A WGNS' on-air personality for 38-years was honored at the last Rutherford County Schools board meeting. County Schools Director Don Odom presented Jerry D. Brown, Sr. with an honorary high school diploma.
The 87 year old resident grew-up here, but left to serve in World War II and was not able to complete high school.
"It's never too late to fulfill the dream of receiving a high school diploma," Odom said.
Upon receiving his diploma, Brown was greeted by a standing ovation from everyone in attendance at the televised School Board meeting, including his son, Jerry D. Brown Jr., who is also a veteran.
“Thank you," Brown Sr. said. "This is something I’ve wanted all my life.”
Tennessee Code Annotated 49-2-119 provides that veterans of World War I, World War II, the Korean War or the Vietnam War whose education was interrupted by their service to the country may be awarded a high school diploma. Brown's diploma is from Central High School, which restructured in 1972 with the opening of Oakland and Riverdale high schools. The current Central Magnet School (formerly Central Middle School) is housed in the same building.
"When duty called, Mr. Jerry D. Brown Sr. stepped forward and never had the opportunity to finish high school," Odom said. "He put his community first by trading in his educational opportunities for an M-1 rifle and became a mortar gunner in Company A, 34th Infantry."
After basic training, Brown's unit was deployed to the Asiatic Pacific Theater. During his service, Brown received the Asiatic Pacific Theater Ribbon, Victory Medal, Good Conduct Medal, and Army of Occupation Medal Japan.
Jerry Brown at WGNS
He is one of the highest thought of announcers on WGNS, having been on the air during the station's first 38-years. Brown played guitar on the radio and was known as Pee Wee. He also was one of the first Swap'n Shop hosts. His unique "Boots, Boots, Boots" commercial for the old Hub Store on the square is still remembered by many WGNS listeners.