Name: Gary Honaker
Married to: wife Denise for 10 years. Daughter, Callie, is 6 years old. Three dachshund minis: Sawyer, Disney and Presley.
Occupation: Executive director, Boys and Girls Clubs of Blount County
What was your first paying job?
“My first job was as a camp counselor at The Bristol YMCA during the summer. During the school year I worked at TCBY in Johnson City because I went to East Tennessee State University.”
If you were stranded on an island, what one thing would you take?
“A satellite phone would be great. Then I could check the sports scores. If it had to be a ‘thing,’ I guess I would be thinking survival, so I would want one of those survival knives with the matches, thread, compass and all of that stuff in the handle.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?
“I would love to drive one of those huge RVs around the country and see all of the major sports venues like the Super Bowl, the Masters, the World Series, the Daytona 500, the major college football stadiums.”
What task or activity have you still not gotten around to doing?
“We have been in our current house for three years. One of the first things we decided to do was remodel the tiny master bath. I peeled the wallpaper off about a year ago, and that’s as far as we have gotten.”
What is your all-time favorite movie?
What’s your favorite television or movie quote?
“My favorite meaningful quote is from ‘The Legend of Bagger Vance.’ ‘Yep... Inside each and every one of us is one true authentic swing... Somethin’ we was born with... Somethin’ that’s ours and ours alone... Somethin’ that can’t be taught to ya or learned... Somethin’ that got to be remembered... Over time the world can rob us of that swing... It get buried inside us under all our wouldas and couldas and shouldas... Some folk even forget what their swing was like...’ ”
What is one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t?
“I’d like to send my parents on a cruise. Actually my mom would like a cruise, and my dad would probably prefer a lodge in Montana. I am who I am because of them, and I would like to be able to repay them in some way.”
What do you hate?
“Rigid thinkers and slow cars in the fast lane. Move over, people.”
Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?
“I would say Martin Luther King Jr. because he stood up for something he believed in and was such a tremendous influence on an issue -equality - that has and does divide our country at times.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“In college, I wanted to ask out this girl in my class. It took me all semester to muster up the courage. On the last day, as I walked out of the building in front of her, I planned to turn around and talk to her and possibly ask her out. What I didn’t plan to do was miss the last step outside the door, fall on my hands and knees and have half my papers fly out of my backpack. It turned out for the better because I met the love of my life a little after that.”
Why did you pursue the career you chose?
“I enjoy helping kids grow into good people. My first job after college and for eight years I worked in a residential treatment facility for adjudicated teenagers. After working with these kids for so long I felt I needed to be on the other side and try to prevent kids from turning out this way. Kids need positive influences in their lives anywhere they can find it.”
When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?
“It was a three-way tie between the Six Million Dollar Man, Elroy Jetson and Hong Kong Phooey.”
With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?
“I would love to have lunch with Walt Disney. His ideas about making people happy through the design of his parks and by creating that ‘magical’ environment were so brilliant and creative that I would love to pick his brain and then ask him for a few million dollars to build a new Boys & Girls Club for Blount County incorporating his philosophies.”
What’s your favorite quote?
“If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.”
What is the best book you’ve ever read?
“Anything by Jimmy Buffett, particularly ‘A Salty Piece of Land’ and ‘Tales from Margaritaville.’ ”
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“The Old West or earlier. I’d be lost without my iPod, cell phone or the Internet, but I’d love the challenge of spending a week living off the land in a survivor-type environment.”
What is the best present you ever received?
“About six years ago, my wife gave me my little girl. Everyday since has felt like Christmas knowing I have Callie in my life.”
Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?
“No. I was pretty sneaky as a kid. I came close in fourth grade when two friends and I thought it would be funny to drop an ink pen out of the second floor classroom window onto the head of someone walking into the building below. Unfortunately, we didn’t know the principal was standing under the window, and we hit him instead. He made all of the boys stay after school until we admitted who had done it but we waited him out and didn’t get into any other trouble. I hope he doesn’t read this.”