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McWherter statue closer to reality

McWherter statue closer to reality
DRESDEN – The Ned R. McWherter Monument Commission Tuesday announced the start of fund-raising efforts to honor the former governor with a life-size bronze statue to be placed at the Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden.
“A lot of Weakley County residents and associates of Governor McWherter have wanted to do something to honor him for a long time as the only Tennessee governor from our county,” said commission chairman Terry J. Oliver of Gleason.
“I’m pleased to announce that we’ve organized fund-raising efforts and are now ready to accept contributions to help make this project a reality.”
The Weakley County Commission approved a resolution on May 18 authorizing the placement of a monument on the courthouse grounds in recognition of McWherter’s lifelong service to the county, the state and nation.
“Governor McWherter has made a lasting impression on Weakley County and the entire state of Tennessee,” said Gov. Phil Bredesen. “It’s fitting and appropriate to honor him and his service with this monument, and I’m glad to see this effort get under way.”
“In keeping with Governor McWherter’s request that no public funds be used, we are undertaking this fundraising effort in partnership with the Tennessee FFA Foundation and in a show of support of the governor’s long-time commitment to agriculture education in Tennessee,” added Oliver.
The Tennessee FFA Foundation is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization so all contributions are tax deductible.
Anyone wanting to contribute to the project can make checks payable to the Tennessee FFA Foundation, Inc. in care of the Ned R. McWherter Monument Fund and send to:
Tennessee FFA Foundation, Inc or c/o Jimmy Westbrook, Box 5034, TTU, P.O. Box 295, Cookeville, TN 38505-0001, Dresden, TN 38225-0295.
“We expect a lot of people across the state will want to support this project, but as a Weakley County initiative, we wanted to give the citizens of the county an opportunity to show their support for this project in a big way,” said Oliver.
The monument commission expects to be able to complete fund-raising activities by early summer in order to commission a well-known Tennessee artist to produce the sculpture.
After the artist begins work, the process is expected to take nine to 10 months to complete.
The monument commission plans to dedicate the statue sometime in spring 2010.
McWherter, a native of Weakley County, served as member of the Tennessee House of Representatives from 1968 to 1986, including seven consecutive terms as Speaker of the House.
He served as Tennessee’s 46th governor from 1987 to 1995 and championed many public causes, including improved public education, transportation, economic development and health care.
He has also been recognized for his support of many local and civic organizations including the Weakley County Public Library, the Weakley County Board of Education, the University of Tennessee at Martin and the Tennessee FFA Foundation, which supports agricultural education for high school and college students.
Other members of the Ned R. McWherter Monument Com-mission include businessman Wendell Alexander; First State Bank CEO John Clark; former UTM Chancellor Nick Dunagan; Hamilton Ryker CEO Wayne McCreight; General Sessions Judge Tommy Moore; Weakley County Mayor Houston Patrick; government relations specialist Anna Durham Windrow; and county commissioner Jimmy Westbrook.
For more information about the Ned R. McWherter Monument Commission, contact treasurer Jimmy Westbrook at 731-364-2118.
WCP 6.04.09

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