Chat Room: Patrick Jenkins

Patrick Jenkins

Patrick Jenkins

Family: Married to Mary K Jenkins, an artist also known as “Mary K., The Fish Lady.”

Occupation: Engineer with Robert Shaw Industrial Products in Maryville.

Age: 56

Children: Joshua, Melissa, Wesley and grandson Cody.

It took Pat Jenkins two years to transition from Townsend resident to Townsend city commissioner. It took two minutes for him to go from commissioner to Townsend’s mayor.

Jenkins says the extent of his public service was serving on the Little River Watershed Association. Then about two years ago he petitioned the commission to stop a tubing company from allowing their customers to use residential land next to his property to take the tubes out of the river. Jenkins says he applied steady pressure to make sure the city commission understood tubing companies couldn’t use residential property for any part of the commercial tubing business. “I became so familiar with everyone on city commission and planning commission that I said I thought I could be a commissioner. That’s how I ended up running for commission,” he says.

The commissioners choose the mayor on the Townsend commission. “I got sworn in as commissioner, sat down, got nominated and then elected mayor literally within minutes.”

Here is Pat Jenkins:

What was your first paying job?

“My first paying job was delivering The New Albany Tribune newspaper at age 13. This was the afternoon newspaper in my hometown of New Albany, Indiana.”

If you could do one impulsive thing, unrestricted by cost, what would it be?

“I’m certainly not an impulsive person, so answering this question is difficult. My wife and I really enjoyed a trip we made to Paris about 10 years ago. Perhaps a return trip to Europe would be my answer.”

What are you guilty of?

“Everyone who has ever worked with me would tell you that I am a nitpicker when it comes to following rules. This can be a blessing and a curse.”

Do you think there is life on other planets?

“I never think about life on another planet. What is important is that God put us on this planet.”

What is your favorite material possession?

“My favorite material possession is our cabin on the Little River in Townsend. My wife and I built it ourselves, cutting each board, driving every nail.”

What are you reading currently?

“For the past 60 days I have been reading ‘The City of Townsend Municipal Code’ book. Talk about exciting reading.”

Who has been the most influential person in the 20th century?

“I think President Roosevelt was probably the most influential person in the 20th century. His leadership and unwavering courage brought the U.S. through extremely rough times including the Depression and World War II. It seems fitting that he was the president who dedicated the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Next year we are celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountain National Park. I think it would be great if our new president would stand in for Roosevelt at the rededication ceremony next summer.”

When you were 5 years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

“I probably wanted to grow up and be a 6-year-old. After all, 6-year-olds got to go to school.”

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

“I’d change my age. I’d love to be physically 20 years younger.”

What is your passion?

“I have a passion for protecting the Little River. This passion led me to serve for five years on the Little River Watershed Association. I consider the Little River to be the No. 1 asset of the Townsend citizens.”

With whom, living or dead, would you most like to have a long lunch?

“This is difficult to explain, but I would like to have lunch with my Dad and his B17 Bomber crew right after their final bombing run in April 1945. His crew was stationed at Framlingham Airbase in Parham, England. Their last mission was unique because they ‘encountered’ those new German jet-powered fighter planes. My father, like most veterans, never shared his memories with his family. I read about all his missions and his reports where they were attacked by new-fangled fighter planes with jet engines.”

Would you travel in space?

“Sure, I’d travel in space, especially if I’d get frequent flyer miles. The United State’s early success in space has shown what focus, teamwork, and money can accomplish when there is a clear objective. It makes me wonder if the same technique could be successful to accomplish the energy independence of the future generations. When I was in engineering school at Purdue, one of my classmates was the son of Gus Grissom. Six years earlier, Gus Grissom was one of the three astronauts killed in a fire while sitting on the ground in Apollo 1. It was a sacrifice his son never talked about.”

What character in a book or movie would you most like to be?

“I have never really wanted to be anyone but myself. I will say that Harry Potter is an incredible movie character.”

What is the best present you ever received in a box?

“The best present that I ever received came in a ‘box’ style vehicle, a Toyota station wagon to be precise. That present was my wife and kids. When my wife and I were married in 1986, she came fully equipped with three children. Joshua was 12, Melissa was 8, and Wesley was 5. They filled my life with love, stress and family. Since then, we have added my grandson, Cody.”

Did you ever get paddled in school and if so, why?

“The nuns at my grade school preferred rulers across your hand. I was a good student and never really got in any trouble. My best memory of school discipline was in fifth or sixth grade. We were having a spelling bee and were lined up around the perimeter of classroom. One of my classmates had a real active mouth and finally our teacher, Sister Mary Mark, had all she could take and threw an eraser that hit this classmate in the head. That classmate went on to become a professional golfer. His name is Fuzzy Zoeller, and he is still known for his active mouth.”

Who is your hero?

“I am constantly in awe of the women who are diagnosed with breast cancer and choose to fight. My wife, Mary K, is the Tennessee state coordinator for a national breast cancer support organization called Casting for Recovery. I have been honored to know many of the women that have gone through this program here in Tennessee. Breast cancer is a terrible disease and its near epidemic numbers deserve our attention.”

What was your first car?

“A 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. This was a fairly rare vehicle because it came from the factory with a 225 cubic inch inline six, a four-speed transmission with a Hurst shifter, and posi-traction differential. I bought it in 1968 with 38K miles.”

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