KNOXVILLE (WATE) – Valentino Jefferson of Knoxville has a successful career as a quality assurance engineering manager at Y-12, but he’s also a big believer in quality when it comes to his family.
The Jeffersons’ dinner time, begins with Valentino Jefferson leading this prayer: “Thank you for fellowship we have with family and fun and food, in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.”
Sitting down together as a family for good food and conversation is an essential part of the day for Valentino Jefferson, his wife Nickola, and their four children.
Their son Joshua, a graduate of Tennessee Wesleyan, works as a computer technician at Austin East High School. He and his mom met Valentino Jefferson when Joshua was 8 years old. Valentino Jefferson has raised him as his adopted son.
The couple also has three other children: Juwaan, 17, soon to be a senior at The Webb School, busy with football and track; Jahlil, 15, also a championship athlete; and the couple’s only daughter, Jasmine, 13, who runs track and plays basketball.
More online: Tribute to Fathers
“Dinner time is the time we can all come together, relax. This is our kingdom here. This is where we should have peace and harmony,” said Valentino Jefferson.
The family is blessed to have their matriarch, Valentino’s mother, Frances Jefferson, visiting from her home in Colorado. He credits her hard work as a single mom for who he is today.
“My mom worked two and three jobs to provide for my brother and I. Two knuckleheads, and I just remember the primary thing I wanted was to make my mom proud,” he said.
“I used to always tell him, if you have a family, make sure that’s where you want to be so that you can be there for your children,” said Frances Jefferson.
Wife Nickola explained what makes Valentino a good dad. “First, he’s God-fearing. And I would have to say his most incredible character is that he’s patient,” she said.
In addition to being all about his family, Valentino Jefferson is a great role model as a deacon and missionary through his church, and leader of the Boys to Men group. They just returned from a mission trip to Jamaica. Two of his sons went along.
“It was a blessed experience, rewarding experience and eye opener for the youth that came along,” he said.
The children each shared a message to their dad:
“Happy Father’s Day. I love you and you’re the best dad I could wish for, ” said Jasmine.
“I hope we can make a whole lot of memories within the year so we can sit at this table again next year. It’s all laughs like it always is,” added Joshua.
“Thanks for everything you’ve given me. I love you, and keep up the good work,” said Juaaan.
Valentino Jefferson is one of eight community leaders being honored at the inaugural scholarship luncheon and community celebration called “A Tribute to Fatherhood.” It’s on Father’s Day at The Foundry. Registration is now closed.
A scholarship in the memory of Zaevion Dobson, who died in December shielding friends from gunfire, will be presented to a deserving student. The event is hosted by Beta Theta Boule’ Foundation, an affiliate of Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity of Knoxville.