Chair of 2016 Blue Suede Dinner & Auction for the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse
Story by Lyda Kay Ferree, the Southern Lifestyles Lady. Photography by Kristina Only.
The following is an excerpt of an article from the February 2016 issue.
Bill White grew up in the small community of Nutbush near Brownsville, Tennessee. He attended the University of Tennessee at Martin for two years, and he graduated from UT-Knoxville with an accounting degree. He moved to Jackson in 2008 to become Community Bank President of First Tennessee Bank of Jackson. His wife, Lorie, grew up in Wabash, Indiana. They have been married for 35 years.
Bill White has over 34 years of banking experience in various roles. For the last seven years he has managed the Jackson region for First Tennessee as Community Bank President. Prior to being named President, Bill, as a relationship manager, successfully managed over a hundred commercial banking relationships providing credit, treasury management, deposit services, investments and other banking services.
VIP: How long have you been involved with the Carl Perkins Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse and what tugs at your heartstrings about this organization?
Bill White: I have been involved with the Child Abuse Center for seven years — since 2009. When I first moved to Jackson in 2008, everything was in financial turmoil at my job. We had lost several employees where I worked. I was trying to rebuild and hold everything together. My Administrative Assistant reminded me that I was to attend an Exchange Club meeting to receive an award. I had only been in Jackson a month. I went to the meeting and the Center gave me some kids’ artwork. That was my first introduction to the Center. I learned what it was and I was somewhat hooked once they contacted me to see if I would be interested in being on their board.
I grew up with great parents. My mom played every game there was to play with me, and my dad took me hunting and fishing and taught me farming and gardening. It was a wonderful life for a child. I want kids in a horrific family situation to know that there is a good life for a child.
The Carl Perkins Center staff believes that they help the families. Even though the children may be abused, they can sometimes improve the entire family situation. I just can’t stand to think of a kid not growing up with what I had—a great childhood. So if I can do anything to help prevent child abuse or to help a child get back on track (most are sexually abused, which is a horrible thing), I need to help them as much as possible.
VIP: There are many non-profit organizations in Jackson and West Tennessee. What sets this organization apart from other non-profits in Jackson/West Tennessee?
BW: There are a lot of non-profits in Jackson and West Tennessee. As a bank we try to differentiate ourselves. The non-profits help the community in different ways. The Carl Perkins Center’s mission is to wipe out child abuse in our community. When I look at it, the CP Center helps over 10,000 individuals and the number grows. When I started with the CP Center we did social work and services, and we do it today in 20 counties. It is a West Tennessee or regional organization.
VIP: How many years has the Blue Suede Dinner & Auction been held? What is the history of this popular annual event? What are the chief goals of this event?
BW: This will be the 22nd annual Blue Suede Dinner & Auction. The chief goal of this event is to raise money for the Carl Perkins Center. Their secondary goal, which involves a lot of planning, is to provide a wonderful event where people may celebrate what the Center does and really enjoy a great evening. There will be over 1,000 people in the table section, and we sell out the balcony every year.
VIP: Why should people in Jackson and West Tennessee support this event?
BW: We need to continue to fund the efforts of the Carl Perkins Center to wipe out child abuse.
VIP: What have you learned from your involvement with the Carl Perkins Center?
BW: I was shocked at the number of families affected by child abuse. I had a great childhood. I never knew of a child who was abused. We helped 16,772 individuals in West Tennessee for the Fiscal Year 2014-2015. Of that number 10,012 were children.
What to Know
Blue Suede Dinner & Auction
Saturday, February 27
Carl Perkins Civic Center
Caterer: Elegant Events
Schedule: 5:30 p.m.: Doors open; 6:45 p.m.: Dinner;
7:30 p.m.: Live auction; 8:30 p.m.: The Marhsall Tucker Band
Civic Center Box Office: 731-425-8587