This past Friday, Sept. 8, Morristown West High School welcomed 3 former students into the Trojan Army Hall of Fame. The three former students were William Hardin, Logan Whiteside, and Bridget Graves.
William Hardin, 2023 Morristown West High School Hall of Fame
A self-admitted less than stellar student, William Hardin was raised in Morristown and joined the Air Force in 1992 following his graduation from Morristown West. He does, however, credit teachers at Morristown West, along with his mother, for instilling a strong work ethic and a desire to serve. His first assignment was to the Equipment Maintenance Squadron in Arizona. During this assignment, he supported operations in Bosnia and Kosovo. In 1996, he was assigned to Ramstein Air Base in Germany and was deployed twice to Africa. In 1999, he was assigned to Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico and immediately began training to become a Pararescueman.
The two year extensive training for pararescueman included cross-training with Navy Seals, Green Berets and Special Forces with medical training in a New York City emergency room. He was then stationed in Las Vegas, where he was deployed to Afghanistan for four tours in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. For his second tour, he was assigned to protect General Colin Powell for which he received the Humanitarian Service Medal.
During his deployment in February of 2004, his convoy was ambushed by Afghani guerillas and a bomb exploded directly underneath his feet, mangling his leg and shattering his heel. He dragged himself free of the burning vehicle until a medicopter airlifted him to Germany for surgery. He was awarded the Purple Heart after the bomb shattered his leg in this fifth tour.
He was later assigned to bases in Nevada and deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq six times. He participated in rescue efforts in Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and performed local rescues for a total of 125 people saved. He was also the Medical Section, Element, Training & Scheduling NCOICs and Operations Superintendent during this assignment. In 2007, he separated from active duty and joined the Kentucky Air National Guard, and during this period, he deployed twice to Afghanistan. He received campaign medals after his 8 tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also received an Air Medal and Outstanding Unit Awards with Valor with over 20 oak leaf clusters.
In 2011, he was promoted to Master Sergeant and in 2018 to Chief Master Sergeant E9 as Special Tactics Pararescueman. He earned a BAS in Emergency Management from Waldorf University. After 30 years of service and eleven deployments, CMS Hardin retired as the Air National Guard Pararescueman Functional Manager on June 30, 2022.
He has also been inducted in the West Elementary Hall of Fame. He was recently awarded the Legion of Merit for his service. Currently, he is a Full Spectrum Readiness Training and Exercise Planner for the Air Force in Maryland where he lives with his wife of 16 years and their 12 year- old triplets.
Logan Whiteside 2023 Morristown West High School Hall of Fame
At West High, Logan Whiteside maintained a spotless academic record and spent four years on the honor roll. She was selected by her peers as the Class of 2007 Graduation Speaker and voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” Logan played on the varsity tennis and swim teams. She was president of the Latin Club and the 7 & 6 Social Club. She was also an elected member of Student Government and was twice nominated to the Homecoming Court. Logan was an editor of “The West Side Story.” She was a die-hard Trojan fan and a member of WAOS (Women Ambassadors of Spirit).
After high school, Logan attended NYU (New York University) where she double majored in economics and journalism. Upon graduation, she stayed in New York City, working in local news and doing freelance journalism before taking a full-time job at CNN. Logan has worked at CNN for 14 years. In that time, she has told countless stories, worked with top talent at the network, and taken cameras all over the world.
Most of her work has been focused on business and tech news. She has produced interviews with many top executives including Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg and Warren Buffett. Logan has been nominated twice for an Emmy for her work covering misinformation. She was also awarded an EPPY for her coverage of Nigeria’s economy and a Webby for her work on deepfakes.
Currently, she is a supervising producer for CNN Digital Video, overseeing a talented team of producers who shoot and edit their own stories for CNN.com and television. Recently, she traveled to London for King Charles’ coronation.
Logan is forever grateful to her parents, Joe and Joy, for teaching her the value of education and for always believing in her. She currently lives in Atlanta with her husband, their French bulldog and corgi.
Bridget Graves 2023 Morristown West High School Hall of Fame
Bridget Michele Graves graduated from Morristown West in 1993 with Honors. She was one of six graduates to have a 4.0 GPA and was selected as a 1993 Knoxville News Sentinel Academic Achiever. She was a member of Beta Club and was chosen for Who’s Who. She lettered in volleyball, basketball and softball.
In volleyball, she was a three time All-IMAC player in 1990, 1991 and 1992; named to the District II AAA All-Tourney team in 1991 and 1992; selected team MVP in 1991 and 1992; and named best hitter in 1990.
In basketball, she was selected All-IMAC for the 1992-1993 season; named to the 1993 District II AAA All- Tourney team; named the Coastal Player of the Week in February; received the Trojan Award in 1993; and was on the 1991-1992 Sub-State basketball team.
In softball, she batted .508 as a sophomore and in 1993, she was named MVP of the Tiny Day Classic won by West, All-IMAC, All-Northeast Tennessee and was named post-season MVP. The softball team made it to the Sub-State for three consecutive years.
She received a scholarship to Cumberland College to play basketball and was named to the Mid-South Academic team. She also played volleyball in 1993, 1994 and 1997. In 1997, she was named NAIA Academic All-American along with Mid-South Conference All-Tournament, Mid-South Conference Honorable Mention, NCAA All-Region and NCAA Region All-Tournament.
Other athletic achievements include being a part of the 1993 Morristown Big League Girls State Champions in fastpitch softball. In 1997, she was named MVP of the USSAA Class E State Tourney as her team won the state title in slow pitch softball. She was named to the All-Tourney team in 2002. She played women’s professional football from 2001-2005 in the NWFL/NWFA League. She continues to play volleyball and recently earned a black belt in karate.
She graduated cum laude with a B. S. in Biology and Public Health and was named to the Dean’s List numerous times. She was a part of the Beta Beta Beta Biological Society and served as treasurer. She attended the James H. Quillen College of Medicine at ETSU from 1999-2001 where she received her M. S. in Biomedical Science with an emphasis in Microbiology. Since 2002, she has worked for the Department of Surgery as a Research Specialist at the college. Her lab focuses on sepsis and trained immunity. She has been a part of numerous publications. She also served as an adjunct faculty member for WSCC in Distance Education for ten years.