That is certainly the case for Helen Fetzer, who had a very well attended celebration with her family and friends a few days before her 100th birthday. Several newspapers and television stations also attended the event. There were also several government leaders reading official congratulations, including old family friend, Elizabethton Mayor Pro Tem Bill Carter, Carter County Mayor Rusty Barnett, state Rep. John Holsclaw, state Sen. Rusty Crowe, who extended congratulations and presented proclamations and resolutions commemorating her birthday.
These leaders all noted the public contributions Fetzer has made during her long life, especially her 34 years of service in education, starting with the Knox County School System, then to the Johnson City School System and the Carter County School System, culminating with the service as thee supervisor of instruction for the Carter County schools. She was also recognized for her service during World War II. She was one of the first group of the newly organized Women’s Army Corps. After going through basic training, she spent the duration of the war in Washington, eventually attaining the rank of staff sergeant while woking in military intelligence.
During the time she was in Washington, she would also marry her East Tennessee boyfriend, John Fetzer, who had been a bomber pilot in Europe.
While Fetzer’s birthday celebration had been a success, especially because there were plenty of grandchildren and great grandchildren in attendance, there was still more to come.
Crowe returned a few weeks later with a Tennessee Senate Proclamation commemorating Fetzer’s birthday and her achievements. The proclamation went into extensive detail on her military service and life in Washington during World War II.
The proclamation also names Fetzer’s eight grandchildren: Sherry, Heather, Angie, Rachel, Lara, Catherine, Justin and Elijah; and her five great grandchildren: Parker, Mariah, Gavin, Jameson and Dyllen.
The proclamation said “as Helen Fetzer enters her eleventh decade, she remains an inspiration to all as a trailblazer who, without hesitation, served her country in a time of great need …”
The latest recognition of Fetzer’s birthday came during Tuesday’s Carter County Commission meeting. The commission approved a resolution, to which Barnett joined, in honoring Fetzer. Once again, her many contributions to her city, county, state and country were mentioned. The resolution also commented on the many years of active service to East Side Baptist Church.
It has been a very active birthday celebration for Fetzer, her friends and family.