It was a very special day recently when Kentucky New Era publisher Taylor Hayes, Chuck Henderson, president, and Sheryl Ellis, business manager, invited me to accompany them to Fort Campbell for the 2015 induction ceremony for the “Champions of Fort Campbell.”
From the beginning of my career many years ago, until my semi-retirement about 20 years ago, Fort Campbell had been one of my main beats, and one of the great things about that was my association with AUSA, Association of the United States Army.
Through that organization, I was fortunate to know and see the great things that civilians did in support of the Army.
One of those people was our own boss, Robert C. “Bob” Carter, and the induction ceremony on July 30 was for him and retired Gen. Gary Luck. Gen. Luck was one of my favorite people at Fort Campbell.
While Bob Carter was inducted posthumously, Gen. Luck and his wife were present for the ceremony.
Also present were Bob’s wife, Ann, and one of his daughters, Jini Sheehy and her husband, Ned. It was Jini, who graciously accepted the honors for her father. We were all proud of Jini, who emphasized that her father never thought of the work he did for Fort Campbell and the soldiers and their families as “work, he always considered it a privilege.”
As we listened to her speech which, although brief, beautifully highlighted her father’s accomplishments, it made us all proud but especially Ann, and we know that Bob would have been proud of her.
Bob had been a member of the AUSA since 1978 and was a past president of the Tennessee-Kentucky chapter and region vice president for Kentucky.
When he heard of a need for the children of Fort Campbell or their families, he was one of the first to lend aid.
All of his work at AUSA was combined with many responsibilities with newspaper organizations and community projects. He was a Rotarian, served on the Jennie Stuart hospital board and was vice chairman, and that’s to name but a few.
He was a Georgia native, but lived in Hopkinsville for most of his life.
He knew something about the problems of the military as he was an Army veteran.
He served as president and publisher of the Kentucky New Era, and those of us who worked with Robert C. Carter remember him well and were happy to see his photo placed among the other distinguished champions.
Others are: retired Col. Ted Crozier, T.C.and retired Col. Bob Freeman, Anna Carl Guffey, Bill Harpel, Phil Harpel, Chuck Henderson, Ben Kimbrough, Jack Turner, retired 1st Sgt. Billy Colwell Sr., Lori Harper, Sam Bass, Ed Rufo, Shirley West, Dick Winters, retired Col. Bob Seitz, Lana Bastin, Rita Bodensteiner and Valerie Hunter-Kelly.
When Gen. Luck acknowledged his honor, he humbly said the honors should be going to the soldiers, their families, the fine civilian work force at Fort Campbell and the friends of the Army in the neighboring communities
However, as he closed his statements, he quipped that he didn’t deserve the honor, but he would take it.
Since the trip was my first to Fort Campbell in many years, I enjoyed a brief tour and seeing the vast changes that have occurred there, namely the new headquarters that is no longer in an old barracks. It is now housed in a beautiful building that includes many facilities for ceremonies, and it was the inductions were conducted.
I also got to meet Maj. Gen. Gary J. Volesky, commanding general, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and Fort Campbell, and what a gracious fellow he is.
I was indeed proud of this deserved recognition for Bob Carter, a man I was happy to work for and to know.
It was a bittersweet afternoon.
Mary D. Ferguson is a staff writer and columnist for the Kentucky New Era. Her column runs every Saturday. She can be reached by telephone at 270-887-3230.