George A. Thomas Memorial Award Recipients
January 6, 2019. Tonya Lee Stott Brown, Writer Director of the drama, comedy and musical play “Coming Home”. The show was presented to the public for free on 2018 Veterans Day at the First Baptist Church of Maryville, Tennessee. The theme of the show was faith-based recovery of a WWII combat veteran who returned home with chronic depression, PTSD and readjustment conditions. Tonya worked with VTVT to adapt the play to include suicidal ideation and allowed VTVT’s President to address the epidemic of suicide minutes before the play began. Over $3,000.00 donations were accepted after the play and presented to VTVT to help with their 15 veteran programs. VTVT was blessed to have found 8 individuals who were currently suicidal and looking for help! Thanks Tonya for saving lives.
August 8, 2018. Monroe County Tennessee Mayor Tim Yates receives the George Award from VTVT Secretary Bob Hatley and President Ed Junod for his dedicated service and faith help the citizens of Monroe County for eight years. Mayor Yate was especially supportive of the MC Veterans Court program and always attended the VC graduations. Mayor Yates was also supportive of VTVT and lead the way to provide VTVT with a County grant in 2017. We have been honored to have Mayor Yates as a faithful servant and are grateful for his support.
May 23, 2018. First Baptist Church of Madisonville Senior Pastor Chris Moore receives the George Award from VTVT Outreach Officer Taylor Thomas and VTVT Vice President Randall Scott. Our newest Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation hosted the April 21, 2018 Expungement Clinic. Pastor Chris not only provided his church, but also many volunteers, breakfast for all and helped to set up and breakdown. First Baptist Church made this event a great opportunity for hundreds to positively change their lives.
On May 9, 2018, 10th Judicial District Mentor Coordinator Bob Hatley presented the George Award to Monroe County General Sessions and Veterans Court Judge Dwaine B. Thomas for his continuous support to help improve the lives of citizens of Monroe County. Judge Thomas collaborated with Vet to Vet Tennessee, UT College of Law, Knox County Bar Association and First Baptist Church of Madisonville in the first Monroe County Expungement Clinic. Because of Judge Thomas leardership, 10th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge Sandra Donahey also participated.
February 8, 2018. Mountain Home VAMC Facility Director Dean Borsis presents two Vet to Vet Tennessee awards to VA Knoxville Outpatient Patient Clinic (KOPC) Clinical Therapist Dr. Donald R. Richardson on behalf of the VTVT officers and members. Dr. Richardson created and lead the first KOPC PTSD workshop in April 2011. The original 23 veteran members of Dr. Richardson formed three organizations as a result of the work group: the Knoxville Regional Veterans Mental Health Council, Vet to Vet Tennessee and the Legacy Peer Support Group (LPG). LPG was named after the legacy of our first group member to die, George A. Thomas. Dr. Richardson was also presented with the JL Tucker Memorial Award by Mr. Borsis. Doc was the first recipient to receive The George A. Thomas and The JL Tucker awards from the Council and VTVT. He not only changed the lives of George and JL but also the lives of almost all of the Council, VTVT and LPG members. He is special and we are blessed to still receive his services.
February 8, 2018. John Merrill is a 1980 Naval academy graduate. He is the father of five daughters and married to Margaret Merrill for 34 years. He was the CEO of a multi million dollar company. More important to John then any money was his commitment to the people he did work for. He often took his children in to comfort the them in their distress. John has attended daily mass for most of his life and leads a high school young men’s retreat every year for the diocese of Knoxville. He bases this retreat on what it means to be a Godly man in today’s world. He is often seen around Lenoir City greeting people and just getting to know them. If you work at Home Depot or just meet him in the gas station, chances are you will be blessed by his kindness. You will walk away knowing someone cares and that God is alive and working. John has been known to quietly visit the elderly that live around him, doing chores for them or running errands. He often took a disabled man around on his all terrain vehicle in the country on Sunday afternoons to places the man used to walk to. John is a man that is blessed with great charisma and a gentle and kind heart.
January 11, 2018. Award bestowed to Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett. Presented by President Freddie Owens. Mayor Burchett has devoted his service to all citizens in Knox County, but especially to the men and women who have so valiantly served our Country.
Original supporter of the Veteran Friendly Congregation Initiative and many other Council and Vet to Vet Tennessee programs from 2012-2018.
January 10, 2018. Award bestowed to Donna’s Old Town Cafe. Presented by Bob Hatley to co-owner Melissa Graves. Supporting, serving and caring for Veterans and their families in Monroe County. Melissa Graves and Donna Ellis have been supporting faith-based organization for decades including Sweetwater’s Celebrate Recovery
November 12, 2017. Award bestowed to Rev. Dr. Ed King, Senior Pastor of Redemption Church, Knoxville, Tennessee. Presented by President Freddie Owens. Dr. King was instrumental in the development of the Council’s “Veteran Friendly Congregation Initiative” which has now become a national program through the Military Chaplains Association of America; now named “Veteran/Military Friendly Congregation.”
November 11, 2017. Award bestowed to Kathy Jackson, Executive Director of Blount County Habitat For Humanity. Presented by Sandy Thomas and Stacy homas Eggers, Chairman Ed Junod. Kathy’s interested and support helped to create the Vet to Vet Tennessee’s “Repairs for Heroes”. A new veteran housing program that helps to repair the “mind, body, spirit and home.”
November 11, 2017. First George A. Thomas Memorial Award bestowed to Blount County Mayor Ed Mitchell during Blount County’s 49th Veterans Day Event. Presented by George Thomas’ surviving spouse Sandy Thomas, daughter Stacy Thomas Eggers, President Freddie Owens and Chairman Ed Junod.