Donna & Pat Quillen
Pat and Donna grew up in the Cookeville area, and even though successful careers took them across the country, they always returned to visit. “This was home; this was roots for us,” Donna shared. Before returning to stay in 1995, the Quillens do not remember a time when WCTE and public television weren’t parts of their lives, whether it was reading the local program guide while visiting family or supporting the local public television stations where they lived around the country.
At home in Cookeville now, Donna still enjoys her fulfilling career in corporate training, while Pat, who smiles and says, “I think I’m retired,” stays busy serving on numerous boards in the community. WCTE is one of his “favorites for sure.”
Both Pat and Donna love the programming on WCTE and look forward to watching their favorite shows. Donna noted, “Unlike commercial programming, it’s not ‘one size fits all.’ There’s something for everybody. The content is so diverse; it seems to be programming with a purpose.”
According to Pat and Donna, WCTE “fills the bill” for their broad range of interests as a couple, including history and music. Favorites for Pat include Ken Burns’ programs and, being a big fan, any show in which Willie Nelson performs. “I think if someone did a survey of PBS, Willie Nelson has probably appeared on so many different types of their programs… he may hold the record,” Pat declared.
Even though they no longer have children at home, they are excited to see how WCTE reaches children and families in the community through programming and workshops. One of their favorite events is the Stations of Imagination at the Cookeville Fall Fun Fest downtown. “It just gets bigger and better every year,” Donna said.
Pat has a deep appreciation for “all the work that goes on behind the scenes…those behind the camera and those who support the station working here…they have a wonderful bond and do such a great job!”
Pat and Donna share a passion for WCTE, contributing both time and resources to support the station over the years, and they hope others will do the same. Donna concluded, “Even in the good years, when the funding is there… it still isn’t enough. We still need the financial support of the community, of the individual donors. This is the perfect stage to highlight the richness and cultural heritage of the Upper Cumberland. WCTE has done so much to bring local talent into our homes and even to the national stage. Sometimes we take that for granted, but that’s a big deal.”
Donna continued, “If we want to protect that heritage and give it an opportunity to shine even regionally or nationally, then there’s no better vehicle to do that than WCTE. If everyone just gave a little…somehow we’d come up with enough. We would like to think that we will be here another fifteen years at least, and we would like to know WCTE is going to be right here with us.”
By Betsy Grannis
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