Wings of Freedom nets $64,000 for nonprofits

Fish Fry held annually at Smyrna Airport

DNJ, SMYRNA, September 8, 2012 — The folks who participated at the 10th annual Wings of Freedom Fish Fry Saturday raised more than $64,000 for local nonprofits, Rotary Club of Smyrna organizers said.

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“We have exceeded last year,” said Mike Waller, chairman of the Rotary committee that planned the food festival held every year at Smyrna Airport. “It’s gotten a little bit bigger with participation. The best part of the fish fry is we can start passing out the checks to the not-for-profits, including the library, the Boys & Girls Club.”

Smyrna West Alternative School Principal Kay Davenport said Rotary has made a huge difference in helping her students.

“They are like our PTO,” she said. “We call on them when we need something. They mentor students. They support what we do to help our kids in choosing careers and service learning projects. We have a great partnership. It’s worked really well for eight years.”

Waller is pleased that many local businesses pledge donations, such as Corporate Flight Management providing use of its hangar to set up tables for the diners and the stage for the music, speeches and flag ceremonies.

“Our sponsors make all of this possible,” Waller said. “Most of the food is donated.”

Fellow Rotary member John Black was proud of the milestones the event has reached while he enjoyed a meal with the many folks who attended.

“We have raised over $491,000 in 10 years,” said Black, executive director of Smyrna Airport.

Rotary Club member Kathie Meadow of Smyrna said the entire club is involved with the fish fry, including the cooking and serving.

“This is the party of Rutherford County in September,” she said.

Club member Ginny Williams agreed.

“This is a great reunion,” said Williams, owner of Gil’s Ace Hardware in Smyrna.

In addition to offering fried catfish, hushpuppies, fries and other food, the event honored women in the military, including Tennessee Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Leigh Ann Hester, a Murfreesboro resident who is the first female recipient of the Silver Star since World War II. First Sgt. Jody Barnes of Shelbyville also sang the National Anthem.

— Scott Broden, 615-278-5158

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