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Farragut anchor dedicated


For Michael Reynolds, “the anchor and the star” are much more than Farragut High School sports symbols.

“My father was a World War Two veteran, and every time I walk across and see that anchor, I remember the sacrifices that he made and others made so we could be here,” said Reynolds, FHS principal, during the dedication ceremony for the portside anchor from decommissioned USS Farragut guided missile destroyer DDG-37/guided missile frigate DLG-6.

Dignitaries, including U.S. Rep John J. Duncan Jr. (R-Tenn.), were among approximately 150 in attendance in Farragut Stadium Friday afternoon, May 4, adjacent to the anchor’s home inside the east entrance gate.

Remembering “the sacrifice that those are making today,” Reynolds added: “I hope our young people realize that as they walk by that anchor, the courage that it has taken to have a stadium like this, to be able to have a country like this and to have a school like this. … I think it’s important for them to see the anchor.

“I couldn’t be more proud of what it represents, and the people who have served on [the USS Farragut].”

The 45-minute ceremony also included dedicating the “Farragut Star,” the FHS Navy blue star symbol outlined in white with a white “F” in the middle. It sits at a 45-degree angle alongside the flagpole beyond the east end zone at Bill Clabo Field.

“We have two symbols, the anchor and the star —I can’t imagine having two better,” Reynolds said. “You’ll hear me say this at graduation: ‘You have to be anchored in your family and your friends and your faith, but you need a star to guide you.

‘With that we are now complete: we have our anchor and we have our star.’”

Adding about the town itself in relation to Farragut students, Reynolds said, “They are going to be anchored in a great, great

community.”

With the idea of obtaining a U.S. Navy anchor the brainchild of Clyde Floyd, long-time FHS football volunteer and program historian, and FHS varsity football head coach Eddie Courtney, the 10-foot high, 8,700-pound anchor was obtained during the 2005-06 school year and installed in May 2006.

Duncan told the gathering “it was a real joy to work on this project … coach [Eddie] Courtney is the first one who got us into this. I certainly want to pay tribute to coach Courtney, who I’ve admired for many years.

“Three of our four children have been students at the Farragut schools; I’m so proud of this high school,” Duncan added. “It was a real privilege to help out on this.”

A handful of USS Farragut Ships Association members — U.S. Navy veterans who served on a USS Farragut — came from as far away as Texas and Minnesota to mark their annual reunion.

RM2 Jerry O’Connor of North Augusta, S.C., who served on the DLG-6 from 1969-71, was emotional when explaining that his USS Farragut experience “was a large part of my life … It’s just something you can’t get over or get away. I’m just so glad [the anchor] is here. And I can’t think of any better place for it.”

RM2 Class David Braddock (1980-84/DDG-37) came from Tupelo, Miss. “After serving onboard for four years, it’s special to be able to touch a piece of the ship,” he said.

MM3 David Paulson (1964-67/DLG-6), who drove “not quite a thousand miles” from Minnesota to make his first-ever trip to Tennessee, said the ship is “a point of pride in my past.”

SM3 Tommy Anderson (1961-63/DLG-6) said, “These kind of things motivate me to see what it means to kids at this high school.”

Cmdr. Deidra McLay, captain of commissioned USS Farragut DDG-99, sent an e-mail as read by Floyd: “… Have a great ceremony, and know that the spirit of today’s Farragut will be with you. Go Admirals.”

Erik Gerhardt, “The Voice of Farragut athletics” at West 105.3 FM and ceremony emcee, thanked Floyd “on behalf of the community, not only for all the hours you’ve spent organizing and bringing this day about, but also —and especially — for all the many years of support and service he had given to Farragut High School.”

Reynolds added: “And so with Eddie and Mister Floyd and Congressman Duncan, with your help, we have an anchor. A good ship needs a strong anchor.”

Floyd thanked the 2006 and 2007 Farragut Football Booster Club members “for their part in making all this happen.”

Under the direction of Ron Rogers, Farragut High School Special Band capped the ceremony with “Anchors Aweigh,” the FHS fight song.

Among others who were recognized:

• FHS athletic director and assistant principal Dwayne Simmons, along with the 2006 booster club co-presidents Gayle and Fuad Reveiz, and 2007 booster president Greg Harper.

• Farragut Football Anchor Committee members Richard Wigren, Mark Mowery and Danny Lovell.

• Anchor Paint Crew members, FHS students Allison Abercrombie, Rebecca Perez, Kristen Bales, Will Beuerlein and Brad Huffstetler.

 

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