Your Neighbor: Meet Thomas Bobbitt

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 1, 2024

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By Mandy Haggerson 

For the Clemmons Courier

When you are lucky enough to grow up in a large family with a supportive friend group, you often feel that you can conquer the world.

Thomas Bobbitt can attest to the confidence and security that experience provides, which is why he is working hard to share the benefits of what it can do for others around him, especially children.

As one would expect, being the second to youngest with five brothers and two sisters, Bobbitt loved the camaraderie and competition that came with a large family.

“Obviously, being one of the youngest in my family, you learn how to run fast,” Bobbitt said. “And then you teach the youngest when he’s old enough to run fast, too.”

Athleticism ran in the Bobbitt family, so if not outside playing a friendly game or two, they often could be found at each other’s sporting events.

“Since I loved competition, my parents had me in organized sports as soon as I could walk,” Bobbitt said. “I was very eager after watching my siblings play in all types of sports.

“I was sidelined for a bit in middle school when I broke my knee. That was tough. Especially when I broke it again when I hadn’t fully recovered.”

Persistence and perseverance got Bobbitt through the painful injury.

“My brace and the seven pins in my knee held up after that incident, and I was able to avoid injury the rest of middle school and high school,” Bobbitt said. “I played quarterback for my football team and loved every minute of it. It was probably my favorite sport to play as a kid.”

Like many kids who are also fast, Bobbitt was on the track team to stay in shape for football and basketball.

With sports showing him the life skills to take on his next chapter in life, attending college, Bobbitt decided to go close to his home in Raleigh but also far enough to spread his wings.

“I went to North Carolina A&T State University because it seemed like a good fit,” Bobbitt said. “I initially thought that I wanted to be a radio personality. I had done that in high school for our radio station as the program manager. However, something inside me, once I got there, made me want to learn more about business. I switched from my communication degree to business.”

Realizing what truly interested him was exciting to Bobbitt.

“From the minute I stepped on campus and started coming into my own identity, it was a learning process even outside the classroom,” Bobbitt said. “I was very homesick at first and missed my family. But I also learned very quickly to budget my money and take initiative in all areas of my life. That gave me a lot of confidence to do things on my own. It also made me appreciate my parents and family so much more.

Another area that gave Bobbitt confidence was his relationship with his future wife, Nynica.

“We had met in high school and dated all through college,” Bobbitt said. “We had so much in common, from sports to the importance of family and friends. She went to Winston-Salem State University.”

When Bobbitt graduated from college, he and Nynica had decided that the friend group that they had made and the professional opportunities they had would make the Winston-Salem area an ideal place to begin their next chapter in life.

“We both made good friends during college, and it was so fun getting to know people from different states and how they lived their culture. In fact, it was one of my really good friends who encouraged me to apply for a job at American Express. He had asked me to do so for quite some time, and I had resisted. One day, we were driving to play basketball together, and he said he wouldn’t leave until I actually applied. I did, and it was such a great opportunity. I have been there now since 2003,” explains Bobbitt.

Bobbitt started out as a call center representative and talked daily to business customers.

“I’m a people person, so it was interesting to talk to different business owners all day,” Bobbitt said.

Because of Bobbitt’s can-do attitude, he continued to be promoted internally throughout the company.

“I’ve loved the various roles in the company that have allowed me to play to my capabilities and interests,” Bobbitt said. “From becoming a coach to new hires and now leadership roles. Currently, I do project work for our project management team. I help bring ideas and different things to life for the company. I have learned in my role, it’s really what you pour into it, you will get out of it.”

Enjoying his professional and personal life allowed Bobbitt to give more to his community, too. One of his good friends, Reginald Fair had asked him to coach football.

“Initially, we started coaching 6-, 7-, and 8-year-olds,” Bobbitt said. “That was a lot of fun. I was excited to teach the kids life skills and how to have a common goal as a team. Then football transitioned me to helping coach with another friend, Herman Randall (Goose) in basketball.”

At that time, his son was in the 4th or 5th grade.

“We’ve coached AAU basketball for (Winston-Salem Hustlers) with kids anywhere from 7th grade to seniors,” Bobbitt said. “This year, we will have a couple of teams with them again. It’s fun to travel around with the players and coach with friends. We try to teach the kids to show respect, humility, and sportsmanship and leave a good mark wherever we go. I want the kids to know that I care about them outside of how well they can dribble a ball or make a shot. I care about them as individuals and people. The basketball is where the memories are made, the work is where we can teach those skills.”

Bobbitt also coaches at Wesleyan Christian Middle School with Goose.

“We coach three different teams together but still have one common goal,” Bobbitt said. “We run into kids that are very gifted. When they get into an environment where they aren’t the only gifted player and have to adjust what position they play or role on the team, it teaches them how to be part of something greater. I’m proud of seeing those kids want to do their best not just for themselves, but also for their teammates. That will serve them well in life,” says Bobbitt.

When not influencing his players, Bobbitt relishes his role as an uncle. With 12 nieces and nephews, any chance he gets to spend time with them is a cherished moment.

“Being an uncle is the best thing ever. I just love kids because they are magical. The world is what they want to create for themselves. The best way to have that creativity is by being that nurturing force. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to discipline at times. It’s more of a redirection. You don’t have to kill their dreams in the process either,” mentions Bobbitt.

Bobbitt makes sure he still walks the walk, too, in his own life, by balancing time with his family and working out with Nynica.

“Nynica has always been such a great athlete,” Bobbitt said. “When she started taking Pure Barre group classes, she finally convinced me to try it. I’ve been doing that with her for several years now and have really enjoyed the camaraderie that’s in there. The teachers are so positive and uplifting, and the friends you make in the classes are so much fun. It’s a nice way to stay fit and enjoy it too.”

Bobbitt knows how important it is to spend time doing what you enjoy and love. When his mom passed away, it affirmed how fleeting life and its moments can be.

“I loved my mom so much,” Bobbitt said. “I mean, she was my mom. She was everything. I hope to be remembered one day like she has been remembered — hardworking, kind, always doing something for someone else. Not necessarily about the monetary things that you give but of yourself and your time. That’s the greatest gift you can give someone.”