Henry honors American heroes at National NRA Foundation Banquet
Henry Repeating Arms Honors Veterans, 1st Responders and an NRA Instructor at The NRA 2015 Annual Meetings & Exhibits on April 9, 2015
As a sponsor of the event, Anthony Imperato, President of Henry Repeating Arms, chose to recognize local heroes of the community who’ve proven to go above and beyond the call of duty by inviting them to the stage to thank them for their service. Each honoree was presented with a rifle from Henry’s line of commemorative tribute rifles.
Imperato called forward 19 first responders, veterans, and active military members to join him on stage, reading aloud their accomplishments of service to our country and its citizens. The emotional response from both Imperato and the crowd was an incredible sight as they gave a deafening standing ovation to these men and women – true heroes for our country.
Henry Repeating Arms President Anthony Imperato talks with Mark Keefe about his company’s charitable causes.
Imperato started by proclaiming NRA Instructors the unsung heroes of the firearms industry. “They take their personal time and spend their own money to promote firearm safety and teach youth shooting sports so our traditions can continue,” he explained. Instructor Leroy Farris of Rockvale was brought to the stage and presented with a Henry Silver Eagle rifle.
“Thank You for saving lives every day,” Imperato said as he presented first responders to thank them for their service. Amy Moore, a flight nurse of Ethridge received an EMS Tribute Rifle; Joshua Smith, a firefighter Engineer of Franklin received a Firefighter Tribute Rifle; and Officer Katy Davis of Knoxville received a Law Enforcement Tribute Rifle.
The final presentation recognized those who fought and risked their lives for our freedoms by serving or currently serving in the Armed Forces. Four Active Duty and eleven Veterans received a Henry Military Service Tribute Rifle. “These men and women along with their families sacrificed to protect this great country of ours, and we owe our freedom to them today,” Imperato said, choking back tears. “Thank You for your service to our country, God Bless You and God Bless the United States of America,” he continued as the crowd of 2000 people stood and applauded the honorees.
Veteran recipients included Edgar Harrell of Clarksville who served in the U.S. Marine Corps and is one of only 317 to survive the sinking of The Indianapolis in WW2; David Gray of Springfield who served in the U.S. Army in Iraq where he saved the lives of several of his men when he shielded them from an improvised explosive device and was later wounded during a rocket attack, Jimmy Gentry of Franklin who served as Staff Sargent in the U.S. Army and fought overseas in WW2; Linc Van Sickel of Somerset, PA who served in the U.S. Army in Korea; J.T. Tenpenny of Nashville who spent 28 years in the U.S. Marine Corps and served during Vietnam; Jack Spangler of Goodlettsville who served as a Buck Sergeant in the U.S. Army in Vietnam; Ray Harvey of Nashville who served as a Captain in the U.S. Navy in Vietnam; Charles York of Kingsport who served in the U.S. Air Force in the Gulf War; Dana Nicholson of Clarksville who served as a Captain and Nurse in the U.S. Army in Iraq; Bill Slocum of Lebanon who served as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Air Force in Afghanistan and Lt. Colonel Chuck Haley of Adams who served in the U.S. Air Force and flew missions over Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and the Persian Gulf.
Active Duty Recipients were Staff Sergeant Brenda Curry of Clarksville who serves in the U.S. Army and has been deployed to Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan; Major Brandy Johnson of Nashville who serves in the U.S. Air Force as a Senior Pilot and participated in multiple freedom operations; Master Sergeant Heather Yates of Estill Springs who serves in the U.S. Air Force and has been deployed to ten countries; and Danielle Panting of Nashville who serves in the U.S. Navy and participated in Operation Enduring Freedom in Kuwait. As active-duty service members are not permitted to accept the rifles, their rifles will be donated to the individuals’ local American Legion posts. Imperato promised each of them a raincheck for the rifles upon their retirements.
Imperato said the impetus for this presentation was that he was “tired of gun owners getting a black eye,” and wanted to highlight the positive side of firearm ownership. “I wanted to show the world how great the firearm industry is and how good law-abiding gun owners are.” Thus he formed “Guns for Great Causes” with his company, which financially supports charitable causes such as sick children, wounded veterans and youth shooting sports programs. Watch Anthony explain more during the video interview with Mark Keefe, Editor-In-Chief of American Rifleman.