Ex-Flying Ace now hits ‘aces’

David Catlett is a spry 74, and still regularly plays tennis — a sport he took up during his Navy days on Midway Island.
David Catlett was just killing time when he first picked up a tennis racket on Midway Island.

The 22-year-old U.S Navy lieutenant was stationed there from 1967 into 1968 — and just for fun started hitting tennis balls using a wall as a backstop.

“There was not much to do,” he said.

His rudimentary gamesmanship caused more than a ripple of interest on base — specifically from his captain.

“He asked me to have lunch and then play tennis,” he recalled. “Then he asked me to be his partner.”

Catlett said he only had been playing a few days at that point, but “I was young and fast.”

From that initial meeting, Catlett said he and the captain played well on the island.

“I think no one wanted to beat the captain,” he said with a grin.

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Grateful about JAC package, Navy officer-FHS grad visits Pope’s fourth-graders

U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Mann holds a cake baked in his honor by those connected with Lora Kay Pope’s fourth-grade class at Farragut Intermediate School. Mann, saying he is “an aviation structural mechanic on safety equipment” aboard the USS Carl Vinson, spoke to the class and answered questions when he visited Wednesday, Dec. 6.
Endlessly curious about the adventures and challenges aboard a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier, as told by a Farragut High School graduate’s personal experience, Lora Kay Pope’s fourth-grade class at Farragut Primary School grilled Petty Officer 3rd Class Kevin Mann.

Saying he’s “an aviation structural mechanic on safety equipment” aboard the USS Carl Vinson, Mann and his crew received a Junior American Citizens package from the class “while we were on deployment” in fall 2017.

The officer responded to the kind gesture by using leave time to visit Pope’s class, mainly answering a variety of the children’s questions, Wednesday, Dec. 6.

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Rotarians learn about reaching out to youth

Rotary Club of Farragut members learned how a community is reaching out to Knoxville’s inner city youths, ages 14 to 24, to give them a safe place to play and develop leadership and entrepreneur skills.

Nicole Chandler, Change Center of Knoxville executive director, and Bruce Charles, its chief financial and entrepreneurial officer, shared the program’s benefits with Farragut Rotarians during their meeting in Fox Den Country Club Thursday, Jan. 10.

“Both have mentored me totally different in two different aspects,” Farragut Rotarian Brandon Ross said of Chandler and Charles in his introduction. “Nicole had mentored me, as far as community goes … her passion is people and family.

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Youth writing top finishers

Three Knox County teens were selected as winners of a writing contest inspired by the Knoxville appearance of best-selling young adult author Kerri Maniscalco in September.

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Weigel’s Eagle award

Bill Weigel, right, chairman of 66 Weigel’s convenience stores in the Knoxville metro area, was honored recently with National Eagle Scout Association’s Outstanding Eagle Scout Award. The national award recognizes Eagle Scouts whose efforts have made a positive impact in their community with their leadership, time and investment in scouting.

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