Striving to keep her late grandmother’s legacy alive, Katie Knight Jones is actively supporting children in need.
The Cartersville resident currently is helping organize Advocates for Children’s Duck Derby. Established in the early 2000s, the Cartersville nonprofit's benefit will make its debut at Sam Smith Park — 1155 Douthit Ferry Road — May 11.
Advocates for Children assists more than 3,000 area youth and families each year. Along with operating Flowering Branch Children’s Shelter, the organization provides numerous programs that aid in the awareness, prevention and treatment of child abuse.
Jones recently won the People’s Choice Award at Cartersville Dances With the Stars for raising $51,458. The seventh annual benefit netted $241,622 for the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and the Cartersville/Bartow County school systems’ homeless education programs March 2.
“I have always loved serving others and being involved in the community, but my grandmother’s passing motivated me even more,” Jones said. “Doris Tidwell, aka Nanaw, passed in June of 2018 and this has definitely been the hardest thing I have had to go through.
“However, keeping her legacy alive pushes me each and every day. If I can just be half the woman she was, I will feel like I am doing something. I have a long way to go, but I know I am taking the steps in the right direction. I owe everything to her and my precious mom.”
• Name: Katie Knight Jones
• Age: 24
• Occupation (place of work and title): Senior mortgage lending officer for Coosa Valley Credit Union
• City of residence: Cartersville
• Family: Husband, Chase Jones; parents, Randy and Carla Knight; brother, Jacob Knight; grandparents, the late George Knight and Dot Knight, and C.L. Tidwell and the late Doris Tidwell
• Education: Graduated from Cartersville High School in 2012, graduated from Kennesaw State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing in 2016
The Daily Tribune News: When did you join Coosa Valley Credit Union, and what drew you to this line of work?
Katie Knight Jones: I joined Coosa Valley Credit Union in November of 2017. Moving to Coosa Valley was a God move, and I was not looking for a job at all. I had worked at a mortgage company before, and Coosa actually came to me. When I graduated college, I thought I would never do mortgages but one thing led to another and I absolutely love it.
DTN: Describe your role at Coosa Valley Credit Union, and what do you enjoy most about your job?
KKJ: My role at Coosa Valley Credit Union is senior mortgage lending officer. I handle all residential mortgage loans from first mortgages, home equity loans and land loans. I absolutely love what I do. Two of my mottos are dream loan equals dream home, and teamwork makes the dreamwork. I live by these, and it makes my heart so happy knowing I am helping a variety of people with one of the biggest moments of their lives.
DTN: List the various ways you are involved in the community, and why is it important for you to give back?
KKJ: In regards to involvement in the community, I have always been involved in some way but this year has definitely been my biggest year of giving back. I participated in Dances With the Stars and raised over $50,000 for Backpack Buddies and the Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter. I was not expecting this at all, and I owe it all to our generous community and the good Lord above of course.
I have also been a part of Leadership Bartow, and it has been one of the best experiences of my life. I love learning more about Bartow and building relationships with so many different people. I am the chair of Duck Derby this year, and I cannot wait for this event on May 11. I am on the board of the Etowah Scholarship Foundation, and I am super excited to see what is in store.
DTN: Why did you want to chair this year’s Duck Derby for Advocates for Children? Why is this an event and organization you feel passionate about supporting?
KKJ: Chairing this year’s Duck Derby was not something that has always been on my mind. I have attended this event, and I have supported Advocates for Children but I did not think of chairing this event until I received a phone call. It was actually during DWTS, and I knew I had to get through this event first. However, I prayed about it, thought long and hard. I have a passion for kids in our community, and I knew I wanted to help in any way I could. Obviously, kids do not have a say and I wanted to help the kids that do not have a voice.
DTN: How is Duck Derby season fairing so for, as far as duck sales and the reception from the public? Why do you encourage people to get involved in this fundraiser/adopt ducks?
KKJ: Duck Derby is going great so far. Our seniors are working extremely hard, and they have already sold a lot of ducks. It is true that a lot of our duck sales come in the very last week before the event; however, this does not mean that we can’t sell away to everyone we come in contact with. All of the proceeds go to Advocates for Children, and buying ducks is the least we can do. Also, who doesn’t want a chance to win $10,000?
Help us help the kids. We’re not asking everyone to give a lot, but if everyone gives what they can it will make a huge difference in the lives of these kids.
DTN: What was your initial reaction when you learned you won the People’s Choice Award at the Cartersville Dances With the Stars benefit March 2? What did this honor mean to you?
KKJ: When I learned I won the People’s Choice Award at the Cartersville DWTS benefit March 2, my initial reaction was humbleness. To God be the glory! This did not happen because of one person. Our generous community came together for a great cause, and I truly believe the stories of both my grandmother and the kids had a lot to do with this. Everyone knows the passion my grandmother had for Backpack Buddies, and a lot of people see the kids that take the backpacks home. This passion hits home to a lot of people.
Winning this award was a huge honor in which it pushes me to be the best I can be for the right reasons. It’s not about the trophy. It’s about the difference that is being made in people’s lives each and every day.
DTN: Why did you want to participate in Cartersville Dances With the Stars and help raise funds and awareness for Good Neighbor Homeless Shelter and the Cartersville/Bartow County school systems’ homeless education programs?
KKJ: When I got the phone call asking me to participate in DWTS, I was wondering if they had the wrong person — haha. However, my Nanaw and the kids came to mind and I immediately said, ‘Yes.’ I was thinking this is the least I can do to give back. My grandmother always gave to Backpack Buddies, and she even asked of this for when she passed. Therefore, it already hit home, and I wanted to give back as much as I could, especially for the precious kiddos.
DTN: What is your greatest professional and/or personal achievement?
KKJ: Professional: passing my Mortgage Loan Originator test to become a licensed mortgage loan originator
DTN: How would you describe yourself in three words?
KKJ: Outgoing, happy, determined
DTN: What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
KKJ: I am an old soul, and age is just a number in my book. Some people know but not all.
DTN: What is the best advice you have ever received?
KKJ: My granddad, C.L. Tidwell, always told me, “Idle time is a devil’s workshop.” This has stayed with me ever since he said it years and years ago. These words are so true; when we have idle time, we tend to remove our focus on what is most important.
DTN: What do you like to do in your spare time?
KKJ: In my spare time, I enjoy being with my family and friends. What matters most to me in life are relationships and memories being made. I also love to play golf and work out.
DTN: Where is your favorite place to be in Bartow County?
KKJ: My favorite place to be in Bartow County is Sugar Valley, specifically the Blue Hole. My grandparents and family were born and raised in Sugar Valley, and my husband I built on my grandparent’s land. The Blue Hole is an area on the land, and this particular spot has always been my [grandmother’s and my] favorite spot. Therefore, it means so much to me and brings back so many memories. When I am there, I do not have a worry in the world and I realize how blessed I am. There are so many reasons to be grateful.