I first knew him when I was about three or four years old as my father’s friend and co-worker. One Christmas when my family lived in one of Jessie Buckner’s rental houses on Academy Street in downtown Maynardville, he sent me a Tonka™ truck. He sent me scraps of wood from his carpentry to play with. When one of the small schoolhouses closed down upon its consolidation into one of the county’s larger elementary schools, he sent me a canvas bag of building blocks. He never knew the countless hours of joy playing with those blocks gave me.
Take one step into Dr. Ronnie Mincey's office in the Union County Public Schools' central office, and his role model will be obvious. Pictures and portraits of President Abraham Lincoln cover every surface, including the one pictured here, which Mincey describes as "the most comforting picture," a gift from Donnie Tharpe.
"You can look at it and think, 'What would you do if you were in this predicament?'" Mincey said.