A deserved honor
It was a year ago today that Sevierville lost its fire chief. Mike Rawlings died Dec. 31, 2011, of complications from a brain tumor that spread to his liver.
His 40-year career in the department preceded the establishment of a full-time fire department for Sevierville. Rawlings served as fire chief from 1994 until his death at age 65. He was also a Marine Corps veteran. He guided the department professionally and compassionately, leaving behind a well-trained department.
Sevierville Alderman Dale Carr worked with Rawlings for many years, particularly during Carr’s time as a BOMA member. They were friends and respected each other’s roles in city government. Carr is now a member of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and is in a position to honor Rawlings is a very special way.
Carr will introduce a resolution in the upcoming session to name a bridge after Rawlings on Veterans Boulevard. The bridge, near the intersection with Middle Creek Road, is close to property the Rawlings family gave to the city as future park land. It is a fitting tribute to a man who gave so much of his life, personally and professionally, to the city he loved.
The Sevierville Fire Department has a new chief these days, Matt Henderson, who served with and under Rawlings for many years. Indeed, life goes on. Yet good people who serve the public, as Mike Rawlings did, should not be forgotten, or their contributions ignored.
The naming of the bridge, while a small gesture, is still meaningful, and will remind motorists — especially those who live in Sevierville — that a good man is gone, but not forgotten.
Carr is a week or so away from his first session of the Legislature as a member of the House. He is off to a good start with this measure.