The program opened with President James Stone calling the meeting to order. Chaplain Eddie Cartwright gave the Invocation, First Vice President Vice President Van Deacon led the pledge to the U.S. flag, Second Vice President David Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Past President Phil Newman led the SAR flag pledge.
Stone expounded on accomplishments of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter during 2012. He estimated chapter members drove approximately 10,000 miles in the past year participating in and attending events involving the SAR’s state and national business, color guard activities, armed forces events, flag raising, re-enactments, youth events, the Sycamore celebration, the Wreaths Across America ceremony, and many others events.
Stone presented treasurer Doug Carpenter, historian Bob George and Jim May with a Certificate of Appreciation for their contributions to the chapter in 2012.
Guest performer Will Fowler, a local high school musician proficient on several musical instruments, was introduced by 2nd Vice President David Whaley.
Fowler played five inspiring songs using his own arrangements. He received a hearty applause for his seasonal music. Stone presented him a Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the chapter.
An announcement on the annual Wreaths Across America program Dec. 15 at Chattanooga National Cemetery was given. . The chapter sold 69 wreaths this year for a total of $1,035, which were to be laid among the others in a designated area of the cemetery.
A number of chapter members and others from Cleveland participated. They included James Stone, U.S. Air National Guard war veteran and Color Guard participant; Claude Hardison; U.S. Army veteran and Color Guard participant; Sam Allen, U.S. Army veteran and Color Guard participant; Jack D. Murphy, U.S. Marine Corps World War II veteran, Ceremonial Wreath Laying, Marine Corps Wreath; David L. Hicks, nine-year U.S. Navy veteran, Ceremonial Wreaths Laying, U.S. Navy Wreath; and William K. “Bill” Norwood, U.S. Army veteran, Korean War POW, Ceremonial Wreath Laying, POW/MIA Wreath.
Two individuals who usually participate — State Rep. Kevin Brooks and Stan Evans — were unable to attend the event. Brooks was to be with Gov. Bill Haslam at the Lee University commencement program.
Evans who has always served in the Color Guard at this program, was in the hospital. His wife, Maggie, reported the surgery to remove his left kidney was a textbook case, and the doctors were very pleased. Doctors expect a full recovery.
Stone presenting additional awards and medals to others who supported his presidency and chapter goals during the past year.
Those receiving the Bronze Good Citizenship Medal were Sam Allen, Joe Brock, Eddie Cartwright, Van Deacon, Lynn Freeman, Phillip Newman and Dave Whaley. The Bronze Good Citizenship Medal was given primarily for the contributions of each to the success of the chapter, and for their work in the community.
The president next named the chapter’s Stanley A. Evans Outstanding Service Award recipients. The award is given to the individual who made the greatest contributions while serving the chapter. This award was created in 2006 by then-President Brian Webb, with the first recipient being Stan Evans, the namesake of the award.
This year there were two recipients. They were Webb, the creator of this chapter award, and Phil Newman. Both are past presidents of the Cleveland Chapter. Both, back-and-forth, have served as chairman of the chapter’s Statue Committee, and chairman of the Statue Committee’s Fundraising efforts, over the past four to five years. At present the bronze statue of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, the namesake of Cleveland, is nearing completion. Fundraising efforts have yielded more than $40,000. The unveiling of the statue in First Street Square park is scheduled for April 19, 2013.
Chapter officers for 2013 were sworn in by Society SAR Vice President and chapter member Claude Hardison.
The new officer are President Van Deacon; First Vice President Dave Whaley; Second Vice President Bob George; secretary Joe Brock; treasurer Bill Hamilton; genealogist/registrar Lynn Freeman; historian John Conner; chancellor Bill Brown; chaplain Eddie Cartwright; and sergeant-at-Arms Jimmy Cooke.
Deacon began his closing remarks. His first remark, made with a sly grin, was to outlaw jokes at future annual meetings.
Next he presented outgoing President Stone with a Past President pin and certificate.
Deacon spoke “about relationships between the members and the chapter, along the lines of a more even distribution of participation.”
He added, “Also, we should increase this participation, so that we do not rely on an active few to carry out most activities. Our ancestors laid their lives on the line during the American Revolution so that we can live in a free country.
“We need to give back some of our time for what our ancestors had accomplished. We have obligations to our ancestors that we need to pass to the young generation. Young men like Hunter McLain and our guest Will Fowler need to hear from us about the American Revolution.
“We are losing our sense of history because our schools are only teaching young boys and girls history from about 1860 forward, and leaving out the period of the American Revolution. The kids may not even know the name George Washington.
“Getting younger members of the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter involved, will be a goal in 2013. April 19, 2013, at 10 a.m. is the date and time set aside to dedicate the Col. Benjamin Cleveland statue.”
Deacon then posed the question, “Have our children heard of the midnight ride of Paul Revere?”
Member and Pastor Bill Beard (who lives in the Knoxville area) asked for a few moments to just tell the chapter members how much he appreciated the last few years as a member.
Maggie Evans challenged someone to lead and take committee chairs for the Essay, Oration and Eagle Scout committees.
Among the guests attending and recognized were prospective members Reggie Law and wife, Linda, Bill Creech and wife, Coral, and Larry McDaris and wife, IIona; James Carter, registrar of John Sevier Chapter and wife, Phyllis, who is regent of the Judge David Campbell Chapter TNSDAR; James Cooke Jr., secretary of John Sevier Chapter; Will Fowler; Linda Foster, regent of the Ocoee Chapter, TNSDAR; Harriet Caldwell, chaplain of the Ocoee Chapter TNSDAR; Maggie Evans, member of the Ocoee Chapter, TNSDAR; Judie Brock, member of the Chief John Ross Chapter, TNSDAR; Heather Carpenter; and Kimberly Beard.
Prospective member state Sen. Todd Gardenhire and his wife were also present. There were in 84 attendance at the meeting.