Fred Lewis

BLOUNTVILLE — Retired Northeast State Community College employee Fred Lewis was one of 34 military veterans honored on Veterans Day with the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) inaugural Chancellor’s Commendation award.

The TBR and Chancellor Flora W. Tydings established the new commendation as a system-level award to honor the service, bravery and sacrifices of military veterans at community and technical colleges.

It supplements the Veterans Day ceremonies, observances and recognitions that the colleges traditionally conduct.

Lewis, the college’s former vice president for administrative services and chief information officer, served in active duty in the Air Force from 1976 to 1980. He was stationed at Langley Air Force Base in Hampton, Virginia, serving as an intelligence operations specialist in the 9th Tactical Intelligence Squadron and the 460th Reconnaissance Technical Squadron.

Lewis attained the rank of staff sergeant during his Air Force service.

After graduate school at East Tennessee State University, Lewis served as an intelligence officer in the Naval Reserve. His duty stations were in Knoxville and Atlanta. He worked at the Pentagon, the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Naval Technical Intelligence Command in Washington, D.C., along with the Atlantic Intelligence Command in Norfolk, Virginia. He rose to the rank of lieutenant commander during his Navy years.

“While undeserving of the award compared to the service of so many other dedicated veterans, I am honored and humbled to be named as a recipient,” Lewis said. “It was an honor serving our country and wearing the uniform of its military service. Many sincere thanks to the college for nominating me for this recognition.”

Lewis worked at NSCC from 2001 to 2019.

Recipients of the new Chancellor’s Commendation were nominated by the college presidents and include students, faculty, staff and alumni.

As part of their Veterans Day observances, the college presidents will present recipients of the commendation a special Challenge Coin on behalf of the chancellor. Challenge coins are a rich tradition in all military branches and signify notable achievement, excellence, hard work, unit pride, respect and esprit de corps.

During the 2019-20 academic year, 3,436 students in the college system of Tennessee self-reported as veterans and active-duty military personnel on their admission materials. Since such reporting is not required, there are likely more student veterans. They are in addition to the many veterans in the faculty, staff and alumni ranks.