Catoosa County Veteran of the Year
Ronnie Lea, a Boynton native, said he was surprised to receive his award that now hangs over his fireplace.
“It shocked me,” said Ronnie Lea, who is a Vietnam Veteran that served in the United States Army from 1965 to 1967 and in the Vietnam War from October of 1966 to 1967. “It was not that bad serving in the military, but it was not that good either. When someone is shooting at you … you get scared. As a country boy thrown into war in Vietnam, you do what you’re told and hope you’re alive the next day. I was drafted. To be pulled out of society, it’s a little rough on you for the first four or five months. I was a mechanic working on the tanks. If they rode over a landmine, we fixed it and got it going again.”
Lea recalls coming home and taking two months of vacation and opening a service station on 2A and 75. Then, he went to work for TVA for 30 years.
“I like helping, but I don’t like being the front guy,” said Lea. “I’ve got one of the best jobs in the world. I get to help people through the American Legion.”
Now serving as the commander of American Legion Post 40 in Ringgold, he is the steward of the post’s money. Post 40 assists Ringgold High School Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps. When the April 27, 2011 tornado hit Ringgold, Post 40 let Mt. Peria Baptist Church members meet at the post until they could rebuild their tornado struck church nearby.
Lea also serves as the chairman of the Ringgold Beverage Commission and on the board of the Catoosa County Sheriff’s Stocking Full of Love. He is a member of Lodge No. 466 in Fort Oglethorpe. Lea is a member of the Catoosa Citizens’ and Veterans’ Memorial Foundation Board. He is a graduate of Ringgold High School and attended McKenzie College for two years.
Archived from The Chattanooga Times Free PressNovember 19, 2014 | by Katie Ward