Christine Hopkins, named Franklin County Citizen of the year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2018, has been a resident of Franklin County since she was ten (10) years old. Individuals who know her, see the love and compassion she has for the people in her home community. Christine is known for her persistence and tenacity and her ability to get things done.
When it comes to achieving post-secondary education or helping the less fortunate, especially the children in our community, she wants to do her part. While a social worker for the Franklin County Board of Education in the late 60s, Christine reminisces about her time as asocial worker going out into the extreme rural areas to look for kids who were missing school. During these trips she witnessed some very sad and under privileged individuals who left a lasting impression on her life. From the lady who took the time to sweep her floors, so that her living conditions would be acceptable, to the man who gave her his tires and wheels to get home when her car broke down, to the children who needed clothing, so Christine took them clothing. She viewed this as an opportunity to help make students life a little better.Christine started working when she was sixteen (16) years old sitting with an elderly neighbor for $1.00 per night.
After graduating from high school she went to work in a factory for seven years. It was during this time that she married Roy Hopkins, an established business owner. She then began working for the Board of Education. It was during this time that she wasdetermined to obtain her college education and was successful in achieving her Master’s Degree while working full time and having two children, Theresa and Roy Allen. Achieving her education took eight years, at night, after working all day, which is another example of Christine’s determination and persistence.
Upon receiving her college education, Christine went to work for the State of Tennesseeas a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor. During this period she was named National Counselor of the Year in 1984. She was chosen from among 35,000 other counselors nationwide. She stayed with the State of Tennessee until she retired in 2000, moving from an entry left position tothe statewide Director of Rural Tennessee Rehabilitation Centers. Driving from Winchester to Nashville daily, gave Christine the time to evaluate what she wanted to accomplish in life. Always setting goals and meeting them.
At her retirement from the State, approximately 300 people were in attendance to thank her for the contribution she made to the rehabilitation of people with disabilities. Seven counties named it Christine Hopkins Day. It was a very moving moment when some of the clients came behind the curtain to express their thanks to Christine forall she had done for them. Part of the joy that she had while working with individuals with disabilities was seeing them meet their potential and move on to employment.
Four months after her retirement, her former Assistant Commissioner contacted her about going back to work. She took the job as Director of Caring, Inc. in Jasper, Tennessee. While there the company grew, expanded and prospered by placing people with disabilities on the job. In 2007, Christine was contacted by Mayor Richard Stewart who asked that she chair a task force to bring a Technology College of Applied Technology to Franklin County.
Christine, along with others, worked tirelessly for ten years to accomplish this goal.After staying with Caring, Inc. for seven years, Christine heard Tim Fuller make a statement while campaigning for Sheriff that locking people up and throwing away the key has “gotten us nowhere.” He further stated that incarcerated people needed rehabilitation. Christine, being the determined person she is, emphasized the importance of “making it happen.” After his successful election, Christine came back home to work and helped pioneer Franklin County Rural Reentry, the first comprehensive rural reentry program in Tennessee. They opened the doors July, 2007.
During the 12 years, Franklin County Reentry has been in existence, approximately five million dollars has been brought to Franklin County by way of grants. These dollars resulted in several incarcerated individuals becoming productive citizens of Franklin County, which makesfor a safer community. The Reentry program has gained State and National Recognition and Christine was recently named to serve on Governor Lee’s subcommittee of Reentry and Workforce. Christine’s personal goal is to help other rural counties implement Reentry in theirlocal jails and therefore help reduce recidivism. Christine believes that if you are doing something that works, “you need to share it”.
Christine recently received information from Dr. Flora Tydings, Chancellor of the Board of Regents that she will be receiving the Chancellor’s Volunteer award. She was nominated by the Shelbyville Tennessee College of Applied Technology. Christine is an avid motivationalspeaker. She has been requested to speak on occasions in Washington D.C., St Louis, Missouri, Justice Center in New York and several locations in Tennessee regarding Reentry. She is known throughout the State for her ability to “Get things done”. She has received numerous awards and certificates for her accomplishments.
In addition to her past experience onnumerous Boards, she currently serves as a Franklin County School Board Member, State Workforce, and Southern Middle Tennessee Workforce. One of her most valued achievements was her involvement in helping to make the Tennessee College of Applied Technology possible for Franklin County. She is very grateful to all who helped make this possible.
Christine is a member of the First United Methodist Church and a widow with two children, five grandchildren, two grand daughter-in-law’s and two great grandchildren. Despite her 63 years of employment, “Ms. Hopkins who is still working every day, believes that you never quit until the job is done.