New year, old friends

Send-off for Cates gathers friends to say goodbye, welcome new year

While most folks partying on Dec. 31 were celebrating a new year, friends gathered at the home of Christy and Phillip Newman were also remembering old times with two good friends who are also starting something new in 2011.

The Newmans, along with Andy and Kahren White and Kevin and Amanda Painter, hosted a send-off party for Mark and Cathy Cate. The Cates have moved to Nashville where Mark, who was campaign manager for Governor-elect Bill Haslam, will begin a job as special assistant to the governor when Haslam is sworn in on Jan. 15.

Christy Newman said the event was a combination New Year’s Eve party and send off for the Cates.

“Mark and Cathy have actually hosted a New Year’s Eve Party the last couple years, so it was only fitting to host a similar party for them,” Christy said. “We are all so proud of them and know they are going on to wonderful opportunities. We wanted to send them off with a nice shindig. Being around friends is a great way to ring in the New Year.”

Kahren White said it was a celebration. “We had so much fun just talking about old times, and we’re so thrilled for what they have ahead of them,” she said.

Andy White said Mark, former vice president at Maryville College, and Cathy, former director of Leadership Blount, made a positive impact on the community. “This is a great opportunity for them, and we wish them all the best,” he said.

Christy Newman said Blount County is losing a treasure. “They did so much for the community, and we’re sad to lose them, but we’re thrilled for them,” she said.

Kevin Painter said it was a bitter-sweet evening. “We’re all so happy and proud of Gov. Haslam and what he has done and all the work Mark put into his campaign, but we hate to lose both Mark and Cathy,” he said. “Amanda and I are really going to miss them.”

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