KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Weekday evenings from 2:00 to 6:00 sound a lot different in East Tennessee, after the death of Billy Kidd. The longtime radio personality leaves behind countless friends and fans. He also leaves a legacy of putting others ahead of himself.

Among his many passions, Kidd was an avid supporter of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee‘s mission of feeding the hungry, especially children. For 26 years, he set up a camper in a the parking lot of a shopping center and encouraged listeners to bring monetary and food donations for the nonprofit.

Elaine Streno, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank of East Tennessee, estimates Kidd helped raise $500,000 in donations and more than 30 tons of food.

“Billy’s commitment to this community was extraordinary…especially our food for kids program. We have eight different feeding programs in 18 counties. But, his passion was our food for kids weekend feeding program,” she said. The annual event started Black Friday. But, Streno noted he promoted the cause year round on the radio.

Due to what she called an “amazing devotion” to his community, and the causes of supporting veterans and hungry children, the nonprofit even named a loading dock after Kidd.

“He was very humble. Naming the loading dock after him moved him to tears because he didn’t do it for any highlight. He didn’t do it for any recognition. He did it because he wanted to help us feed the hungry children of East Tennessee. That was his commitment. He did it beautifully and wonderfully and we’re just going to miss him,” Streno said.

Streno said they’re considering an event that would both honor his memory and his commitment to feed hungry children in East Tennessee.

Jim Pemberton moved to East Tennessee in 1993 to take on the job of operations manager at WIMZ. He remembers Billy making him feel at home in East Tennessee.

“He helped teach me the East Tennessee way…Billy embraced me and help educate me, so to speak,” he said. He also remembers noticing Kidd’s ability to relate to an audience, his on-air consistency, talent, and a willingness to take on any project and “devote his entire being to it.”

The two became good friends and kept in touch after Pemberton left the station.

“It’s been a hard day. It will continue to be. I appreciate his friendship. I’ll miss him,” Pemberton added.

Amanda Hamilton Moore, a retired broadcaster, worked with Billy years ago. Although the two worked at different stations, she called Wednesday to share fond memories of him.

“Billy, himself, never had a disparaging word for me or anyone in the building. He was always thoughtful. He was also attuned to people working in the radio environment. He was always very helpful, even though we were not at the station. He was always there as a contributor to make sure we had what we needed. He was an overall fine broadcaster and human being, a contributor to the Knoxville community, through charity. I’m just really so very sad to learn of his untimely passing. He was so very young and I’m sure the community has a broken heart along with mine.”

His real name is actually William Winningham. However you know him, know he helped a lot of people and reminded us all to give more often than we take.

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