Thank you, thank you, and thank you! You made our National Night Out celebration a phenomenal success on Tuesday, October 6th, 2015. All of the neighbors who turned out and all of those who assisted in putting the program together should be very proud of the honors given to the awardees that night. The Cavett Station Chapter of the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the assistance they provided with food and decorations was outstanding. Those special awards presented to all of the Vietnam veterans who were present (and even a few who weren't present) put a smile on the faces of deserving people who left with warm hearts!
The gazebo in our beloved park was decorated in red, white, and blue shiny American flags and banners with stars. There were American flags bordering the park at the edge of the neatly trimmed lawn. As the Central High School JROTC Color Guard made its way to take position in front of the gazebo, they looked proud and distinguished. The Color Guard majestically and with utmost precision brought the Colors front and center while the crowd covered their hearts and rendered salutes for the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge was immediately followed by Crystal Martin’s powerful voice singing The Star Spangled Banner in a cappella. The Color Guard with poise and precision marched off the field. Peter J. Pallesen, President of the Edgewood Park Neighborhood Association, thanked everyone for coming before turning the microphone over to Michael Duerr. Duerr stated it was during the war of 1812 that Francis Scott Key wrote our National Anthem and it was also then that Tennesseans became known as the Volunteers. It was that spirit that was being honored that magnificent night. Duerr introduced Holly Matthews of the DAR, who spoke of the honor and dignity of those being recognized.
Duerr presented awards to the City of Knoxville Police Department, Fire Department, Rural/Metro of East Tennessee, Knoxville Volunteer Emergency Rescue Squad, the Veterans of Foreign Wars (District 2), and the United States Citizens Aiding Veterans. Matthews then awarded over a dozen Vietnam veterans present with a special certificate, pins, button and bumper stickers. The program was brought to a close with Martin singing America the Beautiful.
After the awards were all handed out, everyone gathered for a time of fellowship and food. We milled around talking with the veterans, police officers, fireman, rescue workers and EMS personnel and looking at the array of emergency vehicles open for display. Several of the DAR members left to present one more award to a Vietnam veteran who was unable to attend the ceremony. This vet, Aziz “Harby” Harb, was at work and was presented his award in the place we all know as Harby’s Pizza.
We wish to thank the following people whose assistance made this night memorable for all who attended: Jamie Simerly and Mark Harris with the Parks and Recreation Department for preparing the pavilion and grounds for this event; Paul Schmutzler for his phenomenal photography skills and knowledge of the sound system; Heidi Schmutzler for delivering flyers at the last minute and being the ‘gopher’; Maggie Davidson helped also with distributing flyers; Deanne Beck and Catherine Moirai for staffing the EPNA table and being the hospitable emissaries of our association; Tom Zimmerman for his awesome grilling talents; Carol Zimmerman for her decorating prowess and ability to get the generator and sound equipment; Julie Taylor for her tireless efforts in preparing the EPNA table, designing and writing the brochures, assisting in the design of the program; Pam Mitchell for coming to the rescue with chairs and by leaving the Larry Cox Senior Center open; Tracy Clevenger and her friend for assisting with clean-up.
We look forward with great expectation to next year's National Night Out awards ceremony. You may view a video of this event that was made by Sage Speaks a UT journalist student at this address https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFzYhvXmV9U