February 15, 2021
By: Dwayne Page
After more than 35 years as an insurance agent for State Farm Jackie Smith has decided to call it a career.
In an interview with WJLE Friday, Smith said she will be stepping down on February 28 to begin her retirement.
“I just felt like it was a good time to get out and do some other things while my health and my husband’s health are still pretty good,” said Smith.
Both Jackie and her husband Wade Smith were born and raised in DeKalb County and they have two grown sons, Chris and Brandon. Wade’s 106 year old mother, Carrie Helen Smith is a resident of NHC Smithville and is believed to be the oldest living person in DeKalb County.
Before her career in the insurance business, Jackie spent 14 years as an educator in the DeKalb County School System.
“I taught seventh grade English at DeKalb Middle School for 14 years and I had gotten really burned out. I just didn’t feel like I was being effective with the kids so a friend of mine, Carolyn Morrison from Cookeville, who was studying to become an insurance agent at that time, got me thinking. We were talking and I said if I could do anything else I would so she got me started in the insurance training program and from there I got licensed and was hired. Fortunately I was able to work here in my own hometown. Its unusual that State Farm puts a person in their home town but they were on track to hire minorities and women so that was one of my stipulations. I said if you want me I’ve got to be at home,” said Smith.
Although the change in careers brought on different challenges, it gave Smith an opportunity to still be visible and active in the community.
“It was a lot like teaching because I was still working with people. The difference was instead of the children, I was working with their parents and other adults,” she said.
Over the years the insurance business has experienced changes like any other, but Smith said State Farm’s core mission has remained the same.
“State Farm’s main line of insurance has been auto and homeowners. That’s what the company started out with and that is still their bread and butter but over the years they expanded to securities products and banking although they are not so much in the banking now. Still we have seen a big change in what we are able to write now,” Smith continued.
Because of her desire for community service, Smith has often been called upon over the years to help for one cause or another. For example, she has been part of the community chorus and serves as a member of the DeKalb County Election Commission.
“With my office on the public square I have been conveniently available for anybody who needed someone and I got a lot of calls from different government and local organizations so whenever I could I would participate,” she said.
Smith said while she will miss working with her customers, she is looking forward to retirement.
“As with when I left teaching, what I missed was the people that I worked with. I’ll miss that and I will miss seeing the people who have insurance at our agency. Of course I will see them out in town but it will be in a different role. My husband Wade and I like to fish. We also like to travel but traveling for us is mostly just getting out on the road and driving. Usually when see a road we haven’t been down before we like to take it to see where it goes so maybe we can do a little more traveling this year.”
Although she doesn’t foresee herself ever coming out of retirement to venture into another career, Smith said she might pursue furthering her education.
“I don’t know if I will even do this but after I earned my Master’s degree during my teaching career, I wanted to get a PhD and lately that thought has been coming back into my head to work on a PhD so I might do that,” she said.
The new State Farm agent here will be someone Smith knows quite well, Mallory Sullivan Pfingstler.
“I actually had her mom, Tonya (Foutch) Sullivan as a student when I taught. Mallory will start March 1 and I am sure she will be great,” said Smith.
Mallory’s office will be located at 126 West Main Street in Smithville
Smith said she will forever be grateful to her staff including Loni Easterwood, LaShay Stout, and to former employee Jaya Harwell. “Loni will stay with Mallory but my niece LaShay will be going to an agency in Hermitage and I can’t talk about our office without mentioning Jaya who was with me two different times, five years each. She left last March but she was like my right hand”.
Smith said the community has always been kind and supportive of her and she appreciates it.
“I have been blessed and fortunate to have been able to work here in Smithville. I can’t think of any better place that I would want to live. We have lived through turbulent times especially back in the 1960’s with school integration and all that and we are having some turbulent times now but all in all I could not have asked to have been treated better any other place than I have here,” she said.
Blanchfield injured in Friday wreck at Liberty
February 13, 2021
By: Dwayne Page
A Liberty man was seriously injured a pickup truck crash at around 11 a.m. Friday.
According to Trooper Bobby Johnson of the Tennessee Highway Patrol, 68 year old Charlie Blanchfield was east on Highway 70 in a 2019 Dodge truck at Liberty when he went off the right side of the highway before hitting a mailbox, street sign, and a business sign. Debris from the wreck also damaged a vehicle setting in a parking lot at the crash scene.
Blanchfield was taken by EMS to Vanderbilt Hospital after being extricated from the truck by members of the DeKalb County Fire Department’s Rescue Team.
Tigers rout Red Boiling Springs in regular season finale
February 13, 2021
By: Dwayne Page
The DCHS basketball teams closed out the regular season at Red Boiling Springs Friday night and while the Lady Tigers were beaten 40 to 34 the Tigers won handily 61 to 22.
The Lady Tigers wrap up the regular season at 10-14 (4-10 district) and finished 6th place in the 8 team District 8AA. The Tigers finished at 10-13 (5-9 district) and are also in 6th place.
DeKalb County will host Smith County to begin district tournament play Monday night, February 15 in Smithville. The girls game starts at 6 p.m. followed by the boys game. WJLE will have LIVE coverage
In the girls game Friday night the Lady Tigers led Red Boiling Springs 10 to 6 after the 1st period but trailed 16 to 15 at halftime and 24 to 23 after the 3rd period before losing 40 to 34.
Kadee Ferrell scored 16, Madison Martin and Ella VanVranken each with 6, Cadee Griffith 4, and Summer Crook with 2.
In the boys game, the Tigers led 14 to 7 after the 1st period, 29 to 12 at halftime, and 48 to 20 after the 3rd period before claiming a 61 to 22 victory.
Conner Close scored 17 followed by Evan Jones 14, Elishah Ramos 6, Luke Jenkins 5, Setson Agee and Robert Wheeler each with 4, Nathaniel Crook 3, and Jacob Hendrix, Kaleb Spears, Andrew Tramel, and Isaac Brown each with 2.
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