MTSU's Friday night football battle included the 37th Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces with the Dr. Joe Nunley Award to Jeff Davidson. And the Blue Raider 29 to 10 victory over Western Kentucky made the evening even better!
This recognition of MTSU veterans who served -- including five who died --in World War I, the legacy from that war, a veterans' picnic and the presentation of the Dr. Joe Nunley Award to Jeff Davidson highlighted the pregame activities surrounding the 37th Salute to Veterans and Armed Forces at various campus venues.
All of this was part of events tied into the nationally televised MTSU-Western Kentucky Conference USA football game Friday night (11/2/2018) in Floyd Stadium. MTSU snapped a three-game losing streak against the Hilltoppersl with a 29-10 victory and became bowl eligible. For highlights, go online to http://www.goblueraiders.com/.
MTSU continues the strong tradition of honoring veterans and active-duty military personnel that began in 1982. Events are held around national Veterans' Day celebrations. In fact, next Saturday (11/10/2018) the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center invites te community to their annual Veterans Parade at 11:00AM in front of the administration building. Plus, the following Monday (11/12/2018), Murfreesboro's Tribute to Veterans will be on the historic town square at 11:00AM.
Davidson, an Eagleville, Tennessee, resident, was the MTSU committee's choice to receive the award named for Nunley, a veteran and longtime director of alumni relations at the university. Davidson is an alumnus (Class of 1985) and retired U.S. Army colonel who earned a bachelor's degree in history.
"There are more people better qualified than me," said Davidson, who retired earlier this year as deputy mayor of Rutherford County. "Men like John Hood (2017 Nunley recipient), Andy Womack ('15 recipient), Bud Morris and Bob Lamb ('16 recipients) and Don Witherspoon (served with U.S. Marine Corps) ... I hold in high esteem."
Davidson, an armor officer with more than 30 years in the Army, served in a variety of command and leadership positions. He had multiple combat tours including Operation Desert Shield/Storm, Operation Joint Endeavor/Guard in Bosnia and Herzegovina and in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
Derek Frisby, faculty coordinator and lecturer in the College of Liberal Arts, celebrated the heritage of the five fallen MTSU students from more than a century ago and the lasting legacy from World War I.
The five who died included 1st Lt. Robert Shearer Brown, killed in action Oct. 4 1918; Sgt. Chester Fowler Elrod, KIA Sept. 29, 1918; Pvt. George Grady Hightower, KIA Sept. 29, 1918; Pvt. Sydney Houston "Syd" Brown, who died in a rail transportation accident Jan. 1, 1918; and William J. McConnell, who was with the American Red Cross at the time, who died in 1918.
Frisby said Veterans' Day, the story of Tennessee hero Alvin C. York, the ROTC programs that began and implementation of G.I. Bill all came out of World War I.
Five members of the Elrod family attended. They included Beth Scofield of Birmingham, Alabama; and Karen Elrod Dismukes, Susan Creagh, David Elrod and his son Clayton Elrod, all from Nashville.
The Rolling Thunder organization performed the posting of the colors, David Andrzejewski played revile and taps, professor Jimmie Cain read the poem, "The Soldier," professor and liberal arts associate dean Stephen Smith sang the national anthem and political science associate professor Robb McDaniel provided the welcome and introduced Frisby.
A group of 22 Fort Campbell, Ky., soldiers, who flew in by helicopter and dressed in full combat gear with lights on their helmet and carrying weapons, helped deliver the game ball.
The halftime salute featured the Band of Blue and Western's band alternating performing fight songs for the five branches veterans from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines and Navy went across Horace Jones field in their groups.