published Monday, November 12th, 2012

Town Talk

World War II Army Air Force veterans Dale Studer and Joseph Armstrong, both from Chattanooga, stand at attention for the National Anthem during the opening ceremony at the Remembering Our Heroes event in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
World War II Army Air Force veterans Dale Studer and Joseph Armstrong, both from Chattanooga, stand at attention for the National Anthem during the opening ceremony at the Remembering Our Heroes event in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga.
Contributed Photo


FOR THE FIRST time, Chattanooga will host the 25th annual Miss Black USA Pageant.

"It is a blessing to see this dream realized and for my hometown to host this outstanding event," said Chattanoogan Lorean Mays, Miss Black Tennessee USA executive director. "[We] have received nothing but love and support from the community and that is the true heart and spirit of Chattanoogans."

Mays served as Miss Black Tennessee USA from 2005-2006.

The 2013 pageant theme is "Honoring Our Past, Honoring Our Legacy."

It's the premiere pageant for women of color across the country, Mays said.

"Founded in 1986 by Karen Arrington, the mission of Miss Black USA Pageant, Miss Black USA, Inc. is to redefine what it means to be a courageous, compassionate, and confident African American woman," according to a news release.

The 2013 Miss Black Tennessee USA Pageant will be held on Dec. 1 in the University Cent Auditorium at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. WRCB TV anchor LaTrice Currie-Tucker WNOO radio personality Sam Terry will host. Special guest judge will be rhythm and blues artist/radio host Winston Warrior.

To recognize this event, Gov. Bill Haslam declared the week of Nov. 25-Dec. 1 as "Miss Black Tennessee USA Week" across the state.

Other proclamations from the House of Representatives and Mayors of Chattanooga, Knoxville, Jackson followed to observe Dec. 1, 2012, as "Miss Black Tennessee USA Day."

"Receiving a day of recognition was an honor but for the governor to acknowledge us and then declare we have a full week was a blessing," Mays said. "All of the hard work that has been done has paved the way for this to be our reality."

Seven women from across the state will compete for the crown and title, Mays said. The contestants are Megan Piphus, Kayla Moore, Gabrielle Lewis, Porshal Reid, Katara Grissom, Ariel Smith and Montrice Hampton. The contestants were selected based on their outstanding work in their respective career fields as well as being committed to their communities.

"Giving back is the cornerstone of Miss Black USA," Mays said. "Being successful yet giving selflessly to others who may need a helping hand or just providing encouragement verbally. A lot of women have gone above and beyond for others and their communities, yet never receive the recognition they truly deserve."

Miss Black Tennessee USA 2013 will serve as ambassador for the Heart Truth Campaign and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

Tickets cost $10 and be purchased through Nov. 30 at The cost will be $20 at the door. For more information, visit


THE THIRD ANNUAL Remembering Our Heroes event, the 6th Cavalry Museum's signature fundraiser, was held recently in Fort Oglethorpe, Ga., and honored the Armed Forces with an opening ceremony, living history displays, mock World War II battles, a S.O.S. cook-off, and USO Show.

"The Third Army Living Historians traveled from seven states to re-create (Gen. George) Patton's war briefing tent, communications center, mess and medical tent," said Chris McKeever, 6th Cavalry Museum executive director.

Gen. Patton was portrayed by Denny Hair of Houston, Texas. He brought along his authentically restored World War II command car, McKeever said.

Ten World War II veterans recognized at the opening ceremony were Army Air Force veterans Joseph Armstrong and Dale Studer; Marine veteran Walter Burdett; Army veterans Jackson Campbell, John Crownover, Charles Holt, Bill Scheg and Jesse Sparkman, and Navy veterans George Palmer and Tom Phillips. Each veteran was greeted by Fort Oglethorpe city councilman Eddie Stinnett and presented with a commemorative pin.

USO show performers portrayed World War II-era celebrities Alison Chambers as Betty Grable, Ashley Feagins as Rita Hayworth, and Jennelle Gilreath as Judy Garland.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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