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Reelfoot Forward

Author: Reelfoot Forward

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Podcast by Reelfoot Forward
50 Episodes
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Growing up on a century farm in Rutherford, Tenn., Curt McDaniel knows well the responsibilities that come when working on a family farm. Today, as a conservationist for the USDA and the Natural Resources Conservationist Services, he provides farmers and ranchers with assistance to voluntarily incorporate conservation practices on their land. He explains his job as “saving the earth one dirt clod at a time” while providing free assistance to those who want to be better stewards while increasing profits and production. In this episode, he also provides a behind-the-scenes look at conservation practices that address today’s needs for habitat to sustain Monarch butterflies and other pollinators whose populations are declining.
According to Micah Seavers, owner and operator of Southern Reds BBQ in Water Valley, Ky., the secret ingredient to a great successful restaurant business is family. At 12 years old, Micah started working in his family-run restaurant and hasn’t looked back in over 20 years. In this episode, you will learn that when it comes to BBQ, simple is better, and giving back to the supportive community is something Seavers holds close to his heart. He also discusses how he turned his hobby of wildlife management into Seavers Beavers, a company that helps businesses and individuals safely deal with unwanted creatures.
At Core10, a world-class technology company with offices in West Tennessee, Lee Farabaugh has figured out how to engage talented workers living in rural communities while creating the financial technology of the future. In this episode, Farabaugh shares how her passion as a graphic designer and interest in computers led to success at the intersection of creativity and technology. A longtime advocate for talented, smart and capable people taking advantage of the benefits of residing in small towns—including a low cost of living, she explains how it’s possible to enjoy a fulfilling career in tech in places other than large cities.
Dr. Keith Carver’s path took him from his childhood living with his single mother in the back of the family’s small Crockett County country store to his position as the 11th chancellor of the University of Tennessee at Martin. In this episode, Dr. Carver shares how one person made a big impact on his relationship with education and how that inspired his desire to do the same for the many students who cross his path. As one of the most respected leaders in higher education in the country today, it’s a rare opportunity to hear his take on digital classes, education in rural communities, the role of social media for leaders today and what parents should be doing with their young children to help them find their own passion.
Introducing kids and adults to the wild outdoors is exhilarating for Tara Dowdy, who is a Refuge Ranger for the National Wildlife Refuge on Reelfoot Lake. As you listen to this episode, you will hear the passion in her voice and she describes the amazing migratory waterfowl that come through on the Mississippi Flyway, as well as the stories she shares about taking visitors on a Bald eagle tour and a third grader who had never played in the mud. Dowdy's love for the outdoors is evident as she talks with Scott about her dream job as a refuge ranger, where she is able to work towards the purpose of the National Wildlife Refuge, which is to provide habitat for the migratory waterfowl. And later, learn how you would call the fire department before the telephone was invented.
Lisa Garner has learned a thing or two about being an entrepreneur and small business owner while running her company, Garner Blue, where she makes and sells hand-dyed indigo textiles and accessories. She applies much of that knowledge to her role as executive director of theCo in Jackson, Tenn. Now considered the front door for innovation in West Tennessee, theCo provides a resource, collaborative community and support system for everyone from the serial entrepreneur to those taking their first plunge into business ownership. In the episode, Garner shares how she manages the unique space, plans and organizes events and programming, and does the initial mentoring for entrepreneurs at theCO. And later, Russell Orr answers the question, “Which telescope, the refracting or reflecting, is the best?”
If you were to ask Matt Crosson how his journey in life led him to be the worship leader in a rural community church, you would hear an incredible story. Matt’s journey took him from social worker to business manager, to planting a church then following God’s call from Gainesville, Florida to Union City, Tennessee where he now serves as the full-time worship leader at Crosswind Church. In this episode, you will hear how his hobby of playing the guitar led to his role as a dynamic worship leader and songwriter. Also, learn how he combined another of his passions, bicycling, with missions and rode 300 miles for “Ends of the Earth,” a ministry that raises money for youth around the world. And later, discover the story of the great debate of the T. rex.
Melanie Hollis has a passion for theater arts. Born and raised in Union City, Tenn., she left her small town to chase dreams of theater, performing and costume design around the country before returning to West Tennessee to raise her three children. Her desire to bring the arts to Northwest Tennessee is evident from her seat in the director’s chair at Union City's Masquerade Theatre. Additionally, she currently teaches several theater arts classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Those with a passion for seeing more of the arts in rural communities will find her story especially fascinating. And later, learn all about the covered wagon from Zach Rea.
In 2009, Lori Collins experienced an unexpected family crisis that left her with no option but to rescue a number of horses being cared for by her father. This was the beginning of Redemption Road Rescue, a non-profit equine rescue located in Jackson, Tenn. The organization’s philosophy of helping good people out of bad situations has led to the rescue of hundreds of horses. Redemption Road accepts animals that owners can no longer maintain, and also works alongside local authorities on animal cruelty cases and seizures. Today, Collins is an award-winning, nationally-recognized activist whose story of finding a need in her community and then figuring out a way to address it will inspire others to tackle the needs in their own hometowns. And later, learn how the settlers made soap!
With a passion to uplift, engage and encourage individuals to live faithfully and triumphantly, Dr. Cynthia A. Bond Hopson inspires individuals to slow down, seize the day and refocus on who and whose they are. In this episode, Dr. Hopson shares her personal story and how she went from her first career as a secretary to teaching journalism, becoming a country music DJ, earning a doctorate and becoming a popular speaker and a best-selling author of numerous self-help and devotion books. Although funny and light-hearted, Dr. Hopson also includes powerful insights into topics ranging from self-care, moving forward, honoring your dreams and finding your purpose in life. Dr. Hopson’s latest book, Totally Gracefull, Wisdom for Phenomenal and Grace-filled Women, features a daily day dose of inspiration and empowerment and is now available on Amazon. Then, go behind the scenes at Discovery Park of America to discover more about Camp Tyson in Paris, Tenn. Soldiers with the U.S. Army’s 320th Barrage Balloon Battalion who trained there were the only African-American unit to participate in the Allied invasion.
Big ideas sometimes come from small places. Those living and working in rural communities may find life is lonely when trying to make a big idea happen. That’s where Ben Harris comes in. As one of the co-founders of Driving Innovation, a mobile program that supports economic and workforce development in Tennessee’s rural communities, he works to make sure good ideas and those who get them find the resources they need. Driving Innovation’s three mobile innovation labs focus on STEAM education, entrepreneurship and small business support, and community place making. If you consider yourself an entrepreneur — someone willing to step outside your comfort zone and meet a need or fix a problem in your community — you’ll benefit from hearing this episode. Then, discover a few of the details behind the 1914 Christmas Truce when British and German soldiers made peace in No Man's Land.
Having grown up in West Tennessee, Mark Laderman and his family capitalized on a combination of their natural southern hospitality and a unique blend of creativity and quality to create not one, but two award-winning dining experiences in Northwest Tennessee. If you are headed this way, no doubt someone will recommend you eat at Sammies or The Grind. In this episode, Mark and his son Alan share what inspired them to build their dream eateries in this region, what they think is the secret to their restaurants’ popularity and challenges unique to entrepreneurs working in rural communities. Caution: this episode should not be consumed on an empty stomach. And later, we go behind the scenes at STEM Landing at Discovery Park of America to learn all about space suits.
If you haven’t crossed paths with Union City socialite, regional-theater performer and business woman, Zoe Ramage, then it’s about time we introduce you. Zoe loves small town life and the sense of community that comes with it. In this episode, Zoe shares her passion for tourism and how it led her to become next door neighbors with Discovery Park as the director of sales for the hotels at Houser Creek Crossing. If you love theater, travel and having fun, you’ll be inspired by the time you get to spend with Zoe in this episode. Then, take a look behind the scenes at Discovery as we uncover the Nantan Meteorite featured at Discovery Park.
While attending space camp as a young boy, South Fulton, Tenn. native, Jason Kelley, became inspired to dream of a career in aeronautics. His dream became a reality, and today he is an operations support manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. In this episode Jason, who was back home to explore Discovery Park’s “Astronaut” exhibit with his son, shares how he turned his childhood dream to work for NASA into a reality. His story reminds listeners of the important role educators play in the lives of the students they touch and how they never know when they may be inspiring another career in space. Then, go behind the scenes at Discovery Park to find our more about the Sultana Disaster with Zach Rea.
It’s not every day you get to hear firsthand what it’s like to buckle up and blast into space. In this episode, Dr. Larry DeLucas, a biochemist, principal scientist at the Aerospace Corporation and former NASA astronaut shares how he earned the nickname “Which Way” and how a spirit of exploration helped him make it at NASA even though he says he was made of “the wrong stuff.” DeLucas was a member of the 7-person crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia for Mission “STS-50.” Columbia launched on June 25, 1992 and returned on July 9. Dr. DeLucas traveled more than 6 million miles and logged over 331 hours in space. This episode will be especially inspirational for educators and parents as he credits his early teachers with putting him on a path to success and helping him build the confidence he needed to eventually complete 221 orbits of earth. Afterward, discover what it would take for canned air to move educational specialist Russell Orr across the room.
If you live in West Tennessee and have even a passing interest in ducks, there’s no doubt you’re aware of—and possibly best friends with— the tornado of inspired creativity that is Seth Dortch. Part Ansel Adams, part Ernest Hemmingway and part Davy Crockett, he’s a photographer, videographer, copywriter, hunting guide, retailer and master of all social media. The scope and breadth of the impact Dortch has made applying his creative gifts outdoors is significant, especially for someone with the motto “#LiveSlowly.” In this episode, Dortch shares his story, what motivates him to do what he does and the importance of his faith. He even provides some behind-the-scenes details about duck hunting that are interesting even if you’ve never spent a minute in a duck blind. Then, find out about something new at Discovery Park of America.
The continuation of this special, two-part live episode, from the Tennessee Farm Bureau annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn. features the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Soybean Council, the Tennessee Pork Producers and Tennessee Sheep Producers Association. With all the misinformation and controversy around areas like agriculture today, it was great to have an opportunity to hear from those who spend their days focused on providing resources for both farmers and those who consume the products they provide.
In the first part of this two-part, live episode, the Discovery Park team went to the Tennessee Farm Bureau annual meeting in Nashville, Tenn., to get to know some of the professionals working in agriculture today. With most people being three or more generations removed from a family farm, first-hand information is getting harder to come by, so this was a great information to hear about farming from those working in the industry every day. Part one features the Tennessee Beef Industry Council, the Tennessee 4-H Foundation, the Tennessee Poultry Association and Farm Credit Mid-America. Those we spoke with have a great understanding of the challenges facing the world in the coming years, and they are all part of providing solutions.
By 2050, the global population is expected to reach more than 10 billion. This is going to present a major challenge in providing food, fuel and fiber for farmers around the world. Lee Maddox, director of communications for Tennessee Farm Bureau took a few moments out of his busy schedule at the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville to talk about this and other challenges facing those working in agriculture today. Whether you are a seasoned professional in the ag industry or someone like most of the population who has no idea how your food gets from the farm to the family, you’ll learn something new about agriculture on this episode from Maddox who has been working in the industry for decades. And later, see what you will discover behind the scenes at Discovery Park of America.
Here’s an episode that will inspire anyone who hopes to march to the beat of their own drum while living in a rural community. While his friends were out duck hunting and fishing on Reelfoot Lake, Micah Barnes was teaching himself to play a number of instruments and perfecting his musical talents. He eventually studied bass at the famed Interlochen Center for the Arts, started the world fusion jam band 27bstroke6 and carved out a niche as a utility musician, writing, performing, and recording with numerous groups in various genres on an array of instruments. He later focused his creativity on the visual arts and was working in graphic design and performing with independent artists in Middle Tennessee when he was drawn back home to work with Robert Kirkland on a dream that would become Discovery Park of America. Today, he manages to combine all his skills into a fascinating career at both his family’s business, Soleil Garden Center in Union City, Tenn., and The University of Tennessee at Martin. And later, go behind-the-scenes and find out what it’s like to “throw a pot” at Discovery Park.
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