The Kentucky Baptist Foundation was priveledged to work with Barbara and Donnie Jett of Paducah, Kentucky in putting into place a plan that would perpetuate their legacy of love through their church and Sunrise Children’s Services until Jesus comes again. Barbara is now deceased, but that plan will forever remind others of all the ways across the years she and Donnie have demonstrated their love for Christ, their children and grandchildren, their church, the children in the care of Sunrise Children’s Services, and their community.
Barbara and Donnie met through the youth and choir ministries of their McCracken County, Kentucky church. They were married July 6, 1951. The ceremony took place at her house so her father could be present; he was incapacitated by a stroke. Donnie retired from TVA after 28 years, but he also has been a farmer for most of his adult life. They have two married sons: Ronnie and wife, Pam, Larry and wife, Connie, and three grandchildren.
The Jetts are renowned in their community, church and the Kentucky Baptist Convention. Barbara was a leader in Paducah’s Red Cross and the Western Baptist Hospital Auxiliary. Donnie has provided leadership through the PTA and the volunteer fire department. They both taught a Sunday School class at Lone Oak FBC for more than 30 years. Barbara was a leader in the Woman’s Missionary Union and the prayer ministry; Donnie has served through the choir, Royal Ambassador leader, deacon, moderator, treasurer, and made numerous international mission trips.
Their deep love for children manifested itself in a life-long involvement with Sunrise Children’s Services, formerly Kentucky Baptist Homes for Children. Sunrise President Bill Smithwick stated, “Barbara and Donnie have not only supported this ministry to at-risk children with their financial resources, they have invested their lives in children.”
They accomplished their giving objectives by donating two separate parcels of appreciated real estate into two charitable trusts for which the Foundation is the trustee. One trust is a charitable remainder unitrust (CRUT) from which they received an income stream jointly while both were living, and from which Donnie will receive an income stream for the rest of his life. At Donnie’s death, the remainder of the CRUT will be used to establish an endowment that will provide a perpetual stream of income to their church for missions, facilities and children’s ministry. The other trust is a term of years charitable remainder annuity trust (CRAT), that is provideing financial assistance for their grandchildren’s education. At the end of the CRAT term, a portion of the remainder will be added to an existing scholarship fund at their church, and a portion will be used to establish an endowment for the perpetual benefit of the mission of Sunrise Children’s Services.
In addition to experiencing the joy of knowing they will be making a lasting difference in this world through these ministries, the Jetts also received the following current benefits : a charitable income tax deduction , no capital gains tax liability when the trusts sold the real estate and their real estate was converted into income producing streams for themselves and their grandchildren.
Donnie stated, “we realized we were only stewards of what God had blessed us with, and we wanted to share it with our family, church and Sunrise Children’s Services. The Foundation was very thorough in assisting us in accomplishing our wishes.”
Thank God for the life of Barbara and may the Lord continue to bless Donnie as he continues to show the rest of us that “love is something you do.” And, may we emulate their example.