On Thursday, August 17, at 10:00 a.m., a bridge on U.S. Highway 67 West across the Doe Creek in the Pandora Community was dedicated to the memory and military service of Master Sergeant (MSgt) Rubin S. Stout. Having been born and reared in that community, it is most appropriate that MSgt. Stout is honored by a bridge over the creek in which he loved to fish and it being in the Blue Ridge Mountains where he loved to hunt throughout his life. However his hunting and fishing were not just for sport, they were used to provide fresh meat for his family table. Even though he spent most of his retired life near the military base in Columbia, South Carolina. His heart never left the hills of his boyhood home.
MSgt. Stout’s military career included combat in World War II and the Korean Conflict. His service spanned the globe from fighting in New Guinea and North Korea to testing of the first nuclear devices in the desert of the Nevada Proving Grounds and enduring the Arctic weather of Thule Air Force Base in Greenland.
The dedication process started with the Johnson County Commission’s unanimous approval of a resolution initially sponsored by Fifth District Commissioner George Lowe. State Representative Timothy Hill guided the approval of the resolution through the Tennessee State Legislature and assured that the appropriate signage was prepared and displayed by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The dedication ceremony began with the unveiling of the signs and limited photo opportunities at the actual bridge site, but due to the safety hazards of the narrow bridge, curvy road, and limited parking space, the remainder of the dedication was moved to the sanctuary of nearby Bethel Baptist Church. Bethel was Rubin’s home church during his youth.
Commissioner George Lowe welcomed all attendees to the event. Patrick South, a member of Bethel Baptist Church, provided the invocation due to the unavoidable absence of Pastor David Bentley. Don Payne, Commander of the Worley Hall Post Number 6908 of the Veterans of Foreign War led the pledge to the American flag. Mike Taylor, Chairman of the Johnson County Commission read the resolution of dedication, which had been passed by the Johnson County Commission and the Tennessee State Legislature. Appropriate remarks were made by Tennessee State Representative Timothy Hill and Johnson County Mayor Larry Potter. Representative Hill also presented MSgt. Stout’s family with a replica sign. Dick Brand provided special music in the form of personalized versions of “Bridge Over Troubled Waters” and “Wayfaring Stranger.” Chuck Walsh, a well published author and nephew of Rubin, provided a brief biographical sketch of Stout. Family and friends were invited to share favorite “Rubin” stories. Bill Brookshire, President of Johnson County Bank, shared some boyhood memories, but declined to tell “the rest of the story.” Kelly Ladd, Rubin’s niece, shared the perspective of a young relative growing up under the influence and love of such a truly “greater than life” mentor.
All three of Rubin and Jolene (Payne) Stout’s children, Stuart, Willard, and Becky (Brown) expressed the whole family’s appreciation to all the people and organizations which had made this event possible and so memorable.
Janet Rhea Payne invited everyone to a reception in the Bethel Fellowship Hall provided by members of the newly formed Johnson County Chapter of the D. A. R. and the ladies of Bethel Baptist Church. Ricky Campbell, Pastor of First Baptist Church, gave the benediction and blessing.