Letters From Leton: Blood Brothers

Lately there has been much on my mind. For a person who has been kindly described by my wife as having an “active mind” (interpretation – shut it down for a while), the events of this year have me in mental overdrive.

So, it was with pleasure that this past Saturday I hopped on my riding mower, hooked up my iPod, and began my 2 and a half hour meditation (otherwise known as mowing my grass).

Mid-way through my meditation, Bruce Springsteen’s song Blood Brothers came on. If you have not heard the song give it a listen, and I think you will find a range of emotions sweep over you.

Over the years I have been blessed with a number of gentlemen that I have and continue to call my blood brothers….fella’s who just need to call, let you know they have a need and you are on your way to help out.

I count among my Blood Brothers William Fields from Chilhowie. I met William in 1996 or so at a Promise Keepers event. For several years William and a group of us met every Wednesday at 7:00 AM for a prayer group at our local Bank. Although that group ceased to meet a few years later, William and I remain close friends. Many of you have met him at our various bank events in Abingdon as he has cataloged these via his skills as a photographer. He also made the kind gift of the pocket watch (made in 1888) that I carry with me every day at work.

One part of Promise Keepers that I enjoyed (and miss) was the candid discussions that we had about race and God’s tenet of loving your brother.

William shared jokingly (but sincerely) that he was concerned when French Moore III (the founder of our prayer group) invited him to the meeting. As William stated, “How would folks driving by react seeing a black man hanging around a Bank at 7:00 AM?” That resonated with me and continues to this day. 

I know of no better man than William. A family man. A talented artist. A mentor for numerous young folks at the Marion Job Corp Center for over 30 years. A leader in the African American Community who has worked tirelessly to continue the works of many to share the history of black people in SWVA.

Perhaps there is hope for our country. Especially if we look to God as to how we should treat one another.

And you never know when you will be adopted as someone’s blood brother (or sister). It is a very special thing.

Stay safe this week.

– Leton

“Letters From Leton” is a blog series comprised of the weekly updates that Leton Harding – President, Chairman, and CEO of Powell Valley National Bank, shares with the Bank’s team members. These newsletters are full of uplifting anecdotes and intriguing insights that are applicable beyond the Bank, so we want to share them with you.