Tennessee Places POW/MIA Chair of Honor in Neyland Stadium


Tennessee Athletics has added another chapter to its longstanding history of honoring the greatest of all Volunteers—our country’s service men and women—with this week’s installation of a POW/MIA Chair of Honor inside Neyland Stadium.
The chair is meant to remain vacant in honor of those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy today. Two seats nearby will be used by a specially selected “Volunteer of the Game” on each home football date, starting with Saturday night’s clash against Florida.
The University of Tennessee is believed to be the first university in the state to have a dedicated POW/MIA seat in one of its athletic facilities. The seat has an expansive view of the stadium from section ZZ12, including a clear view of the names and retired numbers of Tennessee’s four football lettermen—Clyde “Ig” Fuson, Rudy Klarer, Bill Nowling and Willis Tucker—who died while serving the country in World War II.
When this idea was in the conceptual stages, Tennessee Athletics worked closely with veteran and Student Government Association (SGA) Senator Dave Branham, who represents veterans’ interests at the university and works closely with the campus’s Veterans Resource Center.
“East Tennessee and the University of Tennessee is a proud veteran community,” Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer said. “Being involved with and honoring our nation’s armed forces has always been a point of emphasis within the Athletics Department. The Chair of Honor is one more element we hope will pay tribute to the military community—in this case, the brave men and women who are still prisoners of war or missing in action.
“As the (chair’s) plaque reads, there will always be a place in Neyland Stadium awaiting their return.”
Tennessee Athletics’ history of military appreciation includes sending care packages and flags as well as signed items to active military overseas, armed forces contracting ceremonies during athletic events, incorporating local ROTC programs in pregame/event presentations and “Salute to Service” events for active military, veterans and military families. 
“The next step in broadening our involvement is this POW/MIA Chair of Honor,” Associate Athletics Director for Fan Experience & Sales Jimmy Delaney said. “We have seen it in a select few professional and college venues and thought it fit perfectly in Neyland Stadium, given its roots and namesake.”
In conjunction with the new Chair of Honor, Tennessee also will now fly the National League of Families POW/MIA flag at Neyland Stadium.
In 2017, U.S. News and World Report ranked UT 35th among public schools in its “Best Colleges for Veterans” list, recognizing UT’s strong support for veterans and their families. And in 2014, the University of Tennessee became the first school in the state and only the sixth nationally to receive Purple Heart designation from the Military Order of the Purple Heart based on the university’s commitment to veterans and the military.

Since World War II, more than 82,000 soldiers are unaccounted for.

This unoccupied chair is in honor of the brave men and women who are still Prisoners of War or Missing in Action, and symbolizes there will always be a place in Neyland Stadium awaiting their return.

We are all thankful.

You will not be forgotten.

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