November Employee of The Month – Roger Gentry

Roger has integrity, a solid work ethic, he’s flexible, caring, on time, easy going, detail oriented, and always thinking ahead, these are all words and phrases that describe this nominee.  

Roger demonstrates commitment to his work every day through a range of actions and activities.  First and foremost, he is always punctual and arrives before the rest of staff daily, consistently ensuring that Jonesborough Town Hall and the McKinney Center are ready to serve the public each and every day. 

There are days Roger is pulled from his regular routine to fill in at the Garage Service Center or somewhere else downtown.  He stays positive and always without hesitation chips in and assists with anything necessary for the day to day operations.  He always says ‘yes’, regardless of the complexity or frequency of tasks.   He’s been unflappable with the increased demands created by COVID and the growing use of the McKinney Center.

Roger takes pride in the appearance and safety of the McKinney Center.  His upbeat spirit and attention to detail maintains a positive presentation for the McKinney Center.  He is proactive with space management and ensures that rooms are always set-up for classes, special events and rentals.  He continually thinks ahead regarding the set up and how the room should look and function.    

Roger goes above and beyond by also attending to the grounds at the McKinney Center. He blows leaves in the fall, and shovels snow in the winter months. During spring and summer, he weeds the flower beds, cleans out dead flowers and blooms and disposes of the debris in the appropriate way.  

He has taken initiative to repaint baseboards, chair rails, doors, windows and banisters in the McKinney Center as soon as he notices signs of wear.  He always pays attention to the safety of not only the employees, but also visitors who come into the McKinney Center by replacing blown light bulbs and broken equipment, and usually has things repaired before anyone asks for the replacements to be done.  His extensive skill set means the McKinney Center does not need to call on outside help for service and repairs.

Over the past few years, Roger has become a vital part in helping with our art exhibits, not only does he keep our exhibit panels and pedestals clean, painted and looking good, he installs the lighting and helps arrange panels and helps hang heavy pieces when necessary.  Roger always helps carry in art work for artists exhibiting their work.  

COVID has increased the number of tasks required of Roger (which include daily sanitizing of common surfaces and disinfecting of shared air spaces).  The new efforts needed for COVID are in even greater demand as classes, students are surging.   Roger expends a tremendous amount of energy every day as he makes sure the Center is safe and functional.  Visitors are impressed and often comment on the overall look of the McKinney Center, and staff are confident when addressing questions from potential renters and participants.

The best characteristic about Roger is that he displays a jolly demeanor each day.  He is personable and speaks to visitors and helps ensure that everyone who walks through our door has a pleasant experience.

I would like to recommend Roger Gentry as Employee of the Month because he deserves this recognition and this would be an honor for him.  

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa Hammons

Director, McKinney Center

 

Thank you, Roger Gentry! You are appreciated!

October Employee of The Month – Susan Katko

Susan Katko, joined the senior center staff in 2018, to launch our My Ride TN Jonesborough program. After three years, the program is a huge success and has provided 2,800 rides since starting in December of 2018. The program has provided 33,000 miles of transportation and has served 95 seniors, with that number growing weekly.  Susan, is a huge part of the program success. Her true passion for serving others is evident in the way she treats everyone she works with. With each new rider she sees as opportunity not only to help them with transportation, but to connect with them and offer them a kind ear, a thoughtful card and someone who genuinely cares. Susan sends each of the riders a birthday card and checks on them regularly through phone calls and notes in the mail. Susan not only stays in contact with the homebound seniors, who use MyRide; she also does the same thing for MyRide drivers. That is why the MyRide TN Jonesborough, has more volunteers than any other MyRide program in Northeast Tennessee. Her cards, phone calls and recognition events for their volunteering makes this opportunity enjoyable for the riders and drivers. Susan spends time with the drivers when they come in to check in, provides ongoing training opportunities and is in tune to what is going on in their lives.  Susan, is truly a God send to this program, we had worked with her previously when she had been a volunteer at the senior center and she was the absolute best pick for the position.  The MyRide program continues to serve homebound seniors every day in our local community, the wonderful volunteers are making an impact for the good in our community.  Having Susan Katko, on our senior center staff is truly a blessing to all those who work with her. Not only does she manage the MyRide program she also takes the rides, in the event a driver has a conflict last minute. Her goal is to never turn anyone away that we can provide service to. That commitment to service was so very important throughout the pandemic, as the program had even more requests for transportation, reaching record number of 120 in the month of July. I would like to recommend Susan Katko, MyRide Transportation Coordinator for Employee of the month.

Thank you, Susan Katko! You are appreciated!

September Employee of The Month – Jimmy Green

I would like to nominate Jimmy Green for Employee of the Month for his outstanding effort in acquiring more water, pressure and flow to our valued customers in the Jonesborough water system.  Jimmy’s diligence and knowledge of our water system has helped supply customers on John Matthews Road, Corby Bridge Road, Smith Bridge Road and Keebler Road; approximately 40 customers with more water and psi on an antiquated 2-inch water line.  This area has been problematic for years with low water and pressure complaints.  Jimmy’s proposal was to tie in the 6-inch at Matthew Mills Road with the 2-inch that fed Corby Bridge Road and Smith Bridge Road thus supplying customers with more water.  The implementation of his plan worked and the customers have around 10 more psi and gained 10 gallons per minute at their meter.  Jimmy Green is a valuable asset to Water Distribution and is dedicated to the needs of the Town of Jonesborough.  Jimmy has been employed with the Town of Jonesborough for 16 years and has the respect of his coworkers for his leadership skills and willingness to teach and pass his plethora of knowledge to the new and inexperienced associates.

Thank you, Jimmy Green! You are appreciated!

August Employee of The Month – Sergeant Chad Reece

I would like to nominate Sergeant Chad Reece of the Jonesborough Police Department as Employee of the Month for the Town of Jonesborough.

On Saturday, July 24th, myself and Beebo Russell had made plans to come in early and spray the weeds growing in the 11 E medians leading into town.  With the hot wet weather we have experienced this summer, weed control is a large, tough task. When you couple this with the location on the medians and the heavy traffic along the 11 E corridor, safety and efficiency are big focus.

That morning Sergeant Reece offered to provide us escort as we sprayed, ensuring our safety as well as allowing us to move quickly along, saving us valuable time and limiting any traffic obstruction to drivers.  Thanks to his willingness to assist us, we were able to get done 2 hours earlier than expected. And more importantly, we were able to do so safely.

There is no doubt that had Sergeant Reece not provided this escort, things would have taken a lot longer, costing us time and payroll expense.  We in the Parks & Recreation Department greatly appreciate Chad keeping us safe and proudly nominate him as Employee of the Month. 

Thank you, Sergeant Chad Reece! You are appreciated!

May 2021 Employee of the Month – Skye McFarland

Skye McFarland was named Employee of the Month for May 2021. Skye has gone above and beyond her job description, not just this month, but since March of 2020, when the McKinney Center had to cancel classes and begin re-thinking and creating ways to meet our mission which is to provide educational programming to the community.

Yes, Skye’s job is “outreach” but there is nothing in her current job description about marketing, taking photos and video, editing video, managing social media, or designing graphics and posters.  Skye has gone above and beyond her job description by taking on these duties with excitement and dedication.

When COVID-19 hit in the spring of 2019, many of the fairs and festivals that Skye usually attended were cancelled.  Skye was instrumental in quickly planning new educational programming that met the mission of the McKinney Center.  She helped create hundreds of “take and make” craft kits for Washington County school children who were doing school virtually, each week through the end of the school year.  She helped do the same for many of the movie nights downtown. Skye filmed instructional, “how to” videos for the take and make crafts which were extremely popular with the school kids.

In March of 2020, Ballad Health reached out to the McKinney Center and asked us to help them recruit people who could make masks for their staff.  During that time, PPE was scares for health care professionals and home-made masks needed to meet specific specifications.  Skye was able to help by creating a graphic and sending the request out through our social media platforms.  Our friends at Ballad were very grateful for the assistance.

Before schools closed, Jules was conducting a play program at Jonesborough Middle School.  Although we could not complete the program, Skye was able to publish 14 poems that the students in the program created.  This provided a way for us to celebrate the student’s work and to showcase it to their friends, families, and teachers.  The student poetry posts reached over 1.1K viewers.

Skye developed our online, “Try-It Challenges,” where we challenged individuals to re-create works of art at home.  This provided educational information about specific artists or specific types of art.  Participants would email or message us photos of their artwork.  The artwork was displayed online for a week and would be voted on by viewers.  Winners would receive a gift certificate from a downtown business. This program again, helped provide art education for students at home, and adults!  And, it also helped downtown business and traffic.  Try-It Challenges received over 11K views on Facebook.

Skye has worked to capture art demos and photos throughout the year to again, provide education programming and to also showcase our community artists to help them as well.  We did two online exhibitions with Carol McCreary and Beverly Jenkins. Skye took all the photos for these web-based exhibitions. We also did a hybrid exhibition with the Heritage Alliance with their collection of Historic Quilts.  Individuals could call and schedule their private viewing of the exhibition or watch the exhibition opening video that Skye filmed.  This video has been watched 6.2K times.

The Juried Art exhibition in the fall of 2020, was another hybrid event where people could schedule a private viewing or watch Skye’s opening video.  The Juried Art video was watched 1.3 K times.  These are events where we would normally expect 125 – 200 people to be in attendance and instead we reached thousands.

Skye became our photographer and videographer during 2020,  using her own equipment much of the time. She made our online Story Time video possible each week.  She has helped secure different and diverse book readers each week focusing on different themes including, Black History Month, Women’s History Month, etc.  We have read over 200 books during this program and we have had well over 10,000 viewers since March 2020.

We knew that it would be important to really push fall 2020 classes in order to see good registration numbers.  Skye posts for classes almost every day.  Sometimes she creates social media ads for 2 or 3 classes each day.  We also did a recorded video where I explained all the COVID precautions we would be taking during fall classes to help parents and students feel comfortable coming back to the McKinney Center.  Skye’s video had over 10.5 K views.  Skye also took live video footage during the fall open house reaching 1.3K views.  Our registration numbers for fall classes were great considering COVID numbers were going up at that time in our region.

We could not do in-person student exhibitions at the end of the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters and Skye used her talents to create a video featuring photos of the student’s artwork and classes in way that we could still celebrate our student’s hard work and accomplishments in a safe way. This took a great deal of communication with teachers, and taking almost 150 photographs of student art.  While we can normally fit around 200 friends and family in the auditorium for this event, the fall student video had 1.1K views, reaching more people than we could have ever done in person.   

Skye is also dedicated to making sure our programming is accessible to everyone in the community.  Readers for our StoryTime program are a diverse group of people from many walks of life.  Skye created the Conversations that Matters program which features two individuals from the community each month as they recount their personal experiences and stories.  This is an amazing program focusing on diversity in the community.  This program has reached over 4,000 viewers since its inception.

Skye had to re-envision this year’s MLK Day of Service.  While we are normally out in the community doing a project, we opted to do an online program and food drive for the JAMA food pantry.  Skye received over 700 pounds of food for the pantry, over $300 in monetary donations, and the online program had over 1.6 viewers.  Our July 4th online program was a partnership with the Heritage Alliance and featured actors reciting excerpts of important documents throughout history.  This video reached almost 2,000 people.

The McKinney Center building turned 80 years old last year.  Originally, we hoped to plan a Booker T. Washington alumni reunion but had to cancel these plans due to COVID.  Instead, Skye put together historic photos and excerpts from oral histories that have been gathered from Booker T. alumni and into a video reaching 1.8K viewers.

Due to the inability to really plan, many of the MKC programming last year was spontaneous and online.  While the Marketing Team was always helpful and supportive, it made more sense to have the MKC staff coordinate social media efforts during the height of the pandemic.  Thank goodness Skye had the skills to do this work during the pandemic and while one of the Marketing Team’s critical positions was vacant.   The fact that the MKC had someone focused on social media marketing made a huge impact on the Center’s ability to reach thousands of people during a year where we could not have as many people coming through our doors.  By the spring of 2021 our classes registrations were back up and higher than ever, and our online reach and engagement has grown exponentially.

Keeping community engagement up on social media has been critical during a year of limited visitation and physical events.  We are hearing wonderful comments and feedback regarding all our online programming and we could not have done it without Skye.  Even during a normal year, we could never fit as many people in our building as we have been able to reach online.  As things return to normal the McKinney Center will still maintain many of the online programs that we started in 2020, all thanks to Skye, her creativity and dedication.

Thank you, Skye McFarland! You are appreciated!

Employee of the Month Robin Goodman

January 2021 Employee of the Month Robin Goodman

The Town of Jonesborough has awarded the Visitors Center’s Gift Shop Coordinator, Robin Goodman, as the employee of the month for January 2021. In March of 2020 Robin Goodman celebrated her 20-year anniversary with the Town of Jonesborough.  She began working for the Town in 2000 as a hostess and continued in that role for nine years. During a gap in administration, from 2008-2009, she was the interim Visitor Center Manager then grew into her role as Gift Shop Coordinator in early 2009.  Robin has been a constant at the Visitor Center and has been the glue which held the department together many times in her 20 years of service.  She continually goes above and beyond her job duties justifying her Employee of the Month Nomination.

For most of 2020 the Visitors Center has been short staffed, operating with half the number of staff they typically have.  Robin saw this and didn’t hesitate to jump in and help.  If she knew we were shorthanded she would come in on her days off to help out.  Many times, Robin has been the one to clean the toilets, take out the trash, and many other duties that are not part of her job.  She is no stranger to staying late to work on financials for the department or even staying until 3 am for inventory.  Never does she complain, she just gets the task done.  The reasons above only detail Robins efforts in the last year, but there are 19 more years’ worth of stories that could be shared about her hard work and dedication the Town of Jonesborough. The Town and Jonesborough’s residents are fortunate to have her. Robin, thank you for all that you do and congratulations being awarded the January Employee of the Month.