Jerry Don Thomas, owner of First Community Financial in Monteagle, has lived on the mountain most of his life. Born in Manchester, he came to Monteagle as a young child and has developed deep roots in the community.
Jerry Don attended Monteagle Elementary School and Grundy County High School where he was very active in sports.
“While I was at Grundy I played football and I played for the Mountain Valley Baseball League. Grundy did not have a baseball team during the time I was there and the Mountain Valley League included teams from Tullahoma, Estill Springs, Sewanee, and Sherwood.
In addition to playing sports, Jerry Don was Class President his freshman year at GCHS and voted “Most Popular” by his classmates his senior year.
“I could not get time off at the bank to finish my last semester, so I went back and finished college years later,” says Jerry Don. “I also attended the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. This required me to attend three summers of classes on campus and complete coursework between semesters.”
Jerry Don continued to work at first National Bank, staying with the them through several changeovers.
“First National became First Bank and Trust while I was there. It was then acquired by First National in Shelbyville and I felt it was time for me to move – I did not want to work off the mountain.
“We opened first Community Financial in 1996, focusing on consumer and small business loans. Over the years, we have expanded and now do quite a few loan guarantees for banks.
“One of the most exciting deals we put together involved the first Biggest Loser Resort in New York, just south of Buffalo. Two of the trainers from the “Biggest Loser” television program were at the opening of the project and I got to meet them.”
Jerry Don says First Community Financial has guaranteed loans for several large hotels and resorts and they work with city, county, and state governments. His job keeps him on the road, mostly in New York.
“I do have to travel with my job, but I am at the point now where I would like to do more local, here in our community.”
Jerry Don and his wife, Jenny, met through friends and married in 1978. Jenny is the Supervisor of Education at Manchester City Schools. They have a son, Ben, who works at First Community Financial with his father.
“Ben is married to Ashley and they have two children, Amelia Lauren, eight, and Ava Elizabeth, six. Jenny and I love to spend time with our grandchildren.”
When asked if he had any hobbies, Jerry Don immediately turned the conversation to golf.
“I have golfed for a long time, and on many different courses. I would say I have two favorites. First, the course at St. Andrews in Scotland is special because of the tradition. It is one of the oldest golf courses in the world.
“My favorite course to play is Royal County Down in Northern Ireland. It is also one of the oldest golf courses.”
Jerry Don and Jenny suffered a personal loss just over ten years ago which now drives them to help others.
“Jenny and I try to help other people whenever we can, especially people who are suffering the loss of a family member. Over the years, this has been more cathartic for us, I think, than it sometimes is for the people we help.”
Friends, family, and the safety of a small community keep Jerry Don and his family in Monteagle. While they often visit Hilton Head, South Carolina, to relax, the mountain will always be