An evening with our community heroes

Tom Rowland Cleveland Mayor
Posted 10/5/17

Many of us spent the evening last Thursday with some of our area’s finest public servants — our community heroes.Congratulations to this year's first responders recognized by Cleveland 100 during …

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An evening with our community heroes


Many of us spent the evening last Thursday with some of our area’s finest public servants — our community heroes.

Congratulations to this year's first responders recognized by Cleveland 100 during the 2017 Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner held at Cleveland Country Club. It was truly an honor to be a part of this special evening.

The recognitions are well deserved for the service these public servants provide for our community. The range of those services is always amazing. 

Some confronted and resolved dangerous situations. Some provided the calm needed by fellow citizens who faced the storms of life and didn't know where to turn. Others saw a need to brighten someone's life, and took the time to make a difference.

By honoring those representatives of the Bradley County Sheriff's Office, Bradley County Fire-Rescue, Bradley County Emergency Medical Service, Cleveland Fire Department and Cleveland Police Department, we honor all who serve with those agencies every day of the year.

We also recognized the work of our Tennessee state troopers assigned to the Cleveland area. And we saluted the men and women who are the voices of the 911 Communications Center. These men and women are often the first contact for a citizen in crisis.

Among those who gathered for the evening, it was my honor and pleasure to welcome a personal friend and a true supporter of Cleveland 100 — Tennessee Public Safety & Homeland Security Commissioner David Purkey.

Purkey is in Cleveland often. Even with all his pressing responsibilities across the entire state, the commissioner always finds time in his schedule to support Cleveland 100 with his presence at these annual events. For those reasons it was a special honor to welcome him, and bestow on behalf of the board an Honorary Life Membership to Cleveland 100.

We also welcomed a special group called Bradley/Meigs Roughneck Motorcycle Club. The group, many of them involved in law enforcement professions, have joined Cleveland 100 to show support for their comrades. 

For the past two years, the club has sponsored a bike run, calling it “Operation Hero.” Funds go to our family assistance program and to our annual awards. The group had a special table at this year’s event and were recognized for their outstanding support of Cleveland 100. The first year $2,000 was raised and this year they gave Cleveland 100 a check for $2,200. 

The event is held in May and continues to grow each year. We appreciate the dedication and hard work of these bike enthusiasts.

Since 1996, when the late Courtney McGrady and I began Cleveland 100, its primary mission has been to offer immediate financial assistance to families of first responders who lose their lives in the line of duty. We have had to respond to such tragedies on three occasions since we began 21 years ago.

We have a remarkable board of directors who guide our Cleveland 100. Through their efforts, Cleveland 100 has added to its support for first responders while keeping a strong focus on that original mission. 

I am honored to serve on this board with a dedicated group. Officers are Brenda Lawson, president; Joe Wilson, vice president; Zandra Welch, secretary; and Kelvin Bishop, treasurer. Board members include Stephen Crass, Jeff Cunningham, David Gilbert, John Holden, Janey Patten, Drew Robinson, Scott Taylor, Angie Underwood and Judge Sandra Donaghy.

We truly live in a “City With Spirit.” It is a “spirit” of solid support for those who devote their careers to public safety. 

There's no better evidence of that than the long list of community leaders and businesses who supported last week's recognition dinner by sponsoring a table. We say “thank you” to each and every one of our table sponsor hosts who fund the awards event each year. We could not do it without them.



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