BY RICK WRIGHT –
Kyle Cannon works for the Union Bank of Mena, he’s the A Loan Officer and the Branch Manager at the Wickes Branch. Kyle has been with the bank a little over four years and has been at Wickes right at three years.
Kyle was born in Arkadelphia and his family moved to Mena when he was five years old. “So, yes I’m from Mena,” said Cannon. “I’m a Bearcat!”
Cannon came up through the Mena School system and played defensive tackle and offensive tackle for the Bearcats, graduating from Mena High School in 1991 before attending the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. “I majored in Ag Ed,” said Cannon.
Kyle’s family owned and operated the landmark restaurant on the hill in Potter, The Fish Net. The Cannon’s built the Fish Net in 1978. “I grew up there, I was there all the time,” said Cannon. “I started washing dishes, then bussing tables when I was 11 or 12 years old. Then at 16 or 17 years old started cooking. Even during college I’d come home on the weekends and work a lot of the time. After coming back from the University of Arkansas, my dad was down for a while and I kind of started managing the restaurant. That led to me being the full time manager for probably eight years.”
Kyle is married to Gretchen. They just celebrated their 20th anniversary this year. “While we were still at the restaurant we had Carson. Then we had Cason. I kind of realized I wanted to get out of the restaurant industry, just because of the weekends and nights. I wanted to be involved with the kids, with their sports and everything that they had going on.”
Cannon discussed the long hours involved with owning or managing a successful restaurant. “People think you open at 4 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. and just go in and open the door. Well, I was there at 8:00 or 8:30 every morning, leave for a couple of hours in the afternoon and go back. Being tied to the restaurant every weekend didn’t give you much of a life outside the restaurant,” said Cannon. “I left The Fish Net and went to work at Smith Pallet in sales for eight years. After that, I came to work for Union Bank.”
“My son Carson is a 16 year old junior, Cason is 15 year old freshman, and then Caroline is 10 years old,” said Cannon.
Next month Kyle will have served on the Mena School Board for 10 years. “It’s the most thankless job I’ve ever done, but I enjoy it and I serve on the Board to see that all kids get the opportunities they would have in bigger schools that we compete with,” said Cannon. “I think we have a great administration and staff at our school. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t want to do it. Superintendent Benny Weston is great. He works with the Board great. I think highly of Mr. Weston and our faculty and staff. Mr. Weston has done great thing for us. I hope he’ll stay around for a while.”
Kyle plans to stay with Union Bank forever. “I love it,” said Cannon. “And I expect to continue to serve on the Mena School Board till at least my children are out of school, then I might hand it off to someone else. But I enjoy the school, I’m a very big supporter of the Bearcat Foundation. They do a lot to benefit all students, all activities. It’s not just football, in fact they spend more on the girls activities than they do the boys. We need the Bearcat Foundation to grow. We need more members, more dollars because every dollar goes back to the school.”
Kyle’s son Cason likes to go fishing. As busy as Kyle is, he takes time to go with him when he can. “We’re so busy with football, basketball, Caroline is doing some volleyball, practicing a couple days a week,” said Cannon. “Carson plays soccer in the spring, so we stay busy.”
“Through the summer our hobby is going to Lake Ouachita,” said Cannon. “We go every chance we get, just about every weekend. It’s the one thing that we can all do at all ages and everybody enjoys it. We’ve got a boat over there, some ride the tube, some use the wake board, or knee board. There is plenty to do for everybody. Everybody wants to take a friend along. It’s just a good family outing.”