SAR honors Higdon, Pennell and Whittemore

Trio receive SAR law enforcement commendations

Posted 10/24/17

The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution met for its October meeting at the Elks Club.

First Vice President Jim McKinney called the meeting to order. The …

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SAR honors Higdon, Pennell and Whittemore

Trio receive SAR law enforcement commendations


The Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution met for its October meeting at the Elks Club.

First Vice President Jim McKinney called the meeting to order. The invocation was given by Joe White, followed by the pledge to the U.S. flag and salute led by Phil Newman, the salute to the Tennessee flag led by Tommy McLain and the salute to the SAR flag led by Dave Whaley.

Stan Evans, chapter founder, inducted one new member, Michael H. Moses. As Evans presented Moses with the membership certificate, McKinney explained the history of the society’s rosette. McLain, who is a retired captain with the Cleveland Police Dept., pinned the rosette on Moses, who is a member of the CPD.

Rufus Triplett received a supplemental certificate on patriot Joseph Rhea, who was the father of an earlier supplemental received by his son, Matthew Rhea.

Under officer reports, chapter treasurer Bill Hamilton noted the accounts of the chapter’s two accounts and the State Color Guard account are in excellent shape.

A thank you letter to the SAR chapter was read by McKinney for the donation of $564 to the DAV Chapter 25. The letter noted the funds would be used to assist disabled American veterans in need of some degree of emergency financial help.

Dave Whaley announced the Oct. 28, 11 a.m., grave dedication at the Triplett Cemetery in Black Fox, at the juncture of Black Fox and Varnell roads.

Claude Hardison, past state president, announced the Wreaths Across America program and encouraged purchase of wreaths for distribution on the second Saturday in December at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga. The chapter purchased almost 1,000 wreaths last year. Hardison said the chapter would participate in the formal program at noon with the Color Guard and the laying of the special military wreaths.

The SAR program for the evening included honoring recipients from the Cleveland Police Dept., Cleveland Fire Dept. and Bradley County Sheriff’s Office.

The CPD recipient was Lt. Ken Higdon, who was introduced by Capt. Stacy Smith.

Smith shared recollections of working with Higdon, who was his primary field-training officer.

“What Lt. Higdon taught me was how to treat people. You knew he was going to treat people right, and was going to do the right thing every time,” Smith said.

Originally from Polk County, Higdon has worked for the CPD since 1989. In 2005, he was named housing officer. He then had the opportunity to become a School Resource officer/ community officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 2009. He now serves as lieutenant/shift commander of Echo Team.

Among his honors during his 28-year law enforcement career, Higdon has received commendations for exception work in investigations and felony suspect arrests. He has been recognized as an Officer of the Month. In 1995, he received a letter of appreciation from his supervisor for a burglar arrest.

He was nominated for the SAR Law Enforcement Commendation because he has served the Cleveland Police Department with dedication, distinction and devotion.

Higdon has been married for 32 years to Higdon. They have two children and four grandchildren.

Cleveland Fire Department 16-year veteran Lt. Jason Pennell was the recipient of the SAR Commendation award. Battalion Chief Josh Ensley noted Pennell is a second-generation firefighter following in the steps of his father, Tony Taylor.

He was recommended for the award because of “his passion and commitment to the department members and the citizens of Cleveland,” Ensley said.

Pennell “is respected by his peers and has helped build one of the strongest companies in the department — Ladder 4, Battalion 2. Jason is instrumental in assisting in the training of our new recruits as well as seasoned firefighters. He is a peer fitness trainer and commits to countless hours ensuring the health and wellbeing of all our members,” his bio said.

Pennell is a member of Tennessee Task Force 4 USAR team, which responds to a variety of disasters. He has an associate degree in fire science from Chattanooga State and a bachelor’s degree in public safety form Grand Canyon University. Some of his additional training includes firefighter 1 and 2, pumper driver operator, aerial operations, fire instructor1, fire officer 1 and 2, trench rescue technician and structural collapse.

He has been recognized as a Firefighter of the Year and received Life Saving awards and the Medal of Valor for quick actions in a swift-water rescue.

The recipient from the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office is Deputy Angie Whittemore, who is a School Resource Officer at Walker Valley High School.

She is respected and appreciated by her peers and works to build relationships with the students at WVHS.

She is a graduate of Chattanooga Police Department’s Law Enforcement Academy and is a 17-year law-enforcement veteran. During her tenure at BCSO, she has been assigned to the Patrol Division, Criminal Investigations Division and the SRO unit.

She has completed the National Academy for Police Driving, FBI Officer Survival, Homicide Investigation, crimes Against Children Investigation, Incident Response to Terrorist Bombings, Multiple Scene Search and Seizure in Computer Crimes, Certified to instruct the DARE program, Basic forensic response to missing and abducted children, managing violent children behavior, multi-hazard planning for schools, key elements of effective school policing, school resource officer leadership program, defining leadership and management vs. leadership.

Whittemore has been the recipient of the Good Conduct Medal, Achievement Award and Spotlight Award.

Visitors at the meeting included Beau and Jo Ann Burris, Warren and Luann Lawson, James Bradford, Russ Henry, Dennis Goins, Ashley Whittemore, Josh and Amy Ensley, Josh Mowery, Kevin hair, Capt. Stacy Smith, Sgt. Evie West, Sandy Higdon, Linda Higdon, and Tom and Rachel Gaddis and son, Braxton.

McKinney led the recessional; and Joe White gave the benediction.

If you would like to join the Col. Benjamin Cleveland Chapter of the SAR, contact E. Lynn Freeman Jr., registrar/genealogist at 423-716-8120 or The chapter will help you trace your ancestry back to the American Revolution and assist you in joining the chapter.


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