FERRIER FILES: Tennessee's oldest YMCA trainer finds his joy late in life


He is the oldest YMCA personal trainer in the state, but there is so much more to the remarkable Jim Butler.

“I call him the mayor because he knows everyone, and everyone loves him," said Chuck Frazier, YMCA Pastor. "He is an encouragement to everyone who works out. He is just a good guy."

To understand Jim Butler, you must first understand his greatest disappointment.

Butler was a standout football player at Vanderbilt University. He was the 39th player taken in the 1959 draft, but his NFL career ended with injury.

“It was tough," Butler said. "I didn’t know what to do with myself. I really struggled to find myself."

After 40 years as a leather salesman, Butler started working at the Bellevue YMCA.

He decided to become a personal trainer. After he finally passed the test, he found his joy.

“Helping people; it really makes a difference," Butler said. "I feel like I accomplish something every day. I believe God saves his best for last."

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