County honors fallen vet

Published 4:05 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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The Claiborne Commission unanimously adopted a resolution last week that will change the name of a county bridge to honor the memory of a fallen Vietnam veteran.

What was previously known as County Bridge #30, located on Crain Hill Road (which crosses Little Creek), will now be named the SP4 Charles Murphy Leonard Vietnam Veteran Memorial Bridge.

Born in Harrogate on Feb. 6 of 1945, Leonard grew up in the Little Creek/Rosum Town community. He attended Forge Ridge Schools prior to being drafted into the U.S. Army.

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Leonard began his tour of duty on Aug. 14 of 1967 and was part of the 4th Infantry Division 1st Squadron, 10th Calvary Troop. He obtained the rank of Specialist 4 with a specialty in light weapons infantry.

He died in the line of duty on Aug. 28, 1968. Leonard earned the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Campaign and Service Medals and the Distinguished Unit Citation. He was also awarded the Vietnam Gallantry Cross Unit Citation and the Good Conduct Medal.

The young soldier’s name is among those inscribed on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. and can be found at panel 46w, line 50. His name is also etched into the East Tennessee Veterans Memorial in Knoxville at Pillow XXII, on the middle panel.

The public is invited to participate in the bridge dedication ceremony, to be held on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m.

Leonard was the son of Laura Bell and Shelby Leonard. He is interned at the Crain Cemetery.

In other action, the commissioners adopted resolution 2019-081, addressing a Community Block Development Grant (CBDG) that was initially approved in January 2018. The resolution calls for a match from the county in the amount of $64,867 to proceed with the laying of waterlines.

The project will include work along Greasy Hollow and Hunley Roads, located in the Speedwell community. The grant will also allow funding to start waterline projects on Goins Chapel Road in the Bacchus community and Cole Road in New Tazewell.

Money was pulled from the undesignated fund balance to cover the match.