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Reelfoot Forward

Author: Reelfoot Forward

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Podcast by Reelfoot Forward
44 Episodes
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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.
Today, most of us are three or more generations removed from life on a farm—therefore, we don't know how our food, fuel and fiber gets from the farm to our families. In this special episode, recorded live during Tennessee Ag Literacy Day at Discovery Park, listeners will meet and get to know farmers and others working in the agriculture field. By the year 2050, the production of food, fuel and fiber around the world must more than double in order to support an estimated population of ten billion. Sustaining our environment for future generations while meeting that need is only going to happen because of the hard work of farmers like the ones who share their personal stories of agriculture on this episode. During this episode, you’ll hear from Wes Totten, Ph.D, chair Department of Agriculture, Geosciences, and Natural Resources, UTM; Josh Richardson, district conservationist, USDA-NRCS; Beth Cochran, farmer and technician, Obion County Soil Conservation District; Derek Giffin, farmer, Giffin Farms; Alexis Beach, student and FFA member; Carol Reed, farmer and executive director of the Tennessee Corn Promotion Council; Mike Holeman, farmer and president of the Tennessee Corn Growers Association; Mike Brundage, farmer and chairman of the Tennessee corn promotion council; Brenda Baker, farmer and ag educator; Matt Fennel; farmer and regional field director, Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation; Rusty Grills, farmer and Tennessee state representative for District 77; and Misha Madding; precision ag specialist, Nutrien Ag Solutions. Then, Katie chats with John Watkins, grounds director at Discovery Park, about the challenge of getting the park decorated with more than a million lights for “Let it Glow,” the annual Christmas light show.
A few years ago, Ana Edmaiston was on her couch watching “Cake Boss” when she had the realization that she, too, wanted to be the cake boss. She now owns her own business in downtown Union City called “Tiny Baker” that has sweetened the community since opening in 2018. Ana’s decision to pursue her dreams of becoming a baker eventually landed her where she always wanted to be: back home with family. Listen to her story as she shares her adventure in the sweet world of baking, the importance of family in tough situations and why she loves her hometown so much. And later, Kayce Workman takes us behind the scenes at Discovery Park as she debunks some myths about turtles.
In June 1917, 1,250 men volunteered to become the first African Americans to receive training and begin military service in World War I. Many hoped that they would be rewarded with equal rights at the end of the war. Adam Wilson, the director of the University of Tennessee at Martin online and author of “African American Army Officers of World War I,” shares the difficult story of the impact of race in America through an exploration of these brave men, some of whom became college graduates, business leaders, doctors, lawyers, ministers and non-commissioned officers. Many eventually became leaders in the civil rights movement of the 1950s. Wilson’s storytelling during this episode provides a much-needed reminder of a part of history that is often forgotten. And later, learn the truth about snakes in Tennessee as Kacey takes us behind-the-scenes at Discovery Park.
Charles and Crystal Meade changed the course of their family’s life when they purchased a Northwest Tennessee nursery that was in much need of some TLC. Today, Soleil Garden Center includes a nursery, a retail showroom featuring regional artists and a recording studio. In this episode, Charles and Crystal share what inspired them in the early years as they were “growing” their family-run small business, and the ups and downs they’ve experienced along the way. Their story will inspire anyone looking for their own unique path to making their dreams come true. And later, Zach Rea gives us some information about health during the Civil War.
As a child, Karen Campbell looked down the road of her Northwest Tennessee hometown and couldn’t wait to get out and explore. Campbell, who today is the communications director for Weakley County, Tennessee Schools, shares her entertaining story of leaving home and of the exciting world she found working and writing for a variety of publications including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Star Telegram. Today, her passion for this region of Tennessee is infectious, and after you experience her story, you’ll be reminded of the power of home and the importance of family in all our lives. And later, learn all about Tennessee River mussels with Nathaniel Newlin.
Have you ever wondered the importance that a cotton mill would have on a community? Danny Walden from Dyersburg, Tenn., who was on a previous episode about the missing town of Minglewood, joins Scott to discuss the impact the cotton industry had in the small community of Dyersburg right before the Great Depression and how the town continued forward even after the depression. He also gives us some insider information about what was found in a safe of the cotton mill after it was pilled from a fire in the early 1900s. Be sure to check out the Dyer County Museum for the steam whistle that was blown for shift change and the contents that were found inside the safe. And later, Russell Orr tell us why a T-Rex is not a scavenger.
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