Aaron Morgan ~ Senior Program Director, Lindsay Young downtown YMCA

Eleven years ago, Aaron Morgan was a college student in need of a job. He started out as a member of the YMCA. He loved the atmosphere, and decided it would be a great place to get involved with. Being a very personable guy, he got to know the staff, what the Y was all about, and realized it was more than a gym. He recognized the Y is an outreach for the community with a fun staff. He knew he wanted to be part of this movement in the Knoxville area. For Aaron, it’s more like family here. He worked his way up to Senior Program Director/Corporate Membership Director.

"Remain humble and always be yourself. Never change for anyone."

How long have you lived or worked in Knoxville?

My entire life, born and raised here. I’ve never branched out, so my whole life.

What is your favorite restaurant in Knoxville and what do you love there?

I’m going to have to go with the Soccer Taco on north shore. I’m pretty much friends with all of the staff there now. It’s got a really fun atmosphere. The food is amazing. Tonight my cousins are actually playing out on the lawn there so they have live music a few times a month. It’s just a lot of fun. You walk in and everybody walks up, shakes your hand, give you a hug and all that. It’s just a lot of fun. But the food is always ten out of ten.

Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met here in Knoxville?

I would definitely say my grandfather. He is the wisest person I know. He is also my best friend. I would say him. His name is Gordon.

If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?

Hawaii, I’ve always wanted to go to Hawaii. It’s absolutely beautiful! I love the beach. I would love to go see the volcanos and all that stuff so, Hawaii, any island!

What is your favorite movie OR what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theatre?

My favorite movie of all time is The Dark Knight. I think it was the best put-together movie ever. I love the joker in the movie. I’m usually not a fan of the villain but he did such a great job in that movie. Honestly, the first movie I remember seeing in the theatre was a cartoon Batman movie my mom took me to see. As you can tell I’ve been a fan of Batman for a long time.-

What advice would you give a crowd of people?

Remain humble and always be yourself. Never change for anyone.

What is something on your bucket list?

Pause…..you can see I have a running bucket list……hm…..I think it might be skydiving. I do have a fear of heights. I feel like with the right place at the right time of day, that would be something you would never forget. So sure, we’ll say skydiving, why not?

What is your favorite music/ 3 bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?

I’m a guy that loves any type of music. I love it all. We listened to country on the golf course yesterday. They had Frank Sinatra, haha! So I like a little bit of everything. Three bands I would like to see….. a group called Outkast, and Kendrick Lamar. Also, I’d like to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

What current / former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Knoxville?

‘Nothing Too Fancy,’ because they’ve got shirts and socks and stuff from old pools that we used to go swim at, a shirt that reads Dollywood or something on it. I mean you walk in there, it’s like you almost like you kind of walk into a time machinate to an extent. You see stuff in there that you completely forgot about. And it’s got a lot of old school stuff in there as well too.

Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch?  Why?  Where in Knoxville would you have lunch?

I recently started listening to podcasts. I feel Joe Rogan would be a fun guy to go get lunch with. He is an interesting fella. Where would we go for lunch? I feel like he would like some quirky type of place not some chain restaurant.

What is your favorite thing or something unique about Knoxville?

I think that the most unique thing about here is we’re a college football town. We’re not very good right now. But just having that in your backyard makes this place truly something special. It really gives you something to love and to enjoy and to really look forward to. I would probably say the University of Tennessee, more to that, Football. Or just sports, football and basketball.

Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?

Probably still here. I’ve already been here for a while.  And potentially still doing what I’m doing now, still working for the Y. I hope, married and probably starting a family at some point.

(Even for friends or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?

That I can be shy. I’m a very outgoing person but if I’m kind of out of my element, a lot of people I can guarantee would never suspect I can be a fairly shy person.

If you were cast into a major motion picture and had your choice of anyone to be your co-star, who would you choose?

Matthew McConaughey. I feel like he would be fun to be on the set with.

If you had a fulltime staff member that was fully paid for, who would you choose?

Chef, Housekeeper, Driver, Coach, Physical Fitness Trainer, or Nanny? 

Chef, who wouldn’t want a chef? If I ever make it big, that would be the first thing I would want, somebody that can make something outside of chicken, rice, and broccoli that I eat way too often.

What 3 words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word HOME?

I could give the news quote, “home is where the heart is.” Comfort, I think of my dogs. The comfort of my home and memories. I think I create a lot of..I have been fortunate to create a lot of memories in my first home.

Who would you like to see nominated for this project, The Faces of Knoxville?

I think my boss would be a really good nominee for this. Her name is Kim Ballard. She’s originally from Memphis. She’s been working for the Y for thirty years. She’s been in Knoxville for twenty years I think? She’s got a really neat story. I think that she’s made an incredible impact in the Knoxville area though the YMCA. I know she has touched a lot of lives.

Thank you so much for sitting down with me again Aaron! Blessings ~ Bridget

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