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Reelfoot Forward

Author: Reelfoot Forward

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Podcast by Reelfoot Forward
59 Episodes
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The legacy of Elvis Presley is alive and well with guests traveling from around the world to West Tennessee to experience Graceland his home in Memphis. Joey Sulipeck, Elvis fan and Fox 13 chief meteorologist, has been part of Elvis-related programs and events for the past 20 years. In 2000, he was a co-host of the first live, online broadcast of the candlelight vigil, the “VigilCast” on America Online, and he has hosted the Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist Contest since its inception. In this episode, he and Scott Williams commemorate Elvis Week 2020 by taking listeners behind the blue suede curtain. They discuss their personal experiences and favorite memories with Elvis fans and the talented men and women working hard behind the scenes taking care of business for the king.
As a dedicated journalist and co-anchor of WPSD Local 6, Jennifer Horbelt Bonds delivers the news to households across our region every night. In this episode, Jennifer shares her thoughts on being a reporter during a time of great crisis in our country, the impact of our constantly changing media landscape and some of the reasons local and regional news remains so crucial to the long-term health of our communities. Listeners will also enjoy learning more about her personal history and getting to know the real person behind the anchor desk.
Scott Conger, mayor of Jackson, Tenn., follows three principles when navigating his role as a leader in local government: transparency, efficiency and inclusion. He is the third member of his family to serve as the mayor of Jackson and is passionate about giving back to his community. In this episode, Scott shares how he has learned to pivot at a moment’s notice, communicate more effectively and embrace patience while leading his community through a worldwide pandemic. Listeners are sure to enjoy hearing how he approaches criticism on social media and his advice for other leaders during this challenging time.
Paula Casey, publisher of The Perfect 36: Tennessee Delivers Woman Suffrage, has a passion for sharing the story of how Tennessee became the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making women's suffrage legal in the United States. In this episode, especially relevant as we prepare to commemorate the 100th anniversary on Aug. 18, 2020, Casey takes listeners behind-the-scenes to discover three pivotal players from West Tennessee who fought for women's suffrage and played a major role in "the greatest nonviolent revolution in the history of our country."
As a high school football player, Ted Kluck, assistant professor of communications at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., never imagined he would one day become an award-winning author and publisher. An unfortunate injury in college led him to discover his passion and talent for writing. In addition to authoring nonfiction books, memoirs of great athletes and several theological works, he’s dedicated to inspiring and teaching the next generation of writers. In this episode, he shares of bit of that inspiration for listeners who also want to find success in the writing industry. Those aspiring to work in the movie industry will also enjoys hearing a few behind-the-scenes details about “Silverdome,” a film he wrote and that is currently in production.
From paramedic to law school to launching a successful soap empire, Brad Kellum, founder of Buff City Soap, shares his journey of finding a need and filling it. This West Tennessee entrepreneur opened his first brick and mortar store in his hometown of Bartlett, created a one-of-a-kind retail experience and then franchised the business nationally to great success. This episode is full of life lessons for those with a dream and funny anecdotes relatable for anyone who has ever started something new and found both failure and success.
Few projects have offered as many opportunities or as much controversy as the still under-construction I-69 that can be seen unfinished just behind Discovery Park. This episode’s guest, Matt Dellinger, literally wrote the book about it 10 years ago. Interstate 69: The Unfinished History of the Great American Highway took readers behind the scenes to experience the complex political, social and economic drama being this controversial road project. Now a decade after the book’s release, he shares an update on some of those he wrote about along with details not included in the book. Fans of Discovery Park will enjoy hearing more about Dellinger’s visit with Robert Kirkland just as construction was underway. Dellinger, who has written for The New Yorker, the Oxford American and Smithsonian, also led the way on digitizing the archives of publications like Esquire, Aviation Week, Maclean's and others and shares his thoughts on the past, present and future of journalism.
Known to her students as “Mrs. B,” Lynn Brasfield is a cornerstone in the foundation of Dresden Middle School. In this episode, Lynn shares her passion for teaching and how her classroom is a safe space for students to freely discuss concerns about current issues. Lynn’s story is one of remarkable circumstances. She grew up in Rutherford, Tennessee, and started high school when educational institutions began desegregation in the classroom. As an advocate for education, she explains that her classroom is a community of intrinsic learners. Every student that walks through Mrs. B’s door is greeted by Bill Withers song “Lean on Me” and is taught by the philosophy that one should “teach to the heart and the mind will follow.”
As tourist attractions and museums like Discovery Park of America reopen their doors incorporating new health and safety guidelines, it’s a good time for a conversation with Marty Marbry, the West Tennessee Division Manager for the Tennessee Department of Tourist Development. In this episode, she shares a bit of her personal history in Memphis, how she got into the tourism business and her first encounters with Robert Kirkland, Discovery Park of America’s founder. Marty’s optimistic outlook for the tour and travel business will be helpful for anyone with a passion for all there is to see and do throughout the state of Tennessee.
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.
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