Roy Exum: Heroes Gather On July 14

Wednesday, June 28, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Oliver North, whose journey as American patriot has not been an easy one, never lost hope. He once admitted he lied to Congress under oath, was found guilty of three felony counts after he followed the direct orders of his superiors, and then endured the wrath of the ignorant before the ACLU – of all sources – had the charges vacated.

The former Lt. Colonel in the Marine Corps will tell quite a story in Chattanooga on Friday, July 14, about never giving up hope but to some in the room he will be preaching to the choir. North will be speaking at the annual “Honoring the Sacrifice” banquet, which has been moved to the Chattanooga Convention Center in anticipation of a record crowd.

The Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation was formed several years ago by Sgt. Andrew Smith and his family after Smith was almost blown in half by a hidden explosive device on his first mission in Afghanistan. Andrew lost both legs but his hope never wavered and, since his recovery, the foundation has assisted dozens of soldiers who have been maimed in combat.

Many of these veterans, minus legs and arms, assist the Smith family as table hosts and it is easily one of the most patriotic, uplifting nights on the Chattanooga calendar. For Sgt. Smith, now retired, yet still in his 20s, it is a thrill reaching out to those who lack the support that Andrew has received. “I never dreamed we would be able to do as much for these great soldiers.

“I was in injured in Afghanistan on my first patrol when I stepped on a pressure plate improvised explosive device (IED). After returning home, my family, my friends and my community provided support and encouragement in a way that truly changed my life.

“We started the Honoring the Sacrifice Foundation in 2013 to assist other wounded veterans and their families. One day they are fighting for our freedom and the next day they are injured. Those injuries will last a lifetime. It’s important for us to come together to help those who have given an incredible amount,” he explained.

“Every year the dinner helps us bring awareness to our cause and the funds we raise allow us to continue helping as many wounded veterans as possible,” Smith said, “I cannot begin to tell you what the generosity of so many people means to a warrior whose life will be changed forever. This is why so many guys are eager to come here and help host tables; they know what it will mean to the next guy.”

Ironically, North himself is the founder of The Freedom Alliance, which provides college scholarships for the sons and daughters of those who have been killed while serving their country.

North earned a Silver Star and the Bronze Star for Valor as a Marine Corps officer in Viet Nam after graduating from the Naval Academy. Assigned to the National Security Council under Preside Reagan, North was the nation’s Counter Terrorism Coordinator 1983-86, and supervised the rescue of 8,904 medical students in Grenada, captured the terrorists who hijacked the cruise ship Achille Lauro, and ordered raids on Muammar Qaddafi’s camps in Libya.

He has now authored 13 award-winning books, is an inventor with three U.S. patents, syndicated columnist, and host of the award-winning Fox News Channel show “War Stories.” North was born in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. He served 22 years as a Marine officer and has been embedded with more than 55 U.S. and allied combat units.

Tickets to the dinner are now available at www.honoringthesacrifice.org/event/american-heroes-dinner and there are a limited number of tables left. There are packages that include a reception with Col. North prior to the banquet. Those who would like to make a tax-deductible donation can do so through the website.

Trust me. You will hear some amazing stories.

royexum@aol.com



Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy

One of the hardest things for me to do is to say "goodbye".  I had my retirement lunch Friday for being with the Telecommunications Department for Hamilton County government after a little over 10 years. My last day is this Tuesday, the 24th.  To some, it doesn't make any difference, but to me, from working on televisions in the 70s, on Oscilloscopes for Tektronics, ... (click for more)

Marc Gravitt Is The Best Choice For Register Of Deeds

I tell people that I’ve known Marc Gravitt, “since he was just pup”.  During my many years as CFO and executive vice president of what used to be Union Planters National Bank (now Regions Bank), I worked with Marc on many projects.  Most recently, serving for many years as the former CEO and president of the Associated General Contractors of East Tennessee here in Chattanooga, ... (click for more)

TBI Puts Man Who Killed 4 At Waffle House On Its "10 Most Wanted" List

A man who killed four people and injured two others at a Waffle House near Nashville on Sunday morning is still on the loose and has been added to the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation's ‘Top 10 Most Wanted’ list. He was identified as Travis Reinking, 29, of Morton, Ill., was arrested last year when he was in a restricted area at the White House in Washington, D.C. Reinking ... (click for more)

Dayton Teen Arrested After Running From Deputies On Highway 60; Passenger Caught With Drugs

Hamilton County Sheriff deputies caught up with a Dayton teen who drove off at a high rate of speed on Highway 60 on Sunday afternoon. A passenger in the vehicle was caught with drugs. At approximately  5 p.m. , deputies observed a white Chrysler 200 traveling south in the 7800 block of Highway 60 at a high rate of speed. The driver was improperly passing other vehicles ... (click for more)

Orange Overwhelms White, 34-7, In Tennessee Spring Game

KNOXVILLE – After almost a month of spring camp and four quarters of ones versus twos, one glaring question remains: how much will the fall arrival of graduate transfer Keller Chryst change the dynamic of the battle for starting quarterback?   While new Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was calling for an electric atmosphere at Saturday’s Orange and White game, the ... (click for more)

Stoker, Tate Prevail In 50th Chickamauga Chase 15K

They couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day weather-wise for the oldest and longest running race on the Chattanooga Track Club’s schedule. Temperatures were cool, but not cold, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.   Add to that the fact there was very little wind and you have perfect conditions for the 50 th Annual Chickamauga Chase. A lot has changed with this ... (click for more)