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Meet the 8 Faces Behind the Heritage Center

January 13, 2020

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With the Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center opening its doors in just a few short weeks, we thought it was time to let you know more about the people who have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to make this unique experience a reality. 

The Heritage Center was never meant to be a museum – it is a setting for the stories and people to allow their incredible stories to continue living on. Those that are behind the Heritage Center are deeply connected to the values of the Medal of Honor and have purposely ingrained the character values throughout the Center to create a truly unique experience for visitors of all ages. 

So without further adieu, meet the 8 faces behind the Heritage Center. 

Keith Hardison – Executive Director

Keith-HardisonPrior to joining the Heritage Center Keith Hardison served as Director of the North Carolina’s Division of State Historic Sites where he directed the operation of 23 historic sites and led the effort to fund and construct the CSS Neuse Civil War Interpretive Center. He has served as the Executive Director of the Jefferson Davis Home and Presidential Library, as the Director of Education, Interpretation, and Visitors Services of the National Museum of the Civil War Soldier, and as the Division Director of the Louisiana State Museum.

Keith graduated from David Lipscomb University with a B.A. degree in History and earned a M.A. degree in Museum Science from Texas Tech University. Following his personal passion, Mr. Hardison co-chaired the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources Civil War Sesquicentennial commemoration and served two terms on the Mississippi Civil War Battlefields Commission. He is a member of the American Alliance of Museums, the American Association for State and Local History, and the American Battlefield Trust

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

My favorite character trait is Integrity. Integrity defines your character, is essential to maintain and is easy to lose.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

I love traveling, white water rafting, Tennessee Football, and Doo-Wop music! 

Vince Butler – Director of Capital Campaign

vince-butlerVince has been integral to the fundraising efforts of the Capital Campaign for the Heritage Center.

With more than 20 years in the public relations industry, Vince Butler has been providing local and regional clients with unique public relations and social media strategies that ensure companies are effectively communicating their messages to customers, key stakeholder groups and media. In addition, Vince works with The Johnson Group to handle the strategic communications and public relations activities for its marketing and advertising clients. Prior to launching Butler Consulting, Vince worked for The Moriah Group where he supported local and national clients on a variety of PR and issue management campaigns for more than 7 years.

Throughout his career, Vince has supported and provided strategic counsel to clients on how to develop, implement and manage their advertising, media relations, social media and grassroots advocacy programs with one goal in mind – to influence change and affect decisions to help the client reach its goals. Vince has worked with clients from a wide range of industries, including public education, regulated water and wastewater utilities, telecom, politics and non-profits.

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

Patriotism. According to Medal of Honor recipient Melvin Morris, patriotism is not what our elected leaders say we should do. It’s what we are doing to teach the next generation of youth the values and ideals that have made our country great. Then, when they have to answer the call to serve our country, they understand the importance of answering the call.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

As a teenager, I had a very unusual haircut that is somewhat embarrassing today.  I’m not sure how to explain this, but my hair was extremely long hair with the sides razor shaven clean above my ears.  My parents hated it, and as a compromise, I would pull my hair back and wear it in a ponytail.

Jules Parker – Director of Development

Jules-parkerJules established the framework for the Heritage Center’s philanthropy program and manages the Heritage Center communications, marketing, donor relations, special events, and social media.

Jules graduated from Berry College with a degree in Mass Communications and a minor in Journalism. She has called Chattanooga her home since she began her career as an Associate Producer for the WRCB television station 30 years ago. Jules is known for her passion to support the community and has served on the board of directors of numerous organizations. Her memberships include the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Kiwanis Club and Chattanooga Women’s Leadership Institute. She has served on the board of directors for YMCA Camp Ocoee and the Friends of Hixson. In 2015 she served as the President of the Hixson Council for the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce, has served as a Chamber Ambassador and as the Executive Coordinator for the Junior League of Chattanooga.

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

My favorite character trait is Citizenship as I love being involved in our community and making a positive impact. This is a great city filled with dedicated citizens who work tirelessly to improve conditions for all of us and it’s been easy for me to be inspired and influenced by their purposeful work. I think it’s pretty cool our mission at the Medal of Honor Heritage Center is to inspire others to embrace and emulate good citizenship. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

I love fishing! I grew up fishing in Florida and am grateful to now have a boat to enjoy on the Tennessee River and Chickamauga Lake. There’s nothing better than cruising around early in the morning when the fish are biting! 

Sandra Horsman- Office Assistant 

sandra-horsmanSandra manages in-coming donations and assists the staff with weekly reports. She is a real team player and helps each department get ready for their important meetings. When you call the Heritage Center, Sandra is the friendly voice you hear answering the call.   

 

 

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

I value Courage because it is something that I try to embody on an everyday basis. My coworkers have told me I am fearless and can conquer any task that comes my way.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

 I have flown planes, scuba dived and rafted the Grand Canyon. I love fun activities that allow me to show courage. 

Molly Randolph – Curator

molly-randolphMolly Randolph is responsible for the care and interpretation of the Center’s collection, which ranges historically from the Civil War  to present day. She also curates multiple changing exhibits each year in the museum that will allow the stories of Medal of Honor recipients to be explored in new and innovative ways.

Randolph holds a Master of Arts degree in History of Decorative Arts from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Sociology from Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

Randolph served as Curator of Georgia’s Old Governor’s Mansion and the Sallie Ellis Davis House. During her time as a graduate student Randolph participated in a year-long fellowship at the Smithsonian’s American History Museum.  She completed a curatorial internship at the Fashion Museum in Bath, England, and began her career as a historic interpreter at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C.

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

My favorite character trait is Integrity because being true to yourself, your ideals and true to others backs up all the other character traits.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

Fun fact about me is that I love to bake for my family.

Kimberly Kelly – Office Administrator

kim-kelleyWhile Kim’s title is Office Administrator, her role is team player. She steps in where she’s needed to help the team get reports accomplished, donations submitted and anything else to keep things running smoothly. 

She has a passion for serving the community. Her nonprofit experience spans 10 years and she takes pride in being an encouraging and helpful team member. She served Chattanooga Goodwill Industries as a Human Resources Administrative Assistant and Missions Coordinator, and participated with the United Way as a Loaned Executive. She also worked at Signal Centers as a Human Resource and Marketing Administrative Assistant.

Which Medal of Honor character trait do you value most? 

Commitment. I’ve always believed in ‘no man left behind’ and to have each other’s back. Although I value all six, I would say that one means the most to me. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

I love Scottish Terriers and have two that I adopted from the Tennessee Scottish Terrier Rescue Network. Hamish and Alfie are my babies and we love our long walks together. 

Hannah Sher – Director of Education

Hannah-sherHannah is responsible for the development and execution of all educational programs and activities for the Heritage Center. She helps to expand the current Character Development Program, as well as create new educational opportunities for individuals and groups.

Hannah holds a Bachelor of Arts in Education and Political Science from American University, where she also served as a Research Assistant. She was a Teaching Assistant at Sidwell Friends School and Student Teacher at Eastern Senior High School in Washington, D.C. before teaching history for the last five years in New Orleans charter schools. While in Crescent City, Ms. Sher developed and implemented a new network-wide history program and was nominated for the Gilder Lehrman Institute’s History Teacher of the Year award. 

Which Medal of Honor character trait(s) do you value most? 

In my personal life, I value Integrity the most. I try to be honest with myself and others, as well as uphold the morals that I was raised with. Every day I strive to be the best version of myself. As a history teacher, I believe the value of citizenship is essential for our communities and country. I seek to teach future generations about the responsibilities they have to be informed consumers and citizens, to vote, and to participate in their communities, even in small ways. 

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

I was born in California, grew up in Nebraska, moved to D.C. for college, moved to New Orleans to teach, and now I’m in Chattanooga! I enjoy dancing, traveling, and exploring Chattanooga’s restaurants and hiking trails. I do the New York Times Crossword Puzzle every day and I am a history nerd. 

Steven Thomas – Director of Program Support

steven-thomasSteven directs and provides support for a variety of program activities including volunteer coordination, venue rental and special events.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History, with a minor in War, Policy and Society, from Middle Tennessee State University. He served as the Lead Interpreter at Belle Meade Plantation in Nashville and as the Historical Interpreter at Oaklands Mansion in Murfreesboro. 

Which Medal of Honor character trait(s) do you value most? 

The characteristic I relate to the most is sacrifice. I was raised by a single mother but she had some help from my great-uncle who was a Vietnam veteran. I saw my mother sacrifice parts of her life to take care of my great-uncle because he was paralyzed from the neck down due to the injuries he sustained during the war. He was bedridden from 1971-2008 and during that time I saw his sacrifice for our country. I also saw the sacrifices my mothers made to make my life better than theirs. I will always be grateful for that.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself others might not know!

I have always loved history, but my true love for the subject blossomed through “living history” (reenactor is a negative word). My hobby is participating in living history, which has given me a better understanding of what men of past conflicts had to endure: climate, clothing and food rationing. All of these experiences have given me the ability to see the stories of these men through a different lens. I can share how it felt to drive a WWll tank, jump out of an old war airplane and to eat small amounts of rationed food. 

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The Charles H. Coolidge National Medal of Honor Heritage Center would not be possible without the efforts of these dedicated people listed above. They are the heart behind the Heritage Center and the reason for its success.

We invite you to mark your calendars and join us for the official Grand Opening, February 22, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. To be a part of this historic event, purchase your tickets today!