Red Cross event in Knoxville June 24

(Knoxville, TN) On Saturday, June 24, 2017 the USA Cycling National Championship weekend in Knoxville starts out with a fun ride, Pedal for the Red, benefiting the American Red Cross of East Tennessee. Pedal for the Red marks 100 years of service for the Red Cross in Tennessee.

For recreational riders, Pedal for the Red is a great way to kick off the championship weekend. On June 24, Pedal for the Red riders will inaugurate the pro time trial course from 7:30 to 9:30 am, before the USA Pro Time Trial competitions get underway. The Pedal welcomes riders of all ages and levels, and supports the vital work of the Red Cross East Tennessee. It’s a unique opportunity for amateur cyclists to experience a professional course and be part in the weekend’s cycling events.

This is the first year for Pedal for the Red, but it marks a century of Red Cross service in Tennessee. For 100 years, (1917 – 2017) the Red Cross has provided shelter, support and relief during disasters and continues to provide other vital services including support for military and their families, aid to victims of home fires and on-going educational training.

“We are largely a volunteer driven organization,” said Sharon Hudson, Executive Director, Red Cross East Tennessee. “During the recent wildfires in Sevier County, our committed and highly trained volunteers spent days and weeks helping others in our community.”

WATE anchor, Lori Tucker, and former University of Tennessee quarterback, Heath Shuler, will lead Pedal riders on a 4.8 mile course along closed Knoxville streets. The ride begins on East Jackson Ave. in Knoxville’s Old City, and winds along car free streets to Neyland Drive and back along South Central St. to the start/finish line. For two hours, the pro time trial course will be open only for the Pedal. Riders can do one lap or as many as they can in the two hours.

Riders can help “Celebrate the Red” with a free red t-shirt and a complimentary pancake breakfast following the ride. The pancake breakfast will be served near the start/finish line providing Pedal for the Red participants a great location to watch as the Pro Time Trials determine the national champions.

“We’ve worked with our partners, USA Cycling and Visit Knoxville, to make Pedal for the Red an experience the entire community can enjoy,” said Christy Phillips, event chair. “During this exciting competitive weekend, we’re offering a cycling event that is open to everyone. It’s a great representation of the spirit of the Red Cross.”

The idea for Pedal for the Red began at Blackberry Farm with the late Sam Beall who valued family friendly, outdoor experiences like cycling. Beall shared his thoughts with Joe Thompson, Red Cross Board member, and the idea for the annual Pedal for the Red was born.

Registration and additional information can be found at In addition to riding the Pedal for the Red, volunteers are needed for the full weekend of events. Cyclists can ride the Pedal for the Red and then volunteer for the professional events.

Participants and non-participants are encouraged to help support the work of the Red Cross East Tennessee through

Pedal for the Red is proudly presented by Phillips & Jordan.

Follow on Twitter @PedalfortheRed or like on Facebook at

About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation’s blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission.

For more information, please visit or visit on Twitter at @RedCross.

Fire departments receive donations

KNOXVILLE, TN – Cherokee Distributing Company and MillerCoors have teamed up and are pleased to announce a joint donation of $12,000 to the local fire departments who served during last year’s wildfires in Blount and Sevier counties.

Each of the following fire departments will receive a $1,000 gift:

Blount County Fire Department

Caton Chapel Volunteer Fire Department

English Mountain Volunteer Fire Department

Kodak Fire Department

Pigeon Forge Fire Department

Pittman Center Volunteer Fire Department

Sevier County Rescue Squad

Sevier County Volunteer Fire Department

Sevierville Fire Department

Seymour Fire Department

Walden’s Creek Volunteer Fire Department

Wears Valley Volunteer Fire Department
For every case of Coors Banquet beer sold during the month of December, Cherokee Distributing Company and MillerCoors donated 50 cents to local fire departments whose areas were affected by the fires. The proceeds from the campaign totaled $12,000.

Cherokee Distributing Company area manager Mike Dunn (center) presents a check for $1,000 to the Blount County Fire Department. Cherokee Distributing Company and MillerCoors teamed up to donate a total of $12,000 to the fire departments who bravely fought the wildfires in Blount and Sevier counties in 2016. Pictured from left: Blount County Fire Department Lieutenant Tim Ogle, Mike Dunn and Blount County Fire Department Captain Kermit Easterling. Photo submitted.

Chimney Tops fires under review

A team of fire experts is assembling at Great Smoky Mountains National Park to conduct a review of the 2016 Chimney Tops 2 fire that started in the park on November 23, according to Tina Boehle of the National Park Service Division of Fire and Aviation Management.

The purpose of the review team is to identify the facts leading up to and during the Chimney Tops 2 fire within the boundaries of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, as well as make recommendations on any planning, operational, or managerial issues which can be addressed locally, regionally, and/or nationally to reduce the chances of a similar incident in the future.

The team is assigned to the fire review through the division chief for the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Fire and Aviation in Boise, ID. Division Chief Bill Kaage stated, “The team will conduct a thorough review of the actions and response to this fire, which will include compliance with policy and application of professional wildland firefighting practices. Ultimately the purpose of the review is to identify lessons learned from this incident for use by any wildland firefighting agency.”

The Chimney Tops 2 fire review team is made up of interagency representatives: a team leader, a fire behavior specialist, two fire operations/risk management specialists, an NPS fire management officer from outside of the region, a municipal fire department representative from within the region, and an NPS management liaison.

Joe Stutler, a senior advisor for Deschutes County, Oregon, will lead the team. Stutler has extensive experience in wildland fire at the federal level as well as in local government and the private sector. He has nearly 50 years of knowledge of the complexities of fire management, including fire behavior and policy.

Other team members include:
Fire Behavior Specialist: William Grauel, Bureau of Indian Affairs – National Fire Ecologist, Boise, ID
Municipal Fire Department Representative: Jimmy Isaacs, Boone Fire Department – Chief, Boone, NC
Fire Operations/Risk Management Specialist: Shane Greer, U.S. Forest Service – Assistant Fire Director-Risk Management, Region 2, Golden, CO
NPS Fire Management Officer: Mike Lewelling, Rocky Mountain National Park – Fire Management Officer, Estes Park, CO
Fire Operations/Risk Management Specialist/Writer/Editor: Miranda Stuart, NPS Branch of Wildland Fire – Fire Management Specialist, Crawfordville, FL
NPS Management Liaison: Tim Reid, National Park Service – Superintendent, Devils Tower National Monument, WY

The work of the review team is expected to take up to two weeks. After that, the team has 45 days to complete their report and submit it to Chief Kaage for review prior to it being made public.