Colonel Jeffery Gaylord, the U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) Instructor/Department Chairman at Blackman High School in Murfreesboro, is being honored for his dedication to country and community by the Veteran of Foreign Wars (VFW) #StillServing Campaign. The campaign recognizes veterans who continue to serve after leaving the military.
A native of Nolensville, Gaylord, with his two fellow instructors, leads the Blaze Battalion cadets in JROTC competitions throughout the district and nation where their teams have won numerous awards in marksmanship, raiders and drill teams. Currently, the battalion is on track to win district championships in all three categories. Previously, he won VFW Teacher of the Year for the state of Tennessee.
“My rewarding days are those spent teaching my students to be future leaders and having the opportunity to watch them evolve from freshmen to their graduation,” said Gaylord. “That is my biggest success story.”
Gaylord brings the community into his classroom by integrating members of his VFW Post 12206 into the JROTC program.
In 1986, Gaylord was recruited from the University of Virginia – Charlottesville into the United States Army as a Field Artillery Officer. His first assignment was in Korea with the 6-32nd Field Artillery. During Desert Storm and Desert Shield, he served as a Battalion Intelligence Officer.
Upon retiring from active duty in 1992, Gaylord went into the National Guard where he served the 5-113 Field Artillery Regiment in a number of positions before accepting command of the Alpha Battery in 1994. He took on many other duties before becoming the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Director, Army Capabilities Integration Center in 2014. In 2020, he was appointed to his position at Blackman High School.
During his time serving this country, he received many honors and distinctions, including a Legion of Merit and a Bronze Star.
The VFW launched #StillServing, a campaign to highlight the many ways America’s veterans continue to serve in their local communities after transitioning from the military, in February 2020. What started as an awareness campaign has become a social movement as veterans across the country continue to step up to share stories of how they are still serving. More than 1,000 veterans’ stories have been shared through news coverage, website features and magazine and newsletter articles.
“Our original intent here was to recognize and showcase the important ongoing service of the lifeblood of our organization – our members – but the campaign quickly took hold and expanded well beyond the confines of our membership to veterans and advocates around the world,” said Tim Borland, VFW Commander-in-Chief via a press release. “The participation and interest this campaign garnered has exceeded all expectations, and it continues to gain momentum.”
According to the 2021 Veterans Civic Health Index1, veterans average nearly 30 percent more volunteer hours per year than civilians and they outpace them in charitable contributions. Additionally, nearly 40 percent more veterans belong to a group working on community issues. Veterans are more likely to be registered to vote and recently voted.
Since its launch, more than two million people have engaged with the campaign and it has gained the attention of individuals worldwide, recently earning a Grand Award at the 19th International Business Association for the highest marks of more than 3,700 nominations to the business awards.
The VFW is the nation’s largest and oldest major war veterans’ organization. Founded in 1899, the congressionally chartered VFW is comprised entirely of eligible veterans and military service members from the active, Guard and Reserve forces. With more than 1.5 million VFW and Auxiliary members located in nearly 6,000 Posts worldwide, the nonprofit veterans service organization is proud to proclaim “NO ONE DOES MORE FOR VETERANS” than the VFW, which is dedicated to veterans’ service, legislative advocacy, and military and community service programs. For more information or to join, visit their website at https://vfw.org/. To learn more about the #StillServing program, vfw.org/StillServing.