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Ashe, Commission awards Medal of Valor to two deputies, resident

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 Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe presents the Sheriff’s Medal of Valor to Deputy Steve Gatlin as Deputy Jon Jenkins and Thurman Mullins look on. The three men were awarded with the medals for their efforts during flood rescues in early May.ZACK OWENSBY / The Wilson Post  Deputies Jon Jenkins and Steve Gatlin (not pictured) work to rescue a stranded motorist in quickly-rising floodwaters during the flooding this last month. Thurman Mullins carried the deputies to the vehicle in his one-ton pickup truck, risking his safety and personal property, Ashe said.Photo courtesy THURMAN MULLINS By ZACK OWENSBYThe Wilson PostWilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe presented the Wilson County Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor to two deputies and a citizen for their efforts during the flooding earlier this year during the special recognition portion of Monday’s County Commission meeting.Deputies Steve Gatlin, Jon Jenkins and Wilson County resident Thurman Mullins were awarded the medal and were commended for the rescue of a stranded motorist in rising flood waters of May 1-2 depicted in the Special Flood Coverage issue of The Wilson Post, among numerous other rescues.Jenkins and Gatlin reportedly moved from one rescue to another when they were noticed a stranded vehicle in deep water at Oak Grove Road and Central Pike that deep into floodwaters.Ashe said the two deputies got into the bed of Mullins’ one-ton pickup truck as he backed it through the waters to the stranded vehicle. The deputies were able to safely rescue the woman inside just minutes before the water rose even higher.Mullins, employed by the State of Tennessee Park Rangers, serves as foreman of the Twin Pines Ranch here in Wilson County.In other business, Director of Schools Mike Davis spoke at length about concerns regarding the turnover rate of math teachers in Wilson County.Davis said 17 math teachers are leaving the county school system this year, added to the 15 who left last year, largely due to the fact that they can earn significantly higher salaries in neighboring counties. While part of the problem lies in the county’s pay schedule for math and science teachers, Davis also admitted that the increase in standards for math teachers which make it harder to obtain appropriate teaching licensure and the lack of graduates in the field compound the problem.Davis said he is personally contacting all of the local universities to inquire about recent math and science education graduates and he is coming up short. “We have already hired 50 percent of all the graduating math teachers from Cumberland (University),” Davis said. “We have hired one. There were two that graduated.”But when he does get a chance to talk with qualified candidates, the salary offered by Wilson County Schools caused one person to laugh out loud at his offer, he said.Davis and District 8 Commissioner Frank Bush agreed after some discussion that the county needs to find a way to address the issue.Bush commented to Davis that if a resolution was passed through the commission that was to address the issue, the commissioners would stand behind it.The commissioners also passed a continuation budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010 considering they adopt a budget during the month of July.Wilson County Mayor Robert Dedman recommended Jim Mills to serve on the Wilson County Library Board and Peggy Simpson be appointed to the Highland Rim Regional Library Board.Staff writer Zack Owensby may be contacted at
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