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Hawkins County’s Wells earns Distinguished Leader Award

Submitted by Judy Bowery • Jan 13, 2020 at 4:30 PM

During the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation’s 98th annual convention in Franklin, Jim Wells of Hawkins County was recognized with the Distinguished Leader Award for going above and beyond in his volunteer spirit to the Tennessee Farm Bureau.

“Our organization wouldn’t be what it is today without the leadership, direction and countless hours of dedication from volunteer leaders,” said Tennessee Farm Bureau President Jeff Aiken. “We need to recognize individuals who devote so much to ensure our organization succeeds and Jim is certainly deserving of this honor.”

Wells, the recipient for District V, grew up on his family’s farm, was an active 4-Her and dedicated FFA member. After graduating from Rogersville High School in 1963, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in agricultural education from the University of Tennessee and went on to earn his master’s and EDS. In 1967, he started an extraordinary career as an agriculture teacher. But it was during his sophomore year of college that he met his future wife, Brenda Arnwine of Knoxville. They married on July 9, 1966, and had two children. Tragically, their daughter and son-in-law were killed in a car accident in 2001, and Jim and Brenda continued raising their 11-year-old granddaughter. Today, the couple enjoys time with their two great-grandchildren.

Wells retired from teaching in 2006. He continued to serve as a strong advocate for the FFA and has been active with the Hawkins County Cattleman’s Association, the Hawkins County Co-Op Board and the county equalization board. His service to Farm Bureau has surpassed 50 years — 23 as a member of the board of directors, including the past eight as president.

“Jim is to be commended for devoting so much of his life to the Farm Bureau mission of working to improve agriculture rural life in Tennessee,” Aiken said.