Coomes; “Fine servant and gentleman”

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The city of Lewisburg honored one of its outstanding citizens and servants at the monthly council meeting on Tuesday evening.

Guests filled the council chamber to recognize the service of Col. Wayne Coomes.

County officials, commissioners, and local veterans stood and applauded as Coomes entered the room.

Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham read the long resolution, detailing Coomes’ many accomplishments.

Coomes moved to Lewisburg with his parents in 1956. After graduating from the then Middle Tennessee State College in 1960, he entered the United State Marine Corps.

He served for 30 years, ending his career as the deputy commander of the Naval Investigative Service, precursor to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. Coomes received the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with combat V, and the Meritorious Service Medal among other awards.

Upon his retirement from the military, Coomes felt, according to the resolution that his service was not yet complete. He entered and graduated from the police academy in 1998, becoming president of his class as well as the oldest person to complete the program of training.

Coomes served as chief of both the Lewisburg Police Department and the Lewisburg Fire Department from 1998 until 2005, while also serving the county as the director of the Marshall County Emergency Communications District.

Even after his second retirement, Coomes remained active in the Lewisburg Kiwanis Club, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Red Cross, among other service organizations.

He was named the Lewisburg Rotary Senior Citizen of the Year in 2008.

Bingham noted Coomes’ “exemplary contributions and service” throughout his life.

The council had initially scheduled the honor for Coomes at their January meeting, but ill health forced the postponement.

Other than the resolution for Coomes, the council faced a fairly light agenda.

Councilmen approved on final reading ordinances rezoning several lots on Holly Grove Road from industrial to residential and setting the height of construction in the city at five stories or 65 feet.

The council appropriated $2,850 in additional funding to match an aeronautics grant from the Tennessee Department of Transportation for improvements to the terminal at Ellington Airport.

They also approved $40,000 in order to complete the city’s transition plan for compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements for access to public buildings.

Government bodies have until the end of the year to submit planning to meet the requirements or risk losing their eligibility for federal and state grant funds.

Lewisburg Fire Chief Larry Williams reported that rehabilitation of the main fire hall was still on schedule, and he anticipated that the department would be able to move back into the building in March or April.

The fire department is operating out of the old National Guard armory building while construction in underway.

Williams also reported to the council his department’s response numbers for 2018.

LFD responded to 1,599 calls during the year. Of those 1,190 were medical response calls, 132 were false alarms, and 71 were in response to motor vehicle wrecks.

The department responded to 21 structure fires and 31 brush or grass fires last year, he said.

Tribune photos by Scott Pearson

Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham and the City Council honored Col. Wayne Coomes (left) at Tuesday evening’s council meeting. After 30 years in the United States Marine Corps, Coomes returned to Lewisburg where he served the city as chief of both the police and fire departments, along with service to city and county residents in several civic and charitable organizations.

Lewisburg Mayor Jim Bingham read the resolution detailing Col. Wayne Coomes many contributions and services to the city, county, and nation, before a full house gathered to honor Coomes Tuesday evening.