December 7, 2001

Donnie Davis made the ultimate sacrifice

The war on terrorism hit home Wednesday with the death of Master Sergeant Jefferson "Donnie" Davis in Afghanistan. Davis and two other American soldiers were killed Wednesday when a U.S. bomb missed its Taliban target north of Kandahar.
   The three Green Berets were members of the Army's 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group, stationed at Fort Campbell, Ky.
   The 39-year-old Davis was a 1981 graduate of Elizabethton High School, where he played both football and basketball. He attended Lees-McRae College in Banner Elk, N.C., and East Tennessee State University before entering the U.S. Army in 1983.
   Davis had made a career in the military and had served in Korea, in the Middle East during Desert Storm, Somalia, and had gone to Afghanistan in October.
   Donnie, as he was known to his friends, was a serious soldier. He knew the risks involved in being a Green Beret, but he gladly accepted his responsibilities. It was not an easy task to leave his wife and two children and go to war. He had been in the military for 17 years, and had met his wife while serving in Korea.
   His friends called him "kind" and "devoted." His coaches remember him as "respectful," an "achiever," "hard worker," and someone who had a great work ethic. His former teammates knew him as "hustler" and a "competitor."
   Former Elizabethton High School Coach Dave Rider said, "He was the kind of boy every parent wants his son to be like."
   He went from college to becoming a soldier, and he volunteered for the toughest of jobs -- that of a Green Beret. He was on the front lines, never backing down, and truly believed in what he did.
   In wars, people die. But, we never think of it being someone in our community, someone who grew up here, someone you played ball with or coached.
   Donnie Davis died a hero. He gave the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom we enjoy. He was one of those who not only guarded our freedom day and night, but fought for it.
   We knew when terrorists struck New York City and Washington, D.C., on September 11 that there would be retaliation, and it would involve our military. We also knew that eventually it would hit home, and that it did Wednesday.
   Carter County has always been at the forefront of most conflicts involving our nation, sending our sons and daughters to fight. In all instances, there have been some who paid the supreme sacrifice. Donnie Davis' name will be added to that long list of people. He will be someone we will always remember and be grateful to for the price he paid for freedom, for giving his life that we may remain free.
   To his family and many friends, we share your sympathy. Master Sergeant Jefferson "Donnie" Davis has made us all proud Americans. At the same time, it puts a lot of things in perspective. It reminds us of how much freedom costs. Never let us take it for granted.