Jackie Locklear, the honorary chair of the Triangle Wine & Food Experience, shares how she got involved with the organization, and what drives her to keep supporting Frankie Lemmon.
As told to Ayn-Monique Klahre
Each year, the Triangle Wine & Food Experience chooses an honorary chair to helm the event. It’s meant as a recognition of the contributions that person has made to help The Frankie Lemmon School & Developmental Center. This year, the honorary chair is Jackie Locklear, the owner of Locklear Roofing. While the admittedly “shy” Locklear seemed to prefer to downplay her contributions in our interview, she was happy to share her enthusiasm for the TWFE and Frankie Lemmon. Here’s what she told us.
How did you first hear about the Triangle Wine & Food Experience?
The first time I was involved, it was probably 20 years ago. I saw an ad for a wine tasting and experience with Ashley Christensen in the newspaper. I wasn’t much into wine back then—I only had a couple bottles, and they were all definitely under $20!—but I had a friend who was, and it was her birthday, so I bought two tickets to the Saturday night gala. We got tickets to stand at the auction, and we were there in the back of the tents on the fairgrounds. It was beautiful, even though it was nothing quite like it is now!
So what got you hooked?
Well, I’d never been to an auction like this before. So I started raising my little paddle for a couple of items. I kept getting into a bidding war with this lady next to me! And I won a few things, it was very exciting. After the auction, two ladies came over, Miss Eliza [Kraft Olander] and Lenora Evans. I had never met them, didn’t know anything about them, but then I started to do some research on the Foundation, and I visited the school, and I realized: This is where I need to be.
What draws you to the Frankie Lemmon School?
I have met so many amazing people through this organization! It’s not just about the wine and food; I have met wonderful parents and watched kids go from entering the school to graduating from high school. You really see what we’re raising money for, the end effect. From the beginning you see how it all comes together. With the parents, we see how Frankie Lemmon takes so much of the burden off of them… it’s really a miracle.
What’s your day-to-day involvement with the organization?
I’m on the board, and on the construction committee. I work in roofing, so my company donated the roof and labor/materials for the new roof on the new school building. I’ve helped find other companies to donate their services, too. My main goal is to pull people into the organization and get to understand what Frankie Lemmon does and what Triangle Wine supports. For example, I’ve been trying to get one of my builders to choose Frankie Lemmon as their charity for their annual golf tournament—and this past year, they finally did, and ended up donating about $50,000. It’s stuff like that, bringing more people in to help with sponsorship and events.
What do you love about the Triangle Wine & Food Experience in particular?
I think that in the past 20 years, I’ve only missed one, and that was because I had to go to a wedding! I love the Gala because it brings everyone together as a whole, all the sponsors and the restaurants, all these people who have poured their heart and souls into the Foundation. They’re doing it for free, from the kindness of their hearts—that’s hard to find!—all these people who are doing it for the kids and nothing else. When I think about how many people come together for this event, who are willing to donate their wine and their services… it just warms my heart.
Plus, I don’t think I owned five bottles of wine the first time I went—now I have a cellar in my house! That’s the other thing, you meet all the wine makers and become friends with them. And they can choose from so many charities, but they keep us on our books. They choose our little school in North Carolina!