Marshall County Veterans Advocates Partner with V2VT

Vets get an overdue welcome home

July 29, 2017 Lewisburg, Marshall County, Tennessee

Marshall County veterans who served during the Vietnam War (1955 – 1975) got what some feel is a long overdue welcome home on Saturday at Rock Creek Park with the support from Vet to Vet Tennessee.

The official Welcome Home ceremony is part of the nation’s observance of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War.

“We want to recognize all of these veterans honorably and do what’s right by them,” said Larry McKnight, one of the organizers of the event.

This ceremony is one of thousands being held across the nation to make sure that these veterans, whose service was not always honored at the time, are recognized. This event is Vet to Vet Tennessee’s 111th event since July 8, 2016.

Organizers applied to be and were recognized as an official commemoration partner in the Department of Defense’s United States Vietnam War Commemoration.

“A lot of these guys are really excited by it,” said McKnight.  Click here to view the photos of the event.

Tennessee Commissioner of Veterans Services Many Bears Grinder was the guest speaker.  Special guest included TN Representative Rick Tillis, Marshall County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett, City of Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham, Town of Chapel Hill Mayor Danny Bingham, Town of Cornersville Mayor Melisa Peters, District Five Cdr f VFW – Hundley Ford, Cdr of Local American Legion – Richard Gunther, Cdr of DAV -Ralph Dietz, Moms On A Mission (Moms) – Barb Blackmore, Veteran Service Officer- Sgm (Ret) Freda Johnson, Lewisburg Police Department and Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council Ed Junod.

“We want to have a little formality to it,” said McKnight. Click here to view the full agenda.

Each vet received the Vietnam War Commemoration (VWC) lapel pin signifying their service as well as a presidential proclamation recognizing their service.  The VWC material was provided by Vet to Vet Tennessee.

The County Mayor Joe Boyd Liggett read and presented the honoring Vietnam Veterans.

The event included a table of remembrance, honoring Marshall County residents who died during the war or veterans of the conflict who have passed away since.

Eligibility is open to any active duty veteran who served from 1955, the first establishment of military advisors in Vietnam, to 1975, whether their service included time in Southeast Asia.

McKnight said that the local organizers worked “aggressively” trying to contact eligible county veterans. As of Monday, he said they had a list of 115 veterans and were still discovering more.  McKnight said that they would like to use this event as a springboard for a regular, annual recognition.

“The Wall That Heals” coming to Knox County

July 26, 2017  Knoxville, Tim Burchett are please to bring “The Wall That Heals” to our community.

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, DC, commonly referred to as “The Wall”, has brought healing to millions of visitors.  “The Wall That Heals”, a half-scale replica of “The Wall” brings the same healing legacy to those who have not had the opportunity to visit “The Wall”.

Click here to learn more about the event.

Free to the public.  “The Wall That Heals” will open 24 hours a day starting at 1800 October 4th through 1600 October 8, 2017.

The VVA Capt. Bill Robinson Chapter 1078 has been assigned the task of making it happen.  Don Smith, President of VVA 1078 has asked Vet to Vet Tennessee to help support this event with volunteers.  Don told us that the hardest shift he has not yet filled was from 0400 through 0800.  Vet to Vet Tennessee has agreed to provide at least one 10 person team and maybe two.

V2VT has also reached out the one of the largest and newest AMVETS in Tennessee, AMVETS Post 22, Maryville, Tennessee.

If you available for the 0400-0800 volunteer shift on Saturday October 7th or Sunday October 8th please contact Ed Junod at 865-336-2624 or leave us a note below.


Freddie Owens, President of V2VT, has partnered with Mayor Burchett and Don Smith for this event.  However, due to Freddie’s current medical condition, he cannot participate and has asked the Legacy Peer Support Group, V2VT and Council members to make him proud and wants us to fill all four units.

V2VT has one unit committed.  Please honor our fallen brothers and sisters and serve.



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‘Joint Operation’ gives support services to East Tennessee veterans, families

July 19, 2017 Knoxville, Tennessee

July 19th was a milestone for the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council, Vet to Vet TN, LPG and its members. 5 years ago, Senators Corker & Alexander and US Congressman Jimmy Duncan hosted a veterans advocacy event, “Rally Point”, at the Jacob Building with approximately 40-50 veteran advocate vendors. During that event is where Freddie Owens and Ed Junod were looking help with VA services. The council, Vet to Vet Tennessee nor the Legacy Peer Support Group existed at that time. The event marked the beginning of the three affiliates. Freddie Owens is now Vet to Vet Tennessee President and Co-Chairman of the Council and Ed Junod is serving a Council Chairman and Treasurer of Vet to Vet Tennessee

Yesterday’s event hosted by Senator Corker et al, “Joint Operation”, had 82 vendors and almost 1,000 visitors; the Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee were one of the vendors. Almost all of the vendors present where now associates or partners of the Council and/or Vet Vet Tennessee. We are blessed with all of the support we have received in the past five years.

Freddie was unable to attend the event due to agent orange related conditions, however, the team (Council members Don Davis, Ed Junod, George Howell, Jesse Rivera, Randall Scott and Sheryn Davis and new V2VT member Ron Hutson) attended on Freddie’s behalf.

Click here to view the Vietnam War Commemoration photos taken by Vet to Vet Tennessee photographer Don Davis.  Presentation presented by Jesse Rivera and Ron Huston.

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – It’s often said there isn’t enough done for those who have served our country and that is why Joint Operation – a free event aimed at providing veterans and their families with a one-stop shop to access local resources and services – drew hundreds to Chilhowee Park.

“The defense of this nation depends upon those who serve and those who support that service,” said veteran John Dyess.

The Jacob Building was packed with dozens of services, everything from a simple thank you for your service and a firm shake, to service dogs, VA claim assistance, employment, mental health, housing, and the list goes on.

John Dyess is a 30-year veteran himself who tended one of Wednesday’s service tables.

“I say it was a privilege,” says Dyess. “Every day I got to be around heroes, people who’ve bled, suffered and given up a lot for this country.”

Dyess now works to promote and encourage employers to recognize and support the members of their work force who’ve served.

“We kind of call them twice the citizen because they serve in their workforce and when that’s said, they put on the nation’s uniform and participate in the active defense of the United States,” Dyess said. Going on to say there are 30,000 reservists and National Guardsmen on active duty right now, while they carry out their mission, Joint Operation is working to gather a system of support they can come home to.

“It’s to provide service to our veterans,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. “You know they provide everything for us. One hundred percent of our freedom is due to the men and women who wear our country’s uniform and I think in government, we’ve done a pretty poor job of providing them services.”

Burchett says the cause is simple. We have to take care of our own and veterans are our own.

If you’re a veteran, or you have a loved one who is and they missed today’s Joint Operation event, many of the same services are provided through the William C Tallent VA Knoxville Outpatient Clinic on 8033 Ray Mears Blvd, Knoxville, TN.  Monday through Friday (865) 545-4592