Frank Caperton, President Rutherford County Historical Society
Wow. How can you speak the name ‘Jerry Anderson’ and not get misty-eyed.
You see, Jerry Anderson was more than just an exceptional football player from Murfreesboro’s Central High School. Jerry Anderson loved people.
Jerry Anderson lost his life, May 27, 1989, after rescuing two young boys from drowning in the storm-swollen waters of Stones River, on Warrior Drive in Murfreesboro. The Hero and Humanitarian Awards are given to individuals and organizations that exemplify the same selfless courage in making lives better.
From the Daily News Journal, August 2, 2014
Jerry Anderson Drowned after rescue of two boys from Stones River, ’89
Twenty-five years ago, Jerry Anderson lost his life after saving those of two unknown boys.
Friday afternoon the city of Murfreesboro cemented his legacy by naming a street in his honor.
“This is a longtime coming,” said Vicky Anderson, one of Anderson’s three daughters. “It’s just a memorable experience, something we can cherish. He was an awesome role model to me and others.”
On May 27, 1989, Anderson tool Dwight Ogleton, Jr. and another boy fishing on the Stones River, behind the Warrior Drive home of police Lt. Johnny Moseby. Brad Logsdon and Josh McFarland were fishing on a nearby dam when they were overtaken by the water.
After working to rescue Logsdon and McFarland, Anderson went underwater two or three times, but never resurfaced. Rescue workers pulled him from the river and took him to Middle Tennessee Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
The Murfreesboro City Council voted May 15 (2014) to rename Community Circle in the Kimbro Woods subdivision Jerry Anderson Drive.
“Jerry Anderson was a hero on the field of football, but more importantly, he was a hero in the bigger game of life,” Mayor Shane McFarland (no relation to Josh McFarland) said during Friday’s ceremony. “As citizens of Murfreesboro, we honor his heroism and should be proud that someone who demonstrated true courage in action called this city his hometown.”
As recently as last week, Kevin S. James said he wondered why no bridge or street has already been named for one of his oldest friends.
“He gave his life so that someone would have theirs,” said James. “He was my friend. I love him to death.”
Since 1990, the local NAACP chapter has given awards in Anderson’s name to honor local humanitarians and heroes.
After graduating Central High School, Anderson went on to play football at the University of Oklahoma and was a member of the school’s championship team in 1975. He also played for the National Football League’s Tampa Bay Buccaneer’s and Cincinnati Bengals, as well as the Hamilton Tiger-Cats of the Canadian Football League.
Now headmaster at Providence Christian Academy Butch Vaughn coached Anderson when the 1970 Central team went 12-0. During Friday’s ceremonies, Vaughn called him “the best player on the best team in Murfreesboro.”
But above all else, Anderson had a big heart, he said.
“He’d do anything for anybody. When we heard what he’d done, we weren’t surprised,” Vaughn said.
Monica Green, Anderson’s lone sibling, said her baby brother was spoiled. Green said she was the one who convinced their mother to let Anderson play football.
“She didn’t want to, but I told her it would help make a man out of him,” she said.
Asked what her brother would be doing now, Green said he’d be doing something similar to what he was doing the day he died.
“He’d be somewhere with kids, probably fishing or coaching football. He just loved kids. He has three sons in Texas, and they all play too, but we miss him.”
Logsdon: ‘It was like he was meant to save us.’
The Daily News Journal, August 2, 2014
Brandon Logsdon recalls seeing Jerry Anderson three times while looking for a fishing spot on the Stones River.
On May 27, 1989, he and friend Josh ‘Pooh’ McFarland left McFarland’s house and ended up behind police Lt. Johnny Mosby’s house.
“We tried to cross three difference dams. When we finally found what we thought was a good place, he was there,” said Logsdon.
“It was like he was meant to save us.”
After rescuing the two boys, Anderson, a former NFL player, was unable to save himself and drowned. City officials announced plans earlier this week to rename Community Circle in the Kimbro Woods subdivision in Anderson’s honor.
A Central High graduate, Anderson was a member of the university of Oklahoma’s championship team in 1975. He also played professionally for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Cincinatti Bengals.
Now 37, Logsdon learned of the street naming from The Daily News Journal’s Facebook page.
“I think it’s awesome,” said Logsdon, who lives in Florida with his wife and three children.
I had rained earlier that day in 1989, and water at the dam behind Mosby’s home on Warrior Drive was waist-high Logsdon said.
“The water was moving fast, and it just took us. It all happened so fast,” he said.
Ken Vaughn had been with the Murfreesboro Police Department for about two years when he heard Mosby’s voice come over the radio.