working hands

Letters From Leton: Hey Bud, Can You Spare Fifty Cents?

I’ve shared with some that I took my mom up to Lynchburg to see a pain specialist a couple Fridays ago.

On the way up, she and I shared many stories. One of the stories was about her and my Dad’s early marriage.

Dad had built their house (by hand), he and mom moved in, and then she became pregnant with me.

As has always been with the ups and down of the coal industry, my father was laid off during a slow period when my mom was 5 months pregnant with me. They had very, very little money and owed money to the local Kennedy’s Grocery (building is still across from the post office in Wise) on their tab for groceries they had bought expecting dad to get paid.

One night they went to church to hear Mom’s favorite preacher. All they had (financially) was fifty cents. That was it. They put the fifty cents in the collection plate, prayed, and went home.

The next day, my dad rounded up a couple of old tires and sold them for two dollars ($2.00) to get enough gas to travel from Wise to Appalachia to collect his unemployment payment.

He expected to get two checks, but he only got one! When he came out, he handed the one check to my mom. She looked at it – it was exactly the amount they owed Kennedy’s for their Grocery Bill!!

I could go on about the toughness of folks – or how easy we have it compared to most folks in the world today and our parents or grandparents. That is all true.

Instead, I focus on having faith – in God, in yourself, in your family, in your fellow employees. It is something that – like your reputation no one can take away from you, and you can continue to build every moment of every day.

The legacy of our Bank has been to help folks like my parents who only had the proverbial “50 cents” to their name.

It is harder today to approach business in this manner given the changing aspects of daily living and changing character of folks. But the faith that we put into relationship with our communities and customers is what distinguishes our Bank.

– 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.