The U.S. Naval Academy Alumni Association (Knoxville/Oak Ridge chapter) on Tuesday presented its first annual Veterans for Veterans Certificate of Appreciation to Assistant Chief Robby Copas of the Knoxville Fire Department.
Copas was honored for his service to the U.S. Air Force and for his years of service to the KFD.
“We decided we wanted to honor a veteran who is a military veteran, not just the Navy, who is an emergency-services professional for the police and fire departments,” said Brian Horais, trustee of the organization. He was joined at the presentation at Station 18 on Weisgarber Road by Mark Kohring, secretary of the alumni association, and Knoxville Fire Chief Stan Sharp.
On April 8, 2019, KnoxTNToday featured Copas in our series “Our Town Heroes” for the work he did during the flooding Knoxville experienced in late February and for his body of work with the KFD.
Horais said a number of nominations were submitted to the organization, and the decision to honor Copas was unanimous. The award acknowledges the sacrifices and support the veterans have made and given to their country and local communities.
Copas is a Kingsport native. After graduating from Sullivan North High School, he joined the Air Force and served 22 years and 10 months in the Air Force and the Air National Guard. After 9/11 he was deployed and served in both Egypt and Iraq.
He was promoted to assistant chief on Christmas Day 2016. He has been with the KFD for 20 years.
“I was very humbled by this, and it was totally unexpected,” Copas said. “There are a lot of us who could receive this award. I loved serving my country and I love serving this community. I’m very grateful.”
Tom King has had a long career at newspapers in Tennessee, Texas and California. He started writing for KnoxTNToday in 2017.