by Karlyn Hunt, staff writer
Terry Payne works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. As Director of Public Safety at Warren Wilson, he serves the school both on campus and off, taking on long shifts and staying on call constantly to give advice or assist with difficult situations. But you might be surprised to know that, despite his hectic work schedule, Payne still has time for recreation and family.
Payne has long held a passion for collecting antiques, particularly antique bottles and tea room depression glass. When he was growing up, his mother bought and sold antiques. She once purchased an old apothecary in Memphis, Tennessee, which was lined with 17-foot tall shelves, all full of antique bottles.
“My mother told me I could have 50 percent of the bottles, if I got them down,” said Payne. “So I scaled the shelves and did it. Ever since then, I’ve been really interested in the history and the intricacy of old bottles.”
Over the years, he has amassed so many bottles that he has had to reduce his collection to about 250 of his oldest pieces.
But Payne doesn’t just collect old things, he also rears new ones. Along with his twelve year-old son, he breeds and shows Holland Lop rabbits. Rabbits were an unforeseen addition to his life. For years he had enjoyed showing Newfoundland dogs but had to get creative when he moved to a home lacking space for such large animals.
“I wanted to show something again, so I took my son to a website that listed hundreds of breeds of bunnies. He looked at Holland Loops and said, ‘That’s the one.’”
They currently have two female rabbits, Piper and Gwen, and are welcoming a male, Taj, into their family this week.
Payne spends most of his free time with his family. He says that even though he works “crazy hours,” they maintain a very close relationship. It helps that his son not only understands the demands of his job but also appreciates it.
“I come home and I tell him about Triad Day, about how students go out and plant trees and help build houses and touch peoples’ lives. He loves that.”
Payne feels a very personal connection with the triad program; in fact, the triad is what attracted him to the school and has kept him here for 17 years. As a college student he worked two part-time jobs and played on the basketball team. Remembering his experience of learning how to balance a schedule of academics, work and extra-curricular activities while he was in school helps him appreciate students’ experiences at Warren Wilson. He feels that he gets to help students develop a strong work ethic by working here.
The service portion of the Triad is also appealing to Payne, as his passion for public service motivated him to pursue a career in law enforcement.
“I feel that we need to serve the public in any way we can, and I admire that Warren Wilson students love to go out and serve their community. That’s what we all need to be doing—serving our community.”
Payne says he truly loves working with the school because he gets to be around young adults who share their stories and experiences with him. He feels rejuvenated by the student body.
“I’m around young people all the time, and hopefully they keep me young. I’m 64, but working here I feel like I’m 45.”