(From left) Kathleen Pohlid, Hooper Penuel, Dan Whittle and Tennessee Fisher House President Andrea Lawrence pose for a picture after announcing the award recipients. Photo submitted
The General Francis Nash Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution, recently presented the Chapter Media Award to Dan Whittle, a columnist for The Murfreesboro Post, and retired Lt. Col. Hooper Penuel.
Whittle and Penuel were honored for their continued support of the Tennessee Fisher House by writing numerous newspaper articles, speaking at various organizations, as well as offering public service announcements and interviews on numerous Middle Tennessee radio stations.
In addition to their media accomplishments, these gentlemen also combined their talents to produce a stage show in Crossville, “Country Salutes Veterans,” to benefit the Tennessee Fisher House, which brought country singer Jeannie C. Riley from retirement to perform in support of today’s veterans and active duty military, along with her uncle Johnny Moore and the Peter Miller and the Country Classics Band.
Whittle is a semi-retired newspaper columnist, with current columns in the Cannon Courier in Woodbury and the Dexter Statesman in Missouri, as well as The Post.
He is known in La Vergne, Smyrna and Murfreesboro for the “Whttlemainia” fundraiser, which helped fund the construction of 17 Habitat for Humanity homes in the area.
In addition to being a foreign war correspondent, he is the author of two books, and an amateur wildlife photographer, having received state, national and international writing awards in his 45-year journalism career.
During his 28-year military career, Penuel also crafted his writing skills.
While in the National Guard, he worked as a journalist covering Rutherford County for the Nashville Banner, and several TV station affiliates around the state.
He was the principal spokesman for the Tennessee National Guard during “Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.”
He escorted Middle Tennessee media to war-torn Bosnia under combat conditions to cover the air and ground delivery of relief supplies to civilians in Sarajevo.
A poem Penuel wrote for presentation at the inaugural ceremonies of former Gov. Ned Ray McWherter in 1987 was declared the official State Declamation.
The piece entitled “I Am Tennessee” and appeared for the first time in the 2006 edition of the Tennessee Blue Book.
After his retirement, Penuel served as administrator of elections in Rutherford County from 2000 until his retirement in 2010, and he has served in many volunteer capacities in his retirement.
The support these gentlemen have given to the Tennessee Fisher House Foundation and its fundraising campaign using their journalistic talents is certainly worthy of award, according to a press release from the Daughters of the Revolution.
A long-term stay in a military hospital, sometimes hundreds of miles from home, can easily mean expensive lodging and food costs.
In recognition of the special sacrifices of wounded warriors, veterans and their families, Fisher House Foundation, through the kindness of donations received, provides comfort homes on the grounds of major military and medical centers here and abroad.
One of these special homes is to be built on the grounds of the Alvin C. York VA Medical Center in Murfreesboro, which will serve that facility as well as the the Nashville location.
The Fisher House Foundation is a nationally recognized highly rated nonprofit organization, which has held a four star Charity Navigator rating for the past seven years, and it is one of only four military charities that continously receives an A+ rating from the American Institute of Philanthropy.