West Haven First Horizon plans party for veterans

Sandra ClarkUncategorized

Paul Ollis has a plan. The manager of First Horizon’s West Haven branch and an Army veteran of the Vietnam era has decided to honor area veterans this fall. He’s inviting veterans to bring a picture of themselves in uniform to First Horizon Bank at 3900 Western Ave. These will be displayed on the walls of the bank during October and until Wednesday, Nov. 10 – the day before Veterans Day – when the West Haven staff will host a drop-in party.

“We’ll have some guest speakers, some cakes and cookies. It will run all day,” Ollis said, estimating Knox County has about 100,000 veterans. He’s setting up a room where veterans can sit and reminisce. “Maybe they’ll run into people they served with or friends they’ve not seen in a while.”

Ollis explained a cliché that we’ve all heard but perhaps don’t know the origin: “I’ve got your back.” Ollis said soldiers in a fox hole would sit back-to-back, leaning against each other while watching ahead for danger. “He’s got your back and you’ve got his.”

The West Haven branch serves a diverse constituency – basically ZIP code 37921 – running from 17th Street in the UT area all the way to Karns. “We’re a close-knit family here and we treat people like we would want to be treated.” How does he know that’s working?

“Sometimes (our customers) will bring us a cake.”

Note: I was moseying around the West Haven area on Wednesday because we’re preparing a newspaper for ZIP 37921 next week. We’ll hit a portion of the zone – about 5,000 homes. It will be our first paper in the area, designed to promote readership in KnoxTNToday.com.

What happens, though, is after each mailer we get at least one phone call from a person who “just loved that paper” and wants to subscribe. “We only publish it once a year in each ZIP code,” I explain, “and on most years we mail half the route and catch the other half the next year.

“So, we’ll see you in two years with a paper or you can read us every day online.”

Then, if they’ve not hung up yet, I explain about our daily obituary links. We’ve posted over 31,000 unique links since we launched in 2017. And it’s all free. No paywall. No subscription. No cost to families for the obit links.

And on Nov. 10, 2021, you’ll find me and the KnoxTNToday team over at Paul Ollis’s bank, videotaping the veterans and eating cake.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.

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