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MTSU salutes veterans with ‘awesome’ g...

MTSU salutes veterans with ‘awesome’ game-day events (+VIDEO)

Middle Tennessee State University alumnus Morris Summers and his older brother Felix once again found “their spot” at the annual MTSU Veterans Memorial Service Nov. 22.

It was in seats near five Summers family memorial bricks placed near others at the Veterans Memorial site outside the Tom H. Jackson Building on the west side of campus between Kirksey Old Main and Middle Tennessee Boulevard.

The memorial service was just one of a number of activities for veterans and men and women currently serving in the military as part of the 33rd annual Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day events sponsored by MTSU Athletics and the Department of Military Science.

In addition to their own bricks at the site, others purchased for family members included one for their father, S. Felix Summers; one for Morris Summers’ son, Norman C. Summers; and one for Morris Summers’ father-in-law, George C. Hixson.

“We’ve been coming almost every year,” said Morris Summers, a 1973 graduate who earned his degree from the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience. “We came 33 years ago to the first veterans program, and walked across the (Horace Jones) field that day. We have not missed more than three of these.”

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, left, and MTSU faculty member, veteran and Veterans Committee member Tony Johnston listen as MTSU alumnus and U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Bud Morris of Murfreesboro makes a point following the Veterans Memorial Service Saturday (Nov. 22) outside the Tom H. Jackson Building. It was the first of a number of Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day activities for vets and those currently serving in the military. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder, left, and MTSU faculty member, veteran and Veterans Committee member Tony Johnston listen as MTSU alumnus and U.S. Army Vietnam veteran Bud Morris of Murfreesboro makes a point following the Veterans Memorial Service Nov. 22 outside the Tom H. Jackson Building. It was the first of a number of Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day activities for vets and those currently serving in the military. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

“I think it’s awesome,” Morris Summers said of the ceremony. “I was telling Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee that the programs they have now are excellent for guys and women coming back to school or just now starting school.”

One of the newer programs is Vet Success on Campus. MTSU, which has a student-veteran population of around 1,000 and their dependents, has one of the highest-rated veteran-friendly programs in the nation.

Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs Commissioner Many-Bears Grinder spoke from the heart and personal experience in a message about veterans.

She spoke of the “amazing sacrifices service members and their families have to go through.”

Grinder’s daughter-in-law, Billie Jean Grinder, a U.S. Army helicopter pilot, was killed in Iraq Feb. 21, 2010, a short time before her deployment was to end.

“Not everyone can be in the military,” Grinder said, “but everyone can support active-duty personnel and veterans.” She urged the audience of nearly 100 people to not “miss one opportunity to thank a person in uniform. To those of you here today in uniform, I salute you.”

The state leader told the audience “MTSU has been a great partner in helping veteran students.”

Those attending the 30-minute ceremony heard Grinder’s message about suicide by veterans.

“Tennessee’s lost far too many veterans to suicide,” she said. “The trend’s going upward. Something’s wrong with that.”

John Furgess, left, of Nashville, presents Joe "Joey" Nunley Jr. with the 2014 Dr. Joe Nunley Sr. Memorial Award for Service to Others during the MTSU Salute to Armed Services veterans' picnic outside the Rose and Emmett Kennon Sports Hall of Fame Saturday (Nov. 22). Furgess also said any World War II veteran attending would share in the Nunley memorial award. Future recipients will be from Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

John Furgess, left, of Nashville, presents Joe “Joey” Nunley Jr. with the 2014 Dr. Joe Nunley Sr. Memorial Award for Service to Others during the MTSU Salute to Armed Services veterans’ picnic outside the Rose and Emmett Kennon Sports Hall of Fame Nov. 22. Furgess also said any World War II veteran attending would share in the Nunley memorial award. Future recipients will be from Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

During the service, MTSU Veterans Committee members held a tree-planting, this year for families of veterans.

At the Dr. Joe Nunley Memorial Award presentation during the veterans’ picnic adjacent to the Rose and Emmett Kennon Sports Hall of Fame, MTSU alumnus John Furgess (Class of ’65) of Nashville recognized all World War II veterans with the 25th presentation of the honor.

Past recipients Fayne Haynes of Murfreesboro and Ed Smith of Brentwood, Tennessee, were among the World War II veterans attending.

In 2015 and going forward, veterans from the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars will be nominated for the honor.

Furgess presented Murfreesboro’s Joe “Joey” Nunley Jr. with the 2014 Dr. Joe Nunley Sr. Memorial Award for Service to Others.

“I knew something was going to happen. I didn’t know exactly,” said Nunley Jr., telling the crowd “genetics” played a role in his receiving the trophy.

“This starts a new chapter of this award, and this is a way to do it.”

The events were a prelude to the MTSU-Florida Atlantic University football game in Floyd Stadium. The vets and active-duty personnel were recognized during the game and halftime

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Peyton Smalley, 5, of Murfreesboro, adds a shovel of dirt to a tree being planted for family members of veterans and active-duty personnel Saturday (Nov. 22) at the MTSU Veterans Memorial Service. The event was held in the Military Memorial site next to the Tom H. Jackson Building. Smalley came to the event with his grandfather, Curtis Shriver, a member of the Tennessee Air National Guard and 35-year veteran in the military.

Peyton Smalley, 5, of Murfreesboro, adds a shovel of dirt to a tree being planted for family members of veterans and active-duty personnel Nov. 22 at the MTSU Veterans Memorial Service. The event was held in the Military Memorial site next to the Tom H. Jackson Building. Smalley came to the event with his grandfather, Curtis Shriver, a member of the Tennessee Air National Guard and 35-year veteran in the military.

 

Brothers Felix, left, and Morris Summers sit near a group of Summers family bricks are located at the MTSU Veterans Memorial site outside the Tom H. Jackson Building Saturday (Nov. 22). MTSU alumnus Morris Summers (Class of 1973), who lives in Lebanon, Tennessee, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Felix Summers, a Murfreesboro resident, served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Enterprise. They attended the annual Veterans Memorial ceremony. In addition to their own bricks, others include their father, Sewell F. Summers, Morris's son, Norman C. Summers, and Morris Summers' father-in-law, Geroge C. Hixson.

Brothers Felix, left, and Morris Summers sit near a group of Summers family bricks located at the MTSU Veterans Memorial site outside the Tom H. Jackson Building Nov. 22. MTSU alumnus Morris Summers (Class of 1973), who lives in Lebanon, Tennessee, served in the U.S. Air Force during the Vietnam War. Felix Summers, a Murfreesboro resident, served in the U.S. Navy on the USS Enterprise. They attended the annual Veterans Memorial ceremony. In addition to their own bricks, others include their father, Sewell F. Summers, Morris’s son, Norman C. Summers, and Morris Summers’ father-in-law, George C. Hixson.

Veterans and active duty members of the military were honored at halftime of Saturday's football game at Floyd Stadium as part of the 33rd annual Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day events sponsored by MTSU Athletics and the Department of Military Science. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Veterans and active duty members of the military were honored at halftime of Saturday’s football game at Floyd Stadium as part of the 33rd annual Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day events sponsored by MTSU Athletics and the Department of Military Science. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

A skydiver delivers the game ball to Floyd Stadium Saturday. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

A skydiver delivers the game ball to Floyd Stadium Saturday. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU's Band of Blue played patriotic tunes during Saturday's halftime as part of the Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day events. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU’s Band of Blue played patriotic tunes during Saturday’s halftime as part of the Salute to Armed Services Veterans Day events. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

 


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