Longtime APRO member, rent-to-own veteran and RTO-industry vendor John Blair will be inducted into the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame in November. He was one of only 17—out of 106 nominees—to be selected for the honor this year. Prior to this year’s inductees, there were only 49 other veterans in this prestigious group. Blair, vice president of sales for PTS Direct Benefits & Tax Service, received the Hall of Fame honor for his service in the U.S. Marine Corp during what many consider one of the most harrowing periods of the Vietnam War. He served in the battle of Khe Sanh, for which he earned the prestigious Silver Star.
According to the Georgia Military Veterans’ Hall of Fame board of directors, the evaluation and selection process for the Hall of Honor “was done in total secrecy and absolutely void of any outside influence. [Blair’s] sterling active duty record and post military life served [him] well and gained for [him] this rare and noble honor.” Recipients are awarded based on one of three categories: valor, achievement and service. Blair was honored for his valor during the Hall of Fame induction ceremony on November 5 in Columbus, Georgia.
In 1968, Blair was a member of the Third Battalion, Fourth Marines, India Co. stationed in Vietnam. APRO Executive Director Bill Keese was honored to be a spectator at a reunion of that company in 2006. One of Blair’s Marine buddies told Keese, “I would follow John through hell—and I did. He got us out of that mess alive!” Others at the reunion agreed that Blair is a true hero. In an unpopular war, one in which many sought to avoid service, Blair reported for duty. During the war’s dramatic Tet Offensive, Blair’s platoon came under heavy fire from a large North Vietnamese force. Blair, serving as squad leader, and his men were pinned down, but he didn’t hesitate to maneuver his squad forward and launch an assault on the enemy. He was awarded the Silver Star for his leadership and for disregarding his own safety that day. After being promoted to sergeant later that year, Blair was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal.
Blair has been involved in rent-to- own for decades, working for 11 years with Broyhill Furniture Rentals before becoming the first executive director of TRIB Group and serving in that capacity for 15 years. He was vice president of marketing and sales for M&B Jewelry (later CM Jewelry) for nine years and currently services the industry via RTO vendor PTS Direct Benefits & Tax Service. Blair has served on APRO’s vendor advisory committee since 2000. Read a profile of Blair in RTOHQ: The Magazine, September-October 2009 here: https://www.rtohq.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/JohnBlair_RTOHQSO09.pdf.