Employees feel the heat when lightning strikes twice
by Chris Collett
February 01, 2013 11:42 PM | 2439 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Collett<br>Columnist
Chris Collett
Someone once said that lightning doesn’t strike twice in the same spot.

I don’t know if that is true or not but I have always heard it.

Lightning did strike twice so to speak as the Woodstock branch of Cherokee Bank was robbed for a second time in a matter of weeks.

Through it all, no one was physically harmed in either incident and for that we should give thanks.

Dennis Burnette is the president and CEO of Cherokee Bank. It is a position he has held for many years.

I have been blessed to have known Dennis and his wife, Mary Beth, for several years. I have had the opportunity to spend time with them socially.

We have shared several meals together as well as spending a few hours on the tennis court.

One of the unique things about this couple is their happiness together and their zest for life. Those that know them are accustomed to their smiles and joy every time you see them.

They are simply a fun couple to be around.

As if being a bank president isn’t enough of a load to carry, Dennis is heavily involved with the Rotary Club of Canton. He recently won an award at Rotary for his civic involvement.

Dennis and Mary Beth give back to the community and do so humbly without expectation of recognition.

Being the president of a bank had no doubt been tough over the last few years due to the economy. I have no doubt that this has been a personal strain on Dennis as I am sure some have chosen to take out their misfortunes on him.

There is no doubt he has endured some fiery darts from unhappy customers.

But in spite of it all, Dennis has maintained that same smile on his face.

And most importantly, I have never heard him utter a single negative word about anyone. That is the man that he is. How many of us can say the same?

Dennis has always shown interest in my success. And for the past few months, I have tried hard to take the lesson he taught me and not utter a negative word about anyone.

The lesson he taught was merely the life he has led in front of me.

But just the other day, shortly after his bank was robbed for the second time, I saw a different look on Dennis’s face. The man who carried a constant smile wasn’t smiling.

The look on his face was one of worry. It was the look one has when they are worried about their children.

I asked Dennis if he was OK. He told me although he was really thankful that no one was hurt, he was really worried about the emotional well-being of his employees.

Most people go through their entire lives without being the victim of a crime, but the employees at his Woodstock office had been victims twice in a matter of weeks.

Knowing most of the employees at that office, I can tell you that they are a wonderful group of people who have a dedication to their profession and our community.

It sickened me to think about what they had been through. But what I felt was only a fraction of what Dennis felt I am sure.

For Dennis is their leader. And if any employee he has doubts that, I only wish they could have seen him on this day.

I told Dennis my thoughts and prayers would be with all of them. We only talked for a few minutes and he told me he needed to get back down there and be with his employees.

That is what true leaders do. And Dennis is a leader; not only at his bank, but in our community as a whole.

I feel sure that through the leadership at his bank, Dennis will watch his employees grow from this experience and continue serving the citizens of our community in the professional manner in which we have become accustomed.

It’s important that we don’t let the people that wish to do us harm win.

Dennis and Mary Beth Burnette are servants to the community and have been blessed because of their service.

The bank employees are blessed to have a leader that cares about their emotional well-being.

Dennis is a mentor inside and outside of the bank. And for that, Mr. Burnette, please accept my heartfelt gratitude.

Thank you.

Chris Collett is a lifelong resident of Cherokee County.

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