Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, November 24, 2023

Newsmakers: Medal of Honor Heritage Center to honor Taylor

The Hamilton County Commission last week approved Mayor Weston Wamp’s proposal to fund an exhibit at the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center that will recognize America’s latest Medal of Honor recipient, retired U.S. Army Captain Larry Taylor, a Signal Mountain resident who received the nation’s highest military award at the White House on Sept. 5.

Hamilton County will provide $400,000 to the MOHHC. The county will split the funds between the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2025 through its hotel and motel tax revenue fund. The MOHHC will seek additional funding from the city of Chattanooga, the state of Tennessee and private donors.

The funding will go toward two historical exhibits – one honoring the heroic actions of Taylor in Vietnam June 18, 1968, and the other commemorating courageous acts by American soldiers during the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia Oct. 3, 1993.

“I want to thank Mayor Wamp, the Hamilton County Commission and the good people of Hamilton County for supporting the Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center and the effort to build a new exhibit that will share my Medal of Honor story with thousands of children and visitors each year,” says Taylor. “I hope this exhibit will help America’s next generation understand the importance of service to our country and the importance of courage, sacrifice and commitment to make a difference – whether on the battlefield or in everyday life. When visitors see the exhibit at the Heritage Center, I hope they’ll take these distinct character traits with them and find ways to emulate them.”

The MOHHC’s vision for the exhibit features Taylor at the control of a Cobra helicopter swooping into the battlefield in the midst of gunfire as four U.S. soldiers cling to the skids of his aircraft. The exhibit will also include a number of displays alongside this setup and interactive machinery to accurately portray what happened that day in Vietnam 55 years ago.

County Officials Association honors register of deeds

The County Officials Association of Tennessee recently presented Marc Gravitt of Hamilton County with its 2023 Outstanding Register of Deeds Award. The association recognized Gravitt at its annual awards banquet earlier this month.

Gravitt entered public service in 2012 as an East Ridge council member and the city’s vice mayor. In 2018, Gravitt was elected as the Hamilton County register of deeds, a position he continues to serve in today.

During Gravitt’s time as Hamilton County register, he’s served his fellow registers as the legislative committee chair. In addition, Gravitt served as the District 30 (Missionary Ridge, East Ridge, Brainerd, East Brainerd, Apison and Collegedale) representative to the Tennessee House of Representatives during the 108th, 109th and 110th general assemblies.

During Gravitt’s time at the capital, he was a member of the Local Government Committee, the Business and Utilities Committee and the Veteran’s Caucus. He also served as chairman of the Republican Caucus Bill Review Committee.

The Tennessee Registers Association selected Gravitt from a pool of every register of deeds in Tennessee.

COAT Executive Director Rodney Archer says, “Marc has demonstrated his dedication to our association, Hamilton County and the state of Tennessee. He’s a significant asset to our organization.”

Salvation Army picks Summitt for advisory chair

The Salvation Army has tapped Martin Summitt to serve as its advisory board chair. Summitt hails from Chattanooga, is a graduate of Baylor School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, and is a managing partner for Bellwether Investment Group.

He also has a longstanding relationship with The Salvation Army. His father, the late Circuit Court Judge Robert Summitt, served on the board for over 55 years.

“I needed to increase my involvement, not only because of my father, but also because the Salvation Army’s work is necessary to Chattanooga,” says Summitt. “They do everything they can to help our underserved neighbors. I’m grateful to continue my relationship with them in this way.”

Focus Treatment Centers taps new medical director

Focus Treatment Centers has hired Dr. Simon Choi to serve as its medical director. Choi will oversee all clinical and medical aspects for the eating disorder, substance use disorder and dual diagnosis programs. While primarily on-site at Focus in Chattanooga, his role includes providing the same clinical oversight to Focus Integrative Centers in Knoxville.

Choi attended the University of Texas at Austin and graduated summa cum laude. He earned his medical degree at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center in Lubbock, Texas, where he also completed his psychiatry residency.