Growing up in Grundy County appears to have made a huge impression on Emily Partin. She is involved in numerous organizations that are bringing progressive changes our area.
“I grew up in Tracy City, the youngest of five children and only daughter of the late Judge Roy and Ruth Partin,” says Emily. My oldest brother was the late Edwin Partin who died five years ago. His wife Linda now lives in Atlanta and is sorely missed. Earl, David and Daryl Partin and their wives, all live close by (close enough to call when needed). I have several nieces and nephews, many of whom now have children of their own. I am divorced and though I never had children, many would argue that my animals rank pretty high!
“My dad and his siblings owned and operated two prominent businesses in Tracy City for several decades, Partin’s General Merchandise and Tracy City Furniture Company, as well as a dairy farm. This was truly a family affair. As a child, I learned the value of hard work by being a part of this environment, always encouraged and educated by my aunts, uncles and cousins. I count myself extremely blessed to have been raised in this small community on the Mountain in such a close-knit family.
“When I was three years old my father was elected to the office of Grundy County Judge (now called County Mayor) and served for 16 years. Mom was the County Bookkeeper and very much involved in all that Dad accomplished.
“When not at the store, I was quite a fixture at the Courthouse and loved playing court in the empty courtroom. As I grew older, I worked part time in a couple of the county offices. Most of my childhood and early adult life revolved around mom and dad’s role as public officials and their tireless efforts to bring much needed change to the county.
“While I knew my parents to be very dedicated public servants, they were, more importantly, my Christian role models. It was this Christian upbringing and my family’s steady sure influence that led me to accept that my life was not my own, but that I could be used by God for good and should always yield to His urging. This foundation has and continues to shape my pursuits.”
Emily attended the old Grundy County High School, graduating in 1981. She continued her education at Middle Tennessee State University.
“I earned a Bachelor’s degree from MTSU. Later I received my Masters in Clinical Psychology with an additional diploma in Christian Counseling and began working as a Licensed Professional Counselor. My studies and vocation took me away from the Mountain for almost 20 years until the year 2000 when I returned home to care for my dad.
“My family lost my mom to cancer in 1988 when she was only 56 years old. She was diagnosed when I was a senior in high school and battled the disease for 7 years. My dad was her constant caregiver and companion. When he became sick years later, I knew I must come home and be there for him.
“Once back on the Mountain, I worked as a counselor with Mountain Valley Mental Health Center serving Grundy County and surrounding counties. I was quickly dismayed at the extent of hurt and illness that I attributed to poverty, poor health, and substance abuse. I began praying for the opportunity to bring about a broader reaching, deeper healing to our whole County, for the hometown I remembered as being a quaint place in which to live had changed dramatically.
“Such an opportunity arose, and in 2010 I began working with the Grundy County Schools as the Family Resource Center Director. This position has allowed me to be strategically involved with multiple nonprofit agencies all seeking the same goal: a vibrant, healthy Grundy County.
“In the past four years I have been involved in and a founding board member of two new projects on the Mountain: the Community Fund of the South Cumberland Plateau, an initiative providing much needed funds for local nonprofit agencies in our area, and Discover Together, a joint effort between Yale University Child Study Center, Scholastic, Inc. Publishing, The University of the South, and Tracy City Elementary, bringing a wonderful summer camp program and now a family coop to Tracy City.
“I am an active member of the Grundy County Health Council and the Diabetes Coalition, both working to reverse poor health outcomes in our adults and children. I work with the youth at Tracy City First United Methodist Church and recognize this role as one of my most important.
“Bringing life to downtown Tracy City has been a passion of mine for the past 5 years. I have been working hard with the Tracy City Council proposing programs and services for our community, hopefully to be housed in the old high school. I am also an advocate for the Mountain Goat Trail walking and bike path. I feel both of these projects will increase positive traffic flow in our downtown and help our small businesses, while also providing health and wellness opportunities.
“I enjoy being outdoors and spend much of my free time on a lawn mower! I board dogs and have several of my own and this takes up time as well. Time well spent, I think.
“Something that many people may not know about me is that I really like crime and legal television dramas (and yes, I prefer the graphic ones). Political dramas also interest me. I don’t have television or cable, so Netflix keeps me entertained. I don’t listen to much music, but when I do it is typically choral music I am preparing for Church.”
Emily’s efforts, along with those of others involved in the Community Fund of the South Cumberland Plateau and Discover Together, and her volunteer work with the Grundy County Health Council and Diabetes Coalition, are revitalizing our community. It is exciting to see the positive changes taking place on the mountain!