Local residents honored as ‘Hometown Heroes’

Published 8:19 pm Friday, February 23, 2018

This week, Carter Mayor Leon Humphrey honored several local residents as “Hometown Heroes” during a special ceremony at the Carter County Courthouse.

On Tuesday afternoon, prior to the start of the Carter County Commission meeting, Humphrey held the ceremony to honor the residents for the accomplishments and service to country and community.

Those honored were members of the Elizabethton Woman’s Club, WWII veteran Blaine Hartley, WWII veteran Roscoe Elliott, Ed Peters and his late wife Jan Peters, and Angie Odom.

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• Elizabethton Woman’s Club

The Elizabethton Women’s Club was organized in 1930 by Mrs. Betty Vaught. Over the years it has grown and adapted to the changing times. Currently, the club has 15 members. Each year in November the Club hosts the Christmas Arts and Craft Show. This event provides the necessary funding for its many activities and support programs. A few of the Club’s most recent projects are: high school scholarships to one graduating senior from each of the five local high schools, book donations to promote literacy, provided lap robes to local nursing homes, sewing and knitting caps for patients receiving cancer treatments, welcome home bags for returning military personnel, and donations to several area non-profits that provide services to the community.

The Club’s presiding officers are President Patricia Mosman, 1st Vice President Betty Bowers, 2nd Vice President Robin Loessberg, Secretary Sue Fannon, and Treasurer Ruth Ritchie.

• Blaine Hartley

Hartley was born in Old Butler in 1918. During his 7th grade year, his family moved to Stoney Creek, where he attended Midway Elementary. He was drafted and inducted into the U.S. Army in 1941 and completed his basic training in Georgia and was then sent to Fort Jackson, S.C. Before being deployed to Europe he was given a three-day leave. While on this leave, he married and then had to leave his bride behind.

Hartley was shipped to Casablanca. While on patrol, his unit marched across Spain, France, Italy, and Germany. At one point in Italy while under enemy attack a mortar round hit the building he was in. The building collapsed on him and he sustained a back injury. Five infantry members were killed in the incident. He witnessed horrific events. One of the most notable incidents was when wounded soldiers were being transported for medical treatment; the Germans troops opened fire on the medivac team and killed them all.

This solider in addition to being awarded the purple heart was issued many service medals. He was discharged in June 1945. Upon returning home, he finally got to see his 3-year-old son for the first time. He ultimately had four children two boys and two girls.

After the war, Hartley went to work with Carter County Motor Company as a heavy-duty truck mechanic. He later worked for the City of Elizabethton before taking a position with the U.S. Postal Service, where he remained until he retired.

• Roscoe Elliott

Elliott was born in Carter County in July 1921 and was one of five children. At the age of 18, like so many others in the area, he began employment at Bemberg. At the age of 21 this individual was drafted into the United State Army. He was inducted and processed at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. Basic training was completed at Miami Beach, Florida and Columbus, Ohio. Then he was sent to Forth Worth Texas for extensive Weapons Training. Immediately thereafter he boarded ship and 12 days later landed in Le Havre, France.He was then trucked to the front lines and assigned to the 3rd Armored Division. This unit was responsible for protecting the tanks as they traversed the land scape while engaging in battle daily.

Elliott was blessed in that he never sustained any major physical injuries. When the war ended, he was assigned to the military police to maintain order. During his time of military service, he was awarded many American and European Theatre Medals and a Bronze Star. Upon discharge from the Army, he returned home to Carter County. In 1946 he obtained employment as a construction worker with TVA. He was first assigned to the Watauga Dam Project. Once it was completed, he transferred to the South Holston Dam Project. In 1948 he went to Akon Georgia and worked on an Atomic Energy Plant for approximately two years. Once back home he went to work for Trimmel Construction Company. One of the largest projects he was assigned at the time was the redevelopment of an old golf course in Bristol into a residential housing community. In 1959 he was hired by Raytheon Corporation in Bristol. He worked there for 25 years as a machinist in the heat treat department.

• Ed Peters & the late Jan Peters

Ed Peters was born in March 1934 in the Stoney Creek community. In 1951 he joined the Navy, serving in both the Pacific Fleet and Atlantic Fleet, as well as a six-month cruise in the Mediterranean.

He came back to Elizabethton 1955, where he worked as an electrician’s helper. He later worked as a pipe fitter in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Ed  later got a job working for Ford Motor Company in their new automatic transmission plant in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1964, Ed left the manufacturing side to take a sales position with the company in the division of heavy trucks. His first assignment brought him back to the Tri-Cities, but business later led him to Chattanooga.

In 1981, Ed and his wife Jan came back to Elizabethton and decided to get into the antique business. In 1988, Jan decided to expand their operations through the purchase of a bridal shop. That same year they leased an old church building on Main Street and ultimately ended up purchasing the building. Their wedding business expanded exponentially, with their facility hosting three or four weddings each Saturday with clients coming from all across the country. In 1996 they expanded even further purchasing the CB Johnson Building and Barnes Boring Hardware on Elk Avenue.

These business entrepreneurs throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s were extremely active in the local community. Their son Scott had an interest in Baseball so they took leadership roles in the American Little League. They worked diligently to organize and improve the league. While serving as the Vice President Ed initiated the filings for a Charter for the Carter County American Little League. He also served as President of the league for 2 years. During the first season his group built new press boxes, installed bill boards, three new flags poles, installed dug out covers and made countless other improvements to the ball park. Jan and daughter Marina worked the concession stand. Most importantly, they eliminated all fees that had been previously required for children to participate. They made it a truly volunteer organization which proved to be extremely profitable and provided countless opportunities for the youth.

• Angie Odom

Odom grew up in Carter County, the daughter of a local preacher. At a young age, she lost her father to cancer and went through a rebellious phase where she blamed God for the loss of her father. After joining the U.S. Navy, Odom renewed her relationship with God, and it was her faith that would give her the strength for the challenges that would come her way.

While in the Navy she married and only four months into that marriage her husband was involved in an automobile accident and sustained a head injury. The injury changed his personality; his spontaneous reactions to the simplest issue coupled with drug addiction resulted in her becoming a domestic violence victim. This, in turn, yielded two miscarriages before giving birth to a beautiful daughter. Fearing for the wellbeing of herself and child she finally after five years developed the courage and strength to leave her husband. As a single mother, she searched for counseling and assistance. Being actively employed, she soon found out that there were no assistance programs for which she could qualify. In 1993, she married her soul mate. He adopted her daughter. All was good, so she enrolled in college to continue her education. While in college God laid it on her heart to write a paper on abortion and in writing the paper He laid it on her heart to start a program to assist young women who find themselves in crisis. In 2000, she founded the Abortion Alternatives and Women’s Center to serve as a crisis pregnancy center for married and unmarried clients. Over the years the organization grew to meet countless needs that were identified. In 2013, she founded the TLC Community Center which provides a variety of services to the community including the Summer Food Program, Guard Your Heart Abstinence Program, Little Feet Children’s Ministry, Project Hometown Bundles of Love, TLC Neighborhood Libraries, and TLC Town.