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Jackie Banks has three main loves in her life — her daughter, her job and her community.
As president of the Radcliff Optimist Club and as Upward cheerleading commissioner at her church, Banks is able to express that love in helping children in the community.
Originally from Mississippi, she moved to Hardin County 17 years ago after living in Germany for three years.
Now, 47 and a single parent of a 17-year-old daughter, Jasmine, she lives in Radcliff and works as director of purchasing at U.S. Cavalry.
Although when she was little she thought she’d be a dancer when she grew up, she went to college to study social work. She got married at 22, during her senior year, and didn’t finish her degree.
“I was young and dumb and in my interpretation of being in love at the time,” she said.
Years later, Banks went back to school and earned a degree in business management. She already was working in the purchasing field and decided to stick with it. She’s made purchasing her career for the past 20 years. Her job allows her to help people, solve problems and “put out fires,” she said.
“I can’t see myself doing anything outside of purchasing,” she said.
She became a part of the Radcliff Optimist Club four years ago because she wanted to be involved with something in the community that helped children.
She became club president in October.
“So far, it’s going well,” she said.
She will serve one year. But at the district meeting this month she was elected lieutenant governor of the region for next year. The region includes Kentucky and other states.
“I’m looking forward to that,” she said. “It will be a bigger responsibility than president.”
During her year as president, she hopes the club continues to touch the lives of children and reaches more than ever before. She also hopes to see membership grow and for new members to bring fresh ideas to the table.
“I like helping people,” she said. “Especially kids, I can’t stand to see a kid do without.”
Banks said she might not have a lot but likes to see that her daughter has what she needs and most of what she wants. That bond with her daughter especially compells her to help children in need.
Between her job, volunteer work and a teenage daughter, her schedule usually is full.
She describes her daughter as a “girly girl.’
“She’s just too funny,” Banks said.
They love to lie back on the couch and watch comedies, but their absolute favorite thing to do together is shop.
Banks main wish for Jasmine is that she grows up to be productive and successful in society.
“I just want her to be successful and happy and I love her no matter what,” she said.
In the summer Banks volunteers in the New Hope Missionary Baptist Upward cheerleading program.
Banks was asked to help because organizers knew her daughter cheered. After coaching a year or two she became commissioner of the cheerleading program three years ago.
Ellen Thompson works closely with Banks in the cheerleading program and said she is “instrumental” in gathering volunteers to coach kindergarten through sixth-grade children. Banks also is responsible for organizing the squads and training coaches with the materials and guidelines of the Upward program, Thompson said.
“Jackie brings enthusiasm and excitement to the program and has been extremely resourceful when called upon for ideas or suggestions on how to improve it,” Thompson said. “Jackie always has a full plate, but still manages to uphold her commitments to other volunteer initiatives.”
Banks enjoys the opportunities to work with young children.
“The little ones, they are something, but they are so sweet and eager to learn,” Banks said.
The Upward program is a way to bring children to Christ through sports, she said. She sees the fruit of her work when she sees the littlest ones ask to say a prayer in the large group of all Upward participants.
“To see that, you know this was an awesome effort,” she said.
Becca Owsley can be reached at (270) 505-1741 or email@example.com.
Getting to know Jackie Banks