April 2024 Employee of the Month Theresa Hammons

Theresa Hammons is the Director of the McKinney Center and has dedicated herself to the Town of Jonesborough for over ten years. Theresa oversees both the large-scale activities and the day-to-day events that happen at the McKinney Center. Since January, Theresa has put hours of work into the 2024 Masterpiece Mingle. Theresa wrote the press release, has put out several calls for donations of artwork, and has put effort into making sure the event is well promoted. She has been spending time emailing over 100 artists individually to get people to donate to the event. She then kept in touch with the artists to make sure we secured the artwork. Theresa spent hours looking to make sure we had the perfect musician fit for the event and found the Tri-Cities Jazz Orchestra. For the last Masterpiece Mingle, we had high schoolers cater. Unfortunately, this year they are traveling to participate in a competition. So, Theresa has spent hours trying to secure a caterer at a reasonable price for this event. Masterpiece Mingle is our biggest fundraiser of the year. Theresa worked so hard on this event to make sure it is a success because she cares about the success of the center.

In the fall, Theresa put out bids to get the interior of the center painted. Quad City Builders won the paint bid and are scheduled to repaint the interior of the building from May to early June. We have had to shift around events on the master calendar to make sure that no events land in that time frame. Theresa made the decision to move the student art show up for a week from May 9th to May 2nd, so that way painting can begin when it needs to. Theresa has been communicating with teachers that this decision affects making sure we have adequate make up days for classes. Customer experience is very important to the people who attend our classes, and we want to ensure everyone is happy. We had to reschedule an artist exhibition due to scheduling to make sure their exhibit went up for a fair amount of time. Theresa also fit the Washington Co. school’s end of the year art exhibit into this tight schedule. She goes above and beyond to communicate, make things work, and keep all parties happy. This shows flexibility and patience.

Since January, Theresa has been working towards publishing the McKinney Centers 2024 Summer Camps. Theresa has communicated with teachers what the classes are, what the descriptions for the classes are, and the new age ranges for the different classes. After receiving this information from the teachers, Theresa then uploaded all the information to Course storm, the online class system used by the center. Theresa made sure that all the dates for classes aligned with our current schedule, including moving some dates due to the interior of the center being painted. After this has been added online, Theresa had staff and teachers review it multiple times before the classes went live to the public. Now Theresa is focused on advertising, both digitally and in person, to make sure all the summer camp slots fill up!

April 4th is the McKinney Center’s “Ernest McKinney Day of Giving” virtual event on Facebook. The center picked this day as it is the day Ernest McKinney was elected as the towns first African American alderman, the same day that MLK Jr. was assassinated. Theresa has been reviewing the schedule of the day to make sure there is adequate representation of everything the center has to offer. Last year for the event, we live streamed teachers doing demonstrations and had different important figures in the town come in to talk about what the center meant to them. This year, it was decided that we would stream videos with the same type of content, but these videos would be pre-recorded to ensure the day is easier on the operations of the center. All proceeds from this day of giving goes to the Ernest and Marion McKinney scholarship fund. We were able to give several scholarships in 2023, and with the money raised from this event, we hope to continue to increase the number of scholarships we provide to students. Theresa works hard to ensure we provide the arts to ALL our community.

Theresa spent hours putting together the 2024-2025 budget together for the McKinney Center. Theresa asked every employee to write three goals they hope to accomplish for next budget year to include in the report. Theresa went through and checked the statements for each budget line to track how much the center has spent this past year. She uses these numbers and costs of operating in citing why some budget lines should be increased. Theresa then submitted the draft of the budget to be reviewed. There is a lot of consideration that goes in between drafting and editing the budget that can take over a month to do.

Theresa finished working on the 2023 McKinney Center report at the beginning of January and has since passed it around for our customers to see. We reviewed it at the January 2024 Advisory Committee meeting, sent it out with the January 2024 member newsletter, and shared it with our members at the 2024 membership brunch. Theresa put together data in a multi-page packet for the report. In the report, there are demographics about the average income, education levels, and race of our students. Another section of the 2023 report goes over the different types of events the center hosted. We reached 2,775 people at in person events and 253,304 through social media. There were 14,317 people who came through the doors at the center in 2023, which is a 40% increase from 2022. The center offered 116 classes to the community in 2023. The center had 5,274.25 volunteer hours for a value of $148,325. Theresa must extend her reach far and wide to be able to support all the programming that the center does and to keep customers continuously happy. On the rare occasion issues do come up, she is always willing to make things work. Her dedication to this job, community, and the town are incredible. The McKinney Center participated in 316 activities in 2023 with a small staff all under her supervision. It is an honor to have her as my supervisor and to work with her every day.

Thank you, Theresa Hammons! You are appreciated!

March 2024 Employee of the Month Sheila Watson

I would like to nominate Sheila Watson for the distinction and honor of Employee of the Month for March 2024.  Sheila’s job title is listed as HR/Accounts Payable clerk.  Everyone knows of one very important job she performs every other week, (payroll), but her duties reach much farther and wider than that important task.  Sheila dutifully and efficiently performs all Human Resources duties as well, which is likely a job/position in and of itself.  She ‘onboards’ new hires and the many facets of that process…setting up health assessments, initiating background checks, compiling payroll information/specifics (which include many complex items these days), as well as setting the new hire up for a variety of health insurance options. Beyond the typical ‘HR’ duties, Sheila is also a helping hand and friendly face to employees with insurance concerns and changes, payroll issues, retirement or other issues employees need assistance with.  Sheila is also integral when an employee parts with the Town.

  Aside from payroll and HR tasks, Sheila performs Accounts Payable duties.  Most times this involves chasing down charges, and identifying which department initiated the charge.  With the Town having many different departments and vendors, this detective work can be quite involved, and quite the task.  Moreover, during the past few months, the Town has been integrating an entirely new accounting and payroll software system.  Sheila has had the task of learning the complex new software, while maintaining/using the old software program so the bills got paid, as well as the employees being paid.  So, for some time, both the new and old accounting/payroll systems operated simultaneously, obviously adding complexity to Sheila’s work day.  By taking only a cursory glance @ the new look of the pay stubs, one can easily see the tip of the iceberg of the new accounting system. Sheila has been much involved in the implementation of the new system, working tirelessly and seamlessly ‘behind the scenes’.  Sheila’s relentless pursuit of excellence in all her duties, dedication to her employer and to our employees, and her patience and specificity in dealing with vendors and accounts payable make her an employee that the Town should count as truly invaluable.  

For these reasons and so many more, I believe Sheila Watson should be awarded the honor and distinction of Employee of the Month this month.  Thank you for your time.

Thank you, Sheila Watson! You are appreciated!

February 2024 Employee of the Month Lisa Buckingham

I nominate Lisa Buckingham as the January employee of the month. She has the kind of tenacity, determination, and attendance that every director strives for in their team members. She shows up no less than an hour early every day with the same positive attitude about her job as the day before. She has never been late to work and did not request a day off for over a year and a half. Not only is this impressive, but it demonstrates how much love she has for her job and her team. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise that in the times Jonesborough has needed her the most, she has been there. She rotated 12-16 hour shifts during the large freeze last winter, both in dispatch and also in the field to ensure every customer was heard and their needs were met to an exceptional standard. Lisa is excellent in her field leadership role as the senior meter reader and provides a brilliant example of what a leader should be. In addition, she represents the town of Jonesborough well in customer communication and relations. A lot of customers even know her by name and recognize her on her work route. She’s gained a large amount of public respect and trust. These kinds of interactions with customers are what continually sets her apart and boosts Jonesborough’s respect in the public’s eyes. It is for these reasons that i nominate Lisa Buckingham for February employee of the month.

Thank you, Lisa Buckingham! You are appreciated!

January 2024 Employee of the Month Amber Crumley

I would like to nominate the Town of Jonesborough Director of Events, Amber Crumley, for employee of the month. Amber Crumley continually goes above and beyond her job duties justifying her Employee of the Month Nomination. Amber stepped into her new role over the summer and I can say it has been one of the most seamless transitions.

She had about a month and a half to plan the Jonesborough Days Festival, the Town’s biggest and most involved event of the year. A number of town staff, across varying departments, made comments about how organized the festival was and how smooth everything went. As most of you know, Jonesborough Days is a feel-good community event and not necessarily intended to make money. As far as I am aware, we made more money from this event than ever before. Amber worked hard to get last-minute sponsors and find other creative revenue sources. The Festival ended with a powerful $34,283.75 in profit.

Amber implemented new additions to events such as Halloween Haunts & Happenings, was a big part in the success of JAMSA’s Pumpkin Fest. The popular Raven’s Alley and laser tag, during Halloween Haunts and Happenings, are just two examples of successful additions. As the holidays approached, she went full force into lining everything up for the 4-week Christmas in Olde Jonesborough series. We saw recording-break attendance at the kickoff on Saturday November 25th. We all agree that this rise in events has partially been organic. But nonetheless, with that rise in attendance creates a need for a higher level of organization as well as additional activities. Amber was extremely thoughtful and proactive. Her conversations constantly consisted of asking the question, “what else can we do to make this event better”. Even with Amber tossing in new additions to events, she never lost sight of honoring the Town’s traditions. Her work is superior in the fact she always pushes to the highest level of excellence.

Past excelling at her job, Amber is one of the first staff members to lend a hand when it is needed. I couldn’t possibly count the number of times Amber has jumped in to help another employee or to assist another department. She sees when someone may be a bit overwhelmed and assists without even being asked. Never does she complain, she just gets the task done. The trait about Amber that is to be commended is that when someone does need help she never makes them feel less then, and encourages them until the job is done.

Amber has continued to manage the Town’s ticketing system. This system also serves groups like JRT, JAMSA, Garden Gala, etc. During the fiscal year of 2022-2023 the Town made $420,000 in ticket sales. Amber oversees every aspect of this process from coordination with the group hosting the event to conducting the financial close out report. She inputs each and every ticket that is sold, she trains the hosts at the Visitor Center how to utilize the system, as well as troubleshooting, and answering patrons questions. The amount of time she puts in to ensure everything runs smooth with ticketing is worth commending. Her efforts towards this essential function for the Town keeps many departments running.

Town of Jonesborough is very fortunate to have Amber Crumley as an employee and she is more than deserving to be the Town’s employee of the month.

Thank you, Amber Crumley! You are appreciated!

December 2023 Employee of the Month Jim Nease

What Jim has added to Jonesborough as an employee has been crucial to the success of the water quality department. Having served Jonesborough for over 34 years, his undeniable dedication to the job shines through every single day without fail.
Though he has only been in the water quality department just over a year, he has excelled in every task and challenge he has faced. He stepped up and took charge of the meter installation project, aiding vepo every step of the way with finding, locating, marking, and changing meters while still maintaining his regular line flush points daily. Whether it is his willingness to work overtime most weeks, often in the early morning hours no matter where the job is, or his overall stellar performance and overachievement to help others, all of these qualities make him a worthy candidate.
More recently, Jim has worked assiduously in ensuring the continuity of the exceptional water quality for the town of Jonesborough. He effortlessly met the rigorous water examination standards set by the state of Tennessee, which garnered him well-deserved accolades. He has obtained the most remarkable results for the state water quality analysis that have been observed in the last 7 years, achieving optimal success for the town of Jonesborough.
Thank you, Jim Nease! You are appreciated!

November 2023 Employee of the Month Chason Freeman

I would like to nominate Chason Freeman, Fire Lt. for the Town of Jonesborough for Employee of the Month. Chason has always been great to work with. Recently, Chason provided an information table at the senior center to notify our members of the fire department’s smoke detector program. Many of our seniors were not aware something like this was available, and this information has greatly assisted our seniors who would otherwise struggle to install and check their own detectors. What a wonderful service the Fire Department provides and what a great outreach to the community. I overheard Chason and the other fireman interact with our members, and they were great, very informative and engaging. Taking the time to inform our members and answer their questions.

Being able to connect with the community is an essential quality working with the public, and Chason did such a good job. The following week, Chason and another fireman provided a safety class on using a fire extinguisher, which included classroom education and hands on experience operating a fire extinguisher. Our members really enjoyed the opportunity and commented that they feel safer in their own homes now having had the experience of using an extinguisher. Chason was even a good sport and posed with our members for a fun photo! I asked him what made him want to become a fireman, and he shared that as a boy he had learned about firefighting from his dad and grew up responding to fires with his dad. He knew from an early age that was the field for him. I was impressed by his calling for this line of work, and his dedication to the service of others.

Chason exemplifies that call to service, in how he treats the community and in his dedication. Being in a service field requires that person to put others before themselves. Hearing his love for what he does and sharing that so many of the fireman feel that way just made me so proud of our Fire Department in Jonesborough. Chason is always great to work with anytime we need help with anything, fire drills, CPR training and outreach. He has always provided our staff with CPR training. He teaches in a very relatable way and makes sure that we feel comfortable in the skills before we complete the course. I would like to nominate Chason Freeman for Employee of the Month.


Thank you, Chason Freeman! You are appreciated!

October 2023 Employee of the Month Jerry Davis

I would Like to nominate Fleet Dept Employee Jerry Davis for Employee of the Month.  The Fleet Department is one of the smallest departments in the Town of Jonesborough, with only 3 technicians serving 16 departments with over 200 plus vehicles and engine powered equipment ranging from air cooled weed eater’s and lawn mowers to dump trucks and very large heavy equipment.

Jerry has worked on Jonesborough’s garbage trucks his whole career, for 28 years.  He is willing anytime from early in the morning to late at night to repair an out of service garbage truck.  Working on weekends often, despite his personal needs, to keep our aging garbage truck fleet ready to serve Jonesborough.  If you stand beside any city garbage truck in any city, anywhere, your nose will soon tell you, do not crawl under it.  Sometimes he must go to the landfill and crawl over garbage under the truck just to get one of our trucks rolling again, how much is that worth…priceless.  Speaking of price, if we didn’t have Jerry saving the town literally thousands of dollars each month it would be hard to keep it all moving.  For example, our local big truck shop charges $125.00 an hour and our local new truck dealer charges $239.00 an hour, subtract Jerry’s hourly pay even with some overtime added, and then you can see Jerry is a real bargain.  Jerry is a steady worker, always moving forward to keep Jonesborough’s large trucks and off-road equipment in operating condition.  Jerry is a very cooperative worker willing to work with others and he truly cares about Jonesborough.  Great job Jerry!


Thank you, Jerry Davis! You are appreciated!

September 2023 Employee of the Month Michael Kincheloe

Michael Kincheloe is a Plant Operator IV at the Water Treatment Facility. He has stepped up to several challenges at the plant over the last few months. He has come in to work several times on his days off and even cancelled scheduled vacation time off to help plant staff handle emergency situations. He will consistently stay late or come in early to complete sampling events that are mandated by TDEC. When a coworker was out for medical leave, he stepped up to help with those job duties as well.

Michael has also taken the lead in training new operators. He leads by example and can be counted upon to go above and beyond his job duties. He is always helpful and will drop whatever he is doing to answer the phone whenever another employee calls him for help, even on his days off work.

Working with Mike over the years has been a pleasure. He helps inspire the people around him to be their best. Michael is an asset to the Water Treatment Facility for the Town of Jonesborough.


Thank you, Michael Kincheloe! You are appreciated!

August 2023 Employee of the Month David Gillenwater

I would like to nominate David Gillenwater for Employee of the Month. David has worked for the Town of Jonesborough for 11 years. David does an excellent job of caring for the senior center and Lincoln Park. The pride he puts into all he does is a huge reason the senior center still looks brand new, seven and a half years later. He works very hard to maintain the center both inside and out and the above and beyond he gives comes from the heart. He cares about our members experience while they are here and he is always willing to lend a hand, jump start a car, whatever is needed. David never says that is not my job, he is a team player. In fact, David serves as our chef for our Cafe Connection program. On Wednesdays each week. the senior center provides a home cooked meal prepared in our kitchen. As we are working to change the dining experience for seniors, he makes this program a positive experience for our members. David works diligently maintaining the grounds of the senior center and now Lincoln Park: weeding, spraying, watering. He has jumped right in to help with plant care and staking trees. He helps out with our Master Gardner’s with the gardening efforts. David works well with everyone in the office, and I have never heard David get frustrated with anyone needing his help. He exemplifies the attitude that everything is our job and we are here for the members. David plays a key role in that ensuring that the members have a safe, clean and fun space to take part in the programs of their choice. These qualities make David Gillenwater a great candidate for Employee of the Month.


Thank you, David Gillenwater! You are appreciated!

July 2023 Employee of the Month Arthur Casey

I would like to recommend Arthur Casey for employee of the month for June 2023. Arthur has been employed by the Town of Jonesborough for 32 years and has shown to be sedulous and an artisan at his position. Arthur was recently promoted to Construction Supervisor and has evolved as a true leader with a meticulous attention to detail in all of Water Distributions line maintenance and construction affairs. Arthur is well respected by his colleagues for his leadership skills and his knowledge of our intricate water system and has a propensity to share his knowledge to the incoming neophytes at water distribution. You can always call Arthur day or night at any time and he is willing to give advice to the people on call or come in and help with the repair of the water line. Arthur was instrumental in getting Lincoln Parks toilets plumbed and installed again, showcasing his knowledge and his ability to help other departments when needed. Arthur also took out the old water heaters at Wetlands Park and plumbed in and installed two water heaters that were antiquated and were leaking: along with repairing several leaks the park had this year. These are just a few examples of what Arthur Casey does on a daily basis besides his regular job duties. His kindness and generosity go beyond his normal working hours into his personal time by helping others that may need help with any home repairs or mechanical issues.

These are the qualities that exemplify the traits of what Jonesborough, TN is known for and is expected by our residents and also what makes us flourish as a community.


Thank you, Arthur Casey! You are appreciated!