Fort Loudoun State Park Veterans Hunt Is Successful

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The first Fort Loudoun State Park, Disabled Veterans Hunt took place on Monday. Six veterans from the Disabled American Veterans, a nonprofit charity that provides support for veterans and their families, joined staff and volunteers before sunrise for breakfast and a quick briefing before heading to their hunting blinds.   

 

Joe Pike, Monroe County wildlife officer and Justin Rexrode, Fort Loudoun park ranger, partnered to manage the hunt.

Anyone talking with these two men would quickly sense their dedication to this event. When asked why this hunt was planned, both Mr. Pike and Mr. Rexrode answered with the same statement, “It’s a way to give back”. Mr. Rexrode, has been a park ranger for over four years and with Fort Loudoun for over a year and Mr. Pike has been a wildlife officer for 28 years.

 

Both Mr. Pike and Mr. Rexrode guessed deer numbers in the park, a 1,200 acre island in the Tennessee River system, had increased. Mr. Pike said, “Management of the deer herd has to be looked at differently, because we’re on an island.” Mr. Rexrode knew of other veterans hunts taking place in state parks and was eager to provide another opportunity for veterans while managing the deer herd on the island. “The park is primarily a historic sight. This event allowed the park to be utilized in a different way and most importantly it gives us a chance to thank our veterans.”

 

Veterans ranged in age, branch of service and campaigns spanning the past six decades. Each shared glimpses of tremendous lives lived as they sat around the table eating lunch cooked by Freddy Kelly and Steve Massengill, TWRA employees. Veterans returned to their blinds after lunch and ended their day just after sunset. Two deer were harvested. 

 

Volunteers supported the event in many ways. Lavette Pike, wildlife officer Joe Pike’s wife, shared a passion for the event with her husband. She hauled cooking supplies and sat up an entire outdoor kitchen. Veterans received a hot, homemade breakfast and coffee along with a loving smile from Lavette. Morgan’s Meat Processor in Madisonville donated processing. Cleveland State Community College students helped process deer and take biological data. Wildlife officers were on hand to help transport veterans and harvested deer.

 

TWRA staff and park staff were humbled and proud to provide this opportunity for such great men. Comradery, laughter, time outdoors and most importantly an opportunity to say thank you was the theme of the day. Rexrode and Pike look forward to providing this event in future years. For more information on the DAV visit dav.org.




MGHC To Hold Rain Barrel Class Saturday

The Master Gardeners of Hamilton County, in association with the University of Tennessee Extension, hold their Rain Barrel Class this Saturday from 10 a.m.-noon. MGHC classes take place at the UT Extension, Agricultural Service Center, 6183 Adamson Circle, located off Bonny Oaks Drive. The cost is $40 per person (payable to UT-TSU Extension) and includes the barrel, plus the ... (click for more)

Free Hikes At All Tennessee State Parks On June 2 For National Trails Day

Tennessee State Parks will celebrate National Trails Day and kick off Great Outdoors Month with free, guided hikes at all 56 parks on Saturday, June 2. The variety of events includes ranger-led day hikes, night hikes, history hikes, nature hikes and trail clean-up hikes. With more than 1,000 miles to explore, ranging from easy, paved trails to rugged backcountry trails to ... (click for more)

Jury Finds Donaldson Guilty Of Second-Degree Murder In Killing Of Son-In-Law

A Criminal Court jury late Friday afternoon returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder against Glen Donaldson in the killing of his son-in-law, Adam Levi. He is facing 15-60 years in state prison. Judge Don Poole will set the sentence at a sentencing hearing. Donaldson, 57, took the witness stand in his own defense near the end of the week-long trial. He claimed ... (click for more)

1st Vote On Controversial Signal Mountain Grocery Proposal Set June 13; Town To Choose Either Tennessee American Or Waldens Ridge For Water Service

The next steps in rezoning 617 Cauthen Way were discussed at the Signal Mountain work session Friday afternoon. Since the last council meeting, Town Manager Boyd Veal created a list of conditions to include in the zoning ordinance relating to the proposed commercial development designed to assure that there is no negative impact to the surrounding properties or to the interest of ... (click for more)

Speaking Of A Cove

Mr. Sole Commissioner Whitfield,   I live in  a cove in western most Chattanooga. My back yard is woods. My front yard is woodland too. My neighbors and I had chance to voice our disagreement in 1996 to the proposed sale of a portion of the farm that dominated this cove and we did. There weren’t very many of us. One member of the group that listened to ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: 'Don't Dare Endorse Me!'

When Joe Smith, a member of the Hamilton County School Board, met with officials of the UnifiEd political action committee on Tuesday, his instructions to his somber listeners were very specific. He told the leaders of the now-tainted education non-profit group. “Do not endorse me. I extended the courtesy of answering your questions … I am eager to do the right thing. But I am saying ... (click for more)