Vets encouraged to attend Mountain Home VA chair dedication

Published 9:20 pm Thursday, March 2, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
A “Missing Man” Chair, like the one in front of the Carter County Courthouse, will be unveiled at Mountain Home VA Tuesday.

“Missing Man” Chair dedications are enjoyable according to Kay Nave.
Nave, secretary for Rolling Thunder – Tennessee Chapter 4, announced the organization is holding a “Missing Man” Chair Dedication event on Tuesday, March 7, at 2 p.m. at the Mountain Home VA Atrium in Johnson City.
“It’s an honor to be part of these types of events,” Nave said. “The chair serves as a reminder to our veterans that they are never forgotten.”
Rolling Thunder is encouraging veterans, along with the general public, from the region to attend.
“We want to encourage our veterans to visit if possible,” Nave said. “There will be a special recognition of all veterans during the program.”
Tuesday’s program includes veterans recognition, the missing man table ceremony, roll call ceremony and the rendering of taps.
Guest speakers for the program include representation from the office of U.S. Rep. Phil Roe, City of Johnson City Vice-Mayor Jenny Brock, Kingsport Mayor John Clark and David P. Helms, mayor of Marion, Va.
Following the bulk of festivities, the “Missing Man” Chair will be officially unveiled by Mountain Home VA Medical Center Director Dean Borsos and Rolling Thunder member Betty Whaley, the wife of the late Bob Whaley who served in the military and was an ex-POW (prisoner of war).
According to Rolling Thunder, an unknown veteran of American Legion Post 2, Knoxville, developed the concept to honor and remember the more than 91,000 POW/MIAs (missing in action) that have never returned home from all previous foreign wars.
The veteran organization with other servicemen and women joined to form a committee to develop the design and construction of an empty POW/MIA chair as a symbol representing the souls of soldiers.
On Monday, May 26, 2008 – Memorial Day – the first chair was permanently installed at the Tennessee Smokies Stadium in Kodak.
Following the recommendation of then Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 President Doug Grissom, former member Haley Lingerfelt took the “bull by the borns” and developed the ideas for chairs to be implemented in certain areas with the help of volunteers and local businesses.
Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 installed and dedicated the first “Missing Man” Chair at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2011.
Carter County has a handful of seats in the area, including Carter County Courthouse, Happy Valley High School, and Joe O’Brien Field.
Other notable locations locally included Virginia, the Washington County and Johnson County courthouses and Daniel Boone and David Crockett high schools, Nave added. A total of 19 “Missing Man” Chairs have been dedicated at different places including schools, a church, museum, ball fields, war memorials, and Army ammunition plants.
Rolling Thunder introduces these type of projects to honor all veterans that have gone, but not returned, to war.
“We are honored that, indeed, many other chapters have initiated this project,” Nave said.
Visit on more information about the “Missing Man” Chair and ceremony.

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