The Catoosa Citizens’ and Veterans’ Memorial presented recently its annual “Tribute to America” awards for Catoosa County and Walker County Veterans of the Year and Patriotic Citizens of the Year.

Tribute to America co-chairs Susan Tankersley, representing Walker County, and Rhonda James, representing Catoosa County, coordinated the presentations. The 2021 event was the 17th annual Tribute to America.

Event organizers said they appreciate the support of Judy O’Neal for airtime on UCTV; Randall Franks for photographs; and Lane Funeral Home for providing the plaques for all of the winner.

The following biographies were read when announcing the winners:

Catoosa County Patriotic Citizen

This person is no stranger to the Catoosa County area. They graduated from Lakeview High School and the University of Tennessee. They support Ridgeland Panthers, Lakeview Fort-Oglethorpe Warriors, Georgia Bulldogs, Atlanta Braves, UTC Mocs, especially Lady Mocs.

Knowing her you know her respect for her community, country and God. They will help anyone and always looking for ways to give back to their community. If they hear of a need, they will always say what we can do to help. They are a member of the Catoosa County Chamber of Commerce, serves as an ambassador, volunteers on various committees through the Chamber, serves on the board for the Sexual Assault Center, a member of the Fort Oglethorpe Kiwanis Club, Catoosa County Leads Group, a member of the Rossville Church of Christ, and serves as a Council Lady for the City of Fort Oglethorpe, and researched and planned the launch of the Fort Oglethorpe Dog Park. The park was later dedicated to her late husband, David.

They are also known to volunteer in the Walker County area and served on various committees in Whitfield County. She is proud to be an American Citizen, respects her country and city, including making her city a better place to live and work. Her patriotism is like charity; it begins at home and all the American pride she has by always doing for the good of her country and city.

She retired as CEO of Dalton Utilities last year to spend time with her husband, David, who lost his life this year with the battle of cancer. She is survived by her parents, brother, two daughters and countless friends. She is truly a dedicated citizen of Catoosa County. It is our pleasure that Rhonda James is the 2021 Catoosa County Patriotic Citizen of the Year.

Walker County Patriotic Citizen

This Walker County resident lives in Rossville. If you talk with him very long, you realize how much he respects his freedom and gives the credit to the honorable men and women and all who have served. He faithfully performs the duties of a patriotic citizen to in every walk of life.

Loyalty, respect and selflessness are some emotions that are deeply connected to his patriotism. This Walker County resident is righteous as well as strong for all he does for the communities he is associated with. If you call him, he returns your calls and will do his best to assist in what you called about.

He is active in not only in Walker County but involved in Dade County too. He is a member of the Good Shepherd Church where he is an assistant pastor. He is involved in community activities. He earned an Associate of Science degree in business from Chattanooga State and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and is retired from Blue Cross-Blue Shield.

The faithfulness this man shows in his service to his community, he continue to show through his devotion and dependability for Georgia (House) District 1.

An example of his true character is his love for God, friend’s rich or poor, giving back to his community by trying to make it a better place, and helping people who may face challenges.

It is our pleasure that Mike Cameron, Georgia representative for District 1, is the 2021 Walker County Patriotic Citizen of the Year.

Walker County Veteran of the Year

This Walker County veteran entered the United States Army in March of 1994 and attended Basic Training and Advanced Individual Training at Fort Benning, Ga. He completed the 75th Ranger Regiment, attended Long Range Surveillance Leaders Course, Warrior Leaders Course and Ranger School where he was awarded the Merrill’s Marauders Award for excellence upon graduation.

In 1997 he took a short break and reentered as an 11B and was assigned to 1st Battalion, 24th infantry at Fort Lewis, Washington. He served as a team leader and squad Leader and deployed on several mission exercises. In 2000, he attended the Special Forces Assessment and Selection Course where he was selected to attend the Special Forces Qualification as a weapons sergeant and became a senior weapons sergeant and intelligence sergeant.

He was deployed on multiple contingency and combat operations in the Middle East. In three years he trained over thousands of Special Force soldiers and prepared them for global war on terrorism. 2009 he was deployed again on multiple combat rotations in Lebanon. He was also promoted as master sergeant. In July 2013 was assigned to the U.S. Army Infantry Center of Excellence. He retired with over 21 years of active service.

Since his retirement he has served with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations and as federal law enforcement officer. He has served on several contracts with Africa, Iraqi Ranger School instructor, marksmanship training instructor, Sniper School Lebanon and media exploitation subject matter expert.

He resides on Lookout Mountain, Ga., and has two teenage daughters, Jessica and Casey. It is a pleasure that Jason Chapman, retired U.S. Army, is the 2021 Walker County Veteran of the Year.

NOTE: Jason’s grandfather was retired from the Walker County Sheriff’s Office and grandmother retired from the Georgia State Patrol after many years of service, Lewis and Virginia Revels.

Catoosa County Veteran of the Year

This veteran retired from the U.S. Navy after 38 years of service. He is retired from civilian service supporting Chief, International Affairs and Foreign Military Sales branch. He was assigned to Submarine Service and completed Flight Training, receiving his Wings of Gold in 1977.

His decorations include Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with Bronze Star, Navy Commendation Medal and 15 other medals and ribbons. He holds designations in 13 airframes, the last being as a designed helicopter aircraft commander and flight instrument pilot, accumulated over 3,685 flight hours.

Some of his major assignments: Various officer assignments throughout aviation squadrons, detachment pilot, maintenance division officer, assistant operations, detachment liaison officer, assistant training officer and public affairs officer, flight deck officer, aviation safety officer, maintenance aircraft check pilot. The list goes on and on.

When people thank him for his service, he tells them “It was my honor and privilege to serve them and my country.” He says he would gladly go back and is today still on the Navy recall list.

He is married to his wife, Sam, and they reside in Fort Oglethorpe.

It is a pleasure that Retired U.S. Navy Capt. Charles Sullivan Bowers is the 2021 Catoosa County Veteran of the Year.

Distinguished Service Award

This U.S. Army veteran served in the Vietnam War from June 1971 until June 1973 and was stationed over a year in Okinawa, Japan. He is retired from GE. He is currently the Homeowners Association President for Denmore Subdivision.

He is an active member of Covenant Presbyterian Church. He is first volunteer to those in need. He currently volunteers as a men’s mentor with the Walker County Prison. He is active with the men’s ministry with his church; they build wheelchair ramps for anyone in need and assist families in need from the 2020 Tornados. He volunteers his time with the Ringgold Flag Committee and assists in the decorating graves at Chattanooga National Cemetery. He is not only a veteran helping others, but he will volunteer to anyone in need. The same strong sense of duty and patriotism this man showed in his service to his nation, he continues to show in his commitment.

He resides in Ringgold with his wife, Cheryl; they have two children and 10 grandchildren.

It is a pleasure that United States Army veteran Randall Lawry is awarded the 2021 Distinguished Service Award.

Patriotic Outstanding Service and Achievement Award American Legion Auxiliary Unit 214 — A group of volunteers serves veterans and their families. They give thousands of volunteer hours each year.

This is just naming only part of what they did and doing for the 2021 year.


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