Day of joy

Leadership Blount honors Bishop for service, love of others

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By Lance Coleman
Editor
Blount Today

When a crowd honored community volunteer Joy Bishop with the Leadership Blount Community Leadership Award Tuesday, Joy was quick to explain what makes a leader.

"Leadership is love," she said, quoting one of her college professors. "People won’t listen to you if you don’t care about them."

Blount County Library director Kathy Pagles, personal friend Ellie Morrow and Blount County Chamber Partnership president Fred Forster shared their thoughts on Bishop during the breakfast meeting at First United Methodist Church of Maryville.

Pagles said she remembered the day 10 years ago when she met the Texas-native during a meeting of concerned citizens wishing to help build a new library. Pagles said she knew everyone at the meeting except Bishop, who was clothed in her trademark color - pink.

"We needed someone to help raise the funds and in walked Joy," she said. "I remember the day I met her. She wasn’t from around here, but she captured the attention of everyone in the room."

Pagles said Bishop has always been quick to refer to the library as belonging to the people. "Those people owe you big-time," Pagles said

Forster said that Bishop has been active in the community since she moved to Maryville in 1990. Bishop has always shown an ability to see life as others see it, Forster said. "People are drawn to that empathy," he said. "You help them see in themselves things they don’t."

Forster said that God has given each person a need to serve. "We’re so thankful you’ve been a leader and advocate," he said.

Morrow said she didn’t remember who introduced her to Bishop but she immediately felt the impact. She described how being Bishop’s friend led to a myriad of adventures and realizations.

"When Joy is your friend, you laugh a lot," Morrow said. "All of us have been blessed by her laughter."

Morrow said Bishop sat with her at the hospital four years ago when Morrow’s husband died, and then Bishop followed her home and helped her take care of details. "She found a piece of paper and asked, ‘Who do we need to call and what do we need to do? Thank God she was there," Morrow said. "I could breathe in her calm and sense her love and support."

"Joy, you inspire us and make us all feel appreciated, valued and needed," she said.

Bishop said Leadership Blount teaches individuals how to serve. "The plus we get is the lasting friendships," she said.

Maryville city councilman Andy White appeared on behalf of State Rep. Doug Overbey to read a state legislative proclamation honoring Bishop. Leadership Blount director Cathy Cate said Bishop is someone everyone can emulate. "I think we can all ascribe to be like Joy when we grow up," she said.

After the program, friends flocked to hug Bishop and wish her well. "I’m just overwhelmed by the whole thing," she said. "I feel humbled by the affection and recognition."

Bishop is retired from government service. At retirement, she was the highest ranking civilian employee at the United States Pentagon. In Blount County, she owns a property management company.

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