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Late Rocky Top Fire Chief among those honored by state

(TDSHS press release)  The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security hosted the Three Stars of Tennessee Award and First Responder Recognition Ceremony today. The Three Stars of Tennessee Award honors public servants who have­­ sacrificed their lives or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty. Governor Bill Lee, First Lady Maria Lee, Commissioner Jeff Long, State Senator Becky Massey (Knoxville), and Greg Mays, Director of the Tennessee Office of Homeland Security joined recipients, their family members, and agency representatives to honor seven recipients with the “Three Stars of Tennessee Award.”                                    

“This event is special and important to the Department of Safety and Homeland Security,” Commissioner Jeff Long said. “Especially during these trying times, we are incredibly grateful for our brothers and sisters in law enforcement who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve the people of Tennessee. Our hearts go out to their families and loved ones and we are honored to present them with this award.”  

During this ceremony, 18 first responders were recognized with First Responder awards for their heroic actions.  

This ceremony has been a long-standing tradition in memory of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. State Senator Becky Massey spearheaded legislation to recognize law enforcement, firefighters, and medical first responders who were either killed or suffered a career-ending injury in the line of duty. The law (TCA 4-1-501) to allow for the “Three Stars of Tennessee Award” passed during the 2014 legislative session.    

The “Three Stars of Tennessee Award” honorees accompany this release, as well as a list of those individuals who received First Responder awards. Click here to watch a video recording of today’s ceremony.     

Three Stars of Tennessee Award Honorees    

Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer 

Rocky Top Fire Department 

Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer, while on-duty, responded to a medical call on Dec. 11, 2020 with another firefighter. It was determined later that the patient had COVID-19. He and the firefighter both contracted the virus. Chief Ronald “Ronnie” Gene Spitzer passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 13, 2021 from the disease.

Officer Christopher “Scotty” Triplett 

Memphis Police Department 

Captain Anthony Jackson 

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office 

Officer Toby Keiser 

Knox County Sheriff’s Office 

Deputy Sheriff Ray W. McCrary, Jr. 

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office 

Deputy Jeremy Smith 

Shelby County Sheriff’s Office 

Officer Bobby R. Montgomery  

Memphis Police Department 

First Responder Recognition Recipients 

Amanda L. Johnston, Loudon County E911 

Investigator Brandon Glover, Knoxville Police Department 

Investigator Brandon Stryker, Knoxville Police Department 

“The Nashville 6”: 

 Sergeant Timothy Miller, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Officer Tylor Luellen, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Officer Amanda Topping, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Officer Brenna Hosey, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Officer James Wells, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Officer Michael Sipos, Metro Nashville Police Department 

Nashville Fire Department 

Edwin Hogan, Cheatham County Emergency Management 

Sergeant Eric Trout, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office 

Major Terence D. Jackson, Memphis Police Department 

Lieutenant Adrian Flagg, Shelby County Fire Department 

Firefighter/Paramedic Quinton Johnson, Shelby County Fire Department 

Firefighter Jeremy Roberts, Shelby County Fire Department 

Special Agent Forensic Scientist Kenna Icet, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 

Special Agent Forensic Scientist Heather Lenzy, Tennessee Bureau of Investigation 

About Jim Harris

Jim Harris has been WYSH's News & Sports Director since 2000. In addition to reporting local news, he is the play-by-play voice for Clinton High School football, boys' and girls' basketball and baseball. Catch Jim live weekdays beginning at 6:30 am for live local news, sports, weather and traffic plus the Community Bulletin Board, shenanigans with Ron Meredith and more on the Country Club Morning Show on WYSH & WQLA. Jim lives in Clinton with his wife Kelly and daughter Carolina, and cats Oliver, Bow and Libby.

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