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Local Heroes Honored at Red Cross Luncheon

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By Robert W Wallace

Jackson, Tennesee, May 15, 2014. The Jackson Area Chapter of the American Red Cross recognized three members of the Jackson, Tennessee, community for their exceptional community service at its second annual Heroes Luncheon.

Maxine McNatt was recognized as the American Red Cross Volunteer of the Year, Captain Robert “Bob” Layman of the Jackson Fire Department, received the Uniformed Hero of the Year award, and Roy Heatherly of the Jackson Sun newspaper received the Humanitarian of the Year award.

McNatt has been a volunteer with the Red Cross since 1975. As a Red Cross Grey Lady at Jackson Madison County General Hospital, McNatt works five days a week and has logged over 50,000 hours of volunteer service. “She is one of our most reliable volunteers,” said Wendie Carlson, Vice-President of Human Resources at West Tennessee Healthcare and Board Member of the Jackson Area Chapter of the Red Cross. “She still does her own yard work…and never misses as day unless she is taking down a tree or some similar task.”

Layman has been a member of the Jackson Fire Department for 27 years and for the last 15 years has served as the Fire Department Chaplain in addition to his regular duties as Captain. In presenting the award to Layman, Deputy Chief David Dillingham noted that Layman had received the Jackson Fire Department Citation Medal for his heroic rescue of a bedridden person through the window of a building awash with flames.

After receiving the Uniformed Hero of the Year award, Layman shared his feeling that everyone in the room, especially his wife and fellow members of the Jackson Fire Department, are all heroes. “I know that there are people in this room who would lay down their lives for me if necessary,” said Layman.

Humanitarian of the Year, Roy Heatherly is Publisher of the Jackson Sun newspaper. Mark Kahler, Union University Associate Vice President for University Communications and a Board Member of the Jackson Area Chapter of the Red Cross, recited a long list of important community organizations in which Heatherly is a key player. “I don’t know how he finds the time to do all that he does,” said Kahler.

Heatherly began work with the Gannett Co., owner of the Jackson Sun, in 1980 and came to the Jackson Sun in 2008. Over the years he has received a number of awards from the Gannett Co. for his excellent work.

“I consider my wife and my mother to be heroes,” said Heatherly after accepting the award and stating that he really did not feel it was deserved. 

Heatherly also shared that he dedicates his life to honoring God, and to him there is no better way to honor God than to help someone else. “That’s what drives me on a daily basis,” he concluded.