2019 Banquet Adult Award Honorees
CW5 Gary Linfoot US Army (Ret) and his wife Mari Skogen Linfoot were co-recipients of the Fred Russell Distinguished Americans Award. This is our chapter’s highest award. Gary is a highly-decorated special operations helicopter pilot injured in a crash while deployed and is now assisting with the development of the EXSO exoskeleton which allows those paralyzed to walk again. Mari is assisting as they were given an exoskeleton for home use.
The late Sam Bartholomew was recognized as a co-honoree of this year’s Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award. He was a very successful attorney who had a hand in many significant sporting events in Nashville for several decades. He was a founding member of the Nashville Sports Council, the Music City Bowl and served on many boards including this chapter of the NFF and is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame.
Lester McClain was recognized as a co-honoree for this chapter's "Roy Kramer Contribution to Football Award." McClain attended Nashville's Haynes High School his first three years because as an African American, he was not allowed to attend Antioch, the school closest to his home. Was allowed to attend Antioch his senior season where he earned all city honors before signing a scholarship to play at the University of Tennessee.
Presenting award to McClain (second from left) are board members John Major, Kippy Brown and Larry Taft.
This award is named for Bonnie Sloan who attended Nashville's Litton High School before twice earning All-Ohio Valley Conference honors as a lineman at Austin Peay. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1973 but a knee injury cut short his NFL career after only one season. Sloan accomplished these feats despite being deaf and is one of only three deaf players to ever play in the NFL. Poplar communicated with Sloan at the banquet using sign language as both of Poplar's parents are deaf. This award is presented to a Midstate player, coach or staff member who faced obstacles and fought back to succeed in the spirit of Sloan!