Glenn Jacobs speaks at  United Way Breakfast

Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs speaks at the United Way Kickoff Breakfast.

Knox County Mayor Glenn “Kane” Jacobs returned to a familiar place Tuesday morning.

Jacobs, known as WWE wrestler “Kane” in the squared circle, spoke to the kickoff breakfast of the United Way of Hamblen County at First Presbyterian Church in Morristown.

After Jacobs’ speech, the United Way announced that the 2022 campaign, which began with pacesetter companies Colgate-Palmolive, First Bank and Trust, Howmet and JTEKT, has already raised $468,282, or 35% of the $1,350,000 goal. The Pacesetter companies’ goal was $179,000 but $215,259 was raised, 120% of their goal.

Meanwhile, Jacobs reminisced about his days in the Lakeway Area for a moment.

“I moved to Morristown in 1995, so I have a lot of ties to the community,” Jacobs said. “My family has a lot of ties to Jefferson County. I came over here to (College Square) mall, had a business here at one point. My daughter worked in home health here.

“Lots of politicians are not completely honest,” he said. “When you ask any local elected official in America what their communities’ best asset is, they all are going to say the people, I guarantee it.

“Here in East Tennessee, we do have the very best people,” Jacobs said. “We see it with the things that has happened, (for example) the fires in Gatlinburg. All of East Tennessee came together to the point that there were so many donations going in that the organizations had to tell people to stop bringing stuff. That doesn’t happen anywhere else around the country.”

Jacobs talked about community and society during his brief speech.

“If we want to improve our community and society, where does the responsibility for that lie?” Jacobs asked. “The responsibility lies within each one of us. We are society, we are community, and we are East Tennessee. If we want to make our community better, it begins with us. One way to do that is to support this wonderful organization.”

Jacobs took office in September 2018. He is focusing on jobs, recreation and education, working to advance positive change, improving access to services and improving the quality of life for Knox County citizens.

Michele Greene read a statement from Campaign Chair David Slack, who was unable to attend.

“Last year was a pivotal year in a lot of ways, even economically in Hamblen County,” Slack’s statement said. “The people of this community stepped up and were able to meet the goal of $1.4 million. I truly believe the community will step up again this year.”

Slack’s statement said that the United Way found out that some donations that generally come in would not be coming in this year. So there had to be a few changes.”

Slack said that he was excited to attend for this year’s campaign because he didn’t get the kickoff breakfast last year.

“Last year, it was a struggle to obtain this goal,” Slack said. “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I did not get my kickoff breakfast last year. That’s why (I want to be) here, full of biscuits and gravy.”

Slack said that the United Way is the “best way” to help the most people. Donations won’t start rolling into the United Way until January 2022.

“You may never see the end results of what you do to help people, you may never cross paths with the person helps. Rest assured, that your contribution is changing somebody’s life and changing it for the better,” Slack’s statement said. “I encourage you to get the campaign started now.”