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Cothran recognized for community service

Soddy-Daisy resident Robert Cothran has been selected as the 2012 recipient of the State Andrus Award for Community Service presented by the North Hamilton County AARP Chapter. Named for AARP founding director Ethel Percy Andrus, the award is presented annually to a community member whose life follows the group’s philosophy, which is “to serve and not be served.”

North Hamilton County Chapter AARP president Frankie McRee said Cothran was chosen for his involvement in community endeavors as well as his skill in getting others involved.

“It’s a great honor,” said Cothran, who has worked on many projects benefiting veterans in his service as president of the local Vietnam Veterans of America chapter as well as president of the Soddy-Daisy Wall of Honor board.

Established in November 2011, the Wall of Honor in Soddy-Daisy recognizes men and women living north of the river who have served their country either in the military with honorable discharge or as a member of a local fire or police force. Plaques can be purchased for $75 each and dedication ceremonies are held twice a year.

From providing medical equipment to veterans to informing veterans about the resources available to meet their needs, Cothran does all he can to make sure his fellow veterans are well taken care of.

“We never want any veteran to be in the situation we were in when we got back from Vietnam,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about: being brothers.”

He said fighting in Vietnam made him more aware of the freedoms he has here, as well as of life itself.

“Life can be taken so easy and so quick, and it reminded me to live every day to its fullest and let my family know how I feel,” said Cothran.

He said he also feels it is important to educate young people about the military, which he does through visits to local elementary and middle schools.

“It’s a great history,” said Cothran. “They need to understand if it hadn’t been for the veterans, they couldn’t enjoy the freedom they have right now.”

The city of Soddy-Daisy put Cothran and the local VVA chapter in charge of three of the city’s most popular community events, including the annual Christmas parade, Punkin’ Fest and Fourth of July festivities.

“His purpose is to work with community leaders for the betterment of Soddy-Daisy, and to never forget the brave men who gave their lives and remember those who are now in need,” reads Cothran’s award nomination. “His mission in life is to help those that are sick, old and not as fortunate as himself. Not a day goes by without a phone call, and even while on vacation his wife stated the phone will ring for help or advice.”

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