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Bennett honored with ceremony, memorial

Bennett’s widow, Debbie, lights the eternal flame of the memorial during a ceremony on Oct. 10. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
Bennett’s widow, Debbie, lights the eternal flame of the memorial during a ceremony on Oct. 10. (Erwin Record Staff Photo by Keeli Parkey)
By Keeli Parkey
Managing Editor

“We lost our brother; we lost a best friend … Today is the day to honor his life and his name …”
These words were shared by Geraldine Norsworthy, a sister of the late community leader Dwight Benentt, during a ceremony and memorial dedication held in Bennett’s memory on Saturday, Oct. 10, at Unicoi Elementary School.
The ceremony was hosted by the Unicoi County Board of Education.
“We are here today to pay tribute to Dwight Bennett and the life he led and the contributions he made to his community,” Director of Schools John English said in his welcoming statements. “… Dwight was a very special person who was wholeheartedly committed to making his community and anything he had to do with better.
“He made his mark around this county from Rock Creek to Unicoi,” English continued.
At the time of his death on Nov. 25, 2014, Bennett was serving on the Board of Education, as well as the town of Unicoi Board of Mayor and Aldermen. He had held his seat on the Unicoi board since 2004 and was serving as the town’s representative on the Unicoi County Animal Control Board.
He was also a member of the Unicoi County Memorial Hospital Board and a member of the American Legion. He served as a county commissioner from 2010-2014.
Bennett served in the National Guard for 26 years and retired from CenturyLink after 40 years of service.
During Saturday’s ceremony, Bennett was remembered for his civic service, as well as his numerous athletic accomplishments.
Bill Hensley, who served on the County Commission with Bennett, remembered Bennett’s efforts for others.
“Dwight always looked out for poor people,” Hensley said. “He was also committed to supporting the county employees.”
Bennett’s widow, Debbie, also shared memories about her late husband.
“I am a true fan of Dwight’s,” Debbie said.
She recounted his efforts as a coach for youth sports teams, as well as his work as an advocate for the youth of Unicoi County. She also said he was an animal advocate and servant of his community.
“If Dwight saw a wrong, he wanted to make it right,” Debbie also said. “… He still had so much to give.”