Mayor, Commission honors ‘Hometown Heroes’ during meeting

Published 3:23 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Several local residents were honored as “Hometown Heroes” during Monday evening’s meeting of the Carter County Commission.

A few months ago, Carter County Mayor Leon Humphrey began presenting plaques to residents honoring them for their accomplishments or service to the community and proclaiming them “Hometown Heroes.”

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Among the group of honorees Monday evening were several students and military veterans.

• Members of the Carter County 4-H Forestry Judging Team were honored for their recent victory in the Tennessee State 4-H Forestry Judging competition held in Knoxville. Team members Kaci Ritchie, John Tapp, Haley Rankhorn, and Alayna Turbyfill earned a spot in the national competition with their state title win.

• James Linville, of Unicoi, was honored for his academic accomplishments while studying in the Diesel Powered Equipment Technology program at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) at Elizabethton. TCAT officials recently named Linville as the TCAT 2017 Technical Student of the Year for his academic achievements.

• Arthur “Deacon” Bowers was honored for his hard work and dedication in establishing the Veterans War Memorial and Veterans Walk of Honor in Elizabethton. Bowers, a veteran of the Korean War, was one of the founding members of the Veterans War Memorial Committee and worked tirelessly to secure funding and support for the project.

• The late Ellen Virginia “Ginger” Nave Shell was honored for her service to community and country in the United States military. Fluent in three languages, Shell was the daughter of a veteran and her brothers also served in the military. Following the family’s tradition of service, Shell joined the U.S. Army and was one of the last members of the Women’s Auxiliary Corps (WAC). Following her service in the military, Shell went on to work at the Veterans Administration at Mountain Home and later retired from there. She passed away in October. Members of her family accepted the award in her honor Monday evening.

• Sara Sellers was honored for her service to her country and community in the United States military. Her father served in the Spanish American War. Sellers was one of 11 children. Four of her brothers also served in the military. After enlisting in the U.S. Air Force, Sellers made a career of her military service, retiring with the rank of Chief Master Sergeant. During her career, she served in a number of foreign countries as well as at the Pentagon. She was also honored with Presidential appointments, including serving on the American Battle Monuments Commission.

• Tom McCloud was honored for his service to his community and country in the United States military. McCloud served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War as a scout and a sniper. He was taken as a prisoner of war from January 1951 through August of that year. McCloud and the other troops in his unit were captured and forced to march for 56 days before arriving at the POW camp. The soldiers planned a daring escape from the camp but someone informed the North Korean soldiers of the plan and just one hour before the scheduled escape the North Koreans came in and began torturing the American soldiers trying to get additional information about the plan. McCloud was later rescued, and returned home from Korea weighing only 70 pounds and had to be hospitalized due to starvation.

• The late Walter Brown Hatley was honored for his service to his country and community in the United States Army. A veteran of World War II, Hatley fought in the Battle of the Buldge, which was the last major German offensive on the western front of the war in Europe. While Hatley was serving in Europe, his wife Velma, received a telegram informing her that her husband had officially been listed as Missing In Action. A second telegraph told her that her husband had been captured by enemy forces and was a Prisoner of War of the German government. Hatley was able to escape from the prison camp and return to American forces and later back home to his family. When Hatley talked about his time in the prison camp, he said he survived starvation because some community dogs brought him scraps of food to eat. After returning home from the war, he always fed any stray dogs he encountered. Hatley passed away in 2002 at the age of 78. His daughters, Ethel Hatley and Brenda Perry, accepted the award in his honor.

• Harold Hubbard was honored for his service to his community and country in the United States military. Hubbard served in the U.S. Army and fought in World War II after being drafted at the age of 19. After completing his basic training, Hubbard was shipped to Italy to begin fighting in the European campaign. The unit Hubbard was a part of was tasked with fighting in northern Italy to clear the mountain passes in the Alps, including capturing pillbox fortifications. During his time in the Army, Hubbard was awarded the Bronze Star, two Service Stars, and the Purple Heart.

• Rolling Thunder Tennessee Chapter 4 was named a “Hometown Hero” for their dedication to honoring veterans. The national Rolling Thunder organization was founded as an advocacy group which seeks to bring full accountability for prisoners of war (POWs) and missing in action (MIA) American service members from all U.S. Wars and to publicize POW-MIA issues to ensure that in the future no one is left behind. Rolling Thunder Tennessee Chapter 4 is based out of the Veterans Affairs facility at Mountain Home and serves the local region by participating in numerous events, ceremonies, and funerals to honor America’s veterans.