Victor Hodge, Army Veteran – Still Making His Mark

Specialist 4/E-5 Sergeant Victor Hodge, U.S. Army

Veterans Day 2020 celebrations are likely to be different from previous celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But, you can be sure that we Americans will never forget to honor our dedicated veterans who raised their hands solemnly to defend our country and serve honestly and faithfully. Veterans will be honored with parades, ceremonies, free meals, free car washes and the list goes on and on here in the “good ole” United States of America.

As a United States Air Force Veteran, I graciously salute United States Army Victor B. Hodge of Alcoa, Tennessee near the Great Smokey Mountains, who joined the military at age 17!!  Victor and his mother, Mrs. Betty Jo Hodge were riding in their car when he saw the large sign, “Uncle Sam Wants You”.  Victor told his mother, “stop the car I’m going to go sign up”. His mother tried to convince him not to go for various reasons but Victor was determined and that’s what he did, a matter of fact he enlisted that same day.

Victor Hodge, the classy look – Photo Courtesy of Victor Hodge

Victor became sick when he was in the 6th grade with kidney trouble and later in years, he had total kidney failure. During his school years, it upset him that he couldn’t play any sports. He had to sit on the sidelines to watch. He even had to sit back and watch all his friends join the community motorcycle club known as the Optimus Club who traveled and won many “Parades Best Showing”. Because his friends loved him and he loved them, they allowed him in the motorcycle club even though he didn’t have a motorcycle. He said he still had the best time ever.

Victor Hodge sitting on the motorcycle, Richard Cooper (far background), Curtis McBath, Robert Henry, Kendall Lenoir – Photo Courtesy of J.R. Sudderth

In 1978, Victor credits God because he listened when God told him to go the Army and leave Tennessee for Fort Bliss, Texas and then, various other military post and bases.  He enjoyed serving his country as a Hercules Missile Crewman in the United States Army as Specialist 4/E5 Sergeant. He said it was an adventures journey because he learned more discipline, respect, and found that he bonded with friends for life. Despite his medical condition, he said it was all worth it, traveling the world, becoming a veteran and learning to do things he never thought he could do before.

Army Sergeant Victor Hodge serving his country – Photo Courtesy of Victor Hodge

After he was medically discharged, he eventually returned to his home in Tennessee. He thanks the Knoxville Dialysis Clinic Inc (DCI) for taking excellent care of him for 38 years.  Since then, he continues to serve his community and give back. He couldn’t help but think of past teachers like Mrs. Mary Reese, Mrs. Geraldine Upton, his grandmother and mother and how tremendously they influence him. He felt so strong and emotional talking about these women and said, “They always made you feel like you were the best!!!  If it wasn’t for them, where would I be?”

Victor Hodge, future Class of 1977 hanging with the ladies of the future Class of 1979 – Robin McGhee Whitmore, Renee Sudderth (Home Economic pants by me), Monica Wimbley and Charlayne Wilson Watkins at the former Charles M. Hall School that changed to Alcoa Jr. High – Photo Courtesy of Renee Sudderth (1975)

Today, in our community it’s different from when we were growing up. Victor is more passionate about his hometown of Alcoa, Tennessee. It saddens him and me that we no longer have our historical memorable buildings (swimming pool, the basketball courts on the main road, the Commercial Building that had many businesses like the gas station, barber shop, teen center, pool hall, beauty shop, nail shop, record shop, eatery known as the “Sweet Shop” and even a dance hall that our parents use to attend when they were still in school at Charles M. Hall School, (named after an engineer at the Aluminum Company of America –  ALCOA) right next to this building.

Those places are no longer there except for the school but it is Alcoa City Health Center now.  However, the Houston-Teeter Gymnasium is still there waiting to be utilized and it still looks good after being built in 1926. 

Charles M. Hall School in Alcoa, Tennessee, Photo Courtesy of the City of Alcoa

Every day, Victor B. sits where the old basketball courts used to be which was about 60 feet from where the Community Commercial Building “the corner” used to be. Now Victor spends his time talking to guys his age and also to the younger generation who want you to listen to them but Victor is so inspiring they end up listening to him, too.

Victor Hodge (Class of 77) and Marlon Scott (Class of 76) reminiscing about the old fun filled days on the grounds of the former basketball courts and Commercial Building which is now only grass completed by the City – we talked about so much history on this special day – Photo Courtesy of Renee Sudderth

Victor still loves his home and wants to continue to do all he can to lead his community in a positive way while he is assigned here, to this earth. He quickly says he remembers when doctors told him he wouldn’t make it to the age of 12.  Well, now at age 61, he knows GOD is still working through him, as he is still doing many things he has a strong desire to do.  

Victor Hodge feeling like “Rocky” after overcoming many obstacles in life – Photo Courtesy of Victor Hodge

Victor will forever be grateful to his beautiful wife, Valeria and his eight children and 15 grandchildren. It seems that Victor has lived a well-rounded life. But on this Veterans Day 2020, I honor you and tell you, Victor B. Hodge, “THANK YOU” for serving your country and community proudly, and making your presence felt through the grace of God, who continues to give you one day at a time. With gratitude, HAPPY VETERANS DAY, VICTOR B. HODGE.

Victor Hodge always thanks Blount County Veterans Affairs for many years of good service to our community – Photo Courtesy of Blount County Veterans Affairs

55 Comments

  1. CAROLINE TATE – November 11, 2020 – Via EMAIL – What a distinguished story about a great person from our community. I pray that God will continue to keep Victor inspired and willingness to follow his dream. It is wonderful to witness another soldier following God’s inspiration for the youth of our community. Happy Veterans Day to all the Veterans.

  2. BIVIAN PAIGE WOODY – November 11, 2020 – HAPPY VETERAN DAY Renee! THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!! I hope you have an AWESOME day. Miss and Love you much.

  3. JERRY HALL – November 11, 2020 – Via Email – Thanks Renee, The Sudderth Family and The Veterans of Alcoa, Blount County and all the wonderful Men and Women for your Service in The Armed Forces. Alcoa surely has a rich history of servitude to America to fight for Freedom overseas and at home.

  4. KELVIN LYNN WALTON – November 11, 2020 – Via Facebook- Renee, thank you for your service, Gods Love and Blessings be with you always

  5. This story was so inspiring! Even though I have known Victor a lifetime and part of his life story, I learned something new. Great story and great job Renee! Thank both of you for your military service as well as your dedication and devotion to our community! May God continue to Bless you abundantly.

  6. Thank you for this wonderful and inspiring article about Victor! We are very grateful for the sacrifices our veterans and their families have made. We honor all of them for their service to our country! God bless America!

  7. JOYCE THOMPKINS – November 11, 2020 – Via Email – Happy Veterans Day to you Renee! Thanks so much for your service! God Bless! Miss you!

  8. SALLY DALEY – November 11, 2020 – Via Email – Great article and I am so proud of Victor. I see him ever so often and have a chat. He was always and is such a nice young man. Thank him for his service.

  9. TERESA WELLS – November 12, 2020 – Via Facebook – Beautiful my fellow writer. Again you nailed it! Thank you for all you do. Love you cuz.

  10. KARAN HORD – November 12, 2020 – Via BCVA Facebook – Victor, thank you for your service and your inspiration to others.

  11. MARK MCDONALD – November 12, 2020 – Via BCVA Facebook – Victor, thanks for your inspiring dedication to serve our country.

  12. This beautiful, inspiring article is a testament to your enormous heart and deep love for our community and its rich history, Renee. Again, you have taught us, shared with us, and showcased a man whom I think of as one of my “big brothers” while growing up in our little neck of the woods. I salute you, sis, Victor Hodge, and all veterans for answering the call of our country. Keep up the OUTSTANDING work!!

  13. LINDA WASHINGTON – November 12, 2020 – Via Facebook – A beautiful flag saying “One flag One land One heart One hand One nation evermore

  14. A wonderful feel good story for Veterans Day, keep up the good work Renee. Most of us have a story that matters, thanks for recognizing and sharing Victors. KS

  15. PAUL GILBERT – November 14, 2020 – Via Facebook – Good morning Renee, I just wanted to let you know that you did an awesome job with the article about Victor B. We were talking yesterday and he told me about the article.

  16. VICTOR HODGE – November 2020 – Renee, thank you!! You knocked it out the park. It was beautiful, you made me proud, loved the way you laid out the pictures. Yes, God’s been so good.

  17. JOSEPH HODGE – November 24, 2020 – Renee you did a great job as always with your articles. For the life of me, I have no ideal where you get all the info you come up with. Thank you.

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