In 1982, at 23 years old and married barely a year, Jim and Lynda Williams moved from Ohio to Franklin when Jim joined the investment firm, Butler Wick (now Stifel Nicolaus). 37 years later, they couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. Jim says “we moved here for my job and the outdoor activities, but we didn’t know anyone….and we quickly found Franklin to be a friendly, welcoming town with a vibrant community spirit.” And just days after moving here, Lynda was introduced to the local fitness scene by her first Franklin friend, Ronnie Beith. With Ronnie’s friendship and guidance, Lynda’s love of dance and exercise led her to the Franklin YMCA, where she currently serves as the Coordinator of Group Fitness and the Silver Sneakers advisor.
But their ‘Why Franklin’ story is so much more than their jobs.
They bought a fixer-upper house and in the late 80s their two sons, Matthew and David, had arrived. Lynda changed to part-time exercise instructor and full-time mom. They were Cub Scout leaders, and Little League parents (Jim coached for 6 years). “And all through FHS years, we supported our boys in various sports programs,” Lynda says. And even though the boys have moved to big cities, they still have life-long friends here and still call Franklin home.
Jim’s community passion is Applefest. His involvement started near the Festival’s beginning in the mid-80s and for the past 27 years he’s been the chairman of the “Core” committee. “The Chamber saw the benefits for Franklin as the festival grew each year,” he says. “I’m very proud that our core group of volunteers has been able to harness Franklin’s community spirit in a way that’s had such a positive impact on our town and the entire region. We simply couldn’t have Applefest without our local volunteers and the effort and cooperation from all departments at the City. But again, that’s all part of the community spirit that makes Franklin go!”
Lynda’s Franklin passion is the Franklin YMCA. Teaching group fitness classes for all ages, especially our increasing senior population, has shown her how vital exercise programs are for our community. Her commitment to the Y led her to an additional major project…she is currently the co-chair of the Y’s capital campaign, the goal of which is to improve and modernize the YMCA’s facility for the next generation. “We can’t imagine Franklin without a Y, Lynda says. It’s one of the most visited sites by people planning to move here. It’s absolutely vital that our Y stays strong!”
They both agree…”We love Franklin because you can get involved and make a difference. It’s an energetic, safe place for young families. And we’d encourage those young folks to help keep the Franklin spirit growing.”