Bill Darnell

Bill Darnell

My father worked for U. S. Gypsum and moved frequently between their facilities in Saltville and Norfolk, VA. I was born in Norfolk, and my mother was a stay-at-home mom raising four children. Although the first six years of my life was spent in Norfolk, my dad’s company transferred him to Saltville and I became a country boy in the short time we lived there.  When I was eight, we moved to Dayton, Ohio, where my dad accepted a job with Dayton Tire and Rubber (Firestone).

At the age of ten my parents separated and shortly after that divorced. I lived in a house with three sisters and my mom. My adolescent years were very difficult. My mom struggled to find jobs to make ends meet with only an eighth grade education. She managed for seven years and then we moved back to Virginia where she had support from family. Saltville once again became my home town.

I met Tammy in high school. Tammy often tells the story of seeing me for the first time – I was riding a ten speed bicycle up the valley road in front of her house. As I rode by with my head band and long hair, that’s right, long hair blowing in the wind, she said “who is that?” and her dad said “you mean what is that?” Now I am his son in-law.

Tammy’s father’s family had deep roots in the Church of Christ and her mother was a devoted Christian who ensured her children had God in their lives. While Tammy was raised in the church, I, on the other hand, was not introduced to God’s word until later in life.

Tammy and I dated off and on through high school and after graduation we went our separate ways. She went to college and I went to work.  We got together a couple of years later and realized we really loved each other. We married in 1979 and moved to Kingsport, TN. We were married ten years before we decided to start a family. Tammy already knew the importance of having God in your life, and she demonstrated Christianity in her everyday actions. Her family inspired me during that time more than I realized through their Christian lifestyles. When we first came to Kingsport, we visited Northeast and Colonial Heights Church of Christ, but mostly drove back to Saltville on the weekends. We ended up at Valley Church of Christ where its 50 members resembled our home congregation.
Tammy is in the Information Technology division at Eastman and I teach in the Kingsport City School System at Dobyns-Bennett High School. I attended ETSU and received a Bachelor’s Degree in Special Education and then earned a Master’s Degree in Education at Tusculum College. God has truly blessed our lives with three wonderful children: Devin, Derek, and Alison. They are such an inspiration to us and we love to see their zeal to do God’s work. We moved from Valley Church of Christ to Northeast thirteen years ago primarily for the youth program. We became active immediately. I have served as a Deacon on the Brethren and Youth Ministries. Tammy and I coordinate our Lads to Leaders Program. Now as an elder, I feel it is an honor to serve the congregation in this capacity. I am committed to do the best I can to shepherd people along the way to mature in their Christian walk.
Prayer for the Church: “Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ direct our way to you. And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, so that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.” (I Thessalonians 3:11-13)

Frank Graves