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Blue Angels land in Smyrna

Marine
Capt. Corrie Mays and Navy Lt. Tyler Davies taxi the Blue Angels No. 7
to the terminal of Smyrna Airport Thursday afternoon as part of a site
visit in advance of the 2016 Great Tennessee Air Show June 4-5.

SMYRNA — U.S. Navy Blue Angels flew the No. 7 jet into Smyrna Airport
Wednesday afternoon as part of a site visit for the Great Tennessee Air
Show, set for June 4-5.
“This is an exciting day,” said John
Black, Smyrna/Rutherford County Airport Authority executive director.
“This kind of kicks off the countdown to the air show.”
Marine Capt. Corrie Mays and Navy Lt. Tyler Davies were the Blue Angels team members who flew in for a two-day visit to Smyrna.
“This
visit is very, very important. What we’re doing, we’re getting eyes on
the airfield, the facilities we’re using as well … and just get those
personal relationships started with the air show committee and our
liaison here,” Mays said. “We have a lot of work to do between now and
next June when the air show is happening.”
The Blue Angels serve
as the headliners of the Great Tennessee Air Show at the Smyrna Airport.
But the team’s crowd-pleasing aerial demonstrations are part of a
bigger mission than just entertainment value.
“We changed our
mission statement. Now we showcase the pride and professionalism of the
Navy and Marine Corps through a culture of excellence and service to
country … (so people) can possibly be inspired to be a part of something
greater and, hopefully, give back to their community, that’s what we’re
here to inspire,” Mays said.

Big brother Camden Peery, 11, gives little sister Addison Peery, 8, a
lift so she can touch the wing of the Blue Angels F/A-18 Hornet. The
Blue Angels last flew at the Great Tennessee Air Show in 2014.

With a spotlight on the Blue Angels’ arrival, Black took the
opportunity to announce partnership of the Great Tennessee Air Show and
Second Harvest Food Bank. Jaynee K. Day, president and CEO of Second
Harvest, was on hand for the announcement.
“We’re giving people
the personal decision on how much they want to participate. When you buy
a ticket, you can add $1, $5, $10 or $25. And just $1 equals four
meals. If you do the math, you can help a lot of people with a small
donation,” Black said.
People will be able to make that donation online at greattennesseeairshow.com when they purchase advance tickets.
But ticket sales aren’t the only way the air show will partner with Second Harvest.
“Not
only are they going to be a beneficiary of the show they are also going
to help us produce the show … helping with parking and ticketing,”
Black said. “And it helps raise awareness about Second Harvest.”
Day said she is encouraged by the partnership, especially because of the increased service partners in Rutherford County.
Day said statistics show one in six residents in Tennessee struggles with hunger, and one in four of those .
“There
seems to be a higher need in this part of the community. There are more
community nonprofits providing food services to individuals in need
here in Rutherford County,” said Day, noting that Second Harvest has 21
partner agencies in Rutherford.
As the population increases in Rutherford and surrounding counties,
so will the need, she said. Knowing the number of clients needing to be
served will likely go up, the board at Second Harvest saw a need to
build a distribution point in the southern part of Middle Tennessee, and
Rutherford County seemed to be the perfect location.
So, within
the next 18 to 24 months, Second Harvest will be building a warehouse to
house perishables and nonperishable items donated to the food bank, she
said.
“We’re needing to get our product our faster,” Day said.
The way Second Harvest works is to network donations and excess products from wholesalers, retailers, manufacturers and farms.
“We redistribute that back out to our partner agencies,” Day explained.
Because
of partnerships with companies and individuals in the 46-county area
served by Second Harvest, the agency is able to spend just $1 to equal
four meals. Day also said she’s proud that 96 cents out of every dollar
donated to Second Harvest “goes directly to serving hungry people.”
The
announcement of the partnership of the Great Tennessee Air Show and
Second Harvest Food Bank comes at a critical time of year for the
400,000 Tennesseans struggling with hunger. Day said. but helping right
now is easy.
“People can donate food, they can donate time to
volunteer at a local pantry program, or they can donate funds,” Day
said, noting that the website is secondharvestmidtn.org.
She also
said that Kroger and Publix stores provide ways to get involved in
helping out with Second Harvest. There are drop boxes for
non-perishables and monetary donations can be made as well.
And all food donated in Rutherford County goes to serve local agencies, she noted.
“Every
can you donate, that touches a family. Whether it’s a can of corn or a
can of fruit, everything makes a different,” Day said. “It doesn’t take a
lot to make a difference.”

Navy Lt .Tyler Davies greats visitors on hand at the Smyrna Airport to
see the Blue Angels land. The Blue Angels will perform at the Great
Tennessee Air Show June 4-5.

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