MOSHEIM, Tenn. (ABC Tri-Cities) – One Navy veteran who has put his heart and soul into serving his country has made it his mission to continue serving people in his community as well.
Greeneville native, Tracy Solomon left to serve his country and eventually came back to serve his community.
Growing up in a family with a tradition of serving in the military, Tracy Solomon understood the importance of serving. He enlisted in 1990, just three days before his 19th birthday.
“My grandfather having served in the Phillippines during World War II, and my father in Vietnam,” Solomon said. “It was an opportunity to get a higher education, the benefits, education benefits or anything that the U.S. military has to offer are bar none.” 14
Solomon knew this was his calling since he was a teenager.
“My rank was a Petty Officer Second Class.”
He served for six years, having spent the majority of his time in service at the Naval Air Station in Dallas, Texas.
“Everything that the squadrons needed, in regards to avionics and electronic support came from my group,” he said. “It was an interesting experience. Everything was classified, worked behind a cyber door, but again, great group of people. Phenomenal friends both there, the base and civilian life. Outside the base, I had a phenomenal group of friends there as well.”
He even met a few influential people along the way.
“Here is the color guard I attended for President George H.W. Bush. Here I am on the side, much younger version,” he joked as he pointed at a photo of him and his coverts standing beside the former president. There, Solomon performed the color guard for the opening of the Ball Park in Arlington, in front of 42,000 people and led a team for a private event for President Bush.
Another influential person was Captain JD Cannon, who gave Solomon many leadership tasks.
“He took notice of my abilities on the color guard, recommended me as an officer candidate and ensured that whenever there was a high-profile event that I was leading the team. I was not usually the highest-ranking person on the team, but when we stepped out in public I was placed in charge, said Solomon.
He explained that Captain Cannon was the most interesting person he had met while in the Navy.
“Captain Cannon was the commander of our base. He was going to school to become a history professor, when the Vietnam conflict started up. So, instead he became a fighter pilot in the Navy during the Vietnam conflict,” he said.
What he learned in the military has certainly carried forth into his life as a civilian, as he now owns a company called Tevet. The company sells electronic test equipment for rockets and jets.
“Veterans and veterans’ causes are a huge part of Tevet’s DNA, up to including or attempting to hire veterans whenever possible,” Solomon explained.
Aside from helping veterans, Solomon also dedicates much of his time to the community, and even put on a pair of dancing shoes for a good cause. In 2018, he participated in the 2018 Dancing With the Tri-Cities Stars and won best male dancer and was the candidate who raised the most money.
Solomon’s colleague of two years, Brian Fletcher said, “He’s actually impacted me, encouraging me to do more of myself when things arise.”
Fletcher who is a Marine Corps veteran explained Solomon’s leadership at work has spilled into the community tremendously.
“He’s very dedicated to the community. His committment to the community, local veteran organizations, countless charities, the time he spends, not only money but time as well, is mostly what he’s known for,” Fletcher said.
Makinna Traylor has worked with Solomon for the last five years. She explained what she admires most is his emphasis on teamwork in the workplace.
“Tracy really puts a lot of value in teamwork and that’s something that I really appreciate at Tevet. It’s always been pressed upon us that not one person makes Tevet successful, but we as a team make Tevet successful,” Traylor said. “I’ve been able to not only become successful at Tevet, really make a difference in my community, but also be a great mom and have a flexible schedule to give a lot back.”
Being a Volunteer from Tennesse, he volunteered for several things while in the Navy. When asked what is his most proud accomplishment while serving, Solomon said volunteering at a local elementary school to help first graders read, and volunteering for the Navy Color Guard for more than 200 veteran funeral services.
“I did at least two hundred of those. It was amazing because I did veterans from the Korean War, World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War,” Solomon explained.
His most memorable service was for Calvin Graham. He was the youngest person to serve during WWII. Calvin was 11, lied about his age and entered the Navy at age 12.
Other organizations Solomon is involved in are:
Board of Holston Home for Children
Greene County Heritage Trust
Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 42
Owner of the Capitol Theatre of Greeneville (which hosts non-profit organizations)