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  • brooklynncollins

West High Adds Former Trojans to Hall of Fame

BROOKLYNN COLLINS

SPORTS EDITOR

SARAH HELM

STAFF WRITER

Dr. Brenda Dean

Brenda Dean is a native of Memphis, TN. Through a National Science Foundation Grant, she was one of 40 high school seniors from across the nation to be selected to work at the Houston Manned Space Center the summer before the first lunar landing. Her education includes a BS in Biology from TN Tech, a Master's degree in Curriculum from UT Knoxville and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from East TN State University.


Dr. Dean was employed by Hamblen County Schools for 45 years. During that time, she worked as a Biology and Chemistry teacher at West High, an Assistant Principle at East High, and as the Assistant Director of Schools for Curriculum and Instruction. As Assistant Director of Schools, Dr. Dean wrote more than $22 million in school improvement grants. Dr. Dean led the 1:1 computer initiative to provide a laptop to each Hamblen County school student.


She is currently an Assistant Professor at Carson-Newman University, where she works in the Doctoral program, training future administrators. She has worked with the Southern Regional Education Board as a National Master Trainer for 20 years, training administrators and school leaders on Assessment and Instruction and Root Cause Analysis. She is a national presenter on educational topics and has served numerous state initiatives and task forces.

Major David Lucas Helton

Major David Lucas Helton, a 1990 graduate of Morristown West High School. At West, he earned 16 varsity letters and was a member of National Honor Society, Choir, FCA and sports Editor of the local newspaper. He was a TN state qualifier in both track and cross country, All-Inter Mountain Conference three times, and a member of the first West team to quality for the sate cross country meet. He was named Army Reserves West High Male Athlete of the Year in 1990.


Major Helton enlisted in the Air Force in 1992 as an F-16 Weapons Specialist. During his 12 years of enlisted service, he deployed to the countries of Oman and Jordan in support Operation Southern Watch. While at Aviano Air Base in Italy, he loaded the AIM-120 missile used to record the only air-to-air kill of Operation Allied Force.


Major Helton earned his officer commission as a Distinguished Graduate of the Air Force Officer Training School in 2004. As a Space Control Crew Commander, he earned both Crew and Instructor Excellence Awards, and the 2007 Instructor of the Year for the 21st Space Wing. He has earned the distinction of being an Air Force Master Instructor, amassing more than 5200 hours taught. He earned 34 medals and decorations during his career, including the Meritorious Service Award. Major Helton retired from the United States Air Force in July 2019 after more than 27 years of active service.

William "Chris" Osborne

William "Chris" Osborne graduated from West High in 1990. He was a member of Trojan band, Freshman & JV Basketball Teams and Varsity Track Team. Chris was also the first African American on-air personality at radio station WCRK.


Chris graduated from Tennessee State University with a BS in Communication and Minor in Pre-Law. He was a member of TSU's Track Team. Chris worked almost 20 years in radio and TV. He then joined the national spokesperson team of the American Red Cross. After a stint as host of National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" in Birmingham, Chris is now the Public Relations Manager for the Jefferson. County Department of Health.


In 2004, Chris suffered the amputation of his left leg above the knee following a hit-and-run accident while riding his motorcycle. Chris was an on-air anchor when the accident occurred, making his recovery a public experience. Chris attributes his speedy rehab and "can-do" outlook to his faith in God, family, and a strong support system of friends. "I never ask God why, but just try to follow his plan for my life," said Osborne. In 2010, Chris joined the National Amputee Golf Association (NAGA). He has been a member of three International Cup Match Play teams and remains undefeated in match play. He was the first African American to ascend to the NAGA Board and the first to host a NAGA Championship in 2015 in Birmingham, which holds significant meaning in terms of the Civil Rights Movement. Chris is the current Above Knee Amputee Paralongdrive record holder in the 40+ division.

Captain Steve Allen Seal

Captain Steve Allen Seal graduated from West High School in 1972, as a member of the first class to complete all four years at West. During high school, Steve earned three letters in football and one in wrestling. As a senior, he was one of West's first five students to sign a college athletic commitment.


Steve was sworn in at the US Naval Academy with the class of 1977. After graduation, he was designated a Naval Aviator, earning his Wings of Gold" in 1978. After a multitude of overseas deployments, Captain Seal became an Instructor Pilot. In 1990, he reported to Washington, DC as a Congressional Liaison Officer. In 1992, Captain Seal was selected for command of Patrol Squadron 24. During his command, the Squadron won the Battle E. Award" in 1994 as best squadron in the Atlantic Fleet.


Captain Seal then reported to Patrol Wing Eleven as Chief of Staff for five squadrons, representing 1,500 men and women. He next reported back to Annapolis as the Deputy Director of Admissions for the US Naval Academy. While at the Naval Academy, he was selected to be the football team's Officer Representative.


During his career, he was awarded four Meritorious Service Medals and one Joint Service Meritorious Medal. Captain Seal retired from active duty in 2000. Since then, he has enjoyed teaching and coaching at various high schools.

Rod Walker

Rod Walker is a 1989 graduate of West High. While at West, he was a baseball and football standout. In only 106 baseball games, Rod set conference, state and national records by hitting 54 home runs. In 2019, he still ranks 2nd in the state and 13th nationally in career home runs. Rod was also a 3-time All IMAC punter and was selected as tight-end on the West High Greatest Football Team of All-Time.


After high school, Rod signed a scholarship to play football at East TN State University. He was also drafted by the Oakland A's. Rod chose the baseball path and enrolled in Cleveland State Community College. As a freshman, he led the team to the TJCCAA State and District Championships.


He continued his college career at East TN State University. Rod was twice named All Southern Conference. His 127 career RBI's were a school record. Rod blasted 49 home runs in this college career and was named a Gatorade Strength and Conditioning All American in 1992, one of only 2 baseball players to be selected. At the end of this final season, Rod was the all-time leader in career home runs with 40, while only playing three seasons at East TN state.


Rod currently owns RFR Promotions, LLC, and works with school, athletic teams and other organizations in capital and fundraising initiatives.

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