National Medal of Honor Heritage Center Expands Board

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Three National Medal of Honor recipients and one local leader join the Boards of the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, slated to open in Chattanooga, TN in February of 2020.

Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center

The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center has expanded its boards through the addition of both national and local leaders.

Effective immediately, three Medal of Honor recipients have agreed to join five recipients already serving on the Honorary Board. These new members include:

  • Clint Romesha: From Minot, North Dakota, Romesha was a U.S. Army staff sergeant who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of Kamdesh, Afghanistan in 2009 during the War on Terror. Sergeant Romesha was the featured speaker for the Heritage Center’s recent Celebration of Valor Luncheon.
  • Sammy Davis: From Indianapolis, Indiana, Davis was a U.S. Army artilleryman who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during an enemy attack on Firebase Cudgel near Cai Lay in 1967 during the Vietnam War. Private Davis was promoted to sergeant and ultimately retired from service as a result of his injuries.
  • Michael Thornton: A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Thornton was a U.S. Navy Seal who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in saving the life of his senior officer near the coast of Quang Tri Province in 1972 during the Vietnam War. Lieutenant Thornton ultimately retired from the service after serving for 25 years.

According to Bill Raines, Chairman of the Board of Trustees and a retired U.S. Army Major General, “Medal of Honor recipients are the best of the best of American servicemen and servicewomen. Having these three recipients join our Honorary Board is wonderful and not only honors us but validates our mission to memorialize the history of our nation’s highest military award for valor, from the first Medals of Honor awarded in and around Chattanooga during 1862-1863 to the present, and to educate future generations of Americans about the six character traits associated with their gallantry.”

In addition, the Heritage Center is proud to announce Becky Cope English has joined its Board of Trustees, effective immediately. A native of Chattanooga, English has worked as a leading real estate professional for more than 20 years. After being named 2017 Realtor of the Year, English formed Scout Realtor Group with business partners and her husband, Derek, where they provide a variety of real estate services to residential and commercial real estate clients. English has previously served on the Greater Chattanooga Realtors Board of Directors, is a graduate of its 2007 Leadership Program and was awarded the George Kangles Citizenship Award in 2018. She is also active in the community through her fund-raising efforts with multiple charities and organizations.

Regarding her appointment, English stated, “Having this opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees for the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center is a tremendous honor and is truly humbling. I look forward to working with this board in preserving the incredible heritage of the Medal of Honor and its mission in educating future generations about the six character traits that embody the Medal of Honor and its recipients.”

“We are delighted that Becky is joining the Board of Trustees as her leadership and wisdom serve the institution well as we prepare to open our doors on February 22, 2020,” said Keith Hardison, executive director for the National Medal of Honor Heritage Center. “Becky’s vision and unending passion for our mission has established our Celebration of Valor Luncheon as one of the premier fund-raising events in our area, and I know that she will bring the same passion to the board and help strengthen our efforts to grow and sustain the character education programs into the future.”

The National Medal of Honor Heritage Center will be a 19,0000 square-foot facility that honors the tradition, culture and values of the Medal of Honor. Located in downtown Chattanooga at Aquarium Plaza, the Heritage Center will feature life-sized exhibits to tell the real-life stories of these ordinary people who demonstrated extraordinary heroics under the most difficult circumstances. Each exhibit was designed to immerse visitors in the stories of these American heroes by combining the sights and sounds of their Medal of Honor narratives with a vibrancy and immediacy of what happened on that day. As a result, the Heritage Center will create an emotional engagement and a more profound, memorable experience for its visitors.

Once open, the Heritage Center will also become the central hub for the Medal of Honor Character Development Program and Character Club initiative – its two educational programs that focus on creating lasting change in our community. By becoming a “living classroom on character education,” the Heritage Center will showcase an important part of our city and nation’s heritage while creating a lasting tribute to these genuine American heroes who represent the best and bravest of all who have served and sacrificed in defense of our nation.

To learn more about the new Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center, please visit

Contact: Jules Parker, CFRE
(423) 405-3677

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