Tommy Townsend, 2010; and Herbert “Herb” Wendell Stafford in 2009.
Other award winners are Stan Evans, Morris William Greene, George Robert “Bobby” Taylor, R.L. Murray, Charles Price, Carl Goins, Gerald Williams, Virgil Carmichael, Joe Corn Stuart, Wendell Childrey, Henry Barkley, Frank Cummings, Bob Link, Everett Parks, Tom Rowland, Ralph “Cuz” Ownby, Ralph Riden, Col. James Corn, Jack Wilson, John H. Simmons, Larry Holcomb, Joseph Gene “Pinky” Blackburn, Kenneth Tinsley, William “Bill” Norwood, Robert Meeks, Jim Armour, Gary Benefield and Steve Stewart.