As expected, February came in roaring. My office has been a revolving door of meetings and events that have opened numerous doors for showcasing the amazing people of Monroe County and the future growth of our great area.

Even though we are only halfway through the month, we have already seen two remarkable citizens of our county awarded for their dedication and outstanding leadership in their respected areas. First was at the banquet for our new Rescue Squad building, where Mr. J.B. Moses was honored for his 44 years of service to this great organization. Mr. Moses has touched hundreds of lives during his time with the Monroe County Rescue Squad, and I want to personally thank and congratulate him for his dedication and service.

Second was Ms. Carolyn Greenwood, who was awarded the Governor’s Volunteer Award for years of dedication and leadership with Women’s Wellness Maternity Center and UT Extension. I can think of no other person more deserving of this award. Ms. Greenwood has worked tirelessly for many years, dedicating her time at the Monroe County Maternity Center helping young mothers as they began the fulfilling journey of motherhood. Thank you, and congratulates to you, Ms. Greenwood.

In other news, it was reported by our local organization Keep Monroe County Beautiful that the yearly Litter Index Report has concluded, and the county litter score was excellent. I am proud to announce the index shows a dramatic decrease of the amount of litter on our roadways throughout the county, which is always of focus of my office.

I am extremely proud of the citizens of Monroe County and hope that we will all continue to take pride in our clean roadways.

Another event worth mentioning is our Airport Appreciation Day, which is quickly approaching. The event has been scheduled for April 13, and there will also be a Fly the Teacher Day on March 9. We have many exciting projects in the works for our local airport, including a large expansion project which is planned to begin this spring. The Monroe County Airport is an excellent economic booster for our county and I hope everyone will come out and support these events.

Another positive initiative I am proud to announce is the GIVE Initiative recently put in place by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, which will strengthen our dedication to local CTE (Career and Technical Education) programs and open up many opportunities for our local high school students who plan to pursue a career in secondary vocational education.

I am proud to be a part of this initiative and feel this is a very important step in preparing our students for a bright and profitable future.

Also, this month I had the honor of attending the veterans program at the Cora Veal Senior Center, where we looked at the various resources available to our local veterans. I would like to say thank you to County Commissioner Joe Anderson and Veterans Affairs Director Andy Boyd for putting this event together. We had an excellent turnout and I am looking forward to seeing the fruits of these events throughout the county.

Lastly, I wanted to make everyone aware of two new videos that are now online showcasing the progress on our new Justice Center and the nationally-televised Toyota commercial showcasing beautiful Bald River Falls in Tellico Plains. Our county Maintenance and Physical Plant Director Brandon West gives us a brief tour of the progress at our new Justice Center, and I hope to release more on this as the project progresses.

In closing, I wanted to congratulate Matthew Mikos and Dallas Kirkland for winning the 200-year logo contest. Their logo will be used in various forms around the county, and during our Bicentennial Celebration event later in the year.

I also want to congratulate Mr. Denny Graham and welcome him to our team as the new Emergency Management Agency (EMA) director of Monroe County. Denny comes to us with a diverse background and will be instrumental in coordinating our Emergency Management Department, and I look forward to seeing the great things he will do for Monroe County.

As always, I am honored to serve as your mayor.

Thank you and God bless.

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