The folks in Grundy County have had a little-known treasure to call their own for so many years. Donna Gifford Basham has been the prize jewel for the Grundy County Election Commission for all this time. I don’t think that the members of the election commission in 1982, myself included, had any idea. She has stood the test of time always with a hug and a smile to all that had needs from the election office. The journey that awaits me has been charted by one who has seen the storms of political life and endured it well. I can only hope that I can do an admirable job, to the reputation, that is the office of the Grundy County Election Commission. I’m most thankful that she will be around to help make the transition.
Retirement can have its rewards and we all say that we will look forward to it. That doesn’t-take away from the simulated sting that comes from letting go of something that has been your everyday life so long. Donna is my friend and we have had that friendship for many years and with the Lord’s blessings for many more.
The following are Donna’s feelings as she embarks upon retirement. We will miss her in the office on the everyday schedule, but are glad that she will help during the week and during election events.
“I am grateful to have spent the last 34 years in the Grundy County Election Commission office,” says Donna. “It has been an honor and a pleasure to serve with such a wonderful association, one that oversees fair and honest elections. I am grateful for the confidence shown to me by our local election commission and the TN Secretary of State’s Office.
“Many changes have taken place since first being hired by Election Commission members Herbert Garner, CB Lockhart, Nelson Layne, Garry Miller, and Betty King. The position called for a three-day work week, but within a year it .evolved into full time.
“At the point of retirement, a person has an opportunity to reflect on anything that has been eventful throughout the years. It is amazing the advancements that have taken place in the election business.
“For many, many years our means for voting were the 600-pound Shoup lever machines which were so heavy we left them at the assigned voting location. We have since progressed to using the Micro-Vote Direct Vote Recording which can be assembled to the size of a small suitcase, making transporting much easier. We stepped into the computer age, welcomed the inception of early voting, acclimated to Motor Voter, and now online voter registration is in full swing.
“Working in the Election Commission Office has been a great experience and I’ll cherish the memories for the rest of my life. As far as future plans are concerned, I look forward to spending time with the two most important men in my life right now -.my grandsons Griffin and Noah Adkins. They are such a pleasure and I enjoy chasing after them and being involved in their life. What could be better for someone who enjoys being called Grandmommie?
“I think Grundy County is fortunate to have our newly appointed Election Administrator, Garry Miller, who certainly is no stranger to the electoral process. Garry served on the election commission for many years and has attended numerous election conferences. I wish him much success,” concluded Donna.