Pete Mosley is a humble man and not one for the spotlight. That makes it difficult to surprise him.
But on Saturday, a few close friends managed to do just that. Mosley was told that Bette, his wife of 53 years, was being honored with an award, so he didn’t flinch when Charlie Daniels’ voice came through the sound system with the cowboy poem “My Beautiful America.” Nor did he give it a thought when everyone rose for the pledge to the flag. Not even when those friends got him onto the Nissan Bluegrass stage — along with a group of fair friends with whom he had worked since the idea of a fair began taking shape — did he think this was about him.
Why would he? He was told it was for Bette.
It wasn’t until Quilts of Valor Cumberland Quilters Joyce Oborle, Donna S. Miller and Eileen Sherril began wrapping Pete in a quilt made specifically for him by Donna Miller that he realized it was about him.
This year’s quilt “is for someone who is very, very loyal; very true to our community and is someone who has spent a great deal of time and energy at our fair for the last 15 years,” said County Mayor Rogers Anderson, who is not only chairman of the Fair Board but also a veteran.
A man of few words who doesn’t demonstrate emotions easily, the few tears in his eyes said it all as Pat McMahon, his friend and neighbor and chairman of the Quilts of Valor group, read from the certificate that accompanied the quilt.
“The Quilts of Valor Foundation wishes to recognize you for your service to our nation. We consider it a privilege to honor you ... though we may never know the extent of your sacrifice and service to protect and defend the United States of America. As an expression of our gratitude, we present you with this quilt. Each time you cover up with this quilt, it is a hug from a grateful nation.”
Mosely, a Williamson County native and second-generation dairy farmer, joined the Army in 1968, shortly after he graduated from Middle Tennessee State University.
“I was inducted the day Martin Luther King got shot, April 5, 1968,” he said in a 2017 interview for the Herald’s annual Surrounded by Heroes special section.
After boot camp and some extra training, Mosley was sent to Vietnam. While providing security for a U.S. convoy, Mosley’s unit was ambushed by the Viet Cong. His unit suffered several casualties. Mosley was wounded, however his wounds became more severe after the helicopter evacuating him and several other soldiers was shot down.
He suffered internal bleeding, paralyzation for six weeks and the amputation of his right arm.
When he finally recovered, Mosley went back to school to earn a master’s degree and get his strength back. Then he returned to his dairy farm, where he and Bette raised their children and Pete became active in the community he loved. He served on the county Planning Commission for 40 years and 17 years ago was among the group that was instrumental in reviving the Williamson County Fair.