Committees voice support for veteran-based programs

Published 9:09 pm Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Star Photo/Curtis Carden
Chris Arnold, vice president of the Dog Tag Brigade, gave the Buildings and Grounds Committee an overview his the group. The committee pledged their support for the idea of placing signs for parking at county buildings for Purple Heart veterans.

Just a few months since their creation, the Dog Tag Brigade Veterans Foundation has made waves in Northeast Tennessee.
Chris Arnold, the group’s vice president, was in attendance for Tuesday’s Carter County Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting to share the message of the group to members to receive support for possible plans within the community.
The Dog Tag Brigade Veterans Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization, started a project titled “Project Purple Heart” to set off a designated parking space program where the organization would provide materials, labor, installation and maintenance of the parking spaces.
According to the group, the primary focus is to honor Purple Heart recipients and to educate the public of “life changing sacrifices of our war fighters and promote patriotism throughout the Tri-Cities.”
Commissioner Mike Hill, who introduced Arnold to the group, mentioned to the committee that he used his Highway Committee stipend for the month of March to fund one of the designations and encouraged the committees to possibly do the same for the project.
Hill also added that he has been in contact with the County Election Commission and two other commissioners that have stated that would be willing to support the initiatives.
Commissioner and committee chair Isaiah Grindstaff stated his support for the motion and added the Carter County Sheriff’s Department has parking spots at the facility designated servicemen/women.
Josh Hardin, the county’s attorney, added during the meeting it would be the County Commission’s decision to OK the project but there would be no hold ups for it to be OK’ed as long as the county buildings had their mandated parking spots and that the Purple Heart parking would not take away from other spaces.
Citing its positive involvement within the county, the committee voted unanimously to support the initiative and asked Hill to speak with individuals over county buildings to see where they stand by implementing the parking spaces. The full approval would have to go before the commission for work to start on spaces.
The estimated cost for a site ranges from $30 to $40 for signage and metal post, and $50 to $74 for preparation and paint. Arnold added the organization would conduct a site inspection on a space and come up with a design depending on the business owner’s preference.
Along with the Dog Tag Brigade, the Timothy Holdren introduced Chris and Suzanne Prince for VeteransBuddies to talk about their new group to benefit the veterans of the county.
Mr. Prince, a veteran and animal lovers, stated the county had 10 percent worth of veterans and cited different concerns veterans go through emotionally and physically and the importance of having a pet in the household.
VeteransBuddies, which is in the process of obtaining nonprofit status, will assist any veterans that provide proper documentation of their enlistment and if they can have a pet at their premise. The organization would then do a site visit to see if the veteran is in the right state to own a pet and then match the veteran with a proper animal to love.
“Our goal is to help procure the animal that would be best for the veteran and have the right environment in place,” Prince said.
Once donations can be obtained, VeteransBuddies would look at involving volunteers and donations to help set up a proper living environment for the veteran and the animal.
The recommendation brought before the committee was to voice support of the group. Along with the support, VeteransBuddies also asked the committee to make a recommendation of waiving the funding of 10-20 animals from the county/city animal shelter that would be used in the program, which could range between $500-$1,000 in the organization’s first year.
While stating support has been shown, Chris later added that the cost would be a wash and that he would appreciate the support of the committee if possible.
Commissioner Nancy Brown stated her support for the group, along with others. The committee unanimously voted to move the measure to Budget Committee to set up a lineup to cover the cost of 10 to 20 animals.

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