Sumner County, Tennessee, Chapter 240:
BY EDWARD NOVI
For Sumner County, Tennessee, Chapter 240, that is a simple but important phrase. For the chapter’s nearly 225 members, it carries a sense of dedication, gratitude, and commitment.
Chapter 240 has a long history of service. In the early ’90s the chapter worked with the Tennessee state legislature to rename a portion of State Highway 386 north of Nashville “Vietnam Veterans Boulevard.” Last year the chapter again worked with the state legislature, this time to have twenty-five signs installed along the highway. The signs are spaced about a half-mile apart. Each lists the name, rank, and service branch of one of the twenty-five Sumner County residents who died in the Vietnam War.
“In our community, this is a message of respect, an acknowledgement,” said Chapter 240 President Jim Flockencier. “For our chapter, it’s another way of saying, ‘Welcome home.’ ”
Another major project for the chapter has been its work in designing, building, and maintaining the Sumner County Veterans Park in Gallatin, Tennessee, which was dedicated in 1998. The focus of the park is a granite memorial listing the names of all Sumner County residents who died in service, from World War I to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The park’s Wall of Honor is composed of bricks inscribed with veterans’ names, units, and years of service. The chapter sells the bricks, and all proceeds go toward projects that help veterans. Flagpoles display the flags of the five military branches, the Tennessee state flag, and the POW/MIA flag. Facing the flags, the inscription, “To cherish liberty one need only remember how it was earned,” is etched in stone.
“Hundreds of people gather at the park on Memorial Day, Veterans Day, and other special days,” said Tennessee State Council President and former Chapter 240 President Barry Rice. “It’s a way of remembering and honoring our fallen brothers and sisters and thanking all veterans.”
Chapter 240 works on many other projects to help local veterans and their families. The chapter sponsors a food pantry for needy veterans, offers advice and guidance for veterans’ benefits, provides scholarships for veterans’ children, hosts Memorial Day and Veterans Day programs, provides Color and Honor Guard services at public events, and donates gifts and clothing to disadvantaged and deployed veterans’ children at Christmastime.
“We are committed to making a difference,” Flockencier said. “The chapter’s teamwork plays a big role in ensuring that happens.”
For more information on Sumner County Chapter 240 and its activities, contact Ed Novi at email@example.com
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