By Jason Banks
A highly motivated crowd of 52 local members of the National Rifle Association gathered for the first official Tri-State NRA meeting at Pat’s Kountry Kitchen last Saturday at 8:30am, and the group wasted no time getting established.
Fannin Focus editor Jason Banks introduced himself and thanked the group for taking initiative on a day many would elect to stay home and sleep a little later than usual. Fannin County resident Lane Bishop asked the attendees to stand and as everyone bowed their heads he said a prayer and a few words for the fallen law enforcement officers from the shootings in Dallas, Texas.
Jerry Dunton, founder of the Tri-State chapter, then introduced himself and asked Tom Reed of Copperhill United Methodist Church to say a blessing over the food. “I realize I’m in a room full of people who are probably packing,” Reed joked, “but as you all know I’ve been unpacking for the past two weeks.” Reed recently moved to Copperhill, Tennessee and said he was honored to be invited to join the Tri-State NRA.
Following breakfast, Dunton asked all of the ex-military service members to stand and share with the group which branch of service they had previously served in. Special guest Neeley Raper, Georgia’s NRA field representative, shared the details of all of the grants and programs available to local chapters, including funding for a banquet later in the year. Chad Johnson stood and shared his interest in opening a privately-owned indoor shooting range, open to the public. Neeley explained that the NRA actually assists members with grant money that could possibly lead to an eventual public shooting range in the near future for our area.
The group then elected its inaugural officers as follows: Lane Bishop – Chairman; Bernie Wells – Co-Chariman; Walter Nichols – Secretary; Dean DeLorme – Treasurer; Tom Reed – Chaplain; Jason Banks – Sergeant at Arms.
The Tri-State NRA will meet on the third Saturday of each month at Pat’s Kountry Kitchen at 8:30am, with the next meeting coming on Saturday, August 20, 2016. Any local resident interested in attending is invited to join the Tri-State NRA. Annual dues are only $20, and you may join the NRA online currently for $25 for one year.