Best of Blount


Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets are $35 (plus taxes and fees)
Tickets are SOLD OUT

Retired Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and author of Lone Survivor, which recounts the heroic sacrifices of fellow SEAL Team members assigned to Operation Red Wing, is the guest speaker for the Blount Partnership’s Best of Blount Awards, Nov. 14 at 6:30 p.m., at the Clayton Center for the Arts on the Maryville College campus.

The Best of Blount Awards focus on the Blount County community as a whole rather than only on the business sector. It celebrates those individuals and businesses that give their time and resources to make this area an outstanding place to live and work.

Awards will be given for Philanthropist of the Year, Community Impact Award, Bright Future Award, Business of the Year, First Responder Award and the Tourism Award.




Lone Survivor Movie Viewing

Local manufacturer DENSO presents a free viewing of the movie Lone Survivor, which tells the story of Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell and his team’s attempted capture of Taliban leader Ahmad Shah in June 2005, on Monday, Nov. 13 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall on the Maryville College campus (502 E. Lamar Alexander Pkwy, Maryville, TN).

Free general admission tickets limited to two per person can be ordered through the Clayton Center for the Arts ticket office at 865.981.8590 or online at The movie is rated R and may not be suitable for children under 18.

Donations will be accepted at the viewing for the Lone Survivor Foundation which aids America’s wounded service members and their families as they adjust to the effects of their experiences and help them transition into their new normal.

Marcus Luttrell

Born and raised in Texas, Luttrell and his twin brother, Morgan, attended Sam Houston State University. They began training for the SEALs at age 14 with former United States Army soldier, Billy Shelton, who lived nearby. As kids, they loved to hunt and fish and wrestle alligators.

Luttrell joined the United States Navy in March 1999. He began Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training with Class 226 in Coronado, California. He graduated with Class 228 after suffering a fractured femur early in his training. Marcus graduated 18 Delta in 2001, making him a team Medic.

On June 28, 2005, Luttrell and three other SEALs were assigned to Operation Red Wing, a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah (nom de guerre Mohammad Ismail), a high-ranking Taliban leader responsible for killings in eastern Afghanistan and the Hindu-Kush mountains. The SEAL team was made up of Luttrell, Michael P. Murphy, Danny Dietz and Matthew Axelson.

A group of goat herders stumbled upon the SEALs, and the four SEALs immediately took control of the situation and discussed what to do with the herders. The herders were subsequently released and disappeared over the mountain ridge. Luttrell believed they immediately betrayed the team’s location to local Taliban forces and within an hour, the SEALs were engaged in an intense gun battle. In the ensuing battle, the rest of the SEAL team members were killed.

An MH-47 Chinook helicopter was dispatched with a force consisting of SEALs and 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment “Nightstalkers” to rescue the team, but the helicopter was shot down by an RPG. All 16 men on the Chinook were killed. Luttrell was the only survivor. Badly wounded, he managed to walk and crawl seven miles to evade capture. He was given shelter by an Afghan tribe, who alerted the Americans of his presence, and American forces finally rescued him six days after the gun battle.

Following his physical recovery from Operation Redwing, Luttrell returned and completed one more tour before being medically retired. He wrote the book, Lone Survivor, to share the amazing story of his brothers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. In 2013, Lone Survivor became a major motion picture staring Marc Wahlberg. Luttrell’s second book, Service, answers questions remaining from Lone Survivor and gives honor and praise to other members of the military.

Today, Luttrell is married to the woman of his dreams, Melanie. The couple has a son Axe, who is named after Matthew Axelson, and a daughter, Addie. In 2010, Luttrell established the Lone Survivor Foundation for veterans and their families. He is also deeply involved in The Boot Campaign, a charitable organization that focuses on military personnel and the hardships resulting from their service.

2017 Best of Blount Award Winners

Tourism Award - Downtown Maryville Association
Bright Future Award - Patriot Threads
Large Business of the Year - CBBC Bank
Small Business of the Year - Lowe's Drugs & Home Health Care
Community Impact Award - Volunteer Action Civitan Club
First Responder Award - The late Maryville Police Officer Kenny Moats
Philanthropist of the Year - Randy Massey

2016 Best of Blount Awards Winners

Tourism Award - Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority
Bright Future Award - The Golden Age 1942
Large Business of the Year - Newell Brands
Small Business of the Year - Blount County Eye Center
Community Impact Award - Pregnancy Resource Center
Philanthropist of the Year - Jack Campbell

2015 Best of Blount Awards Winners

Tourism Award - Maryville-Alcoa-Blount County Parks & Recreation Commission
Bright Future Award - Tony Saddy, Get Fit Maryville
Large Business of the Year - DENSO
Small Business of the Year - MK Russell and Abbott
Community Impact Award - Blount County Community Action Agency - Meals on Wheels
Philanthropist of the Year - Tom Hatcher, Blount County Clerk

2014 Best of Blount Awards Winners

Tourism Award - Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson
Bright Future Award - LeConte Realty
Large Business of the Year - Vanquish Worldwide
Small Business of the Year - Ingram, Overholt and Bean, P.C.
Community Impact Award - Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee
Philanthropist of the Year - Eric Barton, president and CEO of Vanquish Worldwide

2013 Business Excellence Awards Winners

Impact Award - Blount County Health Initiative
Tourism Award - Blackberry Farm
Civic Service Organization of the Year - Maryville Lions Club
Bright Future Award - Corey Pabst, Computer Catering
Non-Profit Organization of the Year - Family Promise of Blount County
Innovation Award - Hickory Construction
Minority/Woman Owned Business of the Year - Leanne Moe-McQueen, Studio 212
Volunteer of the Year - Sharon Hannum
New Business of the Year - Roost
Above & Beyond Award - Leon Williams Contractors
Creative Marketing Tourism Award - Clayton Center for the Arts
New Interactive Attraction Tourism Award - CLIMBWorks
Entrepreneur of the Year - John Clark, Vienna Coffee House
Small Business of the Year - Trillium Cove Home & Garden Shop
Medium Business of the Year - Anderson Lumber Co.
Large Business of the Year - Alcoa Inc.
Philanthropist of the Year - Brenda Sellers