Guiding Values Discussed by Local Gentlemen
In today’s day and age, what it means to be a gentleman is ever-evolving. But becoming a gentleman isn’t about the end destination. It’s not about awards won, dollars given, or any other quantifiable factor. It’s about honoring the very people, organizations, and ideals that have served as building blocks for a life well-lived. Here, six area men dive into what exactly shaped them into the individuals they are today and how they continue to use their moral compass to expertly navigate the waters known as life.
Photography by Rich Smith | On Location at The Chattanoogan
“Without a doubt, my mother was the most influential force in my life. She taught me life lessons and raised me ‘the right way,’ as she put it. My mother’s definition of being raised the right way began with having a healthy dose of self-respect followed closely with respecting all people. As I became older and began playing on school basketball teams, my coaches became surrogate parents who reinforced the same principles my mother was stressing at home. My mother instilled in me the mindset of working hard at everything I do, and that was a major factor in the level of success I was able to experience as an athlete – being a part of teams that won the state of Kentucky basketball championship and the national championship at UTC. Fast forward to adulthood when basketball is no longer a factor in my life, and I’m thankful that I was able to play on championship teams, receive a free college education in the process, and develop deep and lasting friendships along the way. However, it was the lessons taught to me by my mother that have molded me into the man that I am today.”
(Above) Herbert “Book” McCray, Retired Educator and Founder, Boys to Men: A Male Mentoring Model