News Flash Home
The original item was published from 11/11/2021 8:41:28 AM to 11/11/2021 9:39:12 AM.

News Flash

Community Updates

Posted on: November 11, 2021

[ARCHIVED] A Special Update from Mayor Lee Harris: Appreciating Our Veterans

Updates FB Image

I say quite often that Shelby County is the greatest county in Tennessee. Many things make our county great. Shelby County’s more than 52,000 veterans are at the top of the list.

Earlier this week, we came together for our 4th Annual Shelby County Government Military Veteran Employee Appreciation Breakfast. It is our way to thank those who have been in service and of service to our community. We also announced our first Shelby County Veteran of the Year, retired Staff Sergeant Johnny Toy. Staff Sergeant Toy is a disease intervention specialist with the Shelby County Health Department and served in the U.S. Army from 1987 to 2012. He is a decorated soldier who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Staff Sergeant Toy was chosen for his conscientious work in County Government, our community, the faith community, and in education.

No group deserves our appreciation more than the women and men who have served their country in uniform. They were prepared to sacrifice everything for something you can't buy or touch or put a price on, American values, freedom, and the protection of others.

MLH with Veteran of the Year nominee (2)

At our 4th Annual Shelby County Government Military Veteran Employee Appreciation Breakfast we recognized those who served our country. 

Today, there are more than 20 million military veterans in our country. Shelby County’s more than 52,000 military veterans represent a larger per capita population than a majority of states. It is also more than any other county in Tennessee. During the Civil War, abolitionist Fredrick Douglass recruited former slaves to fight for the Union and for abolition. It is estimated that by the end of the war, 198,000 Black men served in the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy. This tradition of military service for African Americans dates back to the American Revolution.

Douglass wrote: "Once let the Black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, a musket on his shoulder, and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny he has earned the right to citizenship in the United States." There is a certain kind of dignity earned through military service.

Offering a verbal "thank you" to our veterans should be a given. In Shelby County, we have also tried to thank them through our actions. Recently, Shelby County doubled the staff of the Veterans Services Office, which effectively doubles their access to the benefits and services that they’ve earned. Veterans and their family members reach out to the office for information on health services, including mental health services, home loans, disability claims, and pensions. This expanded staff ensures more resources reach veterans and their loved ones.

We have also opened a second Veterans Services Office in Millington. Today, Millington is home to the Naval Support Activity Mid-South. But we have had a military installation in Millington for decades. It is also where a significant percentage of military members have retired. This second office in Millington puts the services they need closer to many of our veterans.

We will always be thankful for the service, the courage, and the sacrifices our women and men in uniform have made to safeguard us and our freedoms. We’re thankful today, on Veterans Day, and every day.


Please note that data, text, graphics, logos, pictures and other features on this website may be protected by U.S. copyright laws. Under the "fair use" section of the U.S. copyright laws, materials may be used for noncommercial; educational purposes, such as teaching, scholarship, research, criticism, and commentary; and news reporting. Please cite (refer to) the website address ( for any fair use of the content.

Commercial use is prohibited without prior approval from Shelby County Government (SCG). For commercial use, please contact Shelby County Government – Public Records at (901) 222-2100 or e-mail SCG does not warrant that use of the content will not infringe upon any separate rights owned by third-parties who are not affiliated with SCG. Copyrights in some of the content are owned by other individuals and entities.

Facebook Twitter Email