I began working in radio in 1998 at the radio group in Gray, TN. Through that job I was blessed to meet many people who would change the course of my life. One of the most primary among those folks is Don Raines. If you know Don, the mention of his name just now made you smile. If you don’t know Don already, he is a guy who has been very successful on many fronts in life but continuously gives back. Among his accomplishments, Don is the co-creator of the Niswonger Children’s Hospital Radiothon and was named the 2018 winner of the Mountain States Foundation’s Spirit Award.
Meet Don Raines.
BRIAN: Where did you grow up and what was that time of your life like?
DON: I grew up on a farm in White Pine Tennessee, although we had little money it was a great childhood. We raised pigs, cows and lots of chickens, in the summer we would grow large gardens and can food for the winter. We actually grew a large portion of the food we ate, so we always had plenty. I had two brothers and two sisters who shared in the daily chores of running the farm. I was lucky that I two great parents who always encouraged us to fellow our dreams and really pushed for getting a great education. I attended White Pine High School, which went from first grade to 12th grade.
BRIAN: You could live just about anywhere you want. What is it about this region and the people here that make you want to call this region home?
DON: When I graduated from ETSU, my original plan was to leave Johnson City and attend law school, but I got a job working for the JC Press in advertising department and found it was something I really enjoyed. I then moved into radio advertising. Johnson City quickly became my home, I had established so many great friends here, many of them I still see today. It’s a small enough community that everyone seems like your neighbor, but large enough to have a great University and healthcare system and lots of fun things to do. Outdoor recreation is second to none in our region.
BRIAN: Family is a big part of the culture here, how are you able to balance a busy career with spending quality family time?
DON: I think that was the hardest thing to accomplish, trying to build a career and at the same time spend quality time with family and friends, but I always tried to do fun things with my son Bobby, we loved to ski, go flying and sailing. I used vacation to try and get him exposer to other countries and cultures.
BRIAN: Faith is the other defining part of our regional culture. How does your faith impact your daily life at work and at home?
DON: Faith is the common denominator for most anyone growing up in the southern mountains. I was taught at a very young age religion wasn’t just something you belonged to, but it was more about what you did you help your fellow man, and community. I’ve always liked the quote “Ain’t no right way to do the wrong thing”. Though I would be the first to say, I’ve fallen short many times, I do think it’s a great code to live by.
BRIAN: You have had a long and successful career in business, but you are so involved with giving back at this point in your life. What drives that in you and what are some current projects you want folks to learn about?
DON: I have been very blessed to have had such great opportunities in the Radio Industry here in the Tri-Cities it was so great for me and my family, I’ve always felt the need to give back to our community, not everyone gets the same advantages and opportunities and it is incumbent on all of us who have the time and means to help left up our neighbors and friends when they are in need. I’m currently involved with the Johnson City Lions Club of which I’ve been a member for the last 35 years, we raise money each year for sight conservation. We buy eyeglasses for those folks who can’t afford to buy for themselves, mostly school age children and elderly. I’m also involved with Niswonger Children’s Hospital, raising money with our annual Radiothon. 100% goes to actually helping the kids of our region. It’s amazing to see what they’re doing in both in-patient and outpatient care. The Radiothon is coming up on February 27th and I would encourage civic groups, churches and individuals to jump and help us raise money. Check out niswongerchildrensradiothon.com for more details.