Southmountain honors Bill Brinkley for 50 years of outstanding service

Posted by: swright 5 years, 8 months ago

Southmountain Children and Family Services honored William “Bill” Brinkley during a recent special celebration for 50 years of outstanding service on the Southmountain Board of Trustees. In recognition of his many years of service, Southmountain’s Administration Building on the campus of their Foster Care Community in Nebo was dedicated in his name.

For over half of his tenure, Mr. Brinkley has served on the Executive Committee as Board Chairman, serving longer on Southmountain’s Board than any other board member in the 111 year history of the program. In addition to his service on the Southmountain Board of Trustees, Mr. Brinkley serves on the Board of the Community Foundation of Burke and has served on the Boards of Wells Fargo and Mimosa Hills. According to Mr. Brinkley, “Of all the boards I have served on, Southmountain has been the most rewarding, because of the good work that Southmountain does”.

Mr. Brinkley has co-managed his families’ business, the Brinkley Lumber Company – a building supply company in Valdese and Rutherford College for the past 51 years. Mr. Brinkley has been married to his wife Linda for 29 years, and has 3 children and 4 grandchildren. He is a member of the Valdese Presbyterian Church where he served as a Deacon and Elder.
Since 1964 when Mr. Brinkley first joined Southmountain’s Board of Trustees, the Board has been instrumental in the evolution of Southmountain Children and Family Services (SMCFS) as it adapted to meet the needs of the children of Burke and the surrounding counties.

During the 1990’s under Mr. Brinkley’s leadership the Board oversaw two capital campaigns that resulted in the construction of eight new group homes on the campus near Lake James. The homes were built to resemble typical family residences, situated in a beautiful neighborhood setting. Construction also included a an activities center that houses a gymnasium; ceramics and woodworking shops; an indoor swimming pool; and a 99-seat theater, as well as outdoor recreation facilities; and picnic areas.
In 1998, SMCFS established its first Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) in Morganton, better known as the Gingerbread House. CACs provide a child-friendly atmosphere and highly trained interview and medical personnel to assist in the investigation of child abuse. After overwhelming response and utilization of the CAC in Morganton, SMCFS expanded this service to neighboring communities. Between 2009 and 2013, Mr. Brinkley and the Board oversaw the expansion of three additional Children’s Advocacy Centers serving McDowell, Avery, Watauga, Yancey, and Mitchell Counties.

Under Mr. Brinkley’s Board leadership SMCFS once again expanded services in 2012 with the creation of a specialized evidence-based treatment program – the Southmountain Center of Excellence which provides specialized trauma treatment to child abuse victims in Burke, McDowell, Watauga, Avery, Yancey, Mitchell, and Buncombe counties.
Arguably, the most unique creation under Mr. Brinkley’s chairmanship came about in 2005 when the Board and Executive Director Chris Jernigan created a new way of providing care for foster children that would combine the best aspects of group care with the stability and intimacy of family foster care. Instead of continuing to provide care for large numbers of children in each of the homes on campus with houseparents working days on/off shifts, they reduced the number of children and hired one set of parents to live full-time in each home. The result is similar to having eight foster families living in a closed neighborhood with the addition of on-site recreation opportunities, therapists, social workers, and support personnel. The program called “Southmountain Estates” is the first and only foster community in North Carolina and similar to only a few such programs Nationwide.

“Mr. Brinkley has been a true friend to children and families of Western NC over the past 50 years. His leadership and inspiration have helped keep Southmountain solvent and growing throughout a time when many agencies faded away,” said Executive Director Chris Jernigan. “Under his guidance and support we have created some of the most unique and beneficial programs for children in NC. He has been a great inspiration to all of the directors of Southmountain and I, for one, could not have asked for a better Board Chair.”  According to Mr. Brinkley “I have worked with four Executive Directors and many dedicated Trustees during my time on the Board, and together we have tried to keep the growth of Southmountain strong. I’m honored to be a part of such a wonderful organization and very humbled to have been recognized in this way.”

If you would like to honor Mr. Brinkley by making a tax-deductible gift to SMCFS, donations can be mailed to: Southmountain Children and Family Services, 115 N. Sterling Street, Morganton, North Carolina, 28655 or visit their website

Bill Brinkley & wife Linda