Occupation: Owner of Downtown Cash-in-a-Flash
Family: Married to Martha Porterfield Shields, and they have two children, Whitney Cox and Steven Shields Jr.; four grandchildren, Madison Cox, 10; Caroline and Carter Cox, 8, and Gracie Shields, 2.
It has been said earning a college degree can lead to a better career.
For Steve Shields, there’s a good chance it saved his life.
Shields, son of the longtime Maryville Mayor the late Stanley “Skeeter” Shields, graduated from Vanderbilt University in 1967. He was going through the draft process with orders that would ultimately put him fighting in Vietnam.
“I had an order to be part of the First Cavalry, and they were processing troops at Fort Hood in Texas. I got there at midnight. They were lined up in tents moving through, and someone looked at paperwork and said, ‘I see you’ve got a college degree. Would you like to drive for a general?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ They pulled me out of going to Vietnam, and I became a finance clerk.”
Because there was a shortage of finance clerks, Shields was one of 40 new clerks who were trained at Fort Hood, and he remained stationed in Texas. Apparently no one told the Army.
“Six months after that, my dad got a call from the Army because they had me AWOL at Fort Lewis, Wash.,” Shields says. “They had never rescinded my order to Vietnam. They had me AWOL for six months.”
After he rotated out of the Army, Shields went to graduate school for urban planning at the University of Tennessee and had a part-time job at the campus bookstore. “That is where I met Martha. We got married in 1972. I worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development as an environmental specialist until 1984,” he says. “I got transferred to Nashville and commuted back and forth from November until the following March when I left. I did various things for two or three years, and then was executive director of the Blount Memorial Foundation from 1988 to 2000.”
Shield’s main efforts with the foundation were geared toward raising money for the Good Samaritan Clinic for uninsured or underinsured patients. Since leaving the foundation in 2000, he has split his time between owning and operating Cash-in-a-Flash in downtown Maryville and taking care of grandchildren.
Being a grandfather is Shield’s favorite past time. “It is awesome. All four of them are so unique in their own way. You never know what they’re going to do or say at any one point. It is just fun to be around them. They help keep me young. It is just great.”
Here is Steve Shields:
What is your favorite quote from television or a movie?
“I’ve got three: ‘There’s no crying in baseball,’ Tom Hanks from ‘A League of Their Own,’ “We’re going to need a bigger boat,’ Robert Shaw in ‘Jaws,’ and ‘No, I expect you to die,’ Goldfinger to James Bond.”
What are you guilty of?
“Waiting until the last minute. I’m terrible at putting things off until the last minute.”
What is your favorite material possession?
“Besides my family photos and videos, I’d have to say my great-great-grandfather’s rifle.”
What are you reading currently?
“Bernard Cornwell’s ‘Agincourt,’ which is historical fiction about the battle between 6,000 Englishmen and 30,000 French in 1415. King Henry V had invaded France during the 100 Years War, and this is one of England’s most famous battles.”
What was your most embarrassing moment?
“It has to be the first time I ever filled in for my dad on the P.A. during a Maryville High School football game. When I turned the microphone on and welcomed everyone to the game, every head in the stadium turned and looked at the press box to see who had taken Skeeter’s place. I had no idea they would notice the difference in our voices. It dawned on me right then that I’d be compared to my dad all night long. I realized it is hard to substitute for a legend.”
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
“Watch my grandchildren grow up, travel to Europe and tour the breweries in Belgium and the wineries in Italy and France and tour the Western part of the United States in a luxurious RV with my whole family.”
What is one word others often use to describe you and why?
“Emotional. I’m very emotional about anything that deals with my family and friends. In fact, Martha’s not real sure we’re legally married because I couldn’t get my wedding vows out because I was crying so much.”
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
“I’d like to be more artistic.”
What is your passion?
If you could go back in time for a week, what time period or year would you visit?
“My favorite time in history is the time around King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.”
What is the best present you ever received in a box?
“I get more pleasure out of watching others open their gifts and watching the surprise on their faces.”
With whom, living or dead, would you like to have a long lunch?
“My parents, They meant so much to me while they were here and have given me so much strength and inspiration even since they passed away.”
What is the best advice your mother ever gave you?
“Always respect others and follow the Golden Rule.”
Other than your parents, who has had the biggest influence on your life and why?
“Coach Jimmy Campbell. He was my first football coach, as well as my basketball and track coach. The other person I learned a lot from is my wife. The fact we’re still happily married shows that she has taught me a lot and put up with a lot.”
Do you Myspace, Facebook or Twitter?
“I have a Facebook page but have never posted on it.”
What’s the worst job you have ever had?
“One summer my cousin and I worked in Del Monte Pea Canning factory in DeKalb, Ill.”
What was your favorite Saturday morning cartoon and why?
“I always liked the traditional cartoons.”
What irritates you?
“Being behind someone in a line to pay for something, and they wait until the last minute to get their money out, and they have to search for the exact amount of change.”
What’s one place in Blount County everyone should visit?
“Cades Cove in all the different seasons.”
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself at 18?
“You’d better be ready to study in college.”
What is your greatest fear?
“Heights. My knees go weak whenever I go over a high bridge in a car.”
I still can’t quite get the hang of…
Fixing things, but I came by this honestly because my dad was not much at fixing things either. His hammer only had one claw.”
If you could do one impulsive thing, what would it be?
“I’d put in a swimming pool tomorrow.”