Skip to Main Content

Governor Lee Recognizes Tennessee Veterans

Governor honored five outstanding veteran state employees at annual Veterans Day event
Friday, November 08, 2019 | 03:30pm

Nashville – Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, Tennessee Department of Veterans Services Commissioner Courtney Rogers and Tennessee Adjutant General Major General Jeff Holmes honored and recognized five veteran state employees and more than 450,000 Tennessee veterans of all ages and eras at the annual Governor’s Veterans Day event today on the Tennessee Tower Plaza in downtown Nashville.

“Tennessee’s veterans have gone above and beyond to serve their country,” said Lee. “Today, we are proud to honor exceptional veteran state employees who have improved state programs, saved taxpayer dollars, motivated their coworkers and delivered unbeatable customer service.”

“Veterans Day is a day to celebrate all who have ever served in our nation’s military,” said Rogers. “Thank you, for protecting our freedoms and our sovereignty in the past, today and in the future.”

“Of all the holidays, Veterans Day is one of only a few special days that should hold the Nation’s highest honor. The celebrations, events and parades across the Nation this weekend is vitally important in ensuring we honor those that are serving and have served and we as a country never take that selfless service for granted,” said Holmes. “I know this country is grateful and these events prepare our next generation of youth to maintain that gratefulness.”

Lee recognized the achievements of five outstanding veteran state employees currently making a difference within their area of expertise. The employees have over 95 years of combined service to the state of Tennessee.

James Barnes currently serves as the Fiscal Director of the Tennessee Emergency Communications Board in the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. Previously, Petty Officer Second Class Barnes worked as a Communications Technician for six years in the U.S. Navy. He consistently receives positive feedback for his service to local 911 districts and is known for constantly seeking ways to ensure that every citizen has “access to the life-saving power of 911.”

Edward “Gray” Bishop currently serves as the State Public Health Registrar in the division of Vital Health and Statistics at the Tennessee Department of Health. Previously, Senior Master Sergeant Bishop worked as a Cyber Operations Superintendent while working for 25 years in the U.S. Air Force. A beloved leader, Bishop has transformed his division by increasing efficiency in birth and death registrations and by spearheading a major IT project.

Dr. Kenneth Hanson currently serves as the Senior Director of Veterans Education for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission in Nashville. Previously, Major Hanson served in various roles during his 23 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, including as an Air Advisor and Student Commander while deployed to Iraq. Today, Hanson manages $1 million in Veteran Reconnect grants and works to provide access and resources for student veterans in Tennessee.

Cynthia Howard currently serves as the Title VI Director of the Civil Rights Division of the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Previously, Staff Sergeant Howard worked as a Recruiter while serving for 13 years in the U.S. Marine Corps. Howard has led her team in delivering the best customer service and product possible to partners while receiving numerous recognitions and awards from the Federal Highway Administration.

Robin Peeler is a Parks Area Manager for Tennessee State Parks. Previously, Sergeant Peeler served for four years in the U.S. Army. Following the September 11th attacks, Peeler served an additional four years in the U.S. Army Reserves. Peeler has developed comprehensive sustainability efforts that has reduced impact and created cost-savings across Tennessee state parks. She also develops programs that generate revenue and increase the overall health of state parks, resources and wildlife.