President James Stone called the meeting to order. Chaplain Eddie Cartwright gave the Invocation, Phil Newman led the pledge to the U.S. flag, Dave Whaley led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Owen Cook led the SAR flag pledge.
Among the guests were Taylor Lawson and Toika Sherlin. There were 52 in attendance at the meeting.
One new member, Dwight R. Reagan, was inducted by Stan Evans. President James Stone told about the Society rosette and presented the new member with one. There are still 10 other regular members to be sworn in. Most will be sworn in at the October meeting.
President Stone, assisted by Evans, awarded the prestigious Fire Safety Commendation to two firefighters recommended by their units.
They were Capt. Donnie Sherlin of the Cleveland Fire Department, and Commander Brent Bowles of Bradley County Fire Rescue.
Captain Donnie Sherlin was born in Cleveland on Dec. 31, 1961, to Roy R. Sherlin and Thelma Ross Sherlin (now deceased). He attended Waterville and Taylor elementary schools and graduated from Bradley Central High School. Sherlin is married to Toika Jones Sherlin of West Palm Beach, Fla. They have one son, Ross Sherlin.
Sherlin began his career with the Cleveland Fire Department on Feb. 1, 1981, and was the last firefighter hired by the late Chief Bill Ragsdale. He gradually climbed his way through the ranks. He was promoted to the position of driver/engineer in March 1984. He then obtained the rank of lieutenant on April 18, 1996, and was promoted to his present rank of captain in January 2008.
Sherlin was voted Firefighter of the Year by his peers in 1985. He is a charter member of the Cleveland Fire Department Honor Guard, where he eventually served as commander. In addition, he also received the William V. Ragsdale award in 2000 for exemplifying the traits and standards set forth by the Cleveland Honor Guard, which also honored former Chief Bill Ragsdale. Sherlin says he considers it an honor and privilege to serve the great citizens of Cleveland and Bradley County.
Commander Brent Bowles is a 20-year veteran of the fire service. Before serving in the public sector as a firefighter he served four years in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, working on the flight deck as an aircraft director as well as an aircraft firefighter. He was certified as a shipboard firefighter and attended many firefighting schools while serving in this capacity. After returning home, Bowles joined the ranks as a volunteer firefighter in October 1998 with Bradley County Fire Department and was a volunteer until July 2005. He was hired by what is now Bradley County Fire Rescue as a lieutenant and in 2007 was promoted to the rank of captain.
Bowles serves as one of the department’s fire instructors, and is the chairman of the its training committee. He had been responsible for the first 400-hour Tennessee State Fire Academy recruit class being taught outside the fire academy with Bradley County Fire Rescue instructors. This accomplishment has saved the taxpayers of Bradley County, and Bradley County Fire Rescue, thousands of dollars in training new hires and volunteers. Bowles is also a Tennessee Codes and Enforcement Academy credentialed instructor, serves as one of the department’s arson investigators, and has been emergency medical technician since 2008. In May 2010, he graduated with honors from Chattanooga State with an associate’s degree in fire science with a concentration in fire suppression. Bowles is currently heading Bradley County Fire Rescue’s training center project which will allow the department to certify its firefighters, as well as other firefighters in the area, to the Firefighter ll level, which again will be a cost savings to Bradley County taxpayers, the department and others alike.
The Fire Safety Commendation Medal may be presented to an individual for accomplishments and/or outstanding contributions in an area of fire safety and service. The metal is not limited to firefighters. It may be presented to recognize a variety of fire safety and service that has evolved into a highly technical and skilled profession with constant study, development and involvement by numerous dedicated citizens with a single goal — protect human life and property by preventing injuries or casualties due to fire and chemicals. It may be presented only to an individual, and then only once. The metal may also be presented posthumously.
TNSSAR First Vice President (and chapter member) Claude Hardison gave out several National awards that were awarded at the National Congress (Convention) in July in Phoenix.
He first presented to President Stone the Partners in Patriotism certificate, for extensive work hand-in-hand with veterans groups in pursuit of a common goal.
He next presented the President General’s Activities Award and streamer to Stone. This is a awesome award from National, as it means this chapter is the best in overall activities in the chapter’s membership category (100-199 members) in the entire National Society.
Hardison next presented the Meritorious Service Medal to Stone from the Tennessee SAR, and a Liberty Medal to Stan Evans.
Hardison also reported on several upcoming events: the only National SAR event in Tennessee, which is the celebration of “The Gathering at Sycamore Shoals” Sept. 14-15 in Elizabethton; on the National Society Fall Leadership/Trustees meeting in Louisville, Ky., Sept. 28-29; and on a grave marking by the Hiwassee Chapter SAR in Englewood on Oct. 6, for Patriot Barnabus Cochran. Hardison also gave a request to the members for more to come forward and chair committees that are in need, especially the youth-program committees.
Second Vice President, Dave Whaley introduced the keynote speaker, Cherel Bolins Henderson, executive director, East Tennessee Historical Society. She gave an interesting talk and slide presentation on the East Tennessee Historical Society, and the current exhibit “Voices of the Land, The People of East Tennessee.”
Henderson is a native of Jefferson County. She was editor with the Smoky Mountain Historical Society for 15 years. She is founder and director of “First Families of Tennessee,” and editor of the publication of the same name. She transcribed and published several state and county records, census and tombstone inscriptions for Sevier and Jefferson counties, and Tennessee Legislative Petitions. She’s a member of the Federation of Genealogical Societies, and chaired its 2010 conference in Knoxville. She has 26 years on the staff of East Tennessee Historical Society, with nine years as director and editor of its publication “Tennessee Ancestors.”
She spoke primarily about the exhibits at the Museum of East Tennessee in the East Tennessee History Center on Gay Street in Knoxville. The exhibit displays the heritage and stories of the entire 35-county region of East Tennessee. She noted the museum and center strive for quality and let the people tell their own story, and what’s painful is to have so many wonderful stories that only a select few can be retold.
Some of the exhibits shown in the presentation were items from the Cherokees, including a Cherokee bead piece that dated to 1757 at Fort Loudoun, and another one from the early Sevier family. There was one on Nancy Ward’s rings made from silver and turkey bone, and another showed a scalp cap that was made by Bonnie Kate for someone who had survived a scalping.
Exhibits also depicted the Trail of Tears, the Civil War period, and the “Capitalist period,” when logging, mining and railroads were coming in. This period made Knoxville the third-largest “hotel city” in the South. In their “Music Gallery” section are items such as Dolly Parton’s dress and Roy Acuff’s fiddle. She noted the coverage of the large number of people living in Tennessee removed from their land. These included first the Cherokee Indians, those removed by TVA, and those removed for the Oak Ridge nuclear plant.
During officer reports, Treasurer Doug Carpenter announced the chapter is in great shape financially. Phil Newman reported that the Col. Benjamin Cleveland statue was nearing completion of the “first phase” and would be going to a foundry in Atlanta in early October for subsequent phases.
President Stone stated that he had assigned Bob George as the chairman of the Nominating Committee this year, and George gladly accepted. The committee reports the slate of officers at the November meeting for the election.
David Whaley said that he was looking for a few members to help man a chapter booth at the Cowpea Festival in Charleston on Saturday, Sept. 15; he got enough responses by the end of the meeting.
Sam Allen reported that chapter member Judge Carl Collums, who retired from the bench at the end of the August, was to be honored at the First Baptist Church in Charleston on Sept. 16, with that day being “Carl Collums Day” at the church. All were invited for the Sunday morning service and lunch. Allen also reported that he would be chairing the chapter’s entry in the Christmas Parade again this year. The parade is held on the first Saturday of December.
President James Stone then proceeded to close the meeting, with Stone leading the Recessional, and Chaplain Eddie Cartwright delivering the Benediction. The closing gavel was struck and the meeting adjourned.