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The Medic and The Man In Black

HonorAir’s Cundall, NFL’s Glanville step up for vets at tournament

HonorAir Knoxville flight coordinator Jim Cundall, left, and former NFL coach Jerry Glanville were the featured speakers at last week’s Smoky Mountains Veterans Golf Classic at Green Meadow Country Club in Alcoa.

By Stefan Cooper
Blount Press Row

He hadn’t slept the night through in 40 years.

Veterans carry with them the rest of their lives memories those who didn’t make it home. The toughest part for many, HonorAir Knoxville flight coordinator Jim Cundall said, is the goodbyes. Often, there wasn’t one.

That’s where HonorAir, which ferries veterans on day trips to our nation’s capital, can really help, Cundall said. For a Vietnam veteran aboard a recent flight, it made all the difference.

Cundall and former NFL coach Jerry Glanville, were the featured speakers at the Smoky Mountains Veterans Golf Classic last week at Green Meadow Country Club. Co-chaired by Carson-Newman assistant coach Tony Ierulli and retired Air Force Col. David Evans, the tournament proceeds go to help fund the HonorAir Knoxville flights.

The next flight is scheduled for Oct. 5.

During his remarks, Cundall, a retired Air National Guard Chief Master Sgt. medic, relayed the story of a Vietnam veteran from a recent trip.

“He lost several of his buddies over there, and that weighed heavily on him,” Cundall said. “It doesn’t go away.

“Often, you don’t even know their gone (during combat) . The battle is still going. You just never see them again.”

At the Vietnam Memorial, Cundall watched as the veteran moved slowly along the wall and found many of the names of fallen friends. Weeks later, the pair met again in Knoxville.

“He said, ‘When I got back home I slept all night,’” Cundall said. “‘I’ve slept all night everyday since.’”

Glanville, 75, drove nine hours to attend last week’s event. The former Atlanta Falcons coach lives in Knoxville but was attending a scheduled March of Dimes fundraiser in Ohio. When Ierulli called earlier this month and asked if he could come by and speak at the tournament, he didn’t have to be asked twice, Glanville said.

“If it’s kids or veterans, it doesn’t matter what I have to do,” Glanville said. “You can’t thank (veterans) enough.”

A knee injury suffered in college football prevented Glanville’s induction into the military during Vietnam. He failed his physical. He never got over it, so much so when President George W. Bush asked for his help during Iraqi Freedom, Glanville rode into Fallujah with the Army’s First Calvary Division.

He was 66.

“The reason I’m here is who you’re helping,” Glanville said, “and I thank you for that.”

The team of Derrick Caulkin, Brad Pesterfield and Mark McCord won this year’s classic with a combined 18-under 54.

A great deal of planning goes into each year’s event. The whole family gets involved, Ierulli said, including wife, Carol, who last week filled in Evans, unable to attend because of a prior commitment.

It’s never been a question of whether he should get behind the tournament, Ierulli said.

“It’s a no-brainer,” he said. “This is something you want to do. Regardless of your politics, we still have to treat our veterans the right way.”

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