Carter Commission recognizes two citizens for accomplishments

John Thompson • Mar 18, 2019 at 10:12 PM

ELIZABETHTON — As the Carter County Commission prepares to go through its budget process for Fiscal Year 2019-20, the body heard from an organization that has never received county funding, but has been a frequent contributor to the county’s veterans.

Richard “Jarfly” Dugger spoke to the commission during their March meeting Monday night to ask that the Carter County Honor Guard be considered for funding by the county. Dugger said the Honor Guard provides military honors for Carter County veterans at their funerals. He said the Honor Guard has traditionally been self-funding. He said some families give contributions to the unit in thanks for their service, but that is not always the case.

He said the members devote a lot of their own time and money to perform their respects, which can often be several times a week in all kinds of weather. He said they often pay for their own gasoline to make trips to funerals throughout the region. They must also pay to have their uniforms professionally cleaned and pressed for each funeral.

Dugger said the Honor Guard is also looking for additional veterans to serve in their ranks at funerals.

In other matters, the commission paid honors to an old veteran of the Appalachian Trail who continues to serve as a trail maintainer and hiker hostel proprietor. The commission also recognized a high school senior who recently named a Roan Scholar.

The trail veteran is Bob Peoples, proprietor of the legendary Kincora Hostel in Dennis Cove. Although Bob and his late wife, Pat, founded Kincora 25 years ago, the County Commission chose this time to honor him because he will be playing host to his 25,000th guest to Kincora in the next month.

Kincora is not only one of the oldest hostels, but Peoples has also made a name for himself as a veteran trail maintainer who has recently gone over 10,000 hours of trail maintenance with the Tennessee Eastman Hiking and Canoeing Club. The club maintains 134 miles of the Appalachian Trail. When he takes a break, Peoples hikes on trails in other states and continents, usually during the off-season for Kincora.

In thanking everyone, Peoples said there was room for others to work as trail maintainers. Peoples said he was 75, so he limited his invitation to work to those who are 75 and younger.

On the younger end off the spectrum, the County Commission honored Taylor Shanks, a senior at Unaka High School, for her selection as a Roan Scholar at East Tennessee State University.

Shanks was one of eight students selected from over 100 applicants from across East Tennessee, Western North Carolina and Southwest Virginia to be a member of the prestigious Roan Scholars Leadership Program for the Class of 2203 at ETSU.

The County Commission noted in its commendation that Taylor is currently a senior at Unaka and has maintained a 4.0 grade point average and will likely be selected as a valedictorian.

In addition to her scholarship, the commission also noted that Shanks has been very active in extracurricular programs, including Key Club, Future Business Leaders of America and Family Career and Community Leaders of America, where she serves as vice president.

She is also a four-year varsity member of the Lady Rangers softball team, which she helped lead to the state playoffs. She had just finished a game before the Commission meeting and accepted the recognition while still in her softball uniform.

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