By CHRIS MENEES
Chuck Ashley served his country and then he served his county.
Ashley was honored this morning by the Obion County Commission for his 23 years of service as the county’s veterans service officer.
He recently retired as veterans service officer, although Obion County Mayor Benny McGuire told commissioners Ashley has agreed to stay on until Feb. 15 to help his successor — Walter Asher of Troy — get acclimated to the position.
The commission honored Ashley with a proclamation which declared today as Charles A. “Chuck” Ashley Day in Obion County and he was also presented a plaque noting his service.
In addition to his 23 years of service as the county’s veterans service officer, the commission recognized Ashley’s 22 years of service to his country as a member of the U.S. Air Force from 1954 to 1976 — during which time he served in South Vietnam, was awarded the Bronze Star and was on duty at National Military Command Center and Air Force Command Center at the Pentagon. He also served as a Veterans of Foreign Wars quartermaster for 20 years and was previously appointed by the governor to serve on the Tennessee State Veterans Homes board.
Ashley thanked commis-sioners and county officials for their support over the years, as well as the Veterans Service Office’s many volunteer van drivers and the county’s roughly 2,500 veterans for their service to others.
Obion County Commis-sion chairman Ralph Puckett expressed appreciation to Ashley for a job well done and said he will be missed.
“He’s just a great man and a great asset to Obion County,” McGuire added.
A reception was also held in Ashley’s honor after the commission meeting.
In searching for Ashley’s successor as veterans service officer, McGuire said an interview committee received a number of outstanding applications which included several military retirees — Walter Asher among them.
The commission voted 20-0 to approve Asher as the county’s new veterans service officer.
Asher told commissioners he is honored to be chosen and said he has “big shoes to fill” as Ashley’s successor.
Asher retired from the U.S. Air Force after 23 years of service and served in Joint Services Command, giving him valuable knowledge of other branches of the military as well.
In other action during this morning’s 30-minute meeting, which was opened with the Pledge of Allegiance and prayer led by Asher, the county commission:
• Granted permission for McGuire and county extension agent Tim Smith to rent out three pieces of county-owned farmland, which will result in a savings to the county with the properties not having to be mowed.
Two of the pieces are located east of the Obion County Law Enforcement Complex and east of the county health department and McGuire said the county is also close to acquiring some property recently given to the county by Goodyear.
The commission approved allowing the land to be rented out this year for the first year, when McGuire said there will likely be some weed control issues, and bid out the next time through the county’s agricultural committee.
• Approved a capital outlay note, not to exceed $200,000, for capital expenses in the county’s General Fund.
The funds will be used for two sheriff’s department patrol vehicles and a sheriff’s department truck, a courthouse maintenance project and parking lot paving.
• Granted approval to the official county road map for Obion County, which is the same as last year since no new roads have been added.
• Approved a surety bond for highway department employee Mary Sue Chilcutt.
• OK’d appointments to several committees, including the agricultural committee (commissioner Kenneth Barnes, Jennifer Davis and new member Ty McConnell); the courthouse committee (commissioners Andy Crocker, Dean Jowers, Tim Doyle, Norma Fowler, Terry Dwyer, Terry Roberts and Jim Bondurant); the Solid Waste Regional Planning Board (Bob Stephens and commissioners Ned Bigelow and Richard Arnold); and the budget committee (commissioners Jerry Grady, Richard Arnold, Allen Nohsey, Terry Roberts, Ralph Puckett, Danny Jowers, Sam Sinclair Jr. and Donnie Braswell).
The commission approved McGuire’s request to add another member to the budget committee, giving it eight members rather than seven. He said he believes the county commission chairman should automatically be a member of the budget committee, which would allow another commissioner from the chairman’s district to have the opportunity to serve.
Braswell was the eighth member added to the committee this morning and the other seven members were reappointments.
McGuire also said he believes every commissioner should serve a term on the budget committee to gain the experience, although he understands some cannot serve due to job constraints, and he said he plans to rotate one or two members out each year starting next year to give more commissioners the opportunity to serve.
• Approved the appointment of commissioner Allen Nohsey as county historian.
• Granted a request to add paramedic Jonathan Lewis of Troy as a backup for county medical examiner Dr. Kirk Stone, when needed.
• Voted to approve 13 notary public applications.
Only Sinclair was absent from today’s brief meeting, held at 9 a.m. in the circuit courtroom at the courthouse.
Staff Reporter Chris Menees may be contacted by email at email@example.com.
Published in The Messenger 1.22.13