Longtime District Employees Receive Public Service Commendation Medals from U.S. Army

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By KEITH RYAN CARTWRIGHT
Rutherford County Schools

Before “riding off into the sunset,” Col. Harry Houchens thanked the Rutherford County Board of Education, school board members and Director of Schools Bill Spurlock for more than two decades of support and devotion.

Houchens is retiring as JROTC Director after 24 years on the job.

Speaking before the School Board, Houchens said every one of the JROTC programs in Rutherford County “are outstanding and stand on solid ground” because of administrative effectiveness.

He then singled out Karen Ladd and Lynn Pater for providing a commitment to excellence.

Ladd works in payroll, while Pater is the purchasing agent for Rutherford County Schools.

Both women received Public Service Commendation Medals from the United States Army for their significant contributions to the JROTC programs.

“For 21 years Karen Ladd has taken care of JROTC and, I might add, knowing the rest of the programs around the country, we have never had a problem,” said Houchens, who jokingly added Ladd is user friendly and “has made my life simple.”

During Houchens’ time with the district, RCS has opened four new high schools — Blackman, Siegel, Stewarts Creek and Rockvale high schools.

Houchens lauded Pater for being “instrumental in supporting the logistic needs and the material needs to open these programs.”

Houchens will retire as of June 30.