First responders, local Republicans honored at Lincoln Day Dinner

Published 11:21 am Friday, May 12, 2017

Local first responders were the guests of honor during the Carter County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Thursday evening.

State Rep. Timothy Hill welcomed all of the first responders in attendance to stand and be recognized for their service.

“You’ve answered a call to be there when we need you the most,” Hill said. “We are so blessed that you are there to protect our property and save our lives.”

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Hill then led those assembled in a prayer asking for the Lord to protect and bless all of the first responders.

State Senators Rusty Crowe and Jon Lundberg also honored some local members of the Republican Party for their service to both the party and the community.

Crowe and Lundberg presented a special plaque to Chief Master Sgt. Sarah Sellers honoring both her and her late husband Mike Sellers, also a veteran, for their “lifetime of commitment and dedication to the Republican Party” and for their military service.

“He was so proud to be a part of the Republican Party,” Sarah Sellers said of her late husband. “I miss him so.”

Crowe and Lundberg also had an award to present to Bud Whitehead for his many years of service on the Carter County Election Commission, but Whitehead was not able to attend Thursday evening’s event.

“Bud’s not doing too good right now,” Crowe said.

Crowe gave the plaque to Sarah Sellers, who is Whitehead’s sister, and asked that she give it to him on their behalf.

The final award from the two Senators was an American flag which was flown over the Capitol building in Nashville. Crowe and Lundberg presented the flag to Arthur “Deacon” Bowers in recognition of his work on behalf of local veterans.

“Our veterans cared more about the purpose of liberty than they did their own lives,” Crowe said.

Before presenting the flag, Crowe shared some of Bowers’ story as a veteran. At the age of 14, Bowers ran away from home and joined the United States Marine Corps. He was later found out and shipped back home. When he was 15, his mother signed the papers permitting him to join the Army. Bowers turned 16 years old while serving on the front line during the Korean War.

After returning from the War, Bowers continued a life of service and has worked on many projects to assist and honor veterans.

“I’m proud to be a veteran, and I’ll serve the veterans until the day I die,” Bowers said on Thursday evening.

Lt. Gov. Randy McNally served as the keynote speaker for the Lincoln Day Dinner.

McNally praised the work done by Carter County’s representatives in the Tennessee General Assembly — Crowe and Lundberg in the Senate and Rep. Timothy Hill and Rep. John Holsclaw Jr. in the House of Representatives.

“They represent you all very well,” McNally said.

During his talk, McNally briefly touched on the tax reform recently passed by the legislature that will taxes in some areas while raising the tax on gasoline, diesel, and natural gas. The move will help better distribute taxes while aiding low-income families and making Tennessee more competitive in attracting new businesses to the state, McNally said.

“We wanted to operate the government efficiently,” McNally said. “We didn’t want to borrow a lot of money, becaues that puts the burden of debt on your children.”

“This is the Republican philosophy: run government efficiently, keep taxes at a minimum, and don’t amass a lot of debt.”