KEVIN BEAVERS, 32
Mr. Soddy-Daisy High School 2003; 2002 TSSAA Class 5-A Linebacker of the Year; 2003 JROTC Cadet of the Year for the state of Tennessee; 4-year member of the Army Black Knights football team (linebacker); 2008 United States Military Academy at West Point graduate commissioned as an officer in the Air Defense Artillery; graduate of the U.S. Army Ranger School, Pathfinder School, Airborne School, Air Assault School, Joint Firepower School and Level 2 Anti-Terrorism School; deployed as a platoon leader to Basra, Iraq, January 2010-2011; battery commander for D/3-4 ADA for 13 months; battery commander for HHB/3-4 ADA for 12 months; deployed as a battery commander to Jordan and CENTCOM AOR [where I was] responsible for the welfare and safety of 200 soldiers, their families and $350 million of equipment; lead board recorder for the Army's highest level of promotion, command and school boards; served as the principal advisor to the Army's most senior officials; personally selected to deploy to Kabul, Afghanistan, to advise the president and ministers of interior and defense on how to develop, institute and conduct the country's first-ever centralized general officer selection board; department head for military science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; selected for promotion to the rank of major on the most recent centralized selection board; married to my high school sweetheart, Stefanie Wittler, who also happened to become Miss Tennessee 2009.
What's your anthem or theme song?
Robert Tepper's "No Easy Way Out."
If you were a musician, what would your stage or band name be?
Sammy Adams and the Patriots. I like history, I like the beer, and I like having a good time with patriotic Americans, so it seems like a great band to form.
If you were starting a band, who from your life would you pick to be in it and why?
First of all, my wife, Stefanie, would be the lead vocalist because she is known as the songbird of our generation (name that movie!). Everyone knows that I can barely sing Army running cadences, never mind an actual song. However, I do play a mean air guitar.
My brother, Scott, a retired Army staff sergeant, would be on the bass guitar because he has been known to throw down a few jam sessions and has the full sleeve tattoo and beard to go with it. He is basically a rock 'n' roll Viking now.
My best friend since birth (and now a Chattanooga police officer) Jason Clemons would be on lead guitar, because we sing a mean duet of "Bad Boys," the theme song from the show "COPS." And, he survived a direct hit from a tornado, so that's perfect inspiration for a lead guitarist.
Shredding on the drums would be the 1st Sergeant from my first battery command, Justin Taylor. As 1st Sgt., Justin maintained the beat for the whole unit and enabled me to command at my best and keep the operational tempo flowing smoothly for our soldiers.
Backup singer is my West Point classmate and Army football teammate Ryan Brence. Ryan is the greatest guy anyone has ever met. We graduated Ranger School together and he has always been there when I needed him to help pick me up through the bad times and celebrate with me through the good times, just like any backup singer is there to help the team.
Every famous band has to have security, and providing security for us all would be Kalib Karns. Kalib is a semi-pro men's physique bodybuilder. I met Kalib on my first deployment to Iraq, where he was serving as a contractor for one of our intercept weapon systems that could shoot down incoming rockets, artillery and mortars from out of the sky before they could land and kill our troops. He is not only a physically strong individual, but his core mission in life is protecting other people, and he has saved countless lives of not only American soldiers but of our friends and allied soldiers as well. We hit it off from the first day and have stayed best friends since. Even though Kalib is technically a civilian, he has voluntarily deployed 36 months to Iraq and 29 months to Afghanistan to serve others, and that's the kind of guy I would want having our backs. (Even though my back is small and he says I need to do more lat pull-downs.)
Which member of the band would you be?
I would be on lead wooden blocks and as manager. Why wooden blocks? Well it's kind of like the one "SNL" skit with Will Ferrell about the cowbell. I was in music class in elementary and as each music class came and went, my music teacher would slowly move me from one musical instrument to another — each one being slightly less impressive and supposedly less difficult to play. I was even fired from the triangle. One day he settled with me having two wooden blocks that only on rare occasion was I supposed to actually bang together, as this elusive thing called a "beat" was tough for me to find.
If you achieved rock star status, what would you hope it would be for?
Honestly, I would not want to achieve star status, as it goes against what I've been trained to do since Lt. Col. Ron Travers (Retired), Master Sgt. Ed Barnes (Retired) and Master Sgt. Johnny Manis (Retired) taught me in JROTC at Soddy-Daisy High School about selfless service and being a servant leader in the profession of arms. This was only further ingrained and enforced during my time at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and I embrace that leadership style. I am currently the department head of military science (Army ROTC) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. I am still on active duty in the Army and I love my current assignment. I love being an educator, a mentor and a role model for these cadets, who trust me to take them on a four-year journey that is not only going to make them college graduates, but a commissioned officer in the United States Army. We have a small program compared to some, but don't let the size fool you. We have a proud and distinguished program that has even produced a few general officers, most notably retired four-star Gen. B.B. Bell, who still serves our community and as a mentor to me. My "star status" is achieved every May when I have the honor to commission Chattanooga's newest second lieutenants, who some day may become the next Gen. B.B. Bell.
Random green room demand?
A steamer pack of Krystal hamburgers (with cheese) and a bottle of Chattanooga Whiskey Single Barrel.
Who are your top influencers (not necessarily musically)?
God has blessed me with an incredible set of people who have significantly influenced my life: My parents, Sid and Janice Beavers, as they instilled the core values of respect, hard work and never-quit attitude since the earliest days of my life. My wife, Stefanie, who has, over the past 16 years of being together, helped mold me into the man I am today.
I have been blessed with a plethora of civilian and military mentors who have each helped and guided me down this sometimes crazy journey of life.
Not all influencers come from a top-down approach. One of my most significant influencers are my soldiers that I have had the honor to command both in garrison and combat. Soldiers expect their leaders to lead from the front and be the beacon of what "right" looks like at all times. They will look to you in the heat of the moment and say, "What do we do now, sir?!" and you'd better have an answer. They rely on you to help them through their own journey of life, personally and professionally. You're there to celebrate their victories, not yours. I always wanted to excel at West Point and my Army training not for personal gratification, but because I knew that my soldiers were counting on me to be the best, entrusting me to make them combat ready and get them back to their families safely from a deployment.
Lastly, the cadets in my Army ROTC program at UT-Chattanooga. They are counting on me to prepare them for what I have mentioned about taking care of soldiers, and I do not take that responsibility lightly. They may lead some of the very soldiers I commanded, and I want them to have the best! They push me to be a better leader every day, and are why it's so important to be a lifelong learner and constantly strive to improve physical fitness, mental resilience and intellectual capacity.
Which musical style best describes your personality?
Classic rock with a dash of Sinatra.
Who would write the soundtrack to your life and why?
The 82nd Airborne Chorus. They get me, they know what the lifestyle is like as they are active duty service members themselves, and they are absolutely amazing. My wife and I saw them at a West Point Founder's Day dinner in Fort Bragg, N.C., and have been hooked since.
First album you bought for yourself?
"Journey: Greatest Hits."
If you could change one thing about Chattanooga, what would it be?
Chattanooga is an amazing city with fantastic leaders. I did not realize just how special this city truly was until I started my travels around the country and the world. Each time I came home, I only became more grateful for Chattanooga.
I have been fascinated with leadership and bravery since I was a child watching the 1980's cartoon "G.I. Joe" while eating my Fruit Loops before school. Their incredible bravery against insurmountable odds seemed only possible in the realm of cartoons — or so I thought until my first visit to the Medal of Honor Museum at Northgate Mall. So deceiving was the small space ran by volunteers that housed an overwhelming amount of real life heroes. Their stories, their sacrifices, their care and concern for their fellow comrades was so deeply humbling and moving. Major Gen. Bill Raines (Retired) is leading the charge to get the funding to transform the Medal of Honor Museum into the Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center and move it right to heart of downtown within Aquarium Plaza. I would love to see Chattanooga get behind this cause. Many already have, including several veteran organizations as they see the value in not only the physical space with the interactive experience, but also the Character Development Program that focuses on six characteristics that all the MOH recipients share: courage, commitment, sacrifice, patriotism, integrity and citizenship. I am very excited about this project and it would be the one thing that I would change about Chattanooga.
To what cause would you donate the proceeds from your first benefit?
The Charles H. Coolidge Medal of Honor Heritage Center.