Every county has their own small-town heroes. Blount County is no different. The Blount-Oneonta Chamber of Commerce recently named Douglas “Doug” Sharp Blount County’s 2020 Citizen of the Year after receiving nominations from several residents. A man with many stories, some truly unbelievable, he could write a novel of his life and his wisdoms. He is a father, a grandfather, a brother, a son, a husband, and a dear friend to many.
One of my favorite movies is Big Fish, a tall tale movie set in Alabama where a seemingly ordinary small-town boy named Edward Bloom grows up to do extraordinary things, some of them unbelievable.But the main character in this story is not on a Hollywood set, nor has he been cast by a director; this main character is here in Oneonta.He is a gentle giant (towering well over 6 feet tall) with kind eyes framed with glasses and arms a mile long to give the best bear hugs.
Sharp has not always called Blount County home. He was raised in Knoxville, making him a Tennessee Vols fan by default, but don’t hold that against him. A sports fanatic from the start, he played multiple sports as a young man. He is an avid outdoorsman who enjoys boating, fishing, and golfing. He is a phenomenal storyteller, painting vivid pictures of places he has been and things he has experienced.
As an adult, work brought him to towns all over the country before settling down in Oneonta more than a decade ago. What brought him here? A beautiful lady named Dale. The two married after dating a short six weeks.Doug was so smitten after meeting the gorgeous, petite blonde that he turned in his notice at work, packed his belongings, and moved from Tennessee to Oneonta. Together, they started not one, but two businesses in Blount County. The couple compliment each other, like peanut butter and jelly. They are a great fit.
Sharp is one of the most humble and kind people who have called Blount County home. His generosity spans beyond this county, even the state. He has donated his time and earnings to various causes ranging from organizing clothing drives for those who have lost everything in house fires and sponsoring families at Christmas to collecting school supplies, filling refrigerators of those who fell on hard times, and simply offering a listening ear and a shoulder to lean on. Sharp often does it all quietly behind the scenes, wanting no recognition or accolades. He truly lives for others – to enrich their lives, to offer a helping hand.
He is a model citizen. He puts others above himself and follows the Golden Rule, striving to be better each day. There are so many things that make Blount County a beautiful place, a place people want to visit, a place people want to call home. Then there are incredible people who give freely of their time and their love, people like Doug Sharp, who make Blount County special.
May we all dig deep and find in ourselves a little bit of what Doug Sharp has: kindness, generosity, integrity, and above all else, love.