Stories of the hope.

Bill Williams, longtime anchor for WBIR-TV, is a familiar face to most East Tennesseans as well as to many in the coalfields of Eastern Kentucky.  Through his special efforts and reporting on the loss of jobs in the coalmines and his vivid portrayal of life in the mountains for thousands of kids and their families, the Mission of Hope was created. 

Let’s accompany Bill on a trip to Harlan County Kentucky as he gathers background material for the Mission of Hop Christmas campaign.  On this particular day, Bill started a conversation with 9-year old Billy who shared an old, decrepit 4-room house in an old mining town with his older sister and grandfather.  Bill made small talk for a moment and then asked Billy, “What are you going to have for supper?”  Billy replied, “Beans.”  Bill stated that the cameraman has unintentionally left his camera on during this conversation.  Bill then asked, “What did you have last night:” Billy replied, “Taters.”  When asked what else he had, Billy stuck his hands deeper in his pockets, shuffled his feet, lowered his gaze to the floor and after a long pause and in a much lower voice replied, “That’s all.” 

A lump in Bill’s throat prevented him from making an immediate response.  As he looked around there were tears in every eye.  Fortunately, the camera caught this conversation and when it aired in late November of that year, the phones at the Mission of Hope rang off the hook and donations increased dramatically. 

We don’t know that we had a long-term impact on Billy’s life, but on that Christmas, he received extra clothes and toys from the volunteers.  His family received enough food so that at least during Christmas they had more to eat than just “beans and taters.”

If you, too, have a story that has touched your heart, we invite you to share it with us at [email protected].

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