Have you ever met someone, made friends in one capacity and then find out other things about them? That can be good or bad. Let me assure you in this case it has been a really cool surprise. MAJ Alan Bagley and I met away from his role with the Tennessee Guard so I had no idea about that role in his life. This is a great guy who serves and takes it to a whole new level. Read up on the Major, you will be glad you did.
BRIAN: Alan thanks for taking the time to talk with me so folks can know more about you. Start at the beginning. Where did you grow up and what was that like?
ALAN: Being raised in Church Hill, I quickly learned that living in a more rural community was exhilarating. I could immediately enjoy nature and a slower paced life wrapped in tradition, but I was only a short drive away from taking advantage of a more metropolitan area.
BRIAN: You could obviously live anywhere you choose with your skill set. What is it about this region and these people that make you want to continue to call this place home?
ALAN: I’ve travelled to so many different places with different geographies, politics, cultures, and people. Even though some areas are great to visit; they often remind me that being born and living in the Tri-Cities is truly a blessing. This area has a community spirit, culture, and values that are second-to-none. The people are truly outstanding and are willing to volunteer and help one another. I can’t imagine living and raising our Daughter anywhere else.
BRIAN: When we talk about this region, family roots run deep. I know you and family is a major part of who you are and what you are all about. Can you talk a little about what they mean to you?
ALAN: Once again, I was blessed to have awesome parents and siblings that taught me loyalty, responsibility, and love. I received a second family when I married Patti, gaining my second set of parents and new siblings that accepted me as true family. I initially stayed in the area to care for my parents as they aged. After my parents passed, I vowed to stay here to allow Ellie’s living grandparents almost daily access in her life. Patti’s parents had wonderfully raised three girls, and played a huge role in our daughter’s development. Today, I am anchored and supported by Patti and Ellie, they are truly responsible for continued success and encouraging me. My activities and responsibilities often keep me away from them and missing important family events, but they are incredibly supportive. They give me a reason to never give up.
BRIAN: Faith is another major factor in our regional identity. How does your faith impact your daily life?
ALAN: I can’t remember a time that God wasn’t a part of my life. Mother would dress me and take us to worship, even as a toddler. Family, faith, and duty are capstones to my character. I have not been the poster boy in portraying the Christian faith, but God is faithful if we trust in Him. After searching extensively for a home church, we found one and enjoy involvement. Patti and I wanted to raise Ellie in church, as we were. The Bible says to raise children properly and they won’t stray too far in their life.
BRIAN: And finally, let’s talk about the Tennessee Guard. I met you as just good ole Alan from work. However, I quickly came to the realization that you are very involved with the Tennessee guard and do a lot of work in that capacity. Tell folks like me who aren’t very educated about it what the Tennessee Guard is all about.
ALAN: Tennessee’s State Guard is a component of the Military Department of Tennessee. This all-volunteer group is used as a force multiplier for the National Guard. However, TNSG Soldiers can’t be deployed for military use outside the state. Our core missions deal with disaster management and recovery. We are a sworn military organization and soldiers wear the uniforms of the Army. Civilians who never had the opportunity to serve in a federal military capacity now have the chance to join; and Federal veterans, who often long for the camaraderie and stability that the military provides, find a home in TNSG. We have soldiers that are 18 years old all the way to those in their 60s, and the physical standards are substantially relaxed. This bunch of men and women are some of the best souls and giving spirits I have ever worked with. They truly care about each other and the completion of the mission. TNSG soldiers come from all walks of life and all vocations and professions; there is a place for everyone to serve. We train one day a month and have one three-day annual training as a minimum. Our motto is ‘Tennesseans helping Tennesseans’. We know that we must be at our best when Tennessee is having its worse day. I have the privilege of commanding a Battalion of these Tennessee Volunteers; and am proud to be a servant-leader amongst these fine folks.