In a belated Veterans Day celebration, Tennessee and local officials gathered Wednesday to honor retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Carl Levi by dedicating Chattanooga's National Guard Armory to the 88-year-old veteran and civil servant.
The armory on Holtzclaw Avenue, formerly the CSM Bobby G. Davis armory, will be renamed to include Levi, who served in the Guard from 1952-1987 and as the city of Chattanooga's treasurer from 1985-2001. The historic armory, which opened in 1941, recently underwent a more than $5 million renovation that was approved by the State Building Commission in 2017.
At the dedication event, state Reps. Patsy Hazlewood and Robin Smith, state Sen. Todd Gardenhire and Gov. Bill Lee honored Levi, thanking him for his service to both his country and community.
"It's not very often you get the commander in chief of the Tennessee National Guard to come visit you," Levi said about the governor's visit.
"That says something about you, doesn't it?" Lee said, thanking Levi. "I heard a lot about you and that's the reason I'm here. I'm just glad I get to be here to honor you and your service. I know everyone in this room certainly appreciates who you are and what you have meant to this community, to your country and to the world, quite frankly."
Levi individually thanked most of the attendees, including his sister and cousins, city council members Carol Berz, Chip Henderson and Erskine Oglesby, and several members of the local National Guard.
Gardenhire and Levi recalled the general's innovative leadership as city treasurer and in his nearly 47 years on Chattanooga's pension board, where he still serves.
"You have got to love a good leader. And General, as shown by the number of people that are here today and the number of well-respected leaders, as well as your family, your community and the military, it's evident that you have been a profound servant to this community," Lee added. "And it's evident that you've also served your country and lived a life of service. Men like you inspire those of us around you to continue to serve."
During the event, Lee signed a Senate bill introduced by Gardenhire this summer that formally renames the facility the CSM Bobby G. Davis and BG Carl E. Levi Armory.
During the signing, Lee and Levi credited their respective public service to their shared Christian faith.
"I'm glad that we share a love for Christ, and I appreciate his guidance for you," the governor told Levi.
"It's what it's all about," Levi replied.
Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at 423-757-6416 or firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @_SarahGTaylor.