With the backdrop of an American flag held aloft by the fire department ladder truck, the White House Area Chamber of Commerce hosted a Veteran's Recognition Day on Oct. 24 on the lawn of the chamber offices. Three proclamations were presented that were ratified by the Tennessee House of Representatives.
Rep. Sabi “Doc” Kumar said, “It is humbling and it is inspiring for us to stand today among America's veterans, our veterans who have carried our nation's flag in battle, who have fought under the shadow of this flag and who have risked it all - life, liberty and well-being to protect ours. They have made it possible for us to have the gift, the great gift that is America. We are eternally grateful to our veterans and we have much to celebrate and proclaim.”
The first proclamation was given to White House Mayor Mike Arnold and Chamber of Commerce President Mandy Christenson by Rep. William Lamberth in recognition for establishing and maintaining the White House Museum and the dedicated space it contains to honor local veterans.
“We hereby proclaim that we commend the foresight and dedication of the City of White House and the White House Area Chamber of Commerce for establishing the White House Inn Museum, thanking the museum's dedicated staff and volunteers for making Tennessee's history come to life and celebrate the White House Stage Coach Inn, a special place in Tennessee history,” Lamberth said.
The second proclamation was presented to "a very special local hero" as described by Kumar. City Historian and Museum volunteer, Evelyn Guill was surprised to be named in the award. Guill is also the author of a book about the history, landmarks, and families of the surrounding area titled, “White House History and Reflections.”
Rep. Johnny Garrett said, “A museum like this presents and preserves our history for generations to enjoy from now on. We want to recognize that we probably would not be standing here today without her efforts to preserve our history."
The third proclamation was presented to local war hero, Sgt. Lawrence Davis, wounded in Vietnam and recipient of the Silver Star for Valor and the Purple Heart.
“Whereas while no offering can properly relay our gratitude for his bravery and dedication to preserving the freedom that is inseparable from our American heritage and ideals, it is most appropriate that we should honor Lawrence Davis to the full extent of our ability as he has made untold and innumerable sacrifices to preserve the liberties we enjoy,” Kumar said.
Representative Kumar went on to detail the events surrounding the award of the Silver Star to Davis. During a battle, he was severely injured but gave his own morphine shot to a fellow soldier until they could both be rescued. The Silver Star is the third-highest award that can be given to a member of the armed services.
Also recognized was Ken Gamble, Vietnam veteran and founder of the Orange Heart Medal Project. His foundation seeks to bring attention to the soldiers and their families injured by the use of Agent Orange.
“More than 2 million Americans were exposed to Agent Orange, Kumar said. “It turns out that it was also a toxic substance that seeps into the body and attacks the genes and because it causes genetic abnormalities, it is passed on to the next generation and even the generation after that.
“It is a passionate cause of Mr. Ken Gamble to acknowledge those who have suffered and have not been acknowledged by giving them a medal. Just as during combat injuries, our combat soldiers receive a Purple Heart medal, he has what he calls the Orange Heart medal in memory of exposure to Agent Orange.”
A $25,000 check was given to Gamble to continue his efforts to award Orange Heart medals to those who have suffered due to Agent Orange exposure. http://www.orangeheartmedal.org/