Tag: Wilson County

Wilson County includes First Freedom Bank’s Lebanon Office.

First Freedom Staff Volunteer with Prospect, Inc

Several First Freedom staff volunteered to assist Prospect, Inc with their annual holiday party. In addition to helping during the party, staff also helped with the set-up and the clean-up. 

Prospect, Inc is a local non-profit organization whose mission is to provide support services and employment to people with disabilities or other barriers to personal independence.

Pictured, top, from left to right, is Courtney Keller, Relationship Specialist, and Blake Smith, Lebanon FSR Manager.

Pictured bottom left, from left to right, is Sarah Poss, Assistant Vice President / Marketing and BSA Analyst, Natalie Stark, Assistant Vice President and Mt. Juliet Office Manager, Tatum Ortlepp, Lebanon Senior Personal Banker, and Kasey Johnston, Lebanon FSR.

Pictured bottom right, left to right, is Brooke Weldy, Lebanon FSR, Kaitlin Wattenbarger, Providence Personal Banker, and Holly Wolfe, Lebanon Personal Banker.

Bank staff pose with Rehab23 volunteers and keynote speaker in front of Rehab23 logo.

First Freedom Sponsors Rehab23 Breakfast

First Freedom Bank was a sponsor of Rehab23’s Christmas Breakfast. Each year Rehab23 hosts this breakfast for Wilson County First Responders. A raffle was included, and two baskets were given away.

This year’s keynote speaker was Jason Lawson, District Attorney General. 

Pictured from left to right is Bob Pergler, Rehab23 Vice President, Jason Lawson, Meagan Roberts, Providence Personal Banker, Ashley Montgomery, Providence Office Manager, Sarah Poss, AVP – Marketing and BSA Analyst, and Linn Yeager, Rehab23 President / Director.

First Freedom Announces 2022 Employee Awards

First Freedom Bank presented employee awards for excellent service at its annual Christmas party. These employees exemplify qualities of service to their customers, their co-workers, and their community.

Teola Ragland

Teola Ragland was presented with the Red Carpet Service Award. Teola joined First Freedom with the acquisition of the Upper Cumberland offices in 2016 and currently serves as the Financial Services Manager at the Algood Office. Teola provides excellent customer services and prioritizes building a relationship with her customers. She excels at going the extra mile and ensuring her customers are aware of any new product or service that can enhance their banking experience.

Headshot of Rebecca Jennings
Rebecca Jennings, CPA

Rebecca Jennings, CPA, was presented with the Internal Service Award. Rebecca has been with First Freedom since 2017 and is currently Vice President and Controller. She has extensive experience in the bank, having spent time in both the retail and commercial divisions in her previous roles. Rebecca epitomizes the ideal teammate; she is patient, kind, and knowledgeable. She does not hesitate to answer questions or help puzzle out a solution to a problem.

Phillip Vance

Phillip Vance was presented with the Community Champion award. Phillip joined the bank in 2014 and is currently Vice President and Relationship Manager. Being a community banker means being a community participant and Phillip fulfills that role without reluctance. He is a Lebanon Wilson County Chamber Board Member and Sports Council Division Vice Chairperson and serves as Chair of the Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce Annual Golf Tournament. He is member of the Lebanon Breakfast Rotary and previously served as a board member. Phillip is also a 2022 graduate of Leadership Wilson.


First Freedom also recognized employees that have been with the bank for five years.

Rebecca Jennings (pictured above), Denise Bingham, and Tori Oakley (both pictured below) were presented with a First Freedom Jacket in appreciation of their service and commitment to their work.  

Denise Bingham
Tori Oakley
Group shot of chairman's cup members, senior vice president, and CEO in front of a Christmas tree.

Special Recognition for Members of Chairman’s Cup

First Freedom Bank recognized several Financial Services Representatives (FSR) this past quarter for exceptional job performance: Blake Smith, Brooke Weldy, Jordan Kilgore, Devin Sabaski, Ally Miller, Meagan Roberts, Mary Cate Hedge, Abby McCann, Bryan Sweet, Kaitlyn Coe, and Sara Beth Kinnaird. These employees have exceeded their individual goals for enhancing and broadening customer relationships while maintaining accuracy and exceeding audit standards. Their outstanding performance earned them the prestigious honor of Chairman’s Cup Member.

Sara Beth Kinnaird was awarded the title of Top Producer for achieving the highest overall performance score among all eligible members.

Pictured from left to right is Kenny Beavers, Senior Vice President and Director of Retail Banking, Mary Cate Hedge, Meagan Roberts, Ally Miller, Devin Sabaski, and John Lancaster, Chairman and CEO.

Headshot of Rebecca Jennings

First Freedom’s Jennings Recognized as CPA

First Freedom Bank’s Rebecca Jennings, Vice President and Controller, has been recognized as a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA) by the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.  In order to become a CPA in the state of Tennessee, an applicant must have completed a Baccalaureate or higher degree with at least 150 semester hours from a regionally accredited college or university. Candidates must also pass all four sections of the extensive Uniform CPA Examination within 18 months, pass a separate ethics examination given by the AICPA, and complete at least one year of relevant work experience.

“Rebecca Jennings is one of the brightest individuals I’ve ever worked with,” stated John Lancaster, CEO of First Freedom. “She is a key member of our Finance team and is a significant contributor to the success of our company.  We celebrate this notable accomplishment with her.”

Jennings has spent a significant amount of time in the finance, retail, and commercial divisions of the bank. She began her career with First Freedom in 2017 as a part-time FSR while still in college. She moved to full-time status in 2018 upon her graduation. In 2021, she was promoted to Assistant Vice President in the Accounting division. Jennings excelled in her role and was again promoted in 2022 to Vice President and Controller.

A graduate of Wilson Central High School, Jennings earned Summa Cum Laude honors with her B.B.A in Accounting from Cumberland University with a perfect 4.0 GPA. While at Cumberland, she received the Most Outstanding Performance Award in Accounting and was a member of several prestigious academic honor societies such as Alpha Lambda Delta, Delta Mu Delta, and Alpha Chi. She and her husband Christian live in Lebanon.

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