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AHERN History

AHERN’s beginning started as a hobby in 1999 as a newsletter. It was called the Tabernacle Chronicle, for Tabernacle Baptist Church. Rev. H.R. Mills would leave work at 10:00 p.m. and go to the church. He would work there from 11:00 p.m. to about 3:00 a.m. preparing his sermon and church bulletin for Sunday mornings. Rev. Mills would spend the last hour and a half designing the newsletter.

One day, while at work, a colleague saw the newsletter on his desk and said, “that looks like a magazine.”  Rev. Mills discontinued the newsletter in 2001.

In 2004, Rev. Mills started having health issues and was informed that he had two options: go back to work and have back surgery every 3 to 6 months, or go on disability.  After 3 back surgeries, Rev. Mills decided not to continue trying to work, but instead, go on disability.

In 2005, as a hobby to stay busy, Rev. Mills picked the newsletter back up and came up with a new format and name. The newsletter was called, Fellowship Today. It was designed to communicate news and activities in upper and lower East Tennessee.

Rev. Mills sought the help of Rev. Frederick Gordon, Mary Breedlove, Beverly Phipps, Vivian Releford, and Rev. Cecil C. Mills, Jr.  This group of individuals decided to organize as a support group and later decided to organize as a board. Rev. Gordon made two suggestions, first, the group be called HERN, Incorporated and second, change the name from Fellowship Today to HERN Magazine (Health, Education, Religion, and News). The group voted to approve the changes.

After several days of deciding the mission of HERN, Rev.  Gordon suggested the mission of HERN should read, “To reach outside of one community and touch other communities with the hope of becoming a voice for the African American Community; to improve communication and encourage individuals, groups, and organizations to take pride in their historical culture through public forums and publications”. Due to many individuals having the last name HERN, the decision was made in 2009 to change the name from HERN to AHERN (African-American Health, Education, Religion, and News). The board agreed and adopted this as their mission statement.

Rev. Cecil Mills, Jr. contacted a law firm in Greeneville to draw up the bylaws. Once submitted, The State of Tennessee approved AHERN, Incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2005.

Today, AHERN, Incorporated operates as an African American communication ministry that highlights the achievements and news of African Americans in East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia, and the nation.

AHERN Mission

The mission of AHERN is to reach outside of one community and touch other communities with the hope of becoming a voice for the African American Community; to improve communication and encourage individuals, groups, and organizations to take pride in their historical culture through public forums and publications.

AHERN Objectives

The Corporation has those purposes set forth in the Charter, including:

  1. To operate exclusively for charitable, scientific and educational purposes described in section 501(c)(3) and 170 (c)(2) of the Internal Revenue Code.
  2. To engage in communication outreach ministries, not limited to health, education, religion and news;
  3. To purchase or otherwise acquire, hold, own, create a security interest in, exchange or otherwise convey real or personal property;
  4. To solicit and receive donations or subventions and to invest, administer and distribute any funds as received, as permitted by law;
  5. To reach outside of one community and touch other communities. To seek, promote, and serve as a ministry of communication for the local area, district, statewide, and multi-state communities;
  6. To make donations for the public welfare or for charitable, scientific or educational purposes;
  7. To engage in any other activity not prohibited by law or in violation of the organization’s status as a 501(c)(3) or these bylaws.
Board of Directors

Rev. Dr. Harold Middlebrook, Sr., Chairman
Rev. Cecil Mills, Jr., Vice-Chairman
Ms. Jacqueline CollinsSecretary
Ms. Valerie LeeTreasurer
Ms. Shelia Pinkston, Financial Secretary
Dr. Dorothy DobbinsHealth Division Chair
Mr. C. Clay Mills, News Division Chair
Rev. Pamela HoardHall of Legacy Chair
Mrs. Vivian Releford, DAPS Awards Chair
Rev. Roger Mills, Jr., Founder-President

Charter Board Members

Mrs. Mary Breedlove, Talbott, TN
Rev. Frederick Gordon, Brevard, NC  (D)
Rev. Cecil Mills, Jr., Greeneville, TN
Rev. Roger Mills, Jr., Whitesburg, TN
Mrs. Beverly Phipps, Jefferson City, TN
Mrs. Vivian Releford, Kingsport, TN

AHERN Magazine

Rev. H. Roger Mills, Jr., Publisher
Mrs. Mary Breedlove, Senior Editor
Mrs. Beverly Phipps, Assistant Editor
Rev. Pamela Hoard, Sales

Rev. Pamela Hoard, Devotional
Rev. Dr. Charlotte Comage, Perspective
Mrs. Jacqueline Jones, Reflection
Mrs. Angellitti Bradley, Health Talk

Region 1: Carter & Washington Counties
Margaret Davis, Washington County
Region 2: Sullivan County & Bristol, VA
Lina Nichols-Bradley, Sullivan County
Region 3, Greene & Hawkins Counties

Region 4: Cocke & Hamblen Counties
Jacqueline Collins, Cocke County
Tammi Hayes-McGowan, Hamblen County
Region 5, Anderson & Knox Counties
Vivian Shipe, Knox County
Region 6: Loudon & Monroe Counties
Ciarra Bragg-Jones, Loudon County