Pam Horne is a Community Relationships Coordinator at BrightStone, a 22-year-old non-profit that serves adults with special needs and their families. She spends a great deal of time at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located in the heart of Downtown Franklin, and graciously shares her time with organizations across Williamson County. Read below to learn more:
YW: How long have you lived in Williamson County? What is it about WC that makes it feel like home to you?
In 1976, I moved from Louisville, Kentucky, with my parents and sister, which meant I attended Lipscomb Elementary while Jesse Frank was principal. He was extremely kind and thoughtful to teachers and students. After Northside Junior High, Franklin High School, and graduating in Brentwood High's second class, I left for a few years of college and work before returning in 1989 to reset my life around a familiar place.
My first childhood impression of Williamson County was the friendly people. Our first visitor was a sweet lady from Welcome Wagon bearing a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken and all the fixins for our family! My mom taught piano in our home afternoons, so I quickly learned how "community" works here. Of course, I was the kid who usually needed a ride to church or school activities, but that was never a concern because hearts are big in Williamson. Our home was a place of hospitality and music, where kids always felt welcome. To this day, making people feel welcome is essential to me.
YW: What do you like to do in your spare time (hobbies, traditions, etc.)?
My passion is local discovery. Writing and learning about the lives of others gives me great joy. When I became a journalist in my early 20s, I quickly learned that if you don't have experiences with places and people outside your circle of friends and family, you are missing out on a rich community.
I love Tennessee and American history. Williamson County's early settlers, pioneers, church women, school teachers, and townspeople, from College Grove to Grassland and Brentwood to Burwood and Fairview to Franklin, all have made an impact for which we now benefit.
Being mentored and taught by the work of others is also important to me. These are a few of the influential recordkeepers/writers/journalists: from Virginia Bowman to Jim Crutchfield, Rick Warwick to Mindy Tate, who learned from Derry Carlisle, from Jim East to Tony Turnbow to Vance Little, Carole Robinson and Ronald Crutcher.
Because I am a sensory kind of person, I am visually attracted to photography, artistry and audio storytellers, from the work of Bob and Jackie Canaday, Shelley Snow and Tom Lawrence to Debbie Smartt, the late Susie Sims Irvin, and Marvin Stalnaker. These folks captured my attention with their talents.
Building relationships in this place has been in my heart for a long, long time. Each of these people gave me insight into why it was worth my time to learn about our community and the people who have built it for generations.
YW: Where is your favorite place to go in WC and why?
Favorite is a limitless word in Williamson County. I love my church, St. Paul's Episcopal, for quiet solitude and joyful worship. It's a humbling place where I gain strength and purpose from every visit. I love the personal vibe of McCreary's Irish Pub, the greetings and desserts at Huff's Market, and the hugs and broccoli salad from Miss Daisy's. Near my home, I can hide and hang out along the bank of the Harpeth, just thinking about the good times my family has had here, enjoying the simplest things.
The world didn't begin with The Franklin Theatre, but my second date with my husband sealed it in 1989 when I fell asleep in Gone with the Wind. There is nothing better than slipping away from time sitting on the balcony watching Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life at our Main Street theatre.
YW: What keeps you motivated and inspired?
We all have hopes and fears, but I am constantly trying to consider one thing: how am I leaving a situation, person or place? That is the challenge every day, even on the days when I feel I have let someone down.
We have a greeting in the Episcopal Church, also found in the Bible. "The Lord be with you." And the reply is: "And also with you" – that is a tremendous hope to offer someone.
The late writer and artist, Susie Sims Irvin, shared her precious memories of life in Williamson County with me on many occasions, inspiring me to seek out the light within the hearts and minds of other people. If you can find it, pick up her inspirational book called Clouds for the Table.
YW: What organizations are you involved with and why?
I spend a great deal of time at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, not just in worship, but because this community of loving people informs much of where my heart is centered. In fact, because of a small group called Education For Ministry, I was inspired to become involved with BrightStone, Inc., a 22-year-old non-profit that serves adults with special needs and their families.
I love supporting the greater community of Franklin, Williamson County and Tennessee. First, as a writer, it is important to support the art of story through publishing - local and regional publishing. In addition to Your Williamson, there are so many publications I love to be involved with. It is a gift that they are owned and created by our residents.
The first non-profit I got involved with was Fellowship of Christian Athletes in junior high. By high school, my teachers asked me to join Forensics for public speaking and Key Club for public service.
Over the years, my reporting and public relations work has introduced me to important groups, from Friends of Franklin Parks, Bridges Domestic Violence Shelter, The Boys and Girls Club to Williamson County Historical Society, Franklin Tomorrow and the Franklin Baseball Club.
People are at the core of these groups, each one working for a better future for others. Inge Myering Smith, an almost 99-year-old retired educator and businesswoman, taught me (and hundreds of others here) to endure and persevere in work and relationships. She made a profound impact on Franklin's Main Street in 1952 when she helped establish a small kindergarten, which, today, is the 70-year-old iconic Smith Preschool. Miss Inge is just one of dozens of people who helped me understand why Williamson County is special. Truly, it is the people, every single one of them.
YW: How long have you been involved with BrightStone and how? What is it about the organization that is so special to you?
I joined BrightStone one year ago. BrightStone offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a huge difference in the vulnerable yet inspiring lives of adults with special needs. BrightStone's new Land of Dreams Campus, situated on 140-acres of scenic Columbia Pike, just south of Franklin, is the next jewel in the loving heart of Williamson County. For me, this is history in the making!
For me, this is history in the making! Folks are making it possible for adults with special needs to have lifelong learning, job training and job opportunities, and residential options that meet their physical and emotional needs. These folks are emblematic of Williamson's commitment to spreading God's love.
If you have not seen the sun rising above what was once the hillside farm owned by the late Williamson County Judge Fulton Maybery Greer, Sr., you will want to drive on Columbia Pike the first chance you get.
You will witness an amazing campus community being created. In the same place, Greer's adult daughter Lila remembers gathering fieldstones from the pastures as a child in the 1950s when her father farmed and raised livestock on the land.
How special is it that a beloved county leader, respected for his stewardship of the land and public service to people, was then followed by several others, including his son, Dr. Fulton Greer, Jr., who took great care of this pastoral treasure so that BrightStone students could experience what I consider a sacred place for future generations of men and women.
As you begin to see the 23,000-square-foot Center for Learning, Art and Enterprise become a reality, just know that beyond it and the gorgeous rolling hillside is even more to come. One day, amidst the wooded trails and small fishing lakes will be a chapel, horticulture center, equestrian center, gymnasium, indoor therapeutic center and much more. If that sounds like something that will make the lives of all Tennesseans better, then you understand why I got involved.
I have such respect for our founding director Brenda Hauk and the board of directors' leadership, not to mention our many teachers and volunteers who have committed their lives to bring new possibilities to our adult students, ages twenty-one and up, every day.
I could begin to name those who have supported BrightStone, but hundreds and hundreds of men and women and families have made sure that these 140 acres of magnificent beauty could become our adult students' BrightStone Land of Dreams!
If you have not already been a part of this amazing community and statewide endeavor, called BrightStone Land of Dreams Campus Campaign, you will want to get involved. It will change your life!
YW: Anything else you would like for the readers of YOUR Williamson to know?
Join the work of this community in any fashion you can. In response to your heart, dig deep for the possibilities through volunteerism and, sometimes, through your pocketbook. Every little bit counts. Never let your feelings of falling short in the midst of such a "successful" community prevent you from being a part of what I consider to be God's heaven on earth!
"Call me today at 615-268-6946 or drop me a note at firstname.lastname@example.org to join me at the campus to see for yourself. Until then, visit www.brightstone.org and learn how lives are being impacted daily. " – Pam Horne
The I Am Williamson County column features individuals in Williamson County who are known and unknown as staples of our community, doing good, being seen and exuding Williamson County! If you know of someone who fits this distinction, let us know at email@example.com.