Most folks around here know Billy Aiken. And if you don’t, you probably will, because he has never met a stranger. He is one of those guys who make every person he speaks to feel like really all he wants to do is speak to you at that moment. He connects with the person, looking them in the eye and asking about his or her mother or father or grandfather, sporting event, walk with dog, anything that may be interesting or important to the person in his company in that moment. And, you wouldn’t think a busy man who sits on many boards, including the Public Education Foundation; alma maters Baylor School, Vanderbilt and Chapel Hill; the Haitian School Project through Church of the Good Shepherd and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, would have this kind of time.
As a successful lawyer, he doesn’t necessarily have the time. But he does have the inclination. And the determination. And the commitment.
No stranger to hard work, Billy is the grandson of a coal miner and the son of a doctor who happened to be the first in his family to attend college. Married to Ann and the father of two sons, Will and Ben, Billy was asked by a friend to sit on the board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Chattanooga in 1979. Billy could have postponed that obligation because he was in the middle of coaching his sons’ baseball teams. He also could have told that board he didn’t really sit. A determined dynamo, Billy soon organized a baseball league of 13- and 14-year-olds in various parts of the city, including East Chattanooga and Dodson Avenue, which allowed the boys to play ball in their own neighborhoods. Billy still supports the baseball program at the main feeder school for the BGCC, The Howard School.
Over the past four decades, Billy Aiken has kept his sleeves rolled up and his elbows greased as he works tirelessly to benefit the BGCC. He has led capital campaigns that have yielded major fundraising dollars for the organization, including the Stake N Burger event, the club’s largest fundraising event.
A standout in many fields, Billy recently was inducted into the Tennessee Boys and Girls Clubs Hall of Fame, which honors those rare individuals whose achievements have made a mark in the state of Tennessee. William Aiken is a name recorded in the BGC Hall of Fame and it will be viewed as a role model for generations to come.
Clearly, giving back is important to Billy Aiken. And he does so in myriad ways, not the least being mentoring countless young men.
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Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, “The Queen Who Banished Bugs,” “The Queen Who Accidentally Banished Birds,” and “Call Me Arthropod” in her pollinator series “If Bugs Are Banished.” “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love - Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true tales about man’s best friend. Her website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.