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The mules are coming, Sept. 27-Oct. 2

By DAWN HANKINS - dhankins@t-g.com
Posted 9/24/22

Freedom Sings USA, a 501(c) (3) non-profit based in Chattanooga, will benefit from this year’s American Mule & Bluegrass Festival, which will be held Sept. 27 through Oct. 2 at Calsonic …

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The mules are coming, Sept. 27-Oct. 2


Freedom Sings USA, a 501(c) (3) non-profit based in Chattanooga, will benefit from this year’s American Mule & Bluegrass Festival, which will be held Sept. 27 through Oct. 2 at Calsonic Arena.  

Organizer Marty Ray Gordon said the upcoming event will pair professional songwriters with veterans, military personnel, and their families to help them tell their stories through song.  

One of those veterans to be memorialized is J.B. Stubblefield of Bedford County.  

His military story, “Mama’s Bible” has been recorded as a song by Don Goodman and Donovan Chapman. The CD is forthcoming which features the song and can be found online.

Freedom Sings USA professional songwriters support veterans by listening to their stories and converting them to a song. It is a unique alternative therapy that is working to relieve trauma from combat and military service.  

This Nashville connection will bring an entertainment element that is unique to this area and provides support to all veterans, according to Gordon.  

AMBF will be offering all its profits to this foundation that supports veterans. Local charities will receive funds from their efforts supporting the jobs required to put on the festival.  

Veteran Stubblefield’s story AMBF will be honoring Stubblefield also by hosting a wagon train on Tuesday, which will make its run at 10 a.m. and end around 3 p.m.  

Gordon is planning a fish dinner at 5 p.m., at his Gordonview Farm at 2591 Highway 231 South.  

Sadly, Stubblefield passed from this life surrounded by family on Sept. 8, 2022 at his daughter’s residence at the age of 103—2 days shy of his 104th.  

He was born Sept. 10, 1918 on a farm in Morrison to the late Jesse Burr and Bessie McCormick Stubblefield.  

He was a proud and humble World War II veteran who joined the Army Air Forces back in January 1942—that was after Pearl Harbor was bombed in December 1941.  

Six weeks later, he was on a boat in the Pacific. He served in Australia and New Guinea as an airplane electrician.  

While in New Guinea, he entered the jungle to evade the enemy where he developed malaria and amnesia. His family was notified that he was missing in action.  

Prayers were answered, he noted in a Times-Gazette interview a few years ago, when he was eventually found and was identified by the pocket-size Bible his mother had mailed to him in New Guinea.  

The song written in his honor states simply, “Thanks, Mom.” For you see, his mom included his name and address inside the Bible cover, which is how authorities would come to identify him in the jungle.  

As the song goes, J.B. married Bobbie Jo Reed in 1952, and they were a couple for 69 years. Bobbie Jo passed last year. He was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who loved his family and enjoyed farming, raising cattle, pigs, hay, and a huge garden every year at their farm in Shelbyville.  

Family notes that in later years, he became a birdwatcher and enjoyed spending time on the porch with his favorite folks “watching the world go by.”  

Mule show honor  

Mule show organizers hope that the people of this community will especially come out to the show to honor this WWII veteran and others.  

Gordon notes that “J.B.,” as he was best known, wanted to see a mule not long ago. He was able to get a photo with one prior to his passing.  

Gordon no doubt has a soft spot for this WWII veteran. He said this week how his friend is now an official “Mule Skinner.”  

In this genre of showmanship, that means a lot.