By Sherri Gardner Howell
My husband and I are not wealthy in financial dollars, so we are careful to assess that the organizations we support are good stewards of our donations. I know that to be true at Pellissippi.
With the Inspire, Invest, Impact campaign, Neville and I also found an opportunity to personalize our donation. We are making our donation in honor of Layton Neville Howell Sr., Neville’s father. Here’s why:
Layton’s life typifies the spirit of many students I have met on the Pellissippi campus. He was a boot-strap success in his life – working as a youngster for 5 cents a day delivering newspapers so he could buy bread for the family, joining the military, sticking to his goal after the army of getting an education even when there was a wife and mouths to feed. He got that degree and rose to be a respected engineer and project leader at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, retiring from ORNL after many years of distinguished service. It wasn’t an easy road, just as it isn’t for many of our students at Pellissippi.
To bring the story full-circle, Layton joined the staff at Pellissippi after he retired, serving as an adjunct math teacher. In addition to classroom teaching, he offer math tutoring to his students and would bring us stories of the trials, hardships, resilience and determination he found in Pellissippi students. In addition, helping those students with their journey became a great joy in Layton’s life. His award as Adjunct Teacher of the Year, voted on by the students, took first place on his “trophy shelf,” above any signed by presidents and Department of Defense secretaries.
Pellissippi students will prove themselves worthy of the opportunities we make possible through this campaign. Look at your lives and make a gift in honor or as a tribute to someone who has shown resilience and determination to overcome life’s obstacles. Or just in honor of someone you love. Your donation will be well-used and much appreciated.
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