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Catoosa, Walker citizens and veterans honored

On Nov. 4, the Catoosa Citizens' and Veterans' Memorial board of directors and volunteers, as well as many folks from the community, gathered at The Colonnade in Ringgold to honor veterans, individuals and groups who have contributed to making their communities and their country better and safer places.

The annual event, sponsored by the Catoosa Memorial, has been taking place for many years now. "It's amazing that two counties can come together and honor their veterans and citizens this way," says Yvonne Morgan, president of the Memorial's board of directors. "We're fortunate to live in an area where we can do something like this."

The group awarded eight plaques during a ceremony in which many political luminaries participated. Local businesses and groups contributed everything from cookies to flags to the plaques that were given to honorees.

The Catoosa Citizens' and Veterans' Memorial, located at the Benton Place Campus in Ringgold, is intended as a tribute to America and a sacred place where people can "find patriotism while reflecting on its Unified Salute to America," says Morgan.

Citizens and businesses wishing to support the Memorial can purchase a brick for $40 and it will be inscribed with the name of someone they wish to honor. "Red bricks are for citizens and gray bricks for veterans," says Morgan. Forms for purchasing a brick are available from the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, located in the Colonnade.

2017 honorees

Catoosa County

Bill Rhinehart: Catoosa County Veteran of the Year, presented by Catoosa County Commission Chair, Steven Henry

Jeff Hullender: Catoosa County Patriotic Citizen of the Year, presented by Yvonne Morgan

Jeff Long: Catoosa County Outstanding Community Service, presented by Susan Tankersley, co-chair of the event, to Fort Oglethorpe Mayor Earl Gray, accepting on behalf of the honoree

Heritage Middle School Eighth Graders: Youth Patriotism & Spirit Award, presented by Yvonne Morgan to Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk, accepting on behalf of the honorees

Ringgold Flag Committee: Patriotic Community Service, presented by Yvonne Morgan Walker County

Jack Staples, Lt. Col., US Army (retired): Walker County Veteran of the Year, presented by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield

Flora Kernea, Gold Star Mother: Walker County Patriotic Citizen of the Year, presented by Walker County commissioner Shannon Whitfield

Chickamauga Growth Community: Walker County Patriotic Community Service, presented by Walker County Commissioner Shannon Whitfield

Special Recognition was given to Senator Jeff Mullis, the Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 203, American Legion Post 214, American Legion Post 40, VFW Post 3679, Rolling Thunder TN Chapter 2, and the Ringgold Flag Committee.