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APSU awards inaugural CSM Walker Award to ROTC cadet

ROTC Cadet Nicholas Shumpis (far right) was named the recipient of the inaugural Command Sgt. Maj. Walker Award during a breakfast ceremony April 4 at Austin Peay State University. APSU President Tim Hall (from left), retired Command Sgt. Maj. Darol Walker (for whom the award is named) and local businessman Jack Turner (who created the award) also are shown. (Photo by Beth Liggett, APSU Public Relations and Marketing)

The recipient of the first Command Sgt. Maj. Walker Award at Austin Peay State University plans to make his career in the U.S. Army – much like the namesake of the award has done.

Cadet Nicholas Shumpis with APSU’s Governors Guard Battalion of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) was presented the inaugural award during a breakfast ceremony held Wednesday, April 4 at APSU. Already having 10 years of military service, Shumpis said the military is his chosen career path.

“I plan to retire from the military,” he said after the event. Shumpis, a native of New York, will graduate from APSU in May with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and then report to Fort Benning, Ga., for infantry training. He will be stationed in Hawaii after training.

The award is established in honor of Darol Walker, retired vice president of Jack B. Turner and Associates Inc. in Clarksville and retired command sergeant major in the Army. He entered the life insurance business in 1977 after retiring from the Army. In addition, he has served in several leadership positions in various community organizations, including past president of both the Clarksville Rotary Club and the Montgomery County Habitat for Humanity.

A distinguished veteran, Walker also is a 1991 graduate of Leadership Clarksville and served as co-chair of the Military Affairs Committee of the Clarksville Area Chamber of Commerce.

The award was created by Jack B. Turner to recognize Walker and his efforts in support of the military and local community.

Both Turner and Walker attended the breakfast, along with retired Gen. Wendell Gilbert, who previously served in the APSU administration for several years and was former commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Veterans Affairs. - Dr. Melony Shemberger