NASHVILLE — A Sullivan County family with three generations and more than 175 collective years of service in law enforcement — and counting — was honored by the Tennessee House of Representatives earlier this month for its courage and fortitude.
The Mooneyham, Jackson, Mannering family was recognized on the floor of the legislative chamber on March 12 by Rep. Bud Hulsey, himself a retired police officer.
Among those honored were:
* The late Sgt. Paul Mooneyham Sr., who served 22 years with the Tennessee Highway Patrol and was the state’s first accident reconstructionist. He was also a police academy instructor at Walters State Community College. He died in the line of duty, succumbing to a heart attack while working an accident that took the life of a Sullivan County deputy.
* His wife, Phylis Mooneyham-Thompson, who served 28 years with the THP and was the first female commercial vehicle inspector in Tennessee.
* Their son, Sgt. Paul Mooneyham Jr., who is a 32-year veteran of the THP.
* Their daughter, Phylis “Eve” Mooneyham-Jackson, who served 32 years with the Hawkins County Sheriff’s Office, became the HCSO’s first female detective and highest ranking female officer in the history of the HCSO and retired last year as a detective lieutenant.
Eve Jackson’s husband, Jeff Jackson, a 37-year veteran of the Mount Carmel Police Department, who has been chief for 20 years.
Jeff and Eve’s oldest son, Cpl. Dustin Jackson, who is a 15-year veteran of the KPD and was shot in the line of duty on Nov. 19 2017, but returned to active duty Jan. 23.
Jeff and Eve’s second son, Travis Jackson, has been a deputy with the SCSO for nine years, receiving 31 commendations and appearing in 16 episodes of the TV show “Southern Justice.”
Hulsey also recognized another daughter of Paul Sr. and Phylis, Teresa Mannering, whose daughter Brianna is an officer with the JCPD. Hulsey also recognized Briana’s boyfriend, who is a deputy with the Washington County Sheriff’s Office.
Hulsey noted that three members of the extended family also serve in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation and Chattanooga Police Department.
A proclamation which “honored and commended” the family for its courage and fortitude in serving and protecting the people of Northeast Tennessee was read before the House.
Few families have produced such a large number of devoted public servants, and the proclamation expressed gratitude for a “dangerous job well done.”
“This family has always meant a great deal to me, to produce so many folks in law enforcement,” Hulsey said. “For the millions of miles you ran in cruisers, for the thousands and thousands of reports you took, for enforcing the statutes that this House enacts — you are the keepers of the gate of this republic. ... This House wants to honor you and thank you.”
“On behalf of my family, the Mooneyhams, the Mannerings, and the Jacksons, we would like to say it is truly an honor and a privilege to stand here before you,” Jeff Jackson said. “It truly humbles us for you all to honor us for our service. It’s just unbelievable that somebody thinks highly of a police department anymore. We don’t see it out on the streets. We do try to enforce everything that you bring through these chambers, and we try to do it the the best of our ability. All I can say this is evidence right here of how committed all the different departments that we represent really are.”