John Joseph ‘Jay’ McFalls, U. S. Army, World War II was honored in a Quilt of Valor ceremony organized by the Chief John Ross Chapter, NSDAR. Family, friends, veterans’ organization leaders, Chattanooga National Cemetery staff and members of the Chief John Ross Chapter met together at the Hubert Fry Center, RiverPark for the well-deserved ceremony celebrating Mr. McFalls’ military service and a lifetime of community volunteerism.
Mr. McFalls, who served in the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers in the Pacific Theatre during World War II, is readily recognized by area residents who frequently visit the Chattanooga National Cemetery since he spends most mornings visiting his beloved wife, Vivian.
Jay McFalls grew up in Rhea County, the eighth child in a sharecropping family of 12 children that struggled to survive in the years prior to the Great Depression. At age 12 and armed with a seventh-grade education, Mr. McFalls struck out on his own, working for area farmers and then eventually finding his way to the Chattanooga area. He found a job at a Rossville hosiery mill and, more importantly, found the love of his life, too. The McFalls married when he was 17 and she was only 16 and they spent more than seventy “wonderful” years together prior to her death. Parents of two daughters and one sons, the McFalls worked together to overcome difficult childhoods, supporting each other is every endeavor and together becoming community volunteer leaders. Their devotion to each other continues to inspire generations of local citizens as they observe Mr. McFalls, seated in his lawn chair each morning, visiting with his wife, often singing and always talking with her. Sept. 30 will be their 76th anniversary and the McFalls will celebrate it because there is “no end to their love story.”
In greeting the guests, Chief John Ross Chapter Regent Linda Moss Mines explained the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution’s role in honoring veterans. “The National Society was founded in October 1890 with an express goal of carrying the torch of patriotism via three specific objectives. 1. History - We are committed to perpetuating the memory and spirit of the men and women who achieved American Independence through military service and through a multitude of other act supporting independence. A rich, diverse group of patriots banned together across the colonies and, putting themselves at risk as they were accused of treason, fermented a successful revolution against the most powerful empire, Great Britain. 2. Education – Based on Washington’s admonition in his Farewell Address, we help to educate students of all ages because an enlightened and active citizenry is necessary for the survival of the Republic. And, finally, we work together with other citizens and organizations to maintain and improve the institutions of our freedom and to inspire patriotism so that all can enjoy the blessing of liberty, equality and justice.”
Col. Chris Dooley, USAF [Retired], Chair of the Chattanooga Armed Forces Day Parade and Hamilton County Veterans Service Office Chuck Alsobrooks, Chairman of the Chattanooga Area Veterans Committee, joined in the ceremony.
The CJR Quilt of Valor Committee, chaired by former Regent Teresa Webb Rimer, stitches handmade quilts using patriotic colors of red, white and blue and then awards them to veterans touched by war. During the presentation, Mr. McFalls was wrapped in the soft quilt as a reminder that a grateful nation ‘thanked him for his service and sacrifice during his years of service in the United States Army.’ Rimer was joined in the presentation of the quilt by First Vice Regent Jennifer Sawyer Harvey.
The McFalls’ three children, Brenda Williams, Rhonda Catanzaro and John Joseph ‘Joe’ McFalls, along with several grandchildren attended the ceremony and Joe McFalls, speaking for the family, paid tribute to their father for his unerring sense of integrity and commitment to family and community.