By RICK NORTON
On an evening the Tennessee House of Representatives hosted a chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, state Rep. Kevin Brooks recognized one of Cleveland’s own heroes.At the opening of a recent …
On an evening the Tennessee House of Representatives hosted a chapter of Vietnam Veterans of America, state Rep. Kevin Brooks recognized one of Cleveland’s own heroes.
At the opening of a recent legislative session in Nashville, Brooks took time on the House floor to honor LaVoy Jones, a Cleveland veteran who served in the Vietnam War.
“LaVoy Jones, and his distinguished service, have earned him the respect and admiration as one of the most decorated veterans in Bradley County,” Brooks (R-Cleveland) who represents the 24th Legislative District, said.
Brooks pointed to Jones’ humility, as evidenced by his reluctance to share information about his “… acclaimed service to our country.” The 12-year legislator, who is leaving state government at this end of this General Assembly session, said of Jones, “… his testimony is quite remarkable.”
In his remarks about the local veteran, Brooks said from the House chambers, “We have a living legend among us here from Bradley County. We are honored to have with us tonight on the House floor a true American hero … Mr. T. LaVoy Jones of Cleveland, Tennessee.”
The House tribute to Jones came on a Monday night, the opening chapter in another week of state lawmaking and recognition.
Brooks spoke of Jones’ multifaceted military service: It includes a tour of duty from 1968 to 1970, including serving 10 months and six days in Vietnam as a U.S. Army Combat Medic (Military Occupational Specialty).
“It is reported that in the Vietnam War, only three of the 24 medics survived,” Brooks said. “Before his honorable discharge, Mr. Jones attained the rank of Specialist/E5 in the U.S. Army.”
Brooks also spoke of a part of Jones’ service that is not widely known.
“At the end of his tour, LaVoy was met in Saigon by the president of Vietnam to congratulate him,” Brooks explained. “He was then flown to Seattle where the U.S. Secretary of Defense met him upon arrival.”
Jones was honorably discharged Jan. 5, 1970, at Fort Sam Houston. From there, he returned to work in his family business: Carroll Printing.
Some of Jones’ military honors include: The Bronze Star Medal for valor, Purple Heart, Combat Medic Badge, Army Commendation Medal, Sharpshooter Badge (rifle), three Air Medals with Oak Leaf cluster for 115 airdrops over incoming fire, Vietnam Campaign Medal and National Defense Service Medal.
“It is indeed a privilege to give honor to whom honor is due, and we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. LaVoy Jones,” Brooks said during the evening of tributes. “Although he attained the rank of 5/E5 for his service, I am honored tonight to present to LaVoy Jones — on behalf of Gov. Bill Haslam — an honorary rank of Colonel Aide de Camp of the state of Tennessee.”
According to information provided by House officials and Brooks’ staff, Jones was joined in the House Chamber by several members of his family including: daughter Stephanie Jones Arnold, an educator at Lake Forest Middle School; and Candance Jones Goff, assistant at Tennessee Christian Preparatory School, and her husband and local firefighter, Duane Goff.
Jones’ granddaughters — Ella Beth Arnold, Brooklyn Goff and Sydney Goff, and friend Emmy West — served as House pages.
On this same night of recognitions, House members received VVA Chapter 995 from Jackson. During their visit, VVA members conducted the “13 Folds of the U.S. Flag” ceremony, which is performed at the funeral services of men and women who have served their country.
Also, “Taps” was played.
Originally created to serve Vietnam veterans, the VVA now presides at any funeral service involving U.S. veterans.
During the same week, House members also passed legislation — House Bill 15 — which exempts from the sales and use tax a new or used vehicle that is sold, or donated, to a disabled veteran or service member.
Last year, the House passed legislation reducing the amount of property tax owed by veterans, the elderly and disabled homeowners.
Tennessee legislators last year also passed House Bill 433 that assists veterans by determining how their military training can count as college credit at Tennessee’s colleges and universities.
“It is indeed a privilege to give honor to whom honor is due, and we all owe a great debt of gratitude to Mr. LaVoy Jones. Although he attained the rank of 5/E5 for his service, I am honored tonight to present to LaVoy Jones — on behalf of Gov. Bill Haslam — an honorary rank of Colonel Aide de Camp of the state of Tennessee.” — State Rep. Kevin Brooks
Print subscribers have FREE access to clevelandbanner.com by registering HERE
Non-subscribers have limited monthly access to local stories, but have options to subscribe to print, web or electronic editions by clicking HERE
We are sorry but you have reached the maximum number of free local stories for this month. If you have a website account here, please click HERE to log in for continued access.
If you are a print subscriber but do not have an account here, click HERE to create a website account to gain unlimited free access.
Non-subscribers may gain access by subscribing to any of our print or electronic subscriptions HERE