Alfa Insurance agent is Baptist preacher
by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star
Nov 11, 2013 | 873 views |  0 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Ashley Penton, a Jacksonville native who now lives in Piedmont, always admired his father, Wayne, who sold insurance most of his life. Ashley worked at a number of jobs before he finally found his niche - selling insurance, like his father.

Penton, 43, was born and reared in the Roy Webb and Pleasant Valley communities.. During the summers, while he was attending Pleasant Valley School, he helped build houses. When he graduated from Pleasant Valley, he went to work in the spinning department at Standard-Coosa-Thatcher Mill in Piedmont. He worked there from 1989-92.

He left SCT to work with his father in the insurance business for the next two years. He thought he’d like to go back to building houses, so for the next three years, that’s what he did.

He wasn’t satisfied though. He felt he wasn’t where he needed or wanted to be.

“I was looking for a career change,” he said. “My sister-in-law, Sandy Parker, gave me a name to call about selling insurance. It was J. C. Ralph, area manager of Alfa. It just took off from there.”

Ralph interviewed Penton, had him take a test and hired him.

That was in August 1997. Penton said it seems to be the perfect fit. He sells a multi-line of insurance, including auto, home and life.

“The Lord really blessed me when He put me in this position with Alfa,” he said. “They’ve really taken good care of me and my family.”

Penton has been a member of Liberty Baptist Church for the past 15 years.

As a Sunday school teacher at Liberty, he did a lot of deep thinking and felt as if something was pulling him to go in a certain direction. He just didn’t know what direction that was.

“I asked the Lord if there was something else He wanted me to do, to please let me know,” said Penton. “I had it on my heart that He wanted me to preach. I asked my pastor about it and he said he was just waiting for me to announce it.”

Penton’s first sermon was at Liberty’s homecoming August 2012.

Since January, he’s pastored Goshen Valley Baptist Church.

“We have a great congregation,” Penton said. “We’re a small country church in a country setting. My church and Alfa have made my life and my job so easy.”

Penton and the former Tammi Holland will be married 24 years in December. They have two sons.

Will, 18, is a graduate of Spring Garden and is a freshman at Gadsden State. He assists with football coaching at Spring Garden. Hayden, 15, is in ninth grade at Spring Garden.

Penton likes to hunt and fish, but he said whatever he does, most of the time it’s with his family.

“Ever since we’ve been married, our lives have revolved around our children and church,” he said. “We vacation together and do just about everything together.”

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Alfa Insurance agent is Baptist preacher by Margaret Anderson
Special to The Star

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