TOP PHOTO: David Hicks spoke at a December meeting of the South Campbell County Rotary Club and signed copies of his new book.
By Charlotte Underwood
JACKSBORO, TN (WLAF) – The book sharing the life’s story of local veteran and entrepreneur David Hicks came out in November, and sales have been good. Since its release, Hicks has added more locations where a copy of “To Be Somebody” can be purchased.
To obtain a copy of the book, email Hicks at email@example.com. It is also available at all Campbell County Libraries; Caryville, Jacksboro, Jellico and La Follette as well as at Katie’s Restaurant. Proceeds from the book sales are being donated to local charities. Hicks vowed to donate proceeds to local organizations and has already presented checks of $1,000 each to the Jellico Honor Guard and the Campbell County Cancer Association.
WLAF’s Charlotte Underwood’s shares her story again on Hicks, his book and local author Jocelyn Woods Griffo.
When he was a little boy, David Hicks was asked what he wanted to be in life.
All the other kids wanted to be fire fighters and police officers and stuff like that, but when Hicks was asked he said he just wanted “to be somebody.”
“I just wanted to fit into society, being as poor as we were, that wasn’t easy. My fitting in doesn’t have anything to do with any monetary status, I just didn’t want to be looked down on all my life,” Hicks said.
The title of the book written about his life, “To Be Somebody” reveals the determination of a Campbell County boy to not only survive, but thrive and leave behind a lasting legacy for his family and perhaps a blueprint to inspire others.
Written by local author Jocelyn Woods Griffo, the book takes the reader on a journey that begins with the historical backdrop of coal mining and his upbringing in “strict poverty,” then into the hell of the Vietnam War and then forward again through Hick’s life accomplishments.
Griffo became involved with the project after Hicks had read another book she had been commissioned to write for the Campbell Outdoor Recreation Association (CORA). Hicks called her on in January 2020, which is what began the two year journey of interviewing Hicks and his family.
She said it has been one of the most exciting projects she has ever been involved with.
“From the first conversation, the objective of this Jellico Highway-to -success story was two-fold. One, to leave a legacy for his grandchildren, and two, be a guide or template for youths in economically-challenged rural or urban areas who undoubtedly encounter obstacles to their longings, dreams and hopes, just as he did,” Griffo said.
After that first meeting with Hicks, she knew he had a story to tell.
A home grown success story Hicks wears many hats and has certainly followed his dreams over the years. A successful businessman, car enthusiast, minister, father, husband, war veteran, and much more, he’s careful to point out that it’s not money that measures success or makes the man.
“Poverty can do one of two things; poverty can create poverty or poverty can create character,” Hicks said.
To him, success is measured by each person and their life experiences.
“The best you can accomplish at the end of the day is liking what’s under your skin, in other words liking who you are,” Hicks said.
A month away from turning 17, Hicks was whitewashing a wall at the gas station where he was working and came to the crossroads of his life. Feeling as if he “had nothing and looking for a way out,” Hicks decided to join the military.
A paratrooper in the military, Hicks had joined the Army at age 17 after convincing his parents to sign for him. The first time he rode in an airplane was in “jump school” and he had to jump out of it. “I was scared to death. I thought about it though and it was the roughest training I’d ever gone through in my life and I thought I will jump out of this airplane if it’s the last thing I do,” Hicks said. He said the first time he jumped out of an airplane he “was hooked” and couldn’t wait to do it again.
According to Hicks, the book has the “good, the bad and the ugly” about his life.
Hicks said he wanted to write the book for his children and grandchildren and started the process two years ago.
“My kids and grandkids were always asking me questions about my life and my raising and suggested I write a book,” Hicks said. (WLAF NEWS PUBLISHED – 02/24/2022-6AM)