• June 15, 2010 – A young soldier with ties to the University of Tennessee at Martin had his life cut short when he was killed in Iraq by an improvised exploding device. Friends and family mourned the loss of young Israel “Izzy” O’Bryan.
Sgt. O’Bryan was a native of Newbern who received a U.S. Army scholarship as well as a UT Martin Collegiate scholarship. He was an Army ROTC student at UT Martin and a Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity member while on the Martin campus.
This was O’Bryan’s second deployment to Iraq.
• June 22, 2010 – Confessed serial rapist Bruce Tuck made headlines once again from behind bars when he filed for post-conviction relief. According to the filed motion, Tuck claims he was coerced with food into confessing by local law enforcement agencies because of his alleged “lettuce-only” diet he had while being held in the Weakley County Detention Center.
Tuck had pleaded guilty to 19 of 22 indictments returned against him the previous year after he was linked to a string of kidnapping and rapes that had occurred earlier that year in Martin. DNA evidence recovered at one of the crime scenes linked him to a kidnapping and rape that occurred on Raven Street in Martin.
Similar sex assaults against women were also being reported during that time in Shelby County. Tuck was indicted for those incidents last year by a Shelby County Grand Jury.
He is currently serving a 60-year prison sentence for his guilty pleas in Weakley County and has requested relief from those convictions.
Tuck is scheduled to appear in Weakley County Circuit Court on Monday for a post-conviction relief hearing in front of 27th Judicial District Circuit Court Judge William Acree.
• June 24, 2010 – The idea of using mattress pads to skim ocean water and absorb oil was drafted by Martin man Dan Chadwick and mass production of the Ocean Mop™ kicked into full swing at Residue Regency Pad Corp. in Martin. Chadwick made national headlines with his invention and the production of the mattress pads seemed full speed ahead in an effort to help clean up the BP oil spill in the Gulf.
Excitement brewed to know that even people in Martin were doing their part on a large scale to help with the far-reaching disaster.
Chadwick regretfully admitted in the fall that BP wasn’t interested in using the product to help clean up the mess.
Martin business Styles on Broadway preserved their hair clippings to be used as “boom” stuffing in the Gulf Coast oil spill clean up efforts.
After a few months of dumping oil onto the ocean floor, BP finally managed to contain the leak and national media outlets have reported that some clean up efforts in the Gulf have been successful.
• Sept. 21, 2010 – The news of a Dresden Marine being shot in Afghanistan was hard to swallow as Lance Corp. James Washburn had many friends and family spread throughout Martin and Dresden. The wounded warrior’s actions will be forever etched into the hearts and minds of those who knew him or know of his story.
Washburn and his unit were providing security for a polling place in Afghanistan when insurgents opened fire on the unit, killing one of Washburn’s unit members and injuring several.
Washburn suffered two bullet wounds, one to the chest and another to his arm. One of the bullets lodged into his lung. He spent many hours in surgery at Bethesda, Maryland before he was allowed to come back home to Weakley County.
As of this week, Washburn was set to meet with doctors to determine the next course of action in his recovery process, according to family members.
• Oct. 19, 2010 – It was a fitting birthday present for former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter when the community revealed a bronze statue that had been erected in the 80-year-old’s honor on the grounds of the Weakley County Courthouse in Dresden. The funds for the statue had been raised through private donations, which honored McWherter’s wishes to not use taxpayer dollars to financially support the venture. More than 2,000 people were in attendance that day to see the statue unveiled.
He held office from 1987-1995 and was most noted for his policies pertaining to roads, health care and education – making a significant difference in each of the three categories while holding office.
The former governor had just celebrated his 80th birthday in October.
• Nov. 4, 2010 – While the 2010 mid-term elections are on the bottom of this list, the results were the most notable in the county as well as on state and national levels.
The GOP prevailed on every level as people took to the polls Nov. 2 citing change and proving they were ready for change. On a local level, three Republicans managed to claim seats on the Weakley County Commission during the August election and unseated several long-term incumbents from the board.
That trend held true in November when then-State Rep. Mark Maddox, a long-time Democrat, lost his seat to young newcomer and Republican Andy Holt of Palmersville.
Democratic State Sen. Roy Herron had fought long and hard to claim the seat being vacated by retiring Con. John Tanner. Even amidst claims of failing to accurately reveal certain campaign contributions, Herron’s Republican opponent, Stephen Fincher of Frog Jump, took a hefty percentage of the votes and was elected as the 8th District congressman.
On a state level, the Republicans managed to sweep Tennessee, leaving all but four counties seeing red. Change was on the agenda last year and it shows. Tennessee elected a Republican governor and the GOP took both the House and the Senate.