Bradley County Deputy Marlon Nelson is Our 1st Responder of the Month


CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) — Sometimes the job of a school resource office requires more than just maintaining order and setting an example for young, impressionable students.
Deputy Marlon Nelson of the Bradley county sheriff’s office provided that special kind of support when it was needed, and he’s tonight’s First Responder of the Month.

The campus of Walker Valley High school was quiet on that December day . . . but nearby a logging truck had collided with a car driven by student Megan Manning. She wasn’t seriously hurt, but she was trapped for awhile and scared.

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“I felt a strong need to pray for her . . . because that should be a fatal . . . if you would see the impact of the vehicle. The vehicle looked like something out of a Hollywood movie…transformer completely obliterated. I just felt like hey, we should give thanks in everything so I felt I need to pray with her on scene and give thanks,” said Deputy Marlon Nelson, School Resource Officer at Walker Valley High School.

The young student recovered and is going into the medical profession. As for Deputy Nelson…he is also a chaplain at the sheriff’s department.
School counselor Richard Jackson was also there that day.

Richard Jackson, Walker Valley School Counselor said, “It was really very refreshing to me because Deputy Nelson came over to her and you know in this moment . . . so many things that could be done but the first thing he looked at her and said is . . . uh, “First I’d like to pray with you if that’s o.k.”.”

Counselor Jackson and Deputy Nelson have lunch together almost every school day…and Jackson knows the SRO’s dedication to the students.

“I’m here at school building relationships , bridge the gap between law enforcement and students…we build that relationship, play with them – basketball . . . or have a chit chat. Of course if there’s an opportunity to talk and minister to them, I do so,” said Deputy Nelson.

Becoming an SRO was a natural step for Marlon. Several years ago he was was transporting prisoners for the department when his life changed.

“My captain asked me if I would be willing to help out at Walker Valley . . . they didn’t have it figured out in detail what in the nature I would do but it was more like a security shed guard position. I said yeah, that’s fine perfectly for me because I would have enough time to do my biblical study. It worked out perfectly for me,” said Deputy Nelson.

And he’s done it well for several years now. So, Deputy Marlon Nelson, Bradley county sheriff’s office . . . we are proud to name you our First Responder of the Month.

“At Wettermark Keith, we are so proud of this month’s First Responder’s winner, but we are also proud of the hundreds of other first responders, who are out there working every day and every night to protect us and our families,” said James Wettermark.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at