SAR President Van Deacon called the meeting to order, Chaplain Eddie Cartwright gave to Invocation, Deacon gave the pledge to the U.S. flag, Tommy McLain led the pledge to the Tennessee flag, and Dave Whaley led the SAR flag pledge.
The guests introduced included Sheriff Jim Ruth and wife; Danny Lawson and family; Glenn Martin and wife; Rufus Triplett, Bill Norwood, Lynn Bowers, Jim Carter, registrar of the John Sevier Chapter and wife; Benjamin Riggs; and awardees’ families.
Danny Lawson, director of the Bradley County EMS, read the biography, and Deacon presented the Emergency Medical Services Commendation Medal this year to Keith Umberger.
Umberger was born Feb. 5, 1967, in Newport News Va., and moved to Cleveland when he was 2. When he was 10 years old he suffered massive critical facial trauma in a four-wheeler accident, in which the ATV backed up over his head. His injuries required facial reconstruction due to his numerous fractures. He graduated from Bradley Central High School in 1985. He the volunteered for the U.S. Marines Corps and honorably served until 1989.
When he returned to Cleveland, he volunteered with Bradley County Rescue and the Charleston Fire Department. He started at Bradley County EMS as an EMT in 1989, and in 2005 left Bradley County EMS to do industrial management. But the desire to serve brought him back to Bradley County EMS in 2006. He continues his education and was licensed a Critical Care paramedic in 2009, one of less than 10 in the state. He is married to Stephanie Rose, a nurse, and they have three children, Katilyn, Mollie and Julian.
This recipient was awarded for valor in a recent situation in which an elderly couple were leaving a long-term nursing facility by car and ran into a block wall, causing it to collapse. They went through the wall and down and embankment and Umberger ultimately ended up saving their lives.
Sheriff Ruth read the biography, and President Deacon presented the Law Enforcement Commendation Medal to Sgt. Monica Datz from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office. Datz has been with the BCSO since 2003 and is assigned to the Criminal Investigations Division as a forensic investigator. Before joining the BCSO, she served 16-plus years as a crime scene investigator in Florida.
She is a graduate of the National Forensics Academy, and currently she is the only person in the 10th Judicial District to be certified with the International Association of Identification (IAI), the highest standard set in latent print examination.
Sgt. Datz is considered by her peers, not only at BCSO but with all agencies within the 10th District, to be a great asset to criminal investigations. Her expertise in crime scene processing has led to numerous arrests and convictions for violent crimes such as homicide, rape of a child, and aggravated assaults.
This unsung hero of our community is a good candidate for this award based on her dedication to professional law enforcement service to our community. The job she performs daily provides benefits without measure. If there is any doubt Datz deserves recognition, just speak to anyone in the public safety field in the 10th District and you will hear nothing but praise for the job she does.
A supplemental certification was presented by Deacon to Owen Cook for his Revolutionary War Patriot John Needham.
Stan Evans swore-in the following new members: State Sen. Todd Gardenhire, Evan Bowers, Andy Bryson, Jim Dearth and Reggie Law. Their membership certificates were presented to them by Evans. New member Dr. William Bowers, who now lives in Florida, had his certificate given to his son, Evan. Deacon explained the Society rosette, and presented them each one as a new chapter member. They each showed their appreciation for those helping them to become members.
The real unsung hero at this meeting was Maggie Evans. It has been only three weeks since she had a knee replacement operation, and is in rehab at Life Care Center. Her husband, Stan, checked her out of rehab, but stated he had to have her back by 10, “like a date, right?” Well, Maggie sat near the back not knowing if she was going to get sick or not. She usually is one of the picture-takers, and was determined to take pictures during this meeting too. It was a chore going from the rear of the room to the front with her walker each time, but she did anyhow. For the last shot, though, she decided to leave her walker behind, and hold on to the backs of the chairs instead. When she got ready to take picture, there were no chairs nearby, but Stan was there and he supported his wife while she took the picture. Now we feel that that’s a real trooper.
TNSSAR Vice President and chapter member Claude Hardison reported on the Friends of the Library program for state chairman John Echerd, who was unable to attend the meeting. The chapter and several chapter members have already donated this year, but others are needed to contribute. Contributions support the National Library’s growth in its new home at the Center for Advancing America’s Heritage in Louisville, Ky.
Judge Carl Collums announced the Charleston-Calhoun-Hiwassee historical society was set to have its grand opening of the Hiwassee Heritage Center in Charleston on Friday, May 17, at 2 p.m.
Stan Evans and Steve Stewart reminded everyone to attend the Memorial Day program at the Courthouse on May 27, starting at 10:30 a.m.
The program was introduced by 2nd Vice President Bob George. The program, “DAR and Women in the American Revolutionary,” was presented by DAR member Harriet Caldwell.
She told of many women who contributed to the Revolutionary War cause including Molly Pitcher (whose real name was Mary L. Hays), who at the Battle of Monmouth carried water to the exhausted and wounded. “Bring the pitcher over here, Molly” they would call, and finally just “Molly, pitcher.” When her husband, a gunner, was wounded she took over the field piece and did as well as any other soldier. Caldwell mentioned one Hannah Harper, whose son was snatched by the British, and told how she went to their camp and persuaded them to release her son and 10 other children also. Caldwell said that there were several “female Paul Reveres,” two in New England, and a third, Mrs. Jane Thomas, in South Carolina. She told about others who were spies, sharpshooters, and one who disguised herself as a man fought in Massachusetts.
Harriet next spoke on the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) telling some very interesting facts. The DAR was organized in 1890, and the Patriot of the very first DAR member was Mary Ball, mother of George Washington, who was a Patriot on her own deeds. At present there are 173,000 DAR members, with 3,000 chapter members in 13 foreign countries and one territory. Since 1890 there have been a total of 900,000 DAR members!
The local DAR chapter is the Ocoee Chapter which was chartered Dec. 4, 1901, with Cooksey Harris Hardwick as the first chapter regent. Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries the chapter has been responsible for placing numerous grave markers at Revolutionary War Patriots’ graves and other important sites in Bradley, Polk, McMinn and Meigs counties. They held their Centennial Meeting in December and the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter performed as Color Guard for them.
On April 19, 2013 a formal “unveiling ceremony” was conducted at the Museum Center at Five Points to bring to conclusion the six-year effort by the chapter to bring a bronze statue honoring Col. Benjamin Cleveland to fruition.
The statue unveiling had been well planned, covering all contingencies, but the weather was one area that did not cooperate on this day. With rainy, stormy weather the program had to be conducted inside the Museum Center at Five Points, with the unveiling part performed after the weather subsided.
With the call to order of the formal program by chapter president, Hon. Carrell Van Deacon, the “posting of the colors” was conducted by the TNSSAR Color Guard and chapter members. The Rev. Doctor Joel Huffstetler presented the Invocation with readings from Revolutionary War period Anglican Church missals. After the pledges and introductions, Deacon introduced NSSAR past and present officers including librarian general Mike Wells, and past Vice Presidents General Stan Evans, Rod Hildreth, Lee Swart and John Wallace. Deacon next introduced Southern District Vice President General John R. Taylor, who spoke congratulating the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter for this major achievement, and then presented Meritorious Service Medals to the members of the chapter’s “statue committee.”
Stan Evans, founder of the chapter, was the leadoff speaker. He spoke of when he and Maggie had come to Cleveland, 12 years prior, and that Maggie, who is a descendant of the Cleveland family and knowing that the city was named for Col. Benjamin Cleveland, asked if there was a statue of him here. They found other statues but not one of Col. Cleveland. Evans went on to say he had asked if there was a local chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution, with an answer that the closest ones were in Knoxville or Chattanooga. So in 2003 Evans proceeded to organize the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter which was chartered on Dec. 5, 2003.
The next speaker, Phil Newman, chairman of the statue committee, told of the long, hard years since 2007 when the decision was made to create a statue, and of the fundraising efforts hindered with an economic depression, and a wave of tornadoes. But victory prevailed!
Next, Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland, also a chapter member, spoke and congratulated the chapter on its success with the statue. He next read Resolution No: 2013-23 stating the acceptance of the donation of a statue Col. Benjamin Cleveland from the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter, Tennessee Society, Sons of the American Revolution.
TNSSAR State President Colin Wakefield was the next speaker, and the next one to congratulate the chapter on its accomplishments with the statue. He then called Stan and Maggie Evans forward, and presented Stan the Silver Good Citizenship Medal, and presented the Daughters of Liberty Medal to Maggie.
After the Benediction by chapter chaplain Eddie Cartwright, and the closing of the meeting, members unceremoniously went and unveiled the statue while it was still raining. So, in conclusion to this ceremony, as Stan Evans said in his talk, “Twelve years ago, Cleveland, Tennessee, didn’t have a statue of Col. Benjamin Cleveland, and it didn’t have a chapter of the sons of the American Revolution, either. Now it has both!
On Saturday, May 4, Tommy McLain presented the JROTC Medal to Cadet/Sgt. 1st Class Andrew Vykhrist at Bradley County Central High School’s awards ceremony. He was assisted by Evans who presented the award for the Scottish Rite Consistory in Chattanooga and the Bradley County Scottish Rite Club. They met the new JROTC Commander Lt. Col Chris Ingel, who relieved Lt. Col. Pete Moore recently.
With no further business, Deacon proceeded to close the meeting, and then led the Recessional. Joe Brock delivered the Benediction.