Columbus Landmarks for ⓄⒸⓄⒻ by Christian Ortiz

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"When doctors discovered Mr. Amos had lung cancer in 1986, he started building for an uncertain future. So, right next to me, he built the Mrs. a Cuban-style mansion on top of a seven-story parking garage. Unless you're invited...this is the best I can do as far as giving you a view. Why build it here you ask? Well, she missed life from where she was from and it needed to be close to work, but away from the city at the same time. I could wave hello to them from the 19-floor balcony. When they traveled in Europe, they would go to hotels, inns and private homes and take pictures. They copied the things they liked best. They left the actual plans to the architect and the contractor, however.

The resulting $2 million, 10,000-square-foot home opens off a 60-foot marble-floor gallery with 27-foot ceilings. The kitchen has restaurant equipment, and there's an oven on the terrace designed by dad to accommodate the pig they traditionally roast at Christmas. The master bedroom complex includes a gym, and the three guest rooms open on to the pool. A man will do absolutely anything he can for the woman he loves."
#Aflac

"Has anyone seen my baby?"   -Kadie The Cow

"Has anyone seen my baby?" 

-Kadie The Cow

   "I suppose I can talk about the tragedy that happened so long ago. As a bridge, I see many people and families drive past me every day. Many people live near here. One day, a mother pulled over with her kids. I heard her say that her kids were possessed with Devil himself, so she drowned them, right here in this creek that lays next to me. She ended up taking her own life as well. Now for some reason the spirits of the babies and the mom still stick around. One day, a car had a flat tire and the driver decided to pull over right on top of me. It was night time. He turned his car off but left the front lights on and, wouldn't you know it...the babies started to cry. In a panic, the man got back in his car...but, it wouldn't start. He got out and tried to check his engine and out of the shadows saw the mother walking towards him. He panicked again as most of you humans do. He got back into his car and finally it turned on. I've never seen someone drive off so fast in my life.  A few weeks later, a group of teens pulled over right on top of me at night, and they witnessed the same thing. A few days later, the same thing happened to different folks. After a while traffic started picking up like crazy. One day, I heard a group of teens say, 'There it is! Cry Baby Bridge!' I guess you can say I'm famous."  Respectfully -Cry Baby Bridge

 

"I suppose I can talk about the tragedy that happened so long ago. As a bridge, I see many people and families drive past me every day. Many people live near here. One day, a mother pulled over with her kids. I heard her say that her kids were possessed with Devil himself, so she drowned them, right here in this creek that lays next to me. She ended up taking her own life as well. Now for some reason the spirits of the babies and the mom still stick around. One day, a car had a flat tire and the driver decided to pull over right on top of me. It was night time. He turned his car off but left the front lights on and, wouldn't you know it...the babies started to cry. In a panic, the man got back in his car...but, it wouldn't start. He got out and tried to check his engine and out of the shadows saw the mother walking towards him. He panicked again as most of you humans do. He got back into his car and finally it turned on. I've never seen someone drive off so fast in my life.

A few weeks later, a group of teens pulled over right on top of me at night, and they witnessed the same thing. A few days later, the same thing happened to different folks. After a while traffic started picking up like crazy. One day, I heard a group of teens say, 'There it is! Cry Baby Bridge!' I guess you can say I'm famous."

Respectfully
-Cry Baby Bridge

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ⓄⒸⓄⒻ Our City Of Fountains "ᑭᕼOTOᒍOᑌᖇᑎᗩᒪIᔕᗰ to the next level." by Christian Ortiz

This is John Houzer. A Columbus Georgia native who not only has an eye for art, but knows how to create it to catch our eyes and spark our interests! I am proud to have him as OCOF's first featured Columbus denizen. All week long we followed Houzer into his journey through his works, beliefs and magnanimity. As a Graphic Artist, it is easy to see his imagination through his creations. 

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Here is a teaser from one of my future OCOF spotlights! Lady Cora. Tattooer, business owner and friend.

Here is a teaser from one of my future OCOF spotlights! Lady Cora. Tattooer, business owner and friend.

"My name is Lindsey, I am 34 years young. I am mother of one son, I also have an amazing career as a hairstylist and the only "Yankee" at Southern Glam Salon here in Columbus, Georgia. If anyone above the mason Dixon walks through the doors, I automatically start talking like a Canadian. I can't help it. Michigander is in my blood."    

"My name is Lindsey, I am 34 years young. I am mother of one son, I also have an amazing career as a hairstylist and the only "Yankee" at Southern Glam Salon here in Columbus, Georgia. If anyone above the mason Dixon walks through the doors, I automatically start talking like a Canadian. I can't help it. Michigander is in my blood."

 

"   ‪#‎myjobisbetterthanyours‬   When I'm not inside the salon, I spend most Saturdays traveling for bridal styling. I have worked with brides all over the state. Weddings are such a magical time and my work gets to be in a lifetime memory. I love it!"

‪#‎myjobisbetterthanyours‬
When I'm not inside the salon, I spend most Saturdays traveling for bridal styling. I have worked with brides all over the state. Weddings are such a magical time and my work gets to be in a lifetime memory. I love it!"

"Music is a huge part of my life. I have the radio on all day. Usually classic rock/classic country. However, take me to a jazz/blues club, and we're not leaving until the lights come on! Something about those strings just speak to my soul."    -Lindsey Dozeman-White

"Music is a huge part of my life. I have the radio on all day. Usually classic rock/classic country. However, take me to a jazz/blues club, and we're not leaving until the lights come on! Something about those strings just speak to my soul." 
-Lindsey Dozeman-White

My  ‪#‎TBT‬  One of my favorite moments is Brycen (my son, 4) and I in the kitchen and he says "mom let's listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn"! Motherhood. nailed it. We played air guitar thru Mary had a little lamb. Irony. Being a parent is the driving force In my world. I work for my son, so he may experience every opportunity that may cross his path. I want to teach him to enjoy every splendor of this great life.

My ‪#‎TBT‬ One of my favorite moments is Brycen (my son, 4) and I in the kitchen and he says "mom let's listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn"! Motherhood. nailed it. We played air guitar thru Mary had a little lamb. Irony. Being a parent is the driving force In my world. I work for my son, so he may experience every opportunity that may cross his path. I want to teach him to enjoy every splendor of this great life.

Bring them to life with a little makeup -  "Makeup brings much needed color and excitement into our world. Makeup is art, and a little makeup never hurt anyone. A wise woman once said, 'A girl should be two things...classy, and fabulous.'"   -Coco Chanel

Bring them to life with a little makeup - "Makeup brings much needed color and excitement into our world. Makeup is art, and a little makeup never hurt anyone. A wise woman once said, 'A girl should be two things...classy, and fabulous.'"
-Coco Chanel

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"Hi there, My name is Coralee Bragg, I am 39 years old...I am a small business owner in Columbus Georgia. I am a local girl, having grown up in Russell county, Alabama, just over the bridge on a large Horse Ranch, I moved into Columbus when I turned 18 to follow my career dreams. At that time I didn't know my career would be tattooing..in fact I had dreams of working in surgery as a nurse anesthetist. There are a million reasons I ended up on the current path I am on..some I never realized would effect me now in my late thirties as they have. I am blessed however, that they have all been positive effects. I will celebrate 9 years tattooing in February 2016. On November 5th 2015 my 1st   Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery   will be 6 years old and my 2nd shop,   Iron Rose Tattoo   will be 2 years old!"

"Hi there, My name is Coralee Bragg, I am 39 years old...I am a small business owner in Columbus Georgia. I am a local girl, having grown up in Russell county, Alabama, just over the bridge on a large Horse Ranch, I moved into Columbus when I turned 18 to follow my career dreams. At that time I didn't know my career would be tattooing..in fact I had dreams of working in surgery as a nurse anesthetist. There are a million reasons I ended up on the current path I am on..some I never realized would effect me now in my late thirties as they have. I am blessed however, that they have all been positive effects. I will celebrate 9 years tattooing in February 2016. On November 5th 2015 my 1st Black Lotus Tattoo Gallery will be 6 years old and my 2nd shop, Iron Rose Tattoo will be 2 years old!"

      "The best business advice I can give is to know your customers. The best personal advice I can give, is to know yourself."

 

 

"The best business advice I can give is to know your customers. The best personal advice I can give, is to know yourself."

(Part 2) "Did it change how I saw life? Absolutely! Life was suddenly brighter. The future was obvious...there was nothing but HOPE...and I've held on to that ever since. So, this leads me into your next question. "Did it change me? My GOD yes...and for the better!"

(Part 2) "Did it change how I saw life? Absolutely! Life was suddenly brighter. The future was obvious...there was nothing but HOPE...and I've held on to that ever since. So, this leads me into your next question. "Did it change me? My GOD yes...and for the better!"

"What makes me the happiest?    Professionally: When I am tattooing and getting to work with my clients on their awesome ideas....art forward all the time!"

"What makes me the happiest? 
Professionally: When I am tattooing and getting to work with my clients on their awesome ideas....art forward all the time!"

"   ‪#‎TBT‬   A 'sneak pic' from my first professional photo shoot from a tattoo convention for International Tattoo Magazine .. amazing weekend!!!! - Circa 1997."

‪#‎TBT‬ A 'sneak pic' from my first professional photo shoot from a tattoo convention for International Tattoo Magazine .. amazing weekend!!!! - Circa 1997."

A busy Cora working on Halloween, scheduling face paint session in addition to regular business for her two shops.   What makes you the most sad?  "In today's society, the thing that makes me sad is the general lack of work ethic in today's society, everyone is 'holding out for management' without realizing that you have to earn it, you have to build the characteristics management requires before you will earn that position."   

A busy Cora working on Halloween, scheduling face paint session in addition to regular business for her two shops. 

What makes you the most sad? 
"In today's society, the thing that makes me sad is the general lack of work ethic in today's society, everyone is 'holding out for management' without realizing that you have to earn it, you have to build the characteristics management requires before you will earn that position."
 

#My #name #is #Duane #McCollough , I’m a #family #man and an #independent recording #artist . I’ve #been a family man for #15 #years now, and a #musician for 25. I #enjoy #doing both, I #love #my #wife and my #kids more than anything in the world and I love music right next to that. I write, record and push my own music for little to no money-at-all, just for self-satisfaction and #because #I #would go crazy if I didn’t. Music is my outlet…my escape. I’m not a sports fan…I like poker but I don’t have enough money to have gambling habit (Chuckles)…

#My #name #is #Duane #McCollough , I’m a #family #man and an #independent recording #artist . I’ve #been a family man for #15 #years now, and a #musician for 25. I #enjoy #doing both, I #love #my #wife and my #kids more than anything in the world and I love music right next to that. I write, record and push my own music for little to no money-at-all, just for self-satisfaction and #because #I #would go crazy if I didn’t. Music is my outlet…my escape. I’m not a sports fan…I like poker but I don’t have enough money to have gambling habit (Chuckles)…

#When #I was #a #kid , my #grandma would play the #piano; #she #played #guitar …I had #uncles that played guitar…they all #sang #gospel. I was raised #Baptist so I got to #hear them play #hymnals a lot. Growing up I’d tinker around the piano, catch a #tune that’d catch my ear and I’d mimic it with my voice. I was #blessed to be able to do such things. I play by #ear , that’s about the only way I could play. I started playing when I was 12-13. Around 1988-1989, close to the end of the end of the original #MTV generation…watching Metallica’s #One video and watching Kirk Hammet play the guitar to that song lit the match inside of me to want to start playing guitar.

#When #I was #a #kid , my #grandma would play the #piano; #she #played #guitar …I had #uncles that played guitar…they all #sang #gospel. I was raised #Baptist so I got to #hear them play #hymnals a lot. Growing up I’d tinker around the piano, catch a #tune that’d catch my ear and I’d mimic it with my voice. I was #blessed to be able to do such things. I play by #ear , that’s about the only way I could play. I started playing when I was 12-13. Around 1988-1989, close to the end of the end of the original #MTV generation…watching Metallica’s #One video and watching Kirk Hammet play the guitar to that song lit the match inside of me to want to start playing guitar.

What was the hardest time of your life? Did it change you? Did you learn from it?...  "My dad passing away was deep and pretty tough to deal with. When it comes up, I put the blank look on my face because I don't want to show how I feel...one doesn't want to talk about things like that until you are ready to talk about them. As I get older I look at my struggles differently, and I approach them from a different aspect....from a different perception. I realized that there isn't enough time in life for you to sit around dwelling on your struggles. Of course the immediate time something like this occurs is the worst time, but eventually you have to climb out of that hole...and I always make sure the hole is as shallow as it can be so I can always get out of it.  The moment that he told me he had cancer, It was the worst moment. He died on a Thanksgiving...it was just so strange because I remember always watching the clock wondering when the time would come...it was tragic. It was that Thanksgiving that me and my family all came together to see him at hospice....I am glad I had all of that love and support in that room that day. I don't know what would have happened if I didn't. It was just so tragic."

What was the hardest time of your life? Did it change you? Did you learn from it?...

"My dad passing away was deep and pretty tough to deal with. When it comes up, I put the blank look on my face because I don't want to show how I feel...one doesn't want to talk about things like that until you are ready to talk about them. As I get older I look at my struggles differently, and I approach them from a different aspect....from a different perception. I realized that there isn't enough time in life for you to sit around dwelling on your struggles. Of course the immediate time something like this occurs is the worst time, but eventually you have to climb out of that hole...and I always make sure the hole is as shallow as it can be so I can always get out of it. 
The moment that he told me he had cancer, It was the worst moment. He died on a Thanksgiving...it was just so strange because I remember always watching the clock wondering when the time would come...it was tragic. It was that Thanksgiving that me and my family all came together to see him at hospice....I am glad I had all of that love and support in that room that day. I don't know what would have happened if I didn't. It was just so tragic."

"Besides losing my dad, another one of my biggest struggles AND accomplishments were getting both my Bachelor's and Master's Degree. I give full credit to my wife for pushing me and encouraging me the entire time. She saw the best in me and wanted me to BE my very best. There were so many times I wanted to quit...but I studied...no...I memorized my way through college. (Chuckles)"

"Besides losing my dad, another one of my biggest struggles AND accomplishments were getting both my Bachelor's and Master's Degree. I give full credit to my wife for pushing me and encouraging me the entire time. She saw the best in me and wanted me to BE my very best. There were so many times I wanted to quit...but I studied...no...I memorized my way through college. (Chuckles)"

"I couldn't say enough about our kids. Tyler Ja, Jeni's first born is just amazing. He has grown into a fantastic man. Jeni raised him right. He is talented in everything he does and is just a great person!"  Do you think you being a musician sparked the musician in him?  "I really don't know....he has always been around when I am in the other room screaming into a mic or recording the same guitar riff fifty different times until I get it right. (Chuckles) He and his mom are a real fan of my music which just makes me so happy. I'd like to think I have had something to do with his musical interests but I really don't know. Tyler is just awesome. Nik, our 9 year old is a typical Leo (Laughs) That boy is everywhere and has his own personality. He is great kid! It's up to us as parents to help mold our kids into who they should be in life. We can't force them...only guide them. My family is my absolute world."   

"I couldn't say enough about our kids. Tyler Ja, Jeni's first born is just amazing. He has grown into a fantastic man. Jeni raised him right. He is talented in everything he does and is just a great person!"

Do you think you being a musician sparked the musician in him?

"I really don't know....he has always been around when I am in the other room screaming into a mic or recording the same guitar riff fifty different times until I get it right. (Chuckles) He and his mom are a real fan of my music which just makes me so happy. I'd like to think I have had something to do with his musical interests but I really don't know. Tyler is just awesome. Nik, our 9 year old is a typical Leo (Laughs) That boy is everywhere and has his own personality. He is great kid! It's up to us as parents to help mold our kids into who they should be in life. We can't force them...only guide them. My family is my absolute world."

 

So, this is the time where we say goodbye kind sir. Tell everyone where we can find your music.  "You can find my music at  http://cdrac.bandcamp.com/   You can pay for the singles or download the entire albums for free. I really appreciate all of this and thank you all for following my story. It's been a pleasure."

So, this is the time where we say goodbye kind sir. Tell everyone where we can find your music.

"You can find my music at http://cdrac.bandcamp.com/ 
You can pay for the singles or download the entire albums for free. I really appreciate all of this and thank you all for following my story. It's been a pleasure."

The man on the right is Suhail, one of many prominent small business owners in Columbus, Georgia. He owns and manages The Suite, a local Bar/Dance Club/Restaurant for the past ten years. The Suite has maintained a very loyal crowd offering a variety of Dj's, bands and amazing bartenders from all over the city. Matt Parker (over the shoulder) is one of them. For quite some time The Suite has hosted Jazz Night and Latin Night quite successfully drawing in packed crowds every week. What is impressive is that the smiles in this picture are genuine. The atmosphere in which this venue maintains is always the same. Happy. This week, O.C.O.F. will focus on the nightlife, the hotspots and the regulars. .

The man on the right is Suhail, one of many prominent small business owners in Columbus, Georgia. He owns and manages The Suite, a local Bar/Dance Club/Restaurant for the past ten years. The Suite has maintained a very loyal crowd offering a variety of Dj's, bands and amazing bartenders from all over the city. Matt Parker (over the shoulder) is one of them. For quite some time The Suite has hosted Jazz Night and Latin Night quite successfully drawing in packed crowds every week. What is impressive is that the smiles in this picture are genuine. The atmosphere in which this venue maintains is always the same. Happy. This week, O.C.O.F. will focus on the nightlife, the hotspots and the regulars. .

Anyone who has ever gone to a club to dance knows that with the right company, and the right music, there is that one moment where you just lose yourself. I'm not talking about the obviousness of a rave or trip party...I'm speaking of the typical "go-out-on-a-Friday-night" kind of dance club. Having lived in bigger cities as a child, I was always around and aware of local hotspots adults had the pleasure of going to. For a large city, having the hottest and wildest clubs almost becomes cliché, but in a city our size...there's almost a bit of mysticism behind the doors of our local downtown venues. It's places like this where you'll find DJ Alde, DJ Ceelo, DJ Hennesey, DJ EPIC and DJ Roonie G to name a few; all who have made an unbelievable name for themselves. Maybe it's because I am always behind a lens that forces me to focus on the moment...but when you do this type of work out of pure passion, you experience humanity at its most natural form.  Seeing people, strangers and best of friends having the time of their lives, exposes the "real" in someone even just for a second. There is something so beautiful about watching a small town try and succeed in making a name for itself. No matter where you travel to, you will always find nay-sayers and an overabundance of a "cool kid mentality", always having something negative to say about their city...but in the end...a night out in the town with friends is never overlooked.

Anyone who has ever gone to a club to dance knows that with the right company, and the right music, there is that one moment where you just lose yourself. I'm not talking about the obviousness of a rave or trip party...I'm speaking of the typical "go-out-on-a-Friday-night" kind of dance club. Having lived in bigger cities as a child, I was always around and aware of local hotspots adults had the pleasure of going to. For a large city, having the hottest and wildest clubs almost becomes cliché, but in a city our size...there's almost a bit of mysticism behind the doors of our local downtown venues. It's places like this where you'll find DJ Alde, DJ Ceelo, DJ Hennesey, DJ EPIC and DJ Roonie G to name a few; all who have made an unbelievable name for themselves. Maybe it's because I am always behind a lens that forces me to focus on the moment...but when you do this type of work out of pure passion, you experience humanity at its most natural form.

Seeing people, strangers and best of friends having the time of their lives, exposes the "real" in someone even just for a second. There is something so beautiful about watching a small town try and succeed in making a name for itself. No matter where you travel to, you will always find nay-sayers and an overabundance of a "cool kid mentality", always having something negative to say about their city...but in the end...a night out in the town with friends is never overlooked.

As the third largest city in Georgia, Columbus is is making it's mark as a city focused on the Arts. Walk down Broadway and you might see a street musician. You might see a random parade, or even a concert. Over the years, our downtown nightlife association has been working diligently to provide a constant flow of entertainment to our city. On the first Friday of every month you can catch our First Friday's Artwalk. Here you will find live art, music concerts and art vendors set up everywhere engaging everyone who walks by. There is so much talent in this city and everyone is coming into the light little by little.

As the third largest city in Georgia, Columbus is is making it's mark as a city focused on the Arts. Walk down Broadway and you might see a street musician. You might see a random parade, or even a concert. Over the years, our downtown nightlife association has been working diligently to provide a constant flow of entertainment to our city. On the first Friday of every month you can catch our First Friday's Artwalk. Here you will find live art, music concerts and art vendors set up everywhere engaging everyone who walks by. There is so much talent in this city and everyone is coming into the light little by little.

"My name is Amber Ellerbee Newton, I'm 36 years old and a Middle School Counselor for the Muscogee County School District. I am the wife of Richard Newtown for 8 years and we have two sons Miles 7, and Reese 4. I can't imagine not having him and our children in my life. (She gives a humble, loving smile)  - People in Education deal with so many things on a daily basis. Sure the argument exists...Why don't we do more for our teachers, counselors and staff? But...what IS the hardest thing you've had to face doing this job?-  "Mmm....doing my job... I'm the only one here with almost 500 kids...and I get to know every-single-one of them. Inside and out. I get to know their academics, their behaviors and family issues/home life. A lot of these kids have shared things with me that they haven't shared with anyone, things they've felt have been normal their whole life...thing's that they've been used to seeing. I have to show them the right way to do things.  The hardest part is just..worrying for them....I worry to death. It's hard to leave work 'here' and I can't show them my worry. I might be meeting with one child while a parent is waiting outside ready to talk about theirs. At the same time I have statements from other kids to go over so my day is non stop. It's a constant revolving door.  I feel that when I get home sometimes that overwhelming feeling finally hits me...and I'm able to process it when I get home. Sometimes I get emotionally numb...and in the back of my mind I always worry about these kids. The good thing is, is that I have my children to see and love every day...and they make it all better for me."

"My name is Amber Ellerbee Newton, I'm 36 years old and a Middle School Counselor for the Muscogee County School District. I am the wife of Richard Newtown for 8 years and we have two sons Miles 7, and Reese 4. I can't imagine not having him and our children in my life. (She gives a humble, loving smile)

- People in Education deal with so many things on a daily basis. Sure the argument exists...Why don't we do more for our teachers, counselors and staff? But...what IS the hardest thing you've had to face doing this job?-

"Mmm....doing my job...
I'm the only one here with almost 500 kids...and I get to know every-single-one of them. Inside and out. I get to know their academics, their behaviors and family issues/home life. A lot of these kids have shared things with me that they haven't shared with anyone, things they've felt have been normal their whole life...thing's that they've been used to seeing. I have to show them the right way to do things.

The hardest part is just..worrying for them....I worry to death. It's hard to leave work 'here' and I can't show them my worry. I might be meeting with one child while a parent is waiting outside ready to talk about theirs. At the same time I have statements from other kids to go over so my day is non stop. It's a constant revolving door.

I feel that when I get home sometimes that overwhelming feeling finally hits me...and I'm able to process it when I get home. Sometimes I get emotionally numb...and in the back of my mind I always worry about these kids. The good thing is, is that I have my children to see and love every day...and they make it all better for me."

   Were you scared getting into this profession? – “Yeah…I’m so thankful that I interned. I had interned for a year and a half. So, at one point…(Chuckles) I was, um…I was working 30 hours a week, I was taking three graduate courses, I was interning 20 hours a week, I was pregnant and had two year old. It was constantly that way the whole time through my Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist degree. I’ve always been in school. This is the first time I’ve not been in school and now, I am going to find a Doctorate’s program in the spring. Yeah I was scared. You feel like you have this little person in your hands and…they come in here so vulnerable or they come closed off…some don’t want to talk to me, they don’t know me and there’s that kind of fear of ‘what do I say? What do I do? How do I respond to this? Am I going to mess them up?’ You know, what happens if they come to me and tell me they are self-harming and they want to kill themselves? That’s major! WHAT are the right words to say to that?”   

 

Were you scared getting into this profession? – “Yeah…I’m so thankful that I interned. I had interned for a year and a half. So, at one point…(Chuckles) I was, um…I was working 30 hours a week, I was taking three graduate courses, I was interning 20 hours a week, I was pregnant and had two year old. It was constantly that way the whole time through my Bachelor’s, Master’s and Specialist degree. I’ve always been in school. This is the first time I’ve not been in school and now, I am going to find a Doctorate’s program in the spring. Yeah I was scared. You feel like you have this little person in your hands and…they come in here so vulnerable or they come closed off…some don’t want to talk to me, they don’t know me and there’s that kind of fear of ‘what do I say? What do I do? How do I respond to this? Am I going to mess them up?’ You know, what happens if they come to me and tell me they are self-harming and they want to kill themselves? That’s major! WHAT are the right words to say to that?”

 

    -What advice do you have for parents, students and first time counselors?-  "My advice to the parents would be for them to educate themselves. There is such a stigma attached to mental health…that’s the thing…everybody wants to place a label. ‘Oh they have ADHD, they’re bi-polar etc.…or, they debate on medicine. Address the negligence of it. Not accepting it…’Well nothing’s wrong with my child.’No body wants to do anything about it. Go get your children evaluated and help. Get outside counseling, or TALK with your children. People tend to let go once their kids reach middle school…but they’re still little ones. They have no clue about life. Everyone is talking about maintaining physical health…but your emotional and mental well being…that's huge! Kids, talk to someone…if you feel like you are sad, it may be something. It could be depression. The earlier you can identify these types of issues the better you are.   I’ve lived a fun, hard type of life. (Chuckles) I’ve never had to speak to a counselor my entire time of being in school. I’ve always felt that I’ve been in this position my whole life. I bartended for years so even then, I had people pouring their souls out to me. I’ve seen many bad things in this world and I know that some of these kids have seen horrible things and are going through intense, emotions they are unsure of. When these kids come to me and tell me their mom is doing meth, or anything awful like that…It doesn’t shock me…and I don’t have a face for them, and I’m not judgmental of them. I’m not disappointed in them. I can still hold them in positive regard no matter what they are doing or going through and they don’t have to be embarrassed. For a long time, besides my mom, I don’t think many people saw me as smart. They saw me as pretty, or as funny…but never smart. I never imagined I’d get a masters degree. I never imagined getting a doctorate. But now these things are not imaginary. They are achievable. I see myself as saying ‘Oh I can do that.’ So, every time a child comes into my office I make sure I tell them YOU are smart and you are bright. You can do this!!"     

 

-What advice do you have for parents, students and first time counselors?-

"My advice to the parents would be for them to educate themselves. There is such a stigma attached to mental health…that’s the thing…everybody wants to place a label. ‘Oh they have ADHD, they’re bi-polar etc.…or, they debate on medicine. Address the negligence of it. Not accepting it…’Well nothing’s wrong with my child.’No body wants to do anything about it. Go get your children evaluated and help. Get outside counseling, or TALK with your children. People tend to let go once their kids reach middle school…but they’re still little ones. They have no clue about life. Everyone is talking about maintaining physical health…but your emotional and mental well being…that's huge! Kids, talk to someone…if you feel like you are sad, it may be something. It could be depression. The earlier you can identify these types of issues the better you are. 

I’ve lived a fun, hard type of life. (Chuckles) I’ve never had to speak to a counselor my entire time of being in school. I’ve always felt that I’ve been in this position my whole life. I bartended for years so even then, I had people pouring their souls out to me. I’ve seen many bad things in this world and I know that some of these kids have seen horrible things and are going through intense, emotions they are unsure of. When these kids come to me and tell me their mom is doing meth, or anything awful like that…It doesn’t shock me…and I don’t have a face for them, and I’m not judgmental of them. I’m not disappointed in them. I can still hold them in positive regard no matter what they are doing or going through and they don’t have to be embarrassed. For a long time, besides my mom, I don’t think many people saw me as smart. They saw me as pretty, or as funny…but never smart. I never imagined I’d get a masters degree. I never imagined getting a doctorate. But now these things are not imaginary. They are achievable. I see myself as saying ‘Oh I can do that.’ So, every time a child comes into my office I make sure I tell them YOU are smart and you are bright. You can do this!!"

 

    -What's the most rewarding part of your job?-   "Not every day is rewarding...some days are really hard. Like I said earlier, sometimes I go home and I worry and it weighs down on me. But I think, it's kind of an over time thing. I remember kids coming in the 6th grade, some of them were a mess, almost getting kicked out of school and suspended every week. And so I work and work and work with them t  hat by 8th grade they're making A's and B's, thinking about High School, then I get them ready for magnet programs. Then I as I see them in the 10th grade, they look so healthy and they look so good I know that they've overcome whatever they needed to. Sometimes I get the biggest hugs. Sometimes I get an 'I love you' and I'll say I love you too. That to me is my biggest reward."

 

-What's the most rewarding part of your job?-
"Not every day is rewarding...some days are really hard. Like I said earlier, sometimes I go home and I worry and it weighs down on me. But I think, it's kind of an over time thing. I remember kids coming in the 6th grade, some of them were a mess, almost getting kicked out of school and suspended every week. And so I work and work and work with them that by 8th grade they're making A's and B's, thinking about High School, then I get them ready for magnet programs. Then I as I see them in the 10th grade, they look so healthy and they look so good I know that they've overcome whatever they needed to. Sometimes I get the biggest hugs. Sometimes I get an 'I love you' and I'll say I love you too. That to me is my biggest reward."

   -As we were wrapping up, I explained exactly why I started OCOF. Her understanding and response completely epitomizes my vision.-  “Columbus is just more than one thing. We talked about stigmas already…you know…people say ‘oh this is the dirty south’…or “Columbus is the armpit of Georgia.’ Yes there may be crime and there may be poverty but I think we need to shine light on people who show resiliency, beauty, perseverance and all of those remarkable things that are great too in your average person. With everything going on in today’s world we need to continue to share happy things in this life, especially now more than ever.”

 

-As we were wrapping up, I explained exactly why I started OCOF. Her understanding and response completely epitomizes my vision.-

“Columbus is just more than one thing. We talked about stigmas already…you know…people say ‘oh this is the dirty south’…or “Columbus is the armpit of Georgia.’ Yes there may be crime and there may be poverty but I think we need to shine light on people who show resiliency, beauty, perseverance and all of those remarkable things that are great too in your average person. With everything going on in today’s world we need to continue to share happy things in this life, especially now more than ever.”

   -The greatest part of meeting new people is discovering that EVERYONE has a story. Everyone experiences hardships. Everyone finds a way to coexist. Abbey is an amazing individual I've stumbled across. Humble, caring and very easy to talk to. I'm happy to say I've made a new friend. Her contribution to society? It's simple...her humanity, individuality and experiences. This is her story-  "Hi my name is Abbey Williams. I am 39 years old. I am from West Virginia but I've lived in Columbus for about 35 years. I have 3 boys, two of them are teenagers so I drink lots of wine (Jokingly chuckles). I am the assistant store manager of Barnes & Noble, hopefully I will have my store in the next six months, and I am openly Atheist in the "Bible-belt"...which makes for some very interesting conversations and situations for me.  I don't go around throwing that in people's faces...but if and when I'm asked...the truth about my beliefs tend to hurt more than it should. All Atheist means is that I don't believe in God...that's it. But almost immediately...I get asked things like...'How can Atheists even have morals?'....'Why do you hate Jesus?!'...'Are you a communist?'...and even worst...being told things like...'You are doing the Devil's work!' I am a loving wife, and a loving mother of 3 boys. I treat everyone like I want to be treated. With respect. No matter what."   

 

-The greatest part of meeting new people is discovering that EVERYONE has a story. Everyone experiences hardships. Everyone finds a way to coexist. Abbey is an amazing individual I've stumbled across. Humble, caring and very easy to talk to. I'm happy to say I've made a new friend. Her contribution to society? It's simple...her humanity, individuality and experiences. This is her story-

"Hi my name is Abbey Williams. I am 39 years old. I am from West Virginia but I've lived in Columbus for about 35 years. I have 3 boys, two of them are teenagers so I drink lots of wine (Jokingly chuckles). I am the assistant store manager of Barnes & Noble, hopefully I will have my store in the next six months, and I am openly Atheist in the "Bible-belt"...which makes for some very interesting conversations and situations for me.

I don't go around throwing that in people's faces...but if and when I'm asked...the truth about my beliefs tend to hurt more than it should. All Atheist means is that I don't believe in God...that's it. But almost immediately...I get asked things like...'How can Atheists even have morals?'....'Why do you hate Jesus?!'...'Are you a communist?'...and even worst...being told things like...'You are doing the Devil's work!' I am a loving wife, and a loving mother of 3 boys. I treat everyone like I want to be treated. With respect. No matter what."

 

   - I am a huge fan of skin art and immediately noticed Abbey's work on her arm. With most skin art, there are stories told...memories forever placed on the canvas of our skin. -  -"What does your tattoo signify?" -  "I had wanted to start a sleeve for a while but couldn't think of anything special enough to have done. When my grandmother Sarah passed away, that was it. She was the strongest woman I had ever known. She dealt with abuse from her husband and from my father, the son she adopted at birth. She was never allowed to drive and rarely got to travel. When my grandfather died after many years with cancer, she was free to do what she wanted.....and she did. She always had a smile on her face and treated everyone with love and respect. She was a beautician and did some modeling in the 40's. She continued being a beautician until she was in her late 60's.....that's what the lipstick and mirror are for. The flowers are moon flowers that we used to watch open every night on her back porch. She had a sunroof that we would sit in with the "B" encyclopedia watching birds.....at 3 I think I could name them all. She was the most badass woman I have ever known."

 

- I am a huge fan of skin art and immediately noticed Abbey's work on her arm. With most skin art, there are stories told...memories forever placed on the canvas of our skin. -

-"What does your tattoo signify?" -

"I had wanted to start a sleeve for a while but couldn't think of anything special enough to have done. When my grandmother Sarah passed away, that was it. She was the strongest woman I had ever known. She dealt with abuse from her husband and from my father, the son she adopted at birth. She was never allowed to drive and rarely got to travel. When my grandfather died after many years with cancer, she was free to do what she wanted.....and she did. She always had a smile on her face and treated everyone with love and respect. She was a beautician and did some modeling in the 40's. She continued being a beautician until she was in her late 60's.....that's what the lipstick and mirror are for. The flowers are moon flowers that we used to watch open every night on her back porch. She had a sunroof that we would sit in with the "B" encyclopedia watching birds.....at 3 I think I could name them all. She was the most badass woman I have ever known."

   "My name is Chris Holmes. I've been a Columbus resident for almost a decade. You may know me as a bartender around town, or the manager of the Foxhole. I'm a full-time daddy these days."  - For those who don't know...The Foxhole was a local underground bar that housed anything from acoustic acts and full bands, to EDM Raves packing the club out by the hundreds, shattering records for the number of people it would attract.  So tell me how you got the gig at the Foxhole. -  "I got the gig because I was doing promotions for Vulgar, they liked how I worked and how I carried myself. The bar was originally called 85. It was our first true Alternative Bar. When shit hit the fan, and things for 85 started going under, I got the call...that one tragic night led to us wanting to re-brand it...change a few things. We unfortunately shut down after a giving it a good run.  The Foundation Realties were still under the impression that the original owners were still active. When I came in, there was about 16,000 dollars of back pay owed. We paid it down to 6,000 with the agreement that we would pay the last bit in cash. They refused to meet us with some of our requests with the lease agreement, and we never saw eye to eye on what we needed to flourish as a business.  They also blamed our clientele, which aggravated me. We were getting to the point where we were becoming the go-to for the service industry. It was nothing for an owner of a fine dining restaurant to come in and sit at my bar to have a late night drink. Very well respected people came in there. To say that our clientele was an issue was to say they had an issue with the people serving their lunch in the day time and that's just unacceptable. At the end of the day, I've wanted to start a new business or continue the Foxhole, but I've had to focus on many things...like my family."

 

"My name is Chris Holmes. I've been a Columbus resident for almost a decade. You may know me as a bartender around town, or the manager of the Foxhole. I'm a full-time daddy these days."

- For those who don't know...The Foxhole was a local underground bar that housed anything from acoustic acts and full bands, to EDM Raves packing the club out by the hundreds, shattering records for the number of people it would attract.

So tell me how you got the gig at the Foxhole. -

"I got the gig because I was doing promotions for Vulgar, they liked how I worked and how I carried myself. The bar was originally called 85. It was our first true Alternative Bar. When shit hit the fan, and things for 85 started going under, I got the call...that one tragic night led to us wanting to re-brand it...change a few things. We unfortunately shut down after a giving it a good run.

The Foundation Realties were still under the impression that the original owners were still active. When I came in, there was about 16,000 dollars of back pay owed. We paid it down to 6,000 with the agreement that we would pay the last bit in cash. They refused to meet us with some of our requests with the lease agreement, and we never saw eye to eye on what we needed to flourish as a business.

They also blamed our clientele, which aggravated me. We were getting to the point where we were becoming the go-to for the service industry. It was nothing for an owner of a fine dining restaurant to come in and sit at my bar to have a late night drink. Very well respected people came in there. To say that our clientele was an issue was to say they had an issue with the people serving their lunch in the day time and that's just unacceptable. At the end of the day, I've wanted to start a new business or continue the Foxhole, but I've had to focus on many things...like my family."

    "I am truly inspired by all of the people I am surrounded by on a daily basis in this city. There are so many big names doing big things. People like Jacy Jenkins and Cora King with   ElectricCityLife.com  , Garrett Lawerence, Miles Greathouse, Robert Battle, Trevor Morris, Jud Richardson, Erin Stewart, Matt McCabe, Steve Thompson, Zac Young...so so many to name. It's people like this that will continue to help our city grow."

 

"I am truly inspired by all of the people I am surrounded by on a daily basis in this city. There are so many big names doing big things. People like Jacy Jenkins and Cora King with ElectricCityLife.com, Garrett Lawerence, Miles Greathouse, Robert Battle, Trevor Morris, Jud Richardson, Erin Stewart, Matt McCabe, Steve Thompson, Zac Young...so so many to name. It's people like this that will continue to help our city grow."

    "Becoming a father has been an experience like no other. My girlfriend and I have personalities that are remarkably similar when it comes to sense of humor and mannerisms, so it's really crazy to see this little carbon copy of yourselves running around mocking your expressions. Needless to say I absolutely love being a father, and I love my family like nothing else on Earth."

 

"Becoming a father has been an experience like no other. My girlfriend and I have personalities that are remarkably similar when it comes to sense of humor and mannerisms, so it's really crazy to see this little carbon copy of yourselves running around mocking your expressions. Needless to say I absolutely love being a father, and I love my family like nothing else on Earth."

   - In your opinion, what are some of the things that need to change our city? Do you think there are things that are hindering the city from becoming what it needs to be? -  "We have to start paying attention to the south side and consider development other than a Wal-Mart. They need dependable jobs, better public transportation and more grocery stores. It's practically a food dessert if we compare it to the north side of 13th Street divide. The vote to have mixed use zoning in desolate areas was a start, but you still have to give a reason for people to invest. No one talks about going to South Lumpkin Road or Benning Road. We need to change that because not only is it bad for the economy, it doesn't give a good first impression of Columbus when entering from U.S. Highway 280/Victory Drive. We need development other than shopping centers.  That plays into income inequality as well. We have a concentration of very successful businesses, some even with Fortune 500 status, all while we are below the national average concerning median household income and individual savings. That's not a recipe for a growing economy and its why we have become so dependent on tourism in the wake of a shrinking military and inevitability a shrinking Ft. Benning. We need more entry level jobs that aren't Wal-Mart Supercenters.  And lastly, we have to reign in Columbus State University and the PPPs(Public Private Partnership) that they have taken advantage of on the back of student debt. Their impact goes without question, but the acquisition of the Ledger is a turn in why they came to Uptown to begin with. It was originally about providing arts and entertainment to the Uptown community. A nursing school and early education center has nothing to do with that. It's a veiled lie. A broken promise. And, in my opinion, it's sucking the soul out of Uptown. What was supposed to be a destination with an university campus is becoming an university campus marketed as a destination. We need to objectively reevaluate CSU's presence in Uptown, an area of town now near full development.  IF anything, think these three things are the vicious cycle responsible for hindering the city."

 

- In your opinion, what are some of the things that need to change our city? Do you think there are things that are hindering the city from becoming what it needs to be? -

"We have to start paying attention to the south side and consider development other than a Wal-Mart. They need dependable jobs, better public transportation and more grocery stores. It's practically a food dessert if we compare it to the north side of 13th Street divide. The vote to have mixed use zoning in desolate areas was a start, but you still have to give a reason for people to invest. No one talks about going to South Lumpkin Road or Benning Road. We need to change that because not only is it bad for the economy, it doesn't give a good first impression of Columbus when entering from U.S. Highway 280/Victory Drive. We need development other than shopping centers.

That plays into income inequality as well. We have a concentration of very successful businesses, some even with Fortune 500 status, all while we are below the national average concerning median household income and individual savings. That's not a recipe for a growing economy and its why we have become so dependent on tourism in the wake of a shrinking military and inevitability a shrinking Ft. Benning. We need more entry level jobs that aren't Wal-Mart Supercenters.

And lastly, we have to reign in Columbus State University and the PPPs(Public Private Partnership) that they have taken advantage of on the back of student debt. Their impact goes without question, but the acquisition of the Ledger is a turn in why they came to Uptown to begin with. It was originally about providing arts and entertainment to the Uptown community. A nursing school and early education center has nothing to do with that. It's a veiled lie. A broken promise. And, in my opinion, it's sucking the soul out of Uptown. What was supposed to be a destination with an university campus is becoming an university campus marketed as a destination. We need to objectively reevaluate CSU's presence in Uptown, an area of town now near full development.

IF anything, think these three things are the vicious cycle responsible for hindering the city."

   Being a student of martial arts for many years, I am familiar with so many schools scattered along the city. However, I was recently pointed out to one gym in particular...the kind of gym you would find in the movies. It has that "real gym" feel, almost like an old school Gold's Gym meets Rocky, mixed with a scene from the Jean Claude Van Dame's Kickboxer series. As I entered, the ring was filled with students drenched in sweat, rotating punch drills with their instructor. On the other end...fighters wrestling on the ground practicing Jiujitsu. Here is where I met Joseph. This, is his story. -  "Hi there, My name is Joseph Creer. I am the co-owner of F3 Training Center and Bad Apple MMA here in Columbus Georgia. I am 33 years old and I am professional mixed-martial artist, boxer, Jiujitsu practitioner and business owner. We opened F3 Training Center in February 2014. This gym provides martial arts training in the realm of boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, Jiujitsu and mixed-martial arts. We also provide personal fitness and training classes, strength and conditioning and we also are the home of Columbus Georgia's Outsiders MMA fight team...the only active fight team in Columbus, Georgia. When people come here for the first time, they get a free week. My goal is to never let anyone down. We build not only fighters here...but family as well. You really do make friends for a lifetime and learn a valuable skill set."  - Did you know you always wanted to do this?-  "Yep...ever since 'BloodSport'. (Chuckles) I told my mom...'Mom I want to that when I grow up.' She said NO it's dangerous. So I kept quiet for many years. I tell my mom now, 'See ma, if you would have let me do BloodSport as a kid...I would have been UFC champion by now." (Jokingly laughs)

 

Being a student of martial arts for many years, I am familiar with so many schools scattered along the city. However, I was recently pointed out to one gym in particular...the kind of gym you would find in the movies. It has that "real gym" feel, almost like an old school Gold's Gym meets Rocky, mixed with a scene from the Jean Claude Van Dame's Kickboxer series. As I entered, the ring was filled with students drenched in sweat, rotating punch drills with their instructor. On the other end...fighters wrestling on the ground practicing Jiujitsu. Here is where I met Joseph. This, is his story. -

"Hi there, My name is Joseph Creer. I am the co-owner of F3 Training Center and Bad Apple MMA here in Columbus Georgia. I am 33 years old and I am professional mixed-martial artist, boxer, Jiujitsu practitioner and business owner. We opened F3 Training Center in February 2014. This gym provides martial arts training in the realm of boxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, Jiujitsu and mixed-martial arts. We also provide personal fitness and training classes, strength and conditioning and we also are the home of Columbus Georgia's Outsiders MMA fight team...the only active fight team in Columbus, Georgia. When people come here for the first time, they get a free week. My goal is to never let anyone down. We build not only fighters here...but family as well. You really do make friends for a lifetime and learn a valuable skill set."

- Did you know you always wanted to do this?-

"Yep...ever since 'BloodSport'. (Chuckles) I told my mom...'Mom I want to that when I grow up.' She said NO it's dangerous. So I kept quiet for many years. I tell my mom now, 'See ma, if you would have let me do BloodSport as a kid...I would have been UFC champion by now." (Jokingly laughs)

    "I was in the military for 14 years, deployed three times to Iraq...I'm still in the reserve. This gym, and everything you see is deployment money and Donnie's hard earned money. Donnie and I went in together. We both own this gym. He matched me to every dollar. I've been competing for about 7 years now. The way this all started was when I went to an XFC tryout years ago. XFC ended up getting a co  ntract in Brazil. They had a tryout in Charleston, SC in 2012, and the winner would get a contract with them. So my friend Prince and I went and paid 50 bucks to try out...the next day I won the contract. Prince also did extremely well for himself.  What was more important than that contract I won were the connections I made in Charleston. The trails were held in an MMA gym called Charleston MMA, it's run by a promoter of Conflict MMA Jared Williams. At the time he was also the owner of Charleston MMA, when Prince and I went down there to fight, Jared saw us compete and later came up to us and asked us if we could fight for his promotion. So, not only did I win a contract with the XFC, he gave me the opportunity to fight for Conflict MMA. When I got back I told Donnie, "Hey man I won a contract with XFC." His response..."Now we have to get serious." (Chuckles) I thought we already were at that point. I guess I was wrong. (Jokingly laughs)  We have a running joke around the gym where Donnie and I are mom and dad. We argue all the time but we have a love and respect for each other."

 

"I was in the military for 14 years, deployed three times to Iraq...I'm still in the reserve. This gym, and everything you see is deployment money and Donnie's hard earned money. Donnie and I went in together. We both own this gym. He matched me to every dollar. I've been competing for about 7 years now. The way this all started was when I went to an XFC tryout years ago. XFC ended up getting a contract in Brazil. They had a tryout in Charleston, SC in 2012, and the winner would get a contract with them. So my friend Prince and I went and paid 50 bucks to try out...the next day I won the contract. Prince also did extremely well for himself.

What was more important than that contract I won were the connections I made in Charleston. The trails were held in an MMA gym called Charleston MMA, it's run by a promoter of Conflict MMA Jared Williams. At the time he was also the owner of Charleston MMA, when Prince and I went down there to fight, Jared saw us compete and later came up to us and asked us if we could fight for his promotion. So, not only did I win a contract with the XFC, he gave me the opportunity to fight for Conflict MMA. When I got back I told Donnie, "Hey man I won a contract with XFC." His response..."Now we have to get serious." (Chuckles) I thought we already were at that point. I guess I was wrong. (Jokingly laughs)

We have a running joke around the gym where Donnie and I are mom and dad. We argue all the time but we have a love and respect for each other."

    "I encourage everyone to compete when learning how to fight. We teach so many things in our gym, but in the end of the day it's all about self defense and discipline. Competition is a culmination of everything we do here. That's the only way you can simulate someone standing across from you who doesn't care about your well being. It's a safe environment because you have a referee, but in the streets there is none.   While we train we are all still friends. Don't get me wrong on our sparring days we kick the crap out of each other, but you always here me tell everyone 'Hey guys you can kick to the head but just 5%. You can throw a knee but just 5%.' But in a competition....if someone is throwing a head kick you are throwing it 100%, and you are going to feel it. In this gym...we build champions...fighters."     

 

"I encourage everyone to compete when learning how to fight. We teach so many things in our gym, but in the end of the day it's all about self defense and discipline. Competition is a culmination of everything we do here. That's the only way you can simulate someone standing across from you who doesn't care about your well being. It's a safe environment because you have a referee, but in the streets there is none. 

While we train we are all still friends. Don't get me wrong on our sparring days we kick the crap out of each other, but you always here me tell everyone 'Hey guys you can kick to the head but just 5%. You can throw a knee but just 5%.' But in a competition....if someone is throwing a head kick you are throwing it 100%, and you are going to feel it. In this gym...we build champions...fighters."

 

    "The first step for us was to build a gym. The second step was for us to build fighters. Donnie built a home-made gym in his backyard with everything we needed. That was some of the best training I ever received. He has a ring, bags...everything. It was great. After the contract, we had to get serious. We wanted to take the back yard gym and make it bigger. This gym...everybody loves this gym. If you've ever been to a classic boxing gym...that's the feeling you get when you come in here. It's all such a humbling experience."   

 

"The first step for us was to build a gym. The second step was for us to build fighters. Donnie built a home-made gym in his backyard with everything we needed. That was some of the best training I ever received. He has a ring, bags...everything. It was great. After the contract, we had to get serious. We wanted to take the back yard gym and make it bigger. This gym...everybody loves this gym. If you've ever been to a classic boxing gym...that's the feeling you get when you come in here. It's all such a humbling experience." 

    "One thing I ask everyone is to come out and try us for a week. It's life changing. I won't fail you. We won't fail you. I can proudly say we never do."    -Tell everyone where we can find you.-    "We are located on 4454 Warm Springs Rd, Columbus, GA 31909. F3 Training Center across the street from the Lakes. Thank you everyone for following my story."    -Merry Everything and Happy Always from OCOF! We will see you Monday morning!-

 

"One thing I ask everyone is to come out and try us for a week. It's life changing. I won't fail you. We won't fail you. I can proudly say we never do."

-Tell everyone where we can find you.-

"We are located on 4454 Warm Springs Rd, Columbus, GA 31909. F3 Training Center across the street from the Lakes. Thank you everyone for following my story."

-Merry Everything and Happy Always from OCOF! We will see you Monday morning!-

   -There are many cities that are automatically known for hosting some of the biggest names and largest shows in music. I think it's fair to say that these same cities make it easier for musicians who truly have a passion for music, make a name for themselves. Places like New York, Nashville and Seattle are just a few that have spawned many decades of defining music.  But what about small cities? Cities that not many people have heard of. 20 years ago Columbus, Georgia for example was not a place you'd add to the list of cities doing big things for the music world. And why is that? Columbus has been home to so many amazing musicians since the birth of its time. From the musical prodigy Blind Tom Wiggins born in 1849, to the "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey born 1886...all the way to artists like Curley Money, Robert Cray, Keni Thomas and even 2002's American Idol runner up Justin Guarini. Columbus has birthed many amazing and talented musicians, but why is there a lack of support for musicians and their success?  It wasn't until the early 2000's that a small group of people created a music scene here...one in my opinion, if nothing else...set a foundation for what we are trying to maintain. It is argued that we don't have a music scene here in Columbus, Georgia. My goal is to make you ask yourself...why? Is there enough support for your fellow musician here? And, if not...what do we have to do to make it happen? This week we follow a man who played a major role in bringing music of all types into a city that was never really ready for it, and the lasting effect it has had on our nightlife and quite possibly...our subculture.-  "Hey my name is Lance, I am 33 years old. I'm from Columbus, Georgia. I've lived here pretty much all my life. I lived here and there for a little while. I've seen many things. I spent 8 years of my life touring the country with my band. It was your typical 'Sleep on a couch or live in your van kind of life. I am back here in my home town for good now. Lot's of amazing memories and experiences."  -Tell me about your band Thrill Of A Gunfight. Was that your first official band?-  "Thrill Of A Gunfight was kind of my baby. We started that band in 2005. I was in a lot of bands before that, but I would say Thrill was the first band I truly put all of my heart into. We had the right people and the right 'know-how' to actually get out and not only write music, but play it well and go tour. That was my life at the time.  After high school, one of the bands that got me playing out a lot was a band called Non Coherent. Back then, there wasn't an all-ages venue where you could play music. You either played in a downtown bar or not at all. My friends at the time were 18-19 years old...and we couldn't get into the bars. We rented a warehouse off of 10th Street as a practice spot. After a while, we were in a "F***, we have rent to pay," situation and decided to start throwing shows for all ages. (Chuckles)  -Did you give the place a name? How did it all start?-  "Yeah, it was called the Warehouse. We had all the local bands come out and bring their friends. It didn't matter what music you played. It was music. It was different. It was crazy how many people came out. Back then, it was nothing to have 250-300 people at a show. Sooner or later we started getting out-of-town bands to come and play. We had Chad DarkWait come and bring bands from out-of-town as well. So, it started as local bands and friends...to local and outside bands...both drawing huge crowds. That lasted about a solid year. They found out we were doing local shows to the pay the rent without a business license, so we moved to another warehouse off of Flat Rock Road. We started doing the same thing but it just got bigger and bigger. We were looking at a 400-500 person turnout easy. You can say we started this music scene by accident. (Humbly chuckles) All we wanted to do was pay our rent.  Back then, there was no Facebook or even MySpace, so we had to get our asses out there with flyers and pass them out to everyone we could. It's a lot harder to get a large crowd out for bands these days. The internet has been a wonderful and detrimental tool for the musician. The idea of... 'Why go out and pay 5 dollars to see a couple of bands when you can listen to them for free on the internet' exists today. It's such a sad concept. Honestly, if you want to experience music...go see it LIVE."

 

-There are many cities that are automatically known for hosting some of the biggest names and largest shows in music. I think it's fair to say that these same cities make it easier for musicians who truly have a passion for music, make a name for themselves. Places like New York, Nashville and Seattle are just a few that have spawned many decades of defining music.

But what about small cities? Cities that not many people have heard of. 20 years ago Columbus, Georgia for example was not a place you'd add to the list of cities doing big things for the music world. And why is that? Columbus has been home to so many amazing musicians since the birth of its time. From the musical prodigy Blind Tom Wiggins born in 1849, to the "Mother of the Blues" Ma Rainey born 1886...all the way to artists like Curley Money, Robert Cray, Keni Thomas and even 2002's American Idol runner up Justin Guarini. Columbus has birthed many amazing and talented musicians, but why is there a lack of support for musicians and their success?

It wasn't until the early 2000's that a small group of people created a music scene here...one in my opinion, if nothing else...set a foundation for what we are trying to maintain. It is argued that we don't have a music scene here in Columbus, Georgia. My goal is to make you ask yourself...why? Is there enough support for your fellow musician here? And, if not...what do we have to do to make it happen? This week we follow a man who played a major role in bringing music of all types into a city that was never really ready for it, and the lasting effect it has had on our nightlife and quite possibly...our subculture.-

"Hey my name is Lance, I am 33 years old. I'm from Columbus, Georgia. I've lived here pretty much all my life. I lived here and there for a little while. I've seen many things. I spent 8 years of my life touring the country with my band. It was your typical 'Sleep on a couch or live in your van kind of life. I am back here in my home town for good now. Lot's of amazing memories and experiences."

-Tell me about your band Thrill Of A Gunfight. Was that your first official band?-

"Thrill Of A Gunfight was kind of my baby. We started that band in 2005. I was in a lot of bands before that, but I would say Thrill was the first band I truly put all of my heart into. We had the right people and the right 'know-how' to actually get out and not only write music, but play it well and go tour. That was my life at the time.

After high school, one of the bands that got me playing out a lot was a band called Non Coherent. Back then, there wasn't an all-ages venue where you could play music. You either played in a downtown bar or not at all. My friends at the time were 18-19 years old...and we couldn't get into the bars. We rented a warehouse off of 10th Street as a practice spot. After a while, we were in a "F***, we have rent to pay," situation and decided to start throwing shows for all ages. (Chuckles)

-Did you give the place a name? How did it all start?-

"Yeah, it was called the Warehouse. We had all the local bands come out and bring their friends. It didn't matter what music you played. It was music. It was different. It was crazy how many people came out. Back then, it was nothing to have 250-300 people at a show. Sooner or later we started getting out-of-town bands to come and play. We had Chad DarkWait come and bring bands from out-of-town as well. So, it started as local bands and friends...to local and outside bands...both drawing huge crowds. That lasted about a solid year. They found out we were doing local shows to the pay the rent without a business license, so we moved to another warehouse off of Flat Rock Road. We started doing the same thing but it just got bigger and bigger. We were looking at a 400-500 person turnout easy. You can say we started this music scene by accident. (Humbly chuckles) All we wanted to do was pay our rent.

Back then, there was no Facebook or even MySpace, so we had to get our asses out there with flyers and pass them out to everyone we could. It's a lot harder to get a large crowd out for bands these days. The internet has been a wonderful and detrimental tool for the musician. The idea of... 'Why go out and pay 5 dollars to see a couple of bands when you can listen to them for free on the internet' exists today. It's such a sad concept. Honestly, if you want to experience music...go see it LIVE."

   -You always hear how music is a universal language that connects us all. I for one believe that to be true. Music, is also like fine art on canvas. Some pieces you don't care for, others simply speak into your soul. We all have different likes and dislikes yet manage to find so many others who adore the same things you do. It's that type of beauty that only art...music in particular, can show us. Somewhere along the way however, the admiration for LIVE music lost its luster.  I know first hand what it's like to have a catastrophic gig, as well as having an entire venue dancing and screaming their heads off to the sound of my band. I also know what it's like to go to a local venue and unexpectedly find a band that completely changes your life. A band that plays their heart out to a crowd of hundreds...or a crowd of two bar patrons. I've been there. I've seen it. I've felt it. You see, everyone adores music, but so many fail to realize what an artist has to go through to make that music possible. To say that being a musician is not a real job, or to say there is no sympathy given because it is a position in life they chose, is an unfortunate reality.  Social media has been a revolutionary tool in our society except now it seems we as a people have to find a new way to coexist in a new world, and figure out a new way to communicate...stand out and make a name for ourselves, all through a monitor. Everything is bigger, better, faster these days. It's important to take a step back and admire a craft. I was interested to know if Lance had experienced any noticeable changes touring around the country during the rise of social media.  What kind of impact do you think the internet had on the music industry? On the underground music industry? To be honest, you lived it. You were on the road when social media was on the rise. What changes did you see?-  "Like I said earlier, paying 5 bucks to see six bands became a no go. I'm not talking bad about the younger kids, most of them have their head in the right place but some of them just don't get it. They don't think about what it takes for a musician on the road to make it work. If you have a band from New York driving down here to play a gig at one of our bars, some people forget that it takes so much money to keep the van going, maintenance...etc. to come play a show for YOU. It was nothing for bands back in the early 2000's to get 5 bucks from individuals for the cover charge, CD's or t-shirts...whatever...and to get packed out gigs. Now people won't even spend 5 bucks to see six bands, or one for that matter. Social media had a lot to do with the way things have changed for sure.  On the positive side to all of this though, the internet made it so much easier to book gigs online. There was a website called  byofl.org  or something like that, it's been forever (laughs), where you just put your band's info in and wait for venues to call you. It was brilliant. Plus, the internet made it easier for you to get your name out, not only in the states...but world-wide. GPS was amazing! (Chuckles) When MySpace blew up...it simply benefitted every band. So, I don't know man...the internet was both good and bad for the industry. All I can tell the younger kids now is to just start your fucking band. If you truly have a passion for it...if you live, breathe and eat music...start your band and go tour. Play live and don't half-ass it! I promise you it's beyond possible. It's a hard life...but IF music is your life...it doesn't matter."

 

-You always hear how music is a universal language that connects us all. I for one believe that to be true. Music, is also like fine art on canvas. Some pieces you don't care for, others simply speak into your soul. We all have different likes and dislikes yet manage to find so many others who adore the same things you do. It's that type of beauty that only art...music in particular, can show us. Somewhere along the way however, the admiration for LIVE music lost its luster.

I know first hand what it's like to have a catastrophic gig, as well as having an entire venue dancing and screaming their heads off to the sound of my band. I also know what it's like to go to a local venue and unexpectedly find a band that completely changes your life. A band that plays their heart out to a crowd of hundreds...or a crowd of two bar patrons. I've been there. I've seen it. I've felt it. You see, everyone adores music, but so many fail to realize what an artist has to go through to make that music possible. To say that being a musician is not a real job, or to say there is no sympathy given because it is a position in life they chose, is an unfortunate reality.

Social media has been a revolutionary tool in our society except now it seems we as a people have to find a new way to coexist in a new world, and figure out a new way to communicate...stand out and make a name for ourselves, all through a monitor. Everything is bigger, better, faster these days. It's important to take a step back and admire a craft. I was interested to know if Lance had experienced any noticeable changes touring around the country during the rise of social media.

What kind of impact do you think the internet had on the music industry? On the underground music industry? To be honest, you lived it. You were on the road when social media was on the rise. What changes did you see?-

"Like I said earlier, paying 5 bucks to see six bands became a no go. I'm not talking bad about the younger kids, most of them have their head in the right place but some of them just don't get it. They don't think about what it takes for a musician on the road to make it work. If you have a band from New York driving down here to play a gig at one of our bars, some people forget that it takes so much money to keep the van going, maintenance...etc. to come play a show for YOU. It was nothing for bands back in the early 2000's to get 5 bucks from individuals for the cover charge, CD's or t-shirts...whatever...and to get packed out gigs. Now people won't even spend 5 bucks to see six bands, or one for that matter. Social media had a lot to do with the way things have changed for sure.

On the positive side to all of this though, the internet made it so much easier to book gigs online. There was a website called byofl.org or something like that, it's been forever (laughs), where you just put your band's info in and wait for venues to call you. It was brilliant. Plus, the internet made it easier for you to get your name out, not only in the states...but world-wide. GPS was amazing! (Chuckles) When MySpace blew up...it simply benefitted every band. So, I don't know man...the internet was both good and bad for the industry. All I can tell the younger kids now is to just start your fucking band. If you truly have a passion for it...if you live, breathe and eat music...start your band and go tour. Play live and don't half-ass it! I promise you it's beyond possible. It's a hard life...but IF music is your life...it doesn't matter."

   -So, you’re a dad right?-  “I am a dad.” (Proudly grins)  -How many kids do you have? –  “I have two wonderful boys.”  - Are they musically inclined? My son just got into music but it took him a while. –  “It took them a while, my oldest son Carson, he’s 12, I got him into playing drums a year ago. He picked up on it like crazy! I showed him a little 4/4 drum pattern back when I was at the Plughouse…I said ‘Carson…let me show you this.’ I come back 30 minutes later and he’s just…drumming it! I freaked out so I pulled out my phone and started recording. I just told him to keep playing and I just followed along with my guitar. It was just awesome. My 7 year old is all about guitar. I am still working with him but he’s getting it!  Touring was really hard on me and took a toll on me after a while. Being in Thrill and even the band  Carrier , I enjoyed the time I spent with them. Carrier is still a band and I highly recommend everyone go check them out. They are good people and a great band. I lost a lot of time with my kids, and I made a lot of sacrifices…but in the end…I wanted my kids to see that if they really want something…go for it. There is nothing stopping them from their dreams. They saw their dad do it. They know their dad made it and supported me. It is the best feeling in the world. As I got older, my priorities changed. I wanted to focus more on my kids and take the energy I had in music and use it to be self-employed.  When I left the bands, I went back to doing what I was always good at…which was painting. I started my own painting company and have been doing it ever since. It is the best decision I have ever made. I love what I do, I love that I have an honest business and a good name to back it up.  - The name of your company is  Fountain City Painting Contractors  correct? I love that. I have seen your work and it is amazing. I will encourage everyone to go check you out! – -  “Thanks so much. I have two workers under me who also do a fantastic job. It truly is an amazing feeling to work for your self. I really appreciate everyone’s business. My focus is clear and my life is where it needs to be. “

 

-So, you’re a dad right?-

“I am a dad.” (Proudly grins)

-How many kids do you have? –

“I have two wonderful boys.”

- Are they musically inclined? My son just got into music but it took him a while. –

“It took them a while, my oldest son Carson, he’s 12, I got him into playing drums a year ago. He picked up on it like crazy! I showed him a little 4/4 drum pattern back when I was at the Plughouse…I said ‘Carson…let me show you this.’ I come back 30 minutes later and he’s just…drumming it! I freaked out so I pulled out my phone and started recording. I just told him to keep playing and I just followed along with my guitar. It was just awesome. My 7 year old is all about guitar. I am still working with him but he’s getting it!

Touring was really hard on me and took a toll on me after a while. Being in Thrill and even the band Carrier, I enjoyed the time I spent with them. Carrier is still a band and I highly recommend everyone go check them out. They are good people and a great band. I lost a lot of time with my kids, and I made a lot of sacrifices…but in the end…I wanted my kids to see that if they really want something…go for it. There is nothing stopping them from their dreams. They saw their dad do it. They know their dad made it and supported me. It is the best feeling in the world. As I got older, my priorities changed. I wanted to focus more on my kids and take the energy I had in music and use it to be self-employed.

When I left the bands, I went back to doing what I was always good at…which was painting. I started my own painting company and have been doing it ever since. It is the best decision I have ever made. I love what I do, I love that I have an honest business and a good name to back it up.

- The name of your company is Fountain City Painting Contractors correct? I love that. I have seen your work and it is amazing. I will encourage everyone to go check you out! –

“Thanks so much. I have two workers under me who also do a fantastic job. It truly is an amazing feeling to work for your self. I really appreciate everyone’s business. My focus is clear and my life is where it needs to be. “

"Chicken with Chino"    -What were some of your favorite bands growing up? Which ones inspired you to want to play music? -    “There were a couple of cool bands I listened too when I was growing up that changed my life. Green Day and Nirvana made a pretty big impact. I’d have to say my number one band would have to be The  #Deftones  . I’ve seen them perform many times. I actually snuck on their tour bu  s and met Chino Moreno. I remember it was during their White Pony Tour and he was sitting there eating chicken wings. His security charged at me and Chino just stopped them. He was like ‘Nah man, he’s cool let him in. ‘ We started talking and I remember him offering me a chicken wing. (Laughs) That was a pretty surreal experience. (Chuckles) I remember telling him that I loved him and how their music changed my life.  You forget how much music truly impacts your life until moments like that happen. A few years later, when I was touring with TOAGF, a guy I never met before came up to me after the show and told me that he loved me and the band so much and that we changed his life. I completely felt like I was back on that bus with Chino…I totally understood how he felt…but it was weird because he was saying it to me. To me…we were just in a band playing music that we loved. It’s those moments that make touring just a pretty awesome experience.”    

"Chicken with Chino"

-What were some of your favorite bands growing up? Which ones inspired you to want to play music? -

“There were a couple of cool bands I listened too when I was growing up that changed my life. Green Day and Nirvana made a pretty big impact. I’d have to say my number one band would have to be The#Deftones. I’ve seen them perform many times. I actually snuck on their tour bus and met Chino Moreno. I remember it was during their White Pony Tour and he was sitting there eating chicken wings. His security charged at me and Chino just stopped them. He was like ‘Nah man, he’s cool let him in. ‘ We started talking and I remember him offering me a chicken wing. (Laughs) That was a pretty surreal experience. (Chuckles) I remember telling him that I loved him and how their music changed my life.

You forget how much music truly impacts your life until moments like that happen. A few years later, when I was touring with TOAGF, a guy I never met before came up to me after the show and told me that he loved me and the band so much and that we changed his life. I completely felt like I was back on that bus with Chino…I totally understood how he felt…but it was weird because he was saying it to me. To me…we were just in a band playing music that we loved. It’s those moments that make touring just a pretty awesome experience.”

 

A huge thanks to Lance for this week's OCOF. Be sure to spread the word about his Paint Business  Fountain City Painting Contractors   and thanks for following!    

A huge thanks to Lance for this week's OCOF. Be sure to spread the word about his Paint BusinessFountain City Painting Contractors and thanks for following!

 

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can   afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -  "One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.  I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."    

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -

"One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.

I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."

 

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can   afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -  "One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.  I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."    

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -

"One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.

I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."

 

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can   afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -  "One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.  I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."    

-Looking back at the last twenty years, I can honestly say I have seen the fall in our economy. After speaking with so many people, I realized just how bad our economy has affected our city. With the rise of our city's cost of living and the stagnant minimum wage increase, to the lack of a proper public transportation for the city...making a life for yourself here is really hard. Not everyone can afford an education. Not everyone comes from educationally motivated upbringing. There is a picture painted with an underlying unseen surface. A sad picture painted over. -

"One of the biggest issues we have in the city is affordable childcare. There are so many single moms and dads out there who can not afford it. It's hard for a person in our age group to find affordable child care. There aren't many good paying jobs in the city and a good daycare will run you $150-$250 a week. I remember being a single mom, it was a nightmare trying to find someone to watch my child while having to go to work. The cost of living in Columbus is rising and yet our minimum wage fails to rise with it. You would need three full time jobs making minimum wage in each to be able to survive...and not comfortably.

I think there needs to be better programs for child care assistance. And, to have a system that's not flawed...make it easier to use. I understand there are policies that fall in place to prevent people from cheating the system, but I can tell you from experience and from the number of friends I have who truly need it, there is not much help out there. I always see people on Facebook asking for someone to help watch their kids so that they can go to work. It's cheaper to have friends watch your kids then to pay a service. Then you have to put your trust in someone to watch your kids. I know it's not just a Columbus issue, but it IS a huge issue here. Something seriously must be done."

 

Black-Parade  "Whispers of seduction slither their way- Into the remnants of a heart once beating- And the humming drums of pain- Travel down the street in a black parade- Heading your way- Pulling you closer, deeper- While pushing you away- Until, finally, they snap your last heartstring."     

Black-Parade

"Whispers of seduction slither their way-
Into the remnants of a heart once beating-
And the humming drums of pain-
Travel down the street in a black parade-
Heading your way-
Pulling you closer, deeper-
While pushing you away-
Until, finally, they snap your last heartstring."

 

- There is an entire world of talent waiting to be seen. I knew this coming into this project. This is why I do this. You, reading this, are important. To watch humbled people speak of their gifts, and share their life with me is truly an honor. Also, to have the courage to come out publicly about any of it amazes me. This is the case with this week's OCOF, Kristen. She is an amazingly talented poet and artist who is connected to her family roots and is a genuine spirit. This is her story. -  "Hello, my name is Kristen Rutherford. I am 26 years old. I have one daughter, married a keeper and became a stepmother of two. I love them all as my own. We have three girls 5 and under. I have triplet bothers and a sister. I am a painter, a poet, a stay at home wife and a writer for  grimmgreen.com.  I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades.   I was born in Union Springs, Alabama. According to my parents, every hospital in Columbus was on strike at the time of my birth, so we had to find nearby hospitals to go to for any situation. According to the stories, this particular hospital was a one story nightmare. My parents remember the floors being absolutely disturbing (Chuckles). Mom said my dad drove a "yellow-beater", and when it was time to take us to the hospital, his car was boomin'. Mom was screaming at him to turn the music off and grandma was in the back of the car yelling at both of them. (Laughs) My birth was truly an event.   This mural behind me is one I painted at my stepdad's Vape shop. He owns  Rivertown Vapor . They were the third to open in the market when vaping hit Columbus. The minute you come in here you really do feel the family atmosphere. This piece took about two and half hours to complete. I work fast, and I love playing with colors. I love that he let me create in here."          

- There is an entire world of talent waiting to be seen. I knew this coming into this project. This is why I do this. You, reading this, are important. To watch humbled people speak of their gifts, and share their life with me is truly an honor. Also, to have the courage to come out publicly about any of it amazes me. This is the case with this week's OCOF, Kristen. She is an amazingly talented poet and artist who is connected to her family roots and is a genuine spirit. This is her story. -

"Hello, my name is Kristen Rutherford. I am 26 years old. I have one daughter, married a keeper and became a stepmother of two. I love them all as my own. We have three girls 5 and under. I have triplet bothers and a sister. I am a painter, a poet, a stay at home wife and a writer for grimmgreen.com. I like to think of myself as a jack of all trades. 

I was born in Union Springs, Alabama. According to my parents, every hospital in Columbus was on strike at the time of my birth, so we had to find nearby hospitals to go to for any situation. According to the stories, this particular hospital was a one story nightmare. My parents remember the floors being absolutely disturbing (Chuckles). Mom said my dad drove a "yellow-beater", and when it was time to take us to the hospital, his car was boomin'. Mom was screaming at him to turn the music off and grandma was in the back of the car yelling at both of them. (Laughs) My birth was truly an event. 

This mural behind me is one I painted at my stepdad's Vape shop. He owns Rivertown Vapor. They were the third to open in the market when vaping hit Columbus. The minute you come in here you really do feel the family atmosphere. This piece took about two and half hours to complete. I work fast, and I love playing with colors. I love that he let me create in here."

 

 

"My name is Kayla Lippert, I’m 25 years old and I just got one of my dream jobs in advertising at the largest media company in the Columbus area. Before then I was working in nursing so it was a shock to me that I was even able to get this job. A lot of things have happened in my life that’ve led up to this point, and I think that the experiences that I’ve had are a testimony to how life can work   for you in terms of the different experiences that people have and the different paths they go through in order to get where they are meant to be. I have a blog called “LIFE OP-ED”, I started it a few months ago. It’s kind of an ongoing project that I’ve had. I have had similar blogs in the past that have been pretty successful, but this is my new incarnation of that project. The idea behind it is to share ideas that are not the normal conventional ways of thinking or living. I’ll talk about anything from, how to market experiences you’ve had with your life to get jobs you may not be qualified for on paper, to different ways to think about life, relationships, politics and social humanitarian causes.   Writing a blog has been fun, rewarding and engaging. Ironically enough, my blog is a part of how I got the job I have now. It’s amazing to be able to market yourself and share the ideas that you have and using it to your advantage, which in my opinion think is an idea not many people pursue. We live in a society where, anything you put on social media is supposed to be ‘privatized’ in many instances where you aren’t really supposed to share your opinion or, share your real experiences with other people. It kind of creates an environment of shame and negative connotation for any negative experience you’ve had in your life. I am humbled and feel very validated in the fact that I was able to use real negative experiences in my life, such as me being homeless in high school, and me going through a domestic situation I endured with my biological family; those experiences that helped me create a personal and real-brand if you will, of life that many people can relate to in order to market myself into this person that I am today and the position I have now."    

"My name is Kayla Lippert, I’m 25 years old and I just got one of my dream jobs in advertising at the largest media company in the Columbus area. Before then I was working in nursing so it was a shock to me that I was even able to get this job. A lot of things have happened in my life that’ve led up to this point, and I think that the experiences that I’ve had are a testimony to how life can work for you in terms of the different experiences that people have and the different paths they go through in order to get where they are meant to be. I have a blog called “LIFE OP-ED”, I started it a few months ago. It’s kind of an ongoing project that I’ve had. I have had similar blogs in the past that have been pretty successful, but this is my new incarnation of that project. The idea behind it is to share ideas that are not the normal conventional ways of thinking or living. I’ll talk about anything from, how to market experiences you’ve had with your life to get jobs you may not be qualified for on paper, to different ways to think about life, relationships, politics and social humanitarian causes. 

Writing a blog has been fun, rewarding and engaging. Ironically enough, my blog is a part of how I got the job I have now. It’s amazing to be able to market yourself and share the ideas that you have and using it to your advantage, which in my opinion think is an idea not many people pursue. We live in a society where, anything you put on social media is supposed to be ‘privatized’ in many instances where you aren’t really supposed to share your opinion or, share your real experiences with other people. It kind of creates an environment of shame and negative connotation for any negative experience you’ve had in your life. I am humbled and feel very validated in the fact that I was able to use real negative experiences in my life, such as me being homeless in high school, and me going through a domestic situation I endured with my biological family; those experiences that helped me create a personal and real-brand if you will, of life that many people can relate to in order to market myself into this person that I am today and the position I have now."

 

- As someone who is all too familiar with branding one's self and ideas, I could take one look at Kayla and see a familiar world. Her thoughts and her projects shine right through her. At 25, Kayla is building her Empire from the ground up, establishing a successful following while following through with her ideas. Those of you who have put every bit of your time and energy into what you've created and have stood by it 1,000% know that there is nothing that can come between you and your goals. To see someone this driven is refreshing and exactly what this city needs. -  "I feel like I am at the right place at the right time. It's incredible to see the changes happening in our city and at the company that I work for. There are some big projects that are happening for 2016 which I can't talk about just yet but everyone will know about it very soon. It's not only been exciting to see the changes that are happening, but to be an active part of it...that's a very big thing. I consider my role and my job to be, reaching out to businesses in the community that have a brand that speak to the over all quality of Columbus.   What I mean is that I reach out to owners in Columbus that I respect, that stand for something good...and I reach out to promote them as much as I can, not only to help their businesses but to help our publication brand them and ultimately help Columbus brand itself. It's something I take very seriously. I think people respond to it well. Everyone is engaging in this conversation, and it's certainly a conversation worth having."     

- As someone who is all too familiar with branding one's self and ideas, I could take one look at Kayla and see a familiar world. Her thoughts and her projects shine right through her. At 25, Kayla is building her Empire from the ground up, establishing a successful following while following through with her ideas. Those of you who have put every bit of your time and energy into what you've created and have stood by it 1,000% know that there is nothing that can come between you and your goals. To see someone this driven is refreshing and exactly what this city needs. -

"I feel like I am at the right place at the right time. It's incredible to see the changes happening in our city and at the company that I work for. There are some big projects that are happening for 2016 which I can't talk about just yet but everyone will know about it very soon. It's not only been exciting to see the changes that are happening, but to be an active part of it...that's a very big thing. I consider my role and my job to be, reaching out to businesses in the community that have a brand that speak to the over all quality of Columbus. 

What I mean is that I reach out to owners in Columbus that I respect, that stand for something good...and I reach out to promote them as much as I can, not only to help their businesses but to help our publication brand them and ultimately help Columbus brand itself. It's something I take very seriously. I think people respond to it well. Everyone is engaging in this conversation, and it's certainly a conversation worth having."

 

- As someone who is all too familiar with branding one's self and ideas, I could take one look at Kayla and see a familiar world. Her thoughts and her projects shine right through her. At 25, Kayla is building her Empire from the ground up, establishing a successful following while following through with her ideas. Those of you who have put every bit of your time and energy into what you've created and have stood by it 1,000% know that there is nothing that can come between you and your goals. To see someone this driven is refreshing and exactly what this city needs. -  "I feel like I am at the right place at the right time. It's incredible to see the changes happening in our city and at the company that I work for. There are some big projects that are happening for 2016 which I can't talk about just yet but everyone will know about it very soon. It's not only been exciting to see the changes that are happening, but to be an active part of it...that's a very big thing. I consider my role and my job to be, reaching out to businesses in the community that have a brand that speak to the over all quality of Columbus.   What I mean is that I reach out to owners in Columbus that I respect, that stand for something good...and I reach out to promote them as much as I can, not only to help their businesses but to help our publication brand them and ultimately help Columbus brand itself. It's something I take very seriously. I think people respond to it well. Everyone is engaging in this conversation, and it's certainly a conversation worth having."     

- As someone who is all too familiar with branding one's self and ideas, I could take one look at Kayla and see a familiar world. Her thoughts and her projects shine right through her. At 25, Kayla is building her Empire from the ground up, establishing a successful following while following through with her ideas. Those of you who have put every bit of your time and energy into what you've created and have stood by it 1,000% know that there is nothing that can come between you and your goals. To see someone this driven is refreshing and exactly what this city needs. -

"I feel like I am at the right place at the right time. It's incredible to see the changes happening in our city and at the company that I work for. There are some big projects that are happening for 2016 which I can't talk about just yet but everyone will know about it very soon. It's not only been exciting to see the changes that are happening, but to be an active part of it...that's a very big thing. I consider my role and my job to be, reaching out to businesses in the community that have a brand that speak to the over all quality of Columbus. 

What I mean is that I reach out to owners in Columbus that I respect, that stand for something good...and I reach out to promote them as much as I can, not only to help their businesses but to help our publication brand them and ultimately help Columbus brand itself. It's something I take very seriously. I think people respond to it well. Everyone is engaging in this conversation, and it's certainly a conversation worth having."

 

     "One part of the upcoming initiative that my company is doing is almost a community service project. They are going through many big concepts for the city. I have my own ideas on what they should do for our city, which is a homeless initiative. I have very strong ideas about the changes that need to be made and the ideas to head towards a solution for the homelessness that exists now.   I talked a lot about it on my blog Life Op-Ed...I have an article about it...but I've had this concept for many years now where we use the Berea College model, for a homeless shelter. If you are not familiar with it, Berea College is a working college in Kentucky where all of the students there get free tuition in exchange for working 15-20 hours a week in a job related to their chosen career field. So what that means for them is they get free housing for four years while having the opportunity to gain valid work experience, valid work values such as independence, self-reliance, creativity and work ethic...things that employers value.   It's off the radar for homeless shelters now to focus on getting people off the streets. They only select a very few amount of people and they're only able to house them for a short amount of time. They are not effective in making a tangible change in a person's life. So what I would want to do is provide a place that can focus on the individual, providing them with a foundation that helps them in their life after living in a shelter...setting them up for success. Having the skill-set and the motivation; to be treated like a human being, giving them the confidence they need to start a new life and make something out of themselves....that is something no one is talking about and they should be."     

 

"One part of the upcoming initiative that my company is doing is almost a community service project. They are going through many big concepts for the city. I have my own ideas on what they should do for our city, which is a homeless initiative. I have very strong ideas about the changes that need to be made and the ideas to head towards a solution for the homelessness that exists now. 

I talked a lot about it on my blog Life Op-Ed...I have an article about it...but I've had this concept for many years now where we use the Berea College model, for a homeless shelter. If you are not familiar with it, Berea College is a working college in Kentucky where all of the students there get free tuition in exchange for working 15-20 hours a week in a job related to their chosen career field. So what that means for them is they get free housing for four years while having the opportunity to gain valid work experience, valid work values such as independence, self-reliance, creativity and work ethic...things that employers value. 

It's off the radar for homeless shelters now to focus on getting people off the streets. They only select a very few amount of people and they're only able to house them for a short amount of time. They are not effective in making a tangible change in a person's life. So what I would want to do is provide a place that can focus on the individual, providing them with a foundation that helps them in their life after living in a shelter...setting them up for success. Having the skill-set and the motivation; to be treated like a human being, giving them the confidence they need to start a new life and make something out of themselves....that is something no one is talking about and they should be."

 

"When I was in high school, I was homeless for about 11 months. I had a domestic situation with my biological family. Ultimately, I think it's safe to argue that I chose to be homeless over living in that domestic situation. That may be controversial to say but, I stand by my decision...it was what was best for me. I slept in my car. I was actually a pretty good student at school. I was in the AP and IB programs, I took my studies seriously up until that point. I was a flutist...I was a competitive flutist. I remember practicing in parking lots and behind buildings. I'd go shower at the YMCA and then I would go to sleep. I had two jobs. I worked at Cici's Pizza and Tuxedo Warehouse and I went to school. I was determined to make something out of myself despite the circumstances I was in.     "Since that time in high school, I've actually changed a lot as a person. The thing I have to be most thankful for is my family now. I'm not legally adopted but I have in every other sense been adopted by a family which, amazingly enough...my friend in high school Jason...became my brother. He and I went to Prom together as friends, my junior year. He was the one who, af  ter we graduated high school was the one to say, 'Hey, if you need a place to stay you can come stay with me and my family for a week.' This was after I left a shelter and had nowhere to go. That week turned into the summer, and then they helped move me into college. They were always there for me over the holidays and any time I had to go back.  Finally, a couple of years later, HIS mom who I called 'PJ' at the time, said 'Hey can you just call me mom? That's pretty much what I am.' (humbly chuckles) And um....it just clicked since then. We all went to vacation shortly after, and I remember telling, Mr. Lippert at the time, 'Hey can I just call you dad?" So ever since that time, they have been my mom, my dad, my brothers and my sister. They've been here for me ever since. I have their last name now. I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for them. It's taken me quite a bit of time to learn how to be a daughter and a sister. It's been the greatest blessing in my life."  - Do you see yourself married with kids in the future? -  "Oh (Chuckles) I will definitely be married with children in the future. There is absolutely no pressure though, because frankly my philosophy in life is that things will happen whenever it is meant to happen and I've learned...probably the hard way...that it doesn't really make sense to have concrete goals because what you think you need to have for yourself may NOT be what you need to have. Things will work out as they're meant to be. Keep your head up. Pursue things that you are passionate about, but things will fall into place. Never get discouraged and take opportunities as they come."     



"When I was in high school, I was homeless for about 11 months. I had a domestic situation with my biological family. Ultimately, I think it's safe to argue that I chose to be homeless over living in that domestic situation. That may be controversial to say but, I stand by my decision...it was what was best for me. I slept in my car. I was actually a pretty good student at school. I was in the AP and IB programs, I took my studies seriously up until that point. I was a flutist...I was a competitive flutist. I remember practicing in parking lots and behind buildings. I'd go shower at the YMCA and then I would go to sleep. I had two jobs. I worked at Cici's Pizza and Tuxedo Warehouse and I went to school. I was determined to make something out of myself despite the circumstances I was in.


"Since that time in high school, I've actually changed a lot as a person. The thing I have to be most thankful for is my family now. I'm not legally adopted but I have in every other sense been adopted by a family which, amazingly enough...my friend in high school Jason...became my brother. He and I went to Prom together as friends, my junior year. He was the one who, after we graduated high school was the one to say, 'Hey, if you need a place to stay you can come stay with me and my family for a week.' This was after I left a shelter and had nowhere to go. That week turned into the summer, and then they helped move me into college. They were always there for me over the holidays and any time I had to go back.

Finally, a couple of years later, HIS mom who I called 'PJ' at the time, said 'Hey can you just call me mom? That's pretty much what I am.' (humbly chuckles) And um....it just clicked since then. We all went to vacation shortly after, and I remember telling, Mr. Lippert at the time, 'Hey can I just call you dad?" So ever since that time, they have been my mom, my dad, my brothers and my sister. They've been here for me ever since. I have their last name now. I wouldn't be who I am if it wasn't for them. It's taken me quite a bit of time to learn how to be a daughter and a sister. It's been the greatest blessing in my life."

- Do you see yourself married with kids in the future? -

"Oh (Chuckles) I will definitely be married with children in the future. There is absolutely no pressure though, because frankly my philosophy in life is that things will happen whenever it is meant to happen and I've learned...probably the hard way...that it doesn't really make sense to have concrete goals because what you think you need to have for yourself may NOT be what you need to have. Things will work out as they're meant to be. Keep your head up. Pursue things that you are passionate about, but things will fall into place. Never get discouraged and take opportunities as they come."

 

"Hey how you doin'? My name's Ruben. I'm originally from New York; born, bred, live and die with my New York in me. Over the course of my life however, I've lived in many places, remember all the faces, and have had the honor of endurin' the lives I've had. I'm an artist...from drawing, to sculpting and painting...I do it all. I've been an artist since as early as I can remember. I did a little wo  rk for Marvel Comics in my early years. These days I do portrait work and tattoo designs for clients now. I am a proud father and husband. My family is everything and the greatest thing to me. It's what has always brought me back to Georgia. I followed my baby brother, (The author and photographer of OCOF) and family here a long time ago. I've lived off and on in Columbus for almost twenty years, most recently in the last three months. It seems that no matter where I've been, I end up back in Columbus, Georgia."    

"Hey how you doin'? My name's Ruben. I'm originally from New York; born, bred, live and die with my New York in me. Over the course of my life however, I've lived in many places, remember all the faces, and have had the honor of endurin' the lives I've had. I'm an artist...from drawing, to sculpting and painting...I do it all. I've been an artist since as early as I can remember. I did a little work for Marvel Comics in my early years. These days I do portrait work and tattoo designs for clients now. I am a proud father and husband. My family is everything and the greatest thing to me. It's what has always brought me back to Georgia. I followed my baby brother, (The author and photographer of OCOF) and family here a long time ago. I've lived off and on in Columbus for almost twenty years, most recently in the last three months. It seems that no matter where I've been, I end up back in Columbus, Georgia."

 

"Hey how you doin'? My name's Ruben. I'm originally from New York; born, bred, live and die with my New York in me. Over the course of my life however, I've lived in many places, remember all the faces, and have had the honor of endurin' the lives I've had. I'm an artist...from drawing, to sculpting and painting...I do it all. I've been an artist since as early as I can remember. I did a little wo  rk for Marvel Comics in my early years. These days I do portrait work and tattoo designs for clients now. I am a proud father and husband. My family is everything and the greatest thing to me. It's what has always brought me back to Georgia. I followed my baby brother, (The author and photographer of OCOF) and family here a long time ago. I've lived off and on in Columbus for almost twenty years, most recently in the last three months. It seems that no matter where I've been, I end up back in Columbus, Georgia."

"Hey how you doin'? My name's Ruben. I'm originally from New York; born, bred, live and die with my New York in me. Over the course of my life however, I've lived in many places, remember all the faces, and have had the honor of endurin' the lives I've had. I'm an artist...from drawing, to sculpting and painting...I do it all. I've been an artist since as early as I can remember. I did a little work for Marvel Comics in my early years. These days I do portrait work and tattoo designs for clients now. I am a proud father and husband. My family is everything and the greatest thing to me. It's what has always brought me back to Georgia. I followed my baby brother, (The author and photographer of OCOF) and family here a long time ago. I've lived off and on in Columbus for almost twenty years, most recently in the last three months. It seems that no matter where I've been, I end up back in Columbus, Georgia."

“My name is Wes Camp. I am 26 years old. I was born in Columbus Georgia. I have a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old girl. I’m terrible with introductions. This is how I usually bomb job interviews.  (Jokingly chuckles) I originally left Columbus because I wanted to see what else was out there. I lived in Florida for six years. It takes you leaving the city and coming back to realize Columbus has a lotto offer...at least for me. When I got back, there were so many things to do. People complain that we keep throwing up Wal-Marts yet we are still using them. It’s kind of cool to watch this city grow.”   - I know you are an artist. You started drawing at an early age?  "I started drawing when mom grounded me at 8. There was no television so I drew and drew and drew. I never stopped from there. Plus, dealing with social anxiety as a kid brings out a lot of loneliness. It always helped cope with that. I don’t go out much at all. Art and music were two things that have helped me. A lot of people have always made fun of me and laugh when I say ‘Oh I feel lonely”, but social anxiety is really nothing to laugh at. It’s hard to deal with if you aren’t medicated.”   - Do you consider art your escape? –  "Yeah, you can either take meds and go out in public feeling strange, or you can go out in public without them and feel uncomfortable, or I can go out in public, and if I feel weird around people, I can draw or doodle anywhere I go and feel right at home. I went through anti-depressants. They thought I had ADD and ADHD. I always got in trouble in school. It wasn’t because I always did stupid shit; I just always felt the teachers didn’t know as much as they needed to so I stayed in trouble.   I wasn’t allowed in Art class…ever. I was an artist that couldn’t go to art class. Teachers would say, ‘You can’t draw demons at school!’ (Laughs) I was like ‘Well no one told me!” One thing people don’t know about me is that I am really Christian. I don’t go to Church but I have such a strong belief in my one higher power. I draw dark things, that doesn’t mean I’m a Satanist or bad person, the Devil is just really cool to draw!”     

“My name is Wes Camp. I am 26 years old. I was born in Columbus Georgia. I have a 4-year-old son and 2-year-old girl. I’m terrible with introductions. This is how I usually bomb job interviews. 
(Jokingly chuckles) I originally left Columbus because I wanted to see what else was out there. I lived in Florida for six years. It takes you leaving the city and coming back to realize Columbus has a lotto offer...at least for me. When I got back, there were so many things to do. People complain that we keep throwing up Wal-Marts yet we are still using them. It’s kind of cool to watch this city grow.” 

- I know you are an artist. You started drawing at an early age?

"I started drawing when mom grounded me at 8. There was no television so I drew and drew and drew. I never stopped from there. Plus, dealing with social anxiety as a kid brings out a lot of loneliness. It always helped cope with that. I don’t go out much at all. Art and music were two things that have helped me. A lot of people have always made fun of me and laugh when I say ‘Oh I feel lonely”, but social anxiety is really nothing to laugh at. It’s hard to deal with if you aren’t medicated.” 

- Do you consider art your escape? –

"Yeah, you can either take meds and go out in public feeling strange, or you can go out in public without them and feel uncomfortable, or I can go out in public, and if I feel weird around people, I can draw or doodle anywhere I go and feel right at home. I went through anti-depressants. They thought I had ADD and ADHD. I always got in trouble in school. It wasn’t because I always did stupid shit; I just always felt the teachers didn’t know as much as they needed to so I stayed in trouble. 

I wasn’t allowed in Art class…ever. I was an artist that couldn’t go to art class. Teachers would say, ‘You can’t draw demons at school!’ (Laughs) I was like ‘Well no one told me!” One thing people don’t know about me is that I am really Christian. I don’t go to Church but I have such a strong belief in my one higher power. I draw dark things, that doesn’t mean I’m a Satanist or bad person, the Devil is just really cool to draw!”

 

- What was the hardest thing you ever had to go through? -    “When I left Florida to come back to Columbus a few years ago, I was divorced after being cheated on by my wife, had my two kids by my side and homeless. Skylar was 3 months old, still on the bottle and he was barely walking. I remember contacting my mom, and she said ‘You need to call that place I told you about.” I just needed a place   to stay for two weeks so I could get back on my feet again. I want to give a huge shout out to  VALLEY INTERFAITH PROMISE, INC.  They are a local homeless shelter that took me in. It was crazy too, because when I got there they had broken down the rules to me. There had to be a mother present with the family…and there wasn’t…so I couldn’t stay for too long, but they sure did help us out.   If for any chance the Mayor or anyone who makes things happen reads this, I would like to make a suggestion. Stop focusing on putting up the same type of businesses up on the North side of town trying to impress the tourists, and focus more on the south side of Columbus. Please. There is a lot of hidden beauty down here, but you wouldn’t know it because you are stuck up there. Bring down the construction to Victory Drive and build upwards.   It would certainly provide more jobs. That’s one thing that’s been the hardest for me now. I can’t get a job. I put tattoo make up on, put on my nicest clothes, am super respectful and professional…hell I even had my ear gages sewn shut and still nothing. I have 15 plus years in carpentry and still no one gives me a chance. I’m a hard worker with a great work ethic. With the way our schedules are, I can’t take the bus to many places because it takes money, for one, and the trip to get to where I need to go takes anywhere from two to three hours because we have a very limited amount of buses. Our transportation system here is horrible.   Today alone I put in twenty applications. I’m out there every day dropping applications off on foot. My awesome girlfriend has the car because she delivers. But, without tips she makes $4.00 an hour. It sucks when people more fortunate than you immediately come up with reasons to not understand our situation. We are trying our hardest to survive. With two kids, no sitters and no job on my end…it’s tough. I remember applying for jobs in December thinking that for sure I would be able to get a seasonal gig somewhere and still nothing. Right now I sell my art for money. People have been so gracious and generous. Those who know my art are true supporters. I’ve sold many pieces for people.   Overall though, believe it or not, I’m really happy. I have my kids, my girl, and a roof over our heads for now. Being homeless really humbles you. Columbus is going to be my home. I’ve had a crush on that girl in the other room since High School. To know that she’s opened her doors for my kids and me and supports me in every way…I’m a lucky man…and I have to stay positive. Life is too short to be focused on the negative.”

- What was the hardest thing you ever had to go through? -

“When I left Florida to come back to Columbus a few years ago, I was divorced after being cheated on by my wife, had my two kids by my side and homeless. Skylar was 3 months old, still on the bottle and he was barely walking. I remember contacting my mom, and she said ‘You need to call that place I told you about.” I just needed a place to stay for two weeks so I could get back on my feet again. I want to give a huge shout out to VALLEY INTERFAITH PROMISE, INC. They are a local homeless shelter that took me in. It was crazy too, because when I got there they had broken down the rules to me. There had to be a mother present with the family…and there wasn’t…so I couldn’t stay for too long, but they sure did help us out. 

If for any chance the Mayor or anyone who makes things happen reads this, I would like to make a suggestion. Stop focusing on putting up the same type of businesses up on the North side of town trying to impress the tourists, and focus more on the south side of Columbus. Please. There is a lot of hidden beauty down here, but you wouldn’t know it because you are stuck up there. Bring down the construction to Victory Drive and build upwards. 

It would certainly provide more jobs. That’s one thing that’s been the hardest for me now. I can’t get a job. I put tattoo make up on, put on my nicest clothes, am super respectful and professional…hell I even had my ear gages sewn shut and still nothing. I have 15 plus years in carpentry and still no one gives me a chance. I’m a hard worker with a great work ethic. With the way our schedules are, I can’t take the bus to many places because it takes money, for one, and the trip to get to where I need to go takes anywhere from two to three hours because we have a very limited amount of buses. Our transportation system here is horrible. 

Today alone I put in twenty applications. I’m out there every day dropping applications off on foot. My awesome girlfriend has the car because she delivers. But, without tips she makes $4.00 an hour. It sucks when people more fortunate than you immediately come up with reasons to not understand our situation. We are trying our hardest to survive. With two kids, no sitters and no job on my end…it’s tough. I remember applying for jobs in December thinking that for sure I would be able to get a seasonal gig somewhere and still nothing. Right now I sell my art for money. People have been so gracious and generous. Those who know my art are true supporters. I’ve sold many pieces for people. 

Overall though, believe it or not, I’m really happy. I have my kids, my girl, and a roof over our heads for now. Being homeless really humbles you. Columbus is going to be my home. I’ve had a crush on that girl in the other room since High School. To know that she’s opened her doors for my kids and me and supports me in every way…I’m a lucky man…and I have to stay positive. Life is too short to be focused on the negative.”

"I'm addicted to lighthouses. I always feel like there is a light at the end of every struggle. I've got this, 'count my blessings' feeling over me. I don't want to be the person who complains about things they don't have. Sitting right here right now, I have maybe $0.85c in my pocket, and I'm okay with it. I have what I need at this very moment. Being broke really humbles you.     I feel really bad   about the homeless out there. My family doesn't treat the homeless well. I was homeless and my family never treated me well. I remember my stepdad going off on a homeless guy about ten years ago and I remember that like it was yesterday! It stuck with me. I just don't understand how you can treat another human being like an animal no matter what the reason. I hear rumors that the homeless buy drugs and alcohol with the money they beg for, but you know what...they're fucking homeless...I'd probably be an alcoholic too in order to get through the pain."

"I'm addicted to lighthouses. I always feel like there is a light at the end of every struggle. I've got this, 'count my blessings' feeling over me. I don't want to be the person who complains about things they don't have. Sitting right here right now, I have maybe $0.85c in my pocket, and I'm okay with it. I have what I need at this very moment. Being broke really humbles you. 

I feel really bad about the homeless out there. My family doesn't treat the homeless well. I was homeless and my family never treated me well. I remember my stepdad going off on a homeless guy about ten years ago and I remember that like it was yesterday! It stuck with me. I just don't understand how you can treat another human being like an animal no matter what the reason. I hear rumors that the homeless buy drugs and alcohol with the money they beg for, but you know what...they're fucking homeless...I'd probably be an alcoholic too in order to get through the pain."

"We have one life and one Earth. We need to come together."    

"We have one life and one Earth. We need to come together."

 

"My name is Zac Young, I'm 27. I am a musician and a writer. I've visited many places for my music, but I was born and raised here. I could drive a taxi here, 'cause I know the roads so well. I've lived in every exit, damn near."   - Do you think you could live in another city, another place, and re-establish yourself easily somewhere else? Would you want to? -  "Absolutely, yeah. I've considered many cities. Nashville, Austin and Savannah are interesting. I feel like that would be my kind of spot. The culture in all of those cities are great. I'd come back to Columbus though...eventually."  - What were your earliest memories of playing music? -  " The earliest? Well, I come from a line of musicians. My grandfather was a musician. My dad is a musician...and, as a kid, I was embarrassed by that, because my dad did it so it wasn't 'cool' to me because I was 'going to be an athlete.' (Laughs) So, I think I was in the tenth grade....for silly reasons I wasn't allowed to play in the basketball team anymore because I'd been in trouble too much, which upset me at the time, but if it hadn't been for that....I never would have gone to music. I was just learning how to play guitar at the time. I told myself, I wasn't going to let the bloodline end with me as the kid who didn't continue the music. So then, I just really got into it."  - Did you feel any pressure to do it? Did you feel you had to? -  "Nah. What's funny about most musician-stories is, or I feel like the better stories are...you know, hearing about musicians say things like, 'My parent's didn't support it...or they would say "Stay away from that Devil rock n' roll music!' But my family endorsed it to the max. I always had support from them and they were excited about it. They still support me to this day doing it even though I'm 27 now instead of being 18.   When I turned 21,  Stereomonster  came together. We did that full time for six years. It's been an awesome ride."     

"My name is Zac Young, I'm 27. I am a musician and a writer. I've visited many places for my music, but I was born and raised here. I could drive a taxi here, 'cause I know the roads so well. I've lived in every exit, damn near." 

- Do you think you could live in another city, another place, and re-establish yourself easily somewhere else? Would you want to? -

"Absolutely, yeah. I've considered many cities. Nashville, Austin and Savannah are interesting. I feel like that would be my kind of spot. The culture in all of those cities are great. I'd come back to Columbus though...eventually."

- What were your earliest memories of playing music? -

" The earliest? Well, I come from a line of musicians. My grandfather was a musician. My dad is a musician...and, as a kid, I was embarrassed by that, because my dad did it so it wasn't 'cool' to me because I was 'going to be an athlete.' (Laughs) So, I think I was in the tenth grade....for silly reasons I wasn't allowed to play in the basketball team anymore because I'd been in trouble too much, which upset me at the time, but if it hadn't been for that....I never would have gone to music. I was just learning how to play guitar at the time. I told myself, I wasn't going to let the bloodline end with me as the kid who didn't continue the music. So then, I just really got into it."

- Did you feel any pressure to do it? Did you feel you had to? -

"Nah. What's funny about most musician-stories is, or I feel like the better stories are...you know, hearing about musicians say things like, 'My parent's didn't support it...or they would say "Stay away from that Devil rock n' roll music!' But my family endorsed it to the max. I always had support from them and they were excited about it. They still support me to this day doing it even though I'm 27 now instead of being 18. 

When I turned 21, Stereomonster came together. We did that full time for six years. It's been an awesome ride."

 

    - Was   Stereomonster   your first band? -     I had a band in high school. We did a bunch of southern rock covers. Many people I know wouldn't be able to picture that. (Chuckles) I had the opportunity then to perform with a phenomenal guitar player,   Clint Poe   He's still doing his thing with his band   Radiolucent   in Athens and doing well. I had a shaved head in those days (laughs)... From the time I was   a kid until I graduated high school; shaved head. I guess it was the 'basketball' in me or it was easy maintenance. (Chuckles) Which is probably why I have long hair, it's easier maintenance than you might think and saves money on haircuts! Shaved hair or long hair! Both extremes! No middle ground!  - I remember sharing a stage with Stereomonster years ago in a bar called The Roadhouse a couple of times. It was where  The Social - Uptown's Fresh Taqueria  is now. $1.50 a beer, an awesome stage and always a packed house when you guys played. When you guys started the band, did you know it would be as successful as it was? -   "I don't know how to answer that with a 'I knew it was going to be successful', instead, I knew it was something special. Everyone has their own interpretation of 'successful'. Stereomonster has brought me in contact with so many people around the country. I made friends with people who I still talk to today. People who have helped me grow as a musician, person, and a writer. People of all walks of life, definitely some you could only meet by going out to bars at all hours of the night.   - You guys started in what year? -  "I'd have to look it up!" (Humbly chuckles) Lots of people think that we have had some sort of horrible falling out, when in reality it's completely opposite. We have all just gone separate ways....life just happens. We will most certainly work together again, I just couldn't tell you when. I'm so grateful for that band and everyone in it. I still talk to them pretty regularly. In the music world, if you are fortunate enough to form a band with members who all get along, trust each other, share the same goals; that's a brotherhood and bond that can never be replicated. Musicians can be fickle. I love my bandmates. For now, it's great to take a break and recharge from that lifestyle. We were doing it non-stop for six years...on the road a lot. But Hell, if it wasn't for Stereomonster, I wouldn't be writing right now. I would have never written a book."    

 

- Was Stereomonster your first band? - 

I had a band in high school. We did a bunch of southern rock covers. Many people I know wouldn't be able to picture that. (Chuckles) I had the opportunity then to perform with a phenomenal guitar player, Clint Poe He's still doing his thing with his band Radiolucent in Athens and doing well. I had a shaved head in those days (laughs)... From the time I was a kid until I graduated high school; shaved head. I guess it was the 'basketball' in me or it was easy maintenance. (Chuckles) Which is probably why I have long hair, it's easier maintenance than you might think and saves money on haircuts! Shaved hair or long hair! Both extremes! No middle ground!

- I remember sharing a stage with Stereomonster years ago in a bar called The Roadhouse a couple of times. It was where The Social - Uptown's Fresh Taqueria is now. $1.50 a beer, an awesome stage and always a packed house when you guys played. When you guys started the band, did you know it would be as successful as it was? - 

"I don't know how to answer that with a 'I knew it was going to be successful', instead, I knew it was something special. Everyone has their own interpretation of 'successful'. Stereomonster has brought me in contact with so many people around the country. I made friends with people who I still talk to today. People who have helped me grow as a musician, person, and a writer. People of all walks of life, definitely some you could only meet by going out to bars at all hours of the night. 

- You guys started in what year? -

"I'd have to look it up!" (Humbly chuckles) Lots of people think that we have had some sort of horrible falling out, when in reality it's completely opposite. We have all just gone separate ways....life just happens. We will most certainly work together again, I just couldn't tell you when. I'm so grateful for that band and everyone in it. I still talk to them pretty regularly. In the music world, if you are fortunate enough to form a band with members who all get along, trust each other, share the same goals; that's a brotherhood and bond that can never be replicated. Musicians can be fickle. I love my bandmates. For now, it's great to take a break and recharge from that lifestyle. We were doing it non-stop for six years...on the road a lot. But Hell, if it wasn't for Stereomonster, I wouldn't be writing right now. I would have never written a book."

 

- So, tell me about your book. What made you want to write a book to begin with? -  “In the early stages I didn't realize it was a going to be a book. I was in this strange place mentally where everything I was writing (mostly songs and poems) all had similar tones. At first I thought I was writing a premise for a song, then it became a poem, then it was a rough draft of chapter one. After that, the momentum carried, I was overwhelmed with excitement, fell in love with story and characters; it was my sanctuary.   I honestly got lucky. Whatever was going around in my head the night I wrote the first paragraph, or what was going on in my life, if I hadn't handwritten it at that precise moment a book would have not happened. I'm not trying to sit here and be like 'hey! Look what i did!' I'm certainly not saying I'm happy and content with the book or where I am now. I made mistakes. I learned a lot. I know where I can do better, but I do want to say that you never know what one action could lead to.   One silly doodle-drawing-painting; one sentence-poem-book; stanza-song-album. Those are just creative-based examples, but it applies in any endeavor. And if something doesn't become bigger or better, as long as it did something for you, that's all that matters.”  - I highly recommend everyone go to www.godsinthewater.com  and purchase this book! Columbus, you can also go to Judy Bugs, The Tap and Amazon to pick up a copy. -         

- So, tell me about your book. What made you want to write a book to begin with? -

“In the early stages I didn't realize it was a going to be a book. I was in this strange place mentally where everything I was writing (mostly songs and poems) all had similar tones. At first I thought I was writing a premise for a song, then it became a poem, then it was a rough draft of chapter one. After that, the momentum carried, I was overwhelmed with excitement, fell in love with story and characters; it was my sanctuary. 

I honestly got lucky. Whatever was going around in my head the night I wrote the first paragraph, or what was going on in my life, if I hadn't handwritten it at that precise moment a book would have not happened. I'm not trying to sit here and be like 'hey! Look what i did!' I'm certainly not saying I'm happy and content with the book or where I am now. I made mistakes. I learned a lot. I know where I can do better, but I do want to say that you never know what one action could lead to. 

One silly doodle-drawing-painting; one sentence-poem-book; stanza-song-album. Those are just creative-based examples, but it applies in any endeavor. And if something doesn't become bigger or better, as long as it did something for you, that's all that matters.”

- I highly recommend everyone go towww.godsinthewater.com and purchase this book! Columbus, you can also go to Judy Bugs, The Tap and Amazon to pick up a copy. -

 

 

- What are some memories that stick out for you the most? -  "I remember getting my first guitar. My dad...this is how gracious my dad is....he gave me his 1970 something Les Paul that ended up getting stolen from me. I was young and stupid and threw a party. The sneaky thief that took it left the guitar case, so I actually had no idea it was stolen for quite some time. When I finally realized it was stolen and told my dad...he didn't come down on me too hard. He saw it as I did at the time....a lesson.   My friends say my dad is cooler than I am. (Proudly grins) Everyone loves him. He is a very good man. Both my parents are great."  - Your sister Kristen plays guitar too right? -  "Yeah, she's absolutely great. We have a younger sister who sings and plays as well and she is going to be better than all of us."  - Getting back to the book...how did it feel when you finally had a copy of your book in your hands? Was it the most glorious feeling? Was it nauseating? -   "It's funny...When my dad found out about it he was like, "Oh you're writing a book?" (Jokingly chuckles) I said, 'yeah I'm writing one.' And one night I went to where my sister worked and picked up a copy. I wanted to take a picture of it and post on the internet and all that. Then my dad just so happened to walk in. He opened the very first page to the table of contents....and there was one misspelled word. He looked at me and said...'Did you mean to do that?' And I stood there....I started sweating....my face got red and I just thought, 'All of this work I've done...AND THERE'S A TYPO ON THE FIRST PAGE!' (laughs) I think it's hilarious now but , nah it wasn't a great first feeling. It just had to be my father to see that mistake. (Laughs)"     

- What are some memories that stick out for you the most? -

"I remember getting my first guitar. My dad...this is how gracious my dad is....he gave me his 1970 something Les Paul that ended up getting stolen from me. I was young and stupid and threw a party. The sneaky thief that took it left the guitar case, so I actually had no idea it was stolen for quite some time. When I finally realized it was stolen and told my dad...he didn't come down on me too hard. He saw it as I did at the time....a lesson. 

My friends say my dad is cooler than I am. (Proudly grins) Everyone loves him. He is a very good man. Both my parents are great."

- Your sister Kristen plays guitar too right? -

"Yeah, she's absolutely great. We have a younger sister who sings and plays as well and she is going to be better than all of us."

- Getting back to the book...how did it feel when you finally had a copy of your book in your hands? Was it the most glorious feeling? Was it nauseating? - 

"It's funny...When my dad found out about it he was like, "Oh you're writing a book?" (Jokingly chuckles) I said, 'yeah I'm writing one.' And one night I went to where my sister worked and picked up a copy. I wanted to take a picture of it and post on the internet and all that. Then my dad just so happened to walk in. He opened the very first page to the table of contents....and there was one misspelled word. He looked at me and said...'Did you mean to do that?' And I stood there....I started sweating....my face got red and I just thought, 'All of this work I've done...AND THERE'S A TYPO ON THE FIRST PAGE!' (laughs) I think it's hilarious now but , nah it wasn't a great first feeling. It just had to be my father to see that mistake. (Laughs)"

 

"I'm Rick Jacobson, V.P. of Sales & Marketing and co-owner of the  Columbus Lions  Professional Indoor Football Team, which plays March-June at the Civic Center. This is my 38th year in professional sports sales and management, though I'm a 1977 grad of Syracuse University with a TV-Radio (broadcasting) degree. I'm from Stamford, CT, about to turn 61 and married with no kids, but three stepchildren and several step-grands. My wife, Lola, and I have been married 5 1/2 years; late wife Angee and I were married from 1983-2006 before she succumbed to lung cancer."       

"I'm Rick Jacobson, V.P. of Sales & Marketing and co-owner of the Columbus Lions Professional Indoor Football Team, which plays March-June at the Civic Center. This is my 38th year in professional sports sales and management, though I'm a 1977 grad of Syracuse University with a TV-Radio (broadcasting) degree. I'm from Stamford, CT, about to turn 61 and married with no kids, but three stepchildren and several step-grands. My wife, Lola, and I have been married 5 1/2 years; late wife Angee and I were married from 1983-2006 before she succumbed to lung cancer." 

 

 What is one of your best memories during your younger years? -  "Best memory, perhaps, was landing my first year-round baseball position in Greensboro, NC in late 1978, with an amazing ownership group from Nashville that changed minor-league baseball dramatically forever, with an emphasis on promotions, running concessions for profit, and packing big crowds with all kinds of wild company "buyout" nights. Close behind was getting my first general manager's jobs at age 25 in the small market of Spartanburg, SC. where I met my first wife on a blind date with The Famous (San Diego) Chicken performing in the background. I almost blew it when it took me 7 innings to finish serving concessions to knock the long lines down, barely catching up with her as she was disgustedly leaving the stadium, figuring I was a no-showing "dawg", as she put it in her deep Southern accent."         

 What is one of your best memories during your younger years? -

"Best memory, perhaps, was landing my first year-round baseball position in Greensboro, NC in late 1978, with an amazing ownership group from Nashville that changed minor-league baseball dramatically forever, with an emphasis on promotions, running concessions for profit, and packing big crowds with all kinds of wild company "buyout" nights. Close behind was getting my first general manager's jobs at age 25 in the small market of Spartanburg, SC. where I met my first wife on a blind date with The Famous (San Diego) Chicken performing in the background. I almost blew it when it took me 7 innings to finish serving concessions to knock the long lines down, barely catching up with her as she was disgustedly leaving the stadium, figuring I was a no-showing "dawg", as she put it in her deep Southern accent."

 

 

- What made you want to do what you do today? -  "Grew up as a huge New York Yankees fan starting at age 10, just before Mickey Mantle retired and the team's long dynasty came to a crash. Originally wanted to be a baseball/sports writer, later sportscaster. After graduating college, with no broadcasting jobs in sight, I interned with both the regional public TV station in Central New York and the Yankees' top affiliate in Syracuse. This was the summer of 1977. I was advised to go back home, save my money and travel to the annual Baseball winter meetings in Honolulu. While extremely expensive for a 22-year-old, I manned up and was one of maybe a dozen job-hunters who landed a position. In my case, I traveled 12,000 miles round-trip and wound up with the Class AA West Haven Yankees, 45 minutes from my home!     - What was one of the hardest times of your life? How did you get passed it? -    "Three times I've lost jobs with shocking firings or dismissals. There's never a good time to get fired, but in mid-season is the worst, if you're in the pro sports business. In 1985, less than a year after being forced out of a GM job in Charleston in a nepotism situation, I was fired after the first inning of a homes  tand in Nashua, NH. It was done in chickenshit fashion by off-site owners, and I actually contemplated leaving baseball. Within a month, one of my sponsors helped me apply for a top marketing job with Burger King in northern Mass and New Hampshire, for which I was a finalist. Losing out because "we think you're going back to baseball as soon as you can", I was pretty much forced to do that, taking a position offerfed by a friend for the summer with the Boston Red Sox. I did substitute teaching and factory work along the way before I was able to regain full-time employment in baseball in 1986."     

- What made you want to do what you do today? -

"Grew up as a huge New York Yankees fan starting at age 10, just before Mickey Mantle retired and the team's long dynasty came to a crash. Originally wanted to be a baseball/sports writer, later sportscaster. After graduating college, with no broadcasting jobs in sight, I interned with both the regional public TV station in Central New York and the Yankees' top affiliate in Syracuse. This was the summer of 1977. I was advised to go back home, save my money and travel to the annual Baseball winter meetings in Honolulu. While extremely expensive for a 22-year-old, I manned up and was one of maybe a dozen job-hunters who landed a position. In my case, I traveled 12,000 miles round-trip and wound up with the Class AA West Haven Yankees, 45 minutes from my home! 

- What was one of the hardest times of your life? How did you get passed it? -

"Three times I've lost jobs with shocking firings or dismissals. There's never a good time to get fired, but in mid-season is the worst, if you're in the pro sports business. In 1985, less than a year after being forced out of a GM job in Charleston in a nepotism situation, I was fired after the first inning of a homestand in Nashua, NH. It was done in chickenshit fashion by off-site owners, and I actually contemplated leaving baseball. Within a month, one of my sponsors helped me apply for a top marketing job with Burger King in northern Mass and New Hampshire, for which I was a finalist. Losing out because "we think you're going back to baseball as soon as you can", I was pretty much forced to do that, taking a position offerfed by a friend for the summer with the Boston Red Sox. I did substitute teaching and factory work along the way before I was able to regain full-time employment in baseball in 1986."

 

-Tell me where is the best internet site to find all of the info we need about Stadium Football for the Lions. I will share links and the works! -    "Indoor football is a hybrid of arena football, minus the "rebound nets" trademarked by the Arena Football League. The AFL is losing many franchises due to high costs of its business model and too many high-paid executives in the league office. Visit  www.columbuslions.net   for everything about the fast-paced, high-energy level of fun, access to the players every game and incredible family fun our games has to offer. Tickets start at just $8 for kids and $15 for adults. Our annual FanFest was March 8th... there people met all the players, coaches, "Leo the Lion", CLC (Columbus Lions Cheerleaders, the Lady Lions and Junior Lady Lions), staff and owners. There was a vendor fair, bounce house, all kinds of on-field games with the players, autographs, photos, music, unbridled fun!! Thanks to Christian Ortiz for the opportunity to promote Lions football and all the good we do in the Chattahoochee Valley. It's our 10th year, we're 81-43 all-time with two league titles, include the 2015 PIFL championship ... it's awesome!"

-Tell me where is the best internet site to find all of the info we need about Stadium Football for the Lions. I will share links and the works! -

"Indoor football is a hybrid of arena football, minus the "rebound nets" trademarked by the Arena Football League. The AFL is losing many franchises due to high costs of its business model and too many high-paid executives in the league office. Visitwww.columbuslions.net for everything about the fast-paced, high-energy level of fun, access to the players every game and incredible family fun our games has to offer. Tickets start at just $8 for kids and $15 for adults. Our annual FanFest was March 8th... there people met all the players, coaches, "Leo the Lion", CLC (Columbus Lions Cheerleaders, the Lady Lions and Junior Lady Lions), staff and owners. There was a vendor fair, bounce house, all kinds of on-field games with the players, autographs, photos, music, unbridled fun!! Thanks to Christian Ortiz for the opportunity to promote Lions football and all the good we do in the Chattahoochee Valley. It's our 10th year, we're 81-43 all-time with two league titles, include the 2015 PIFL championship ... it's awesome!"

"My name is Lee Pate, also known as Leon Pate, Tre, 'Tre Inphamous', 'Tre Pharaoh' (chuckles) I could think of a few more if I tried. I just turned 37. I am a fire alarm inspector on Ft. Benning Military base locally, and I’m a local musician. I’m from Columbus, Georgia born and raised. I was here before J.R. Allen, before the over bridge, back when it was an under bridge...always getting floode  d. I am father of three amazing boys and husband to one amazing wife. My wife, Amber…is awesome. She is my soul mate. We have three boys Joshua, 18, Matthew, 15 and our son Jacob 12. Amber and I met when we were young. We dated when we were 15-16 years old. We went to the Prom together and what not, things didn’t work out as teenagers, so we separated and went our separate ways. She got married, and I got married. Things didn’t work out in those realms either but, you know, by the grace of God, 13 years later we ended up back together. We’ve been married going on 7 years. I couldn’t be happier man. God has blessed me with an awesome life."    

"My name is Lee Pate, also known as Leon Pate, Tre, 'Tre Inphamous', 'Tre Pharaoh' (chuckles) I could think of a few more if I tried. I just turned 37. I am a fire alarm inspector on Ft. Benning Military base locally, and I’m a local musician. I’m from Columbus, Georgia born and raised. I was here before J.R. Allen, before the over bridge, back when it was an under bridge...always getting flooded. I am father of three amazing boys and husband to one amazing wife. My wife, Amber…is awesome. She is my soul mate. We have three boys Joshua, 18, Matthew, 15 and our son Jacob 12. Amber and I met when we were young. We dated when we were 15-16 years old. We went to the Prom together and what not, things didn’t work out as teenagers, so we separated and went our separate ways. She got married, and I got married. Things didn’t work out in those realms either but, you know, by the grace of God, 13 years later we ended up back together. We’ve been married going on 7 years. I couldn’t be happier man. God has blessed me with an awesome life."

 

- One thing I love about this project is that I get to truly know people I've "known" for so many years. -  Lee Pate: “ I’m in an assortment of bands, a couple involving Christian. We have Modest Roots and Sons of Pharaoh. We haven’t been active recently cause’, you know, we’re busy people; it’s not anything that we won’t pick back up in some point in time. I have two active bands I’m in right now. The first is The Bureau of Secrets and Lies, I play drums and do vocals in that band. I’ve been in this band for about a year with an assortment of members. We have a show this Friday night at Soho Bar & Grill, which I encourage everyone to come, come out and have a great time. And, I also have a band called Orenthal & The Bus Driving Murderers. Yes that is our name…and I love it. Some members of my past bands got together with a couple of other new people and um…formed that one. It’s a new project so we haven’t come out to play shows with that one yet.“  - You’ve always wanted to play music right? Always wanted to be in a band? -  “Absolutely. The first band I was ever in, I was thirteen years old. We were called Gravel. It was myself, and a few people who are still musicians around town actually. One of them is in a signed metal band. It was crazy man; my mom would drive me to band practice so I could sing in this metal band. I played guitar since I was eight and drums since I was thirteen.”  - All self-taught? -  “Yes. You know, aside from an occasional uncle throwing a few chords in my face here and there.”     

- One thing I love about this project is that I get to truly know people I've "known" for so many years. -

Lee Pate:
“ I’m in an assortment of bands, a couple involving Christian. We have Modest Roots and Sons of Pharaoh. We haven’t been active recently cause’, you know, we’re busy people; it’s not anything that we won’t pick back up in some point in time. I have two active bands I’m in right now. The first is The Bureau of Secrets and Lies, I play drums and do vocals in that band. I’ve been in this band for about a year with an assortment of members. We have a show this Friday night at Soho Bar & Grill, which I encourage everyone to come, come out and have a great time. And, I also have a band called Orenthal & The Bus Driving Murderers. Yes that is our name…and I love it. Some members of my past bands got together with a couple of other new people and um…formed that one. It’s a new project so we haven’t come out to play shows with that one yet.“

- You’ve always wanted to play music right? Always wanted to be in a band? -

“Absolutely. The first band I was ever in, I was thirteen years old. We were called Gravel. It was myself, and a few people who are still musicians around town actually. One of them is in a signed metal band. It was crazy man; my mom would drive me to band practice so I could sing in this metal band. I played guitar since I was eight and drums since I was thirteen.”

- All self-taught? -

“Yes. You know, aside from an occasional uncle throwing a few chords in my face here and there.”

 

- What’s your best memory in music? -    “The best memory in music…God they're so many. I was in a band called Unsound…a local band here in Columbus. We started maybe around ’99-2000. In 2001 we had a cd release party, it was in a local bar here called Sargent D’s, which is no longer in existence. It later became The Big City Club, which is now...something else. But anyway, it was on Broadway. I r  emember advertising it and promoting it. As we got ready to step on stage, I walked outside to catch some air. I walked back inside and I literally had to…hug the wall…climb on to the right side of the stage…walk across the stage…jump off the left side of the stage…and hug the wall just to get to the bathroom before we started our show. That’s how many people were there. It was an amazing show. I got back on stage and played…I remember in the middle of my set looking to my left and seeing my guitarist at the time, Ronnie Webb…literally his amp just swaying back and forth…because the stage was like…doing this…wave motion. As we’re playing, people are swirling around in a pit. You know, one of our friends Mick ended up breaking his nose up on stage…comes out with blood all over his face smiling ear to ear. He loved every bit of it.”

- What’s your best memory in music? -

“The best memory in music…God they're so many. I was in a band called Unsound…a local band here in Columbus. We started maybe around ’99-2000. In 2001 we had a cd release party, it was in a local bar here called Sargent D’s, which is no longer in existence. It later became The Big City Club, which is now...something else. But anyway, it was on Broadway. I remember advertising it and promoting it. As we got ready to step on stage, I walked outside to catch some air. I walked back inside and I literally had to…hug the wall…climb on to the right side of the stage…walk across the stage…jump off the left side of the stage…and hug the wall just to get to the bathroom before we started our show. That’s how many people were there. It was an amazing show. I got back on stage and played…I remember in the middle of my set looking to my left and seeing my guitarist at the time, Ronnie Webb…literally his amp just swaying back and forth…because the stage was like…doing this…wave motion. As we’re playing, people are swirling around in a pit. You know, one of our friends Mick ended up breaking his nose up on stage…comes out with blood all over his face smiling ear to ear. He loved every bit of it.”

- So aside from your music, tell everyone about S.T.A.R.S. -  “S.T.A.R.S. is an acronym for Spiritual Truths and Research Society. We are a group of like-minded people who’ve gathered together to research and investigate paranormal activity. This includes me and a few other awesome people including Mr. Christian Ortiz himself. We help anyone who believes they have activity in their home or in their business that may be troublesome to them or their family. People want answers. We don't claim that we can give them answers, we just take the scientific data and evidence that we collect and display it to them, and then we give them advice from that point. There are other groups that do this around town, we just try to focus on the aspect of the history of it, and there are so many buildings…so many places in this city that fit that criteria man. We have buildings on top of buildings on top of buildings that claim they have paranormal activity. We operate commercial and wherever we’re needed and can get into. “     

- So aside from your music, tell everyone about S.T.A.R.S. -

“S.T.A.R.S. is an acronym for Spiritual Truths and Research Society. We are a group of like-minded people who’ve gathered together to research and investigate paranormal activity. This includes me and a few other awesome people including Mr. Christian Ortiz himself. We help anyone who believes they have activity in their home or in their business that may be troublesome to them or their family. People want answers. We don't claim that we can give them answers, we just take the scientific data and evidence that we collect and display it to them, and then we give them advice from that point. There are other groups that do this around town, we just try to focus on the aspect of the history of it, and there are so many buildings…so many places in this city that fit that criteria man. We have buildings on top of buildings on top of buildings that claim they have paranormal activity. We operate commercial and wherever we’re needed and can get into. “

 

What's yours? -    "We were in LaGrange doing another cd release show with another local band. The band we were playing with was called Clay Face, and um...as we started playing our first song, the PA speaker caught on fire. So, in the middle of the song we stop, jumped up...grabbed the PA speaker, while it's on fire; carried it out of the LaGrange Muni  cipal Auditorium, still on fire, through the building into the back yard where we put the fire out and buried our PA speaker.   - Did you finish the show? -  "We did it with one other speaker. That same night actually, a guy jumped on stage drunk; slammed his head into my symbols while I'm playing...they had to carry him out. Those people in LaGrange get down, they're crazy. (Jokingly chuckles)"  -They know their music too. -  "Yes they do. They most certainly do."

What's yours? -

"We were in LaGrange doing another cd release show with another local band. The band we were playing with was called Clay Face, and um...as we started playing our first song, the PA speaker caught on fire. So, in the middle of the song we stop, jumped up...grabbed the PA speaker, while it's on fire; carried it out of the LaGrange Municipal Auditorium, still on fire, through the building into the back yard where we put the fire out and buried our PA speaker. 

- Did you finish the show? -

"We did it with one other speaker. That same night actually, a guy jumped on stage drunk; slammed his head into my symbols while I'm playing...they had to carry him out. Those people in LaGrange get down, they're crazy. (Jokingly chuckles)"

-They know their music too. -

"Yes they do. They most certainly do."

- Success is different for every musician. In a perfect world, what would be success for you? -    "That's a great question. I can tell you this. It's changed...that definition has changed since I've gotten older. I never thought that was going to be possible until I got older and realized it already changed before my eyes and didn't realize it. When I was a young teenager...young twenties...I imagi  ned myself at this point in time, being on my third or forth album doing what I do. Obviously it didn't work out that way and there were plenty of reasons it didn't. Honestly at this point in my life man...if something like that happened, you know a contract signing of some sort, that'd be great, but it's not what drives me. If it happens great, if it doesn't, I don't consider it a failure.   Right now what I look at is, 'what can I create musically that grabs your attention...what can I create that grabs my attention." Performance. I'm big into performance; playing shows in front of crowds. As I get older, a goal of mine has been to better the area that I live in, and to help these younger musicians coming up. I am working with Lance, (Ref. Lance Wisham/The Supporter) with the all ages venue in town. He's the boss on that one but I've jumped in there with him to help him out. I'm going to do some renovation work and help him set it up. I'm excited I can help get an all ages venue out, because literally my kids are at that age now, where they need a place to go to see musicians play and display their craft. Success to me now would be to do that."    

- Success is different for every musician. In a perfect world, what would be success for you? -

"That's a great question. I can tell you this. It's changed...that definition has changed since I've gotten older. I never thought that was going to be possible until I got older and realized it already changed before my eyes and didn't realize it. When I was a young teenager...young twenties...I imagined myself at this point in time, being on my third or forth album doing what I do. Obviously it didn't work out that way and there were plenty of reasons it didn't. Honestly at this point in my life man...if something like that happened, you know a contract signing of some sort, that'd be great, but it's not what drives me. If it happens great, if it doesn't, I don't consider it a failure. 

Right now what I look at is, 'what can I create musically that grabs your attention...what can I create that grabs my attention." Performance. I'm big into performance; playing shows in front of crowds. As I get older, a goal of mine has been to better the area that I live in, and to help these younger musicians coming up. I am working with Lance, (Ref. Lance Wisham/The Supporter) with the all ages venue in town. He's the boss on that one but I've jumped in there with him to help him out. I'm going to do some renovation work and help him set it up. I'm excited I can help get an all ages venue out, because literally my kids are at that age now, where they need a place to go to see musicians play and display their craft. Success to me now would be to do that."

 

    "My name is Cathrine Childree, formerly Catherine Clay and I am the owner and vocal coach at   Lets Vocalize. Training Choirs, Groups & Soloists, Columbus GA   which is a local studio voice I've owned and operated for about ten years I've been in business...at least licensed in business. I've trained vocals and worked with groups and choirs, ensembles and worship teams and soloists now for probably ov  er thirty six years. I started working with choirs and training choirs since I was eighteen. I started directing choirs when I was sixteen.   As I got older it became so much more of a passion because I am a soloist and a former recording artist myself. I've done some recordings and have done some things and have worked with other artists to help them get established, so music has always been a passion of mine. At the age of fifteen and sixteen I was trained to sing Opera, classical music. I was training in foreign languages and I used to sing in these high balconies in these cathedrals...singing Italian, German and French and all types...so that ignited that in me to be versatile with my teaching right now. I teach all've my students to not lock themselves in a box with just one genre of music, because when you do that, you lock out a large audience that can actually experience the wonder of your gift.   There were churches that would always tell me that they were having problems with their choirs and I'd say, 'I can get your choir to sing.' And they would say, 'Nooo.' And I would say, 'Yeah! Let me come into one of your rehearsals I guarantee to make a difference. I would drive for two to three hours to some of these places...some of these places were out in the boonies deep in the country...I would go in there in one rehearsal...and after that one rehearsal...everybody's singing three part harmony. I have a crazy ear. I teach without using the music, I hear all the parts in my head. I teach the alto, tenor and soprano part, we put them all together then we add the music. The choir director would be crying and he'd say....'We have never sounded like this.' That's what started my workshops."    

 

"My name is Cathrine Childree, formerly Catherine Clay and I am the owner and vocal coach at Lets Vocalize. Training Choirs, Groups & Soloists, Columbus GA which is a local studio voice I've owned and operated for about ten years I've been in business...at least licensed in business. I've trained vocals and worked with groups and choirs, ensembles and worship teams and soloists now for probably over thirty six years. I started working with choirs and training choirs since I was eighteen. I started directing choirs when I was sixteen. 

As I got older it became so much more of a passion because I am a soloist and a former recording artist myself. I've done some recordings and have done some things and have worked with other artists to help them get established, so music has always been a passion of mine. At the age of fifteen and sixteen I was trained to sing Opera, classical music. I was training in foreign languages and I used to sing in these high balconies in these cathedrals...singing Italian, German and French and all types...so that ignited that in me to be versatile with my teaching right now. I teach all've my students to not lock themselves in a box with just one genre of music, because when you do that, you lock out a large audience that can actually experience the wonder of your gift. 

There were churches that would always tell me that they were having problems with their choirs and I'd say, 'I can get your choir to sing.' And they would say, 'Nooo.' And I would say, 'Yeah! Let me come into one of your rehearsals I guarantee to make a difference. I would drive for two to three hours to some of these places...some of these places were out in the boonies deep in the country...I would go in there in one rehearsal...and after that one rehearsal...everybody's singing three part harmony. I have a crazy ear. I teach without using the music, I hear all the parts in my head. I teach the alto, tenor and soprano part, we put them all together then we add the music. The choir director would be crying and he'd say....'We have never sounded like this.' That's what started my workshops."

 

    "My studio is named Let's Vocalize. I love vocalizing with my students. Vocalizing can be done in many forms. I do more than coach my students, I mentor many of them, encourage them and inspire them. Case in point...    A few years ago I had a female student, who was an executive with a very stressful job. She came to her session and after beginning our warm-up, I began to sense a heaviness from he  r. So I asked if she was okay. She said she was, but I knew differently, so I began playing around on the piano to give her a minute or two. She then said, "Well..." and the vocal release began. I listened (which was all she really needed someone to do).   I then asked if she felt better. To which she replied "Yes." I then said are you ready to sing now. She said "Yes I am." I then said... 'Let's Vocalize'. She told me one of her favorite songs was Katy Perry's 'Hot and Cold'. So I pulled down the karaoke track and she begins to sing:   "You're hot then you're cold You're yes then you're no You're in then you're out You're up then you're down You're wrong when it's right It's black and it's white We fight, we break up We kiss, we make up."  After which her energy level rises and joy kicks in. She starts dancing around in the room, and I joined in, singing and dancing with her. She says 'Whooooo, that was fun. I feel so free.' She then says to me 'Thank you. I love you.' I reciprocated and told her that's what I was there for.   You see one thing I want all my students to realize is that their vocal gift is not just for everyone else to enjoy... but can be used to encourage themselves. I can't recall how many times I've encouraged my own self by singing. It always starts with us.  When we take ownership of our own gift and learn to enjoy it, then others enjoy it as well.  It's sessions like this (and they happen often) that remind me of my purpose. Which is to do more than just train. To mentor, encourage and inspire my students. And that will never change. When they leave my studio, I want them to feel like they can conquer the world."    

 

"My studio is named Let's Vocalize. I love vocalizing with my students. Vocalizing can be done in many forms. I do more than coach my students, I mentor many of them, encourage them and inspire them. Case in point...

A few years ago I had a female student, who was an executive with a very stressful job. She came to her session and after beginning our warm-up, I began to sense a heaviness from her. So I asked if she was okay. She said she was, but I knew differently, so I began playing around on the piano to give her a minute or two. She then said, "Well..." and the vocal release began. I listened (which was all she really needed someone to do). 

I then asked if she felt better. To which she replied "Yes." I then said are you ready to sing now. She said "Yes I am." I then said... 'Let's Vocalize'. She told me one of her favorite songs was Katy Perry's 'Hot and Cold'. So I pulled down the karaoke track and she begins to sing: 

"You're hot then you're cold
You're yes then you're no
You're in then you're out
You're up then you're down
You're wrong when it's right
It's black and it's white
We fight, we break up
We kiss, we make up."

After which her energy level rises and joy kicks in. She starts dancing around in the room, and I joined in, singing and dancing with her. She says 'Whooooo, that was fun. I feel so free.' She then says to me 'Thank you. I love you.' I reciprocated and told her that's what I was there for. 

You see one thing I want all my students to realize is that their vocal gift is not just for everyone else to enjoy... but can be used to encourage themselves. I can't recall how many times I've encouraged my own self by singing. It always starts with us. 
When we take ownership of our own gift and learn to enjoy it, then others enjoy it as well.

It's sessions like this (and they happen often) that remind me of my purpose. Which is to do more than just train. To mentor, encourage and inspire my students. And that will never change. When they leave my studio, I want them to feel like they can conquer the world."

 

" I love working with my students. Every student brings their own temperature when they come. Some of my students have problems. I tell them, 'your voice is not only beneficial for others to hear it but it's also beneficial for you.' I have sung to myself so many times when I felt discourage. Singing is for you; for you first, then you can sing for the world to hear."       

" I love working with my students. Every student brings their own temperature when they come. Some of my students have problems. I tell them, 'your voice is not only beneficial for others to hear it but it's also beneficial for you.' I have sung to myself so many times when I felt discourage. Singing is for you; for you first, then you can sing for the world to hear." 

 

The Hard Worker Pt.1  "I've never had a time when someone wasn't at my studio. Now, I run about thirty students a week. I'm teaching Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and all day Saturday from ten in the morning to eight at night, I have students every hour on Saturdays. I didn't do a very smart thing, I didn't schedule myself a lunch break. Every now and again I have a student that cancels and I'll have an hour I can sneak out and get something to eat. (Chuckles) My students, they feel so sorry for me now so they sometimes bring food...they say, "Mrs. Catherine we are going to bring you a hamburger, or a salad 'cause we know you didn't schedule a lunch break; so what do you want? All I can say is thank you darlin'. Thank you." (Laughs)     

The Hard Worker Pt.1

"I've never had a time when someone wasn't at my studio. Now, I run about thirty students a week. I'm teaching Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and all day Saturday from ten in the morning to eight at night, I have students every hour on Saturdays. I didn't do a very smart thing, I didn't schedule myself a lunch break. Every now and again I have a student that cancels and I'll have an hour I can sneak out and get something to eat. (Chuckles) My students, they feel so sorry for me now so they sometimes bring food...they say, "Mrs. Catherine we are going to bring you a hamburger, or a salad 'cause we know you didn't schedule a lunch break; so what do you want? All I can say is thank you darlin'. Thank you." (Laughs)

 

The Hard Worker Part II    "Monday's I teach from 3-6 because, on my Monday night I teach my financial education night, I leave my Monday night open. I make presentations, I do forms, have question/answer sessions. I am open 6-9. Wednesday's are my days off. It's Church night and I can spend the day just doing me...except right now I'm doing prom dresses. (Laughs) I'm not doing me yet! But that's se  asonal so you know, it works. My son Tony told me, 'you are using every gift you have.' I have a degree in business, I love finance and economics. I used to work for Equifax so I know a lot about the credit world.   This is a passion for me because everything that I do, from the seamstress work to the vocal coaching to the financial education I offer is helping people to better themselves in every way possible. Growing up as a young girl, we never had much. When we had to sing at recitals or at special events...you know...pretty dresses...we never had that; so when I dress these girls, and put them in those beautiful dresses, and I get to help these brides look beautiful on their day...it's getting something I never had."    

The Hard Worker Part II

"Monday's I teach from 3-6 because, on my Monday night I teach my financial education night, I leave my Monday night open. I make presentations, I do forms, have question/answer sessions. I am open 6-9. Wednesday's are my days off. It's Church night and I can spend the day just doing me...except right now I'm doing prom dresses. (Laughs) I'm not doing me yet! But that's seasonal so you know, it works. My son Tony told me, 'you are using every gift you have.' I have a degree in business, I love finance and economics. I used to work for Equifax so I know a lot about the credit world. 

This is a passion for me because everything that I do, from the seamstress work to the vocal coaching to the financial education I offer is helping people to better themselves in every way possible. Growing up as a young girl, we never had much. When we had to sing at recitals or at special events...you know...pretty dresses...we never had that; so when I dress these girls, and put them in those beautiful dresses, and I get to help these brides look beautiful on their day...it's getting something I never had."

 

It is estimated that one in five Americans has a tattoo. Tattoos were once considered to be taboo in the West, even though body art is an ancient practice dating back to Neolithic times. The history behind the art of tattooing has spawned millions of stories throughout time. This is the story of one of the oldest tattoo shops in our city. The artists, the wars...the shop. This is Royal Anchor Tattoo Parlour.    

It is estimated that one in five Americans has a tattoo. Tattoos were once considered to be taboo in the West, even though body art is an ancient practice dating back to Neolithic times. The history behind the art of tattooing has spawned millions of stories throughout time. This is the story of one of the oldest tattoo shops in our city. The artists, the wars...the shop. This is Royal Anchor Tattoo Parlour.

 

A carney, gangster, scoundrel...friend. "Sailor" Bill Killingsworth is considered a pioneer in the tattoo world. Many of the stories you hear about Bill consists of bad tattoos and guns. No matter what you've heard however, he was respected by many. Claiming the title of King of Victory Drive, Sailor Bill found himself in a long time war with rival tattoo shop owner Fast Freddie. It is said that t  hey would drive by each other's shops and shoot out windows at times...just to remind each other that the competition wasn't going anywhere; two men fighting for the same nickel.   I remember as early as the 90's, the tattoo industry was not as commercialized as it is today. There were no Miami Ink's and Kat Van D's on your televisions. There was no internet. There were shops found where reality struck most. What's funny too is that it seems that tattoo's skipped a generation. In my day, coming home with a tattoo would mean getting your ass kicked by mom and dad. It was frowned upon by so many. Sure there were many places in the states where getting tatted was common, but unless you were military or of the non-blue-collard life, you just didn't get them. Today, the number of people who have a tattoo is astronomical. It makes you wonder...has it become a fad, or is it truly society's acceptance of changed times?  Flash cred: Sailor Jerry    

A carney, gangster, scoundrel...friend. "Sailor" Bill Killingsworth is considered a pioneer in the tattoo world. Many of the stories you hear about Bill consists of bad tattoos and guns. No matter what you've heard however, he was respected by many. Claiming the title of King of Victory Drive, Sailor Bill found himself in a long time war with rival tattoo shop owner Fast Freddie. It is said that they would drive by each other's shops and shoot out windows at times...just to remind each other that the competition wasn't going anywhere; two men fighting for the same nickel. 

I remember as early as the 90's, the tattoo industry was not as commercialized as it is today. There were no Miami Ink's and Kat Van D's on your televisions. There was no internet. There were shops found where reality struck most. What's funny too is that it seems that tattoo's skipped a generation. In my day, coming home with a tattoo would mean getting your ass kicked by mom and dad. It was frowned upon by so many. Sure there were many places in the states where getting tatted was common, but unless you were military or of the non-blue-collard life, you just didn't get them. Today, the number of people who have a tattoo is astronomical. It makes you wonder...has it become a fad, or is it truly society's acceptance of changed times?

Flash cred: Sailor Jerry

 

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love.     - Meet Matte, he now owns and operates Royal Anchor tattoo, which was previously known for years as Superior Skin   Art. Operating and maintaining a shop with such history is being executed perfectly here. With a revamped look, it still exudes a time-honored sexiness that only an old school tattoo shop can execute. The humor in the shop is familiar. The vibe is professional and the artists are all down to earth...real. For those who haven't had a hard lifestyle...an appreciation for survival is lost when trying to understand what it is that I am talking about. For the rest of us however, it's just another story told. -  "The first time I started tattooing was around 13 years old, but professionally since '92. All I did was work. We called it bootcamp."  - Were you always into drawing? -  "Yeah, when I was a kid I'd hide in the closet and draw on the walls. I'd draw anything.  - I bet you've seen just about everything doing this line of work. -  "I have. I've had mother fucker's stabbed in my house. I've seen it all...it's part of the life. It's not glamourous."  - Tell me a little bit about your shop."  "It's gone through a lot since it was built in the 60's. It became a tattoo shop in the 70's. Bill used to have an arcade in here. It still has all the original wiring. There used to be bullet holes in that door."  - That's Bill there right? (I point to his poster)   "Yeah. See the roses around his neck?"  - Yeah. -  "It was covering a dotted line. It used to say 'Cut here if you can.' Someone tried...then he had it covered up with roses."

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love. 

- Meet Matte, he now owns and operates Royal Anchor tattoo, which was previously known for years as Superior Skin Art. Operating and maintaining a shop with such history is being executed perfectly here. With a revamped look, it still exudes a time-honored sexiness that only an old school tattoo shop can execute. The humor in the shop is familiar. The vibe is professional and the artists are all down to earth...real. For those who haven't had a hard lifestyle...an appreciation for survival is lost when trying to understand what it is that I am talking about. For the rest of us however, it's just another story told. -

"The first time I started tattooing was around 13 years old, but professionally since '92. All I did was work. We called it bootcamp."

- Were you always into drawing? -

"Yeah, when I was a kid I'd hide in the closet and draw on the walls. I'd draw anything.

- I bet you've seen just about everything doing this line of work. -

"I have. I've had mother fucker's stabbed in my house. I've seen it all...it's part of the life. It's not glamourous."

- Tell me a little bit about your shop."

"It's gone through a lot since it was built in the 60's. It became a tattoo shop in the 70's. Bill used to have an arcade in here. It still has all the original wiring. There used to be bullet holes in that door."

- That's Bill there right? (I point to his poster) 

"Yeah. See the roses around his neck?"

- Yeah. -

"It was covering a dotted line. It used to say 'Cut here if you can.' Someone tried...then he had it covered up with roses."

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love.  - There are two realms in the tattoo world...the art of tattooing, and the art of piercing. The Aztecs of Mexico and the Alaskan Eskimos are well documented for using piercing as body art. The art is traced back thousands of years. Vincent here, has truly turned piercing into a craft. Using simple and effective methods, Vincent is one of the fastest and more accurate piercers I have ever met. -  - Matte, you've been in this shop for how long? -  "What time is it?....twelve hours. (Chuckles) On and off...more on than off...since '95.  - How about you Vincent? -  " '99. April 1st will be 17 years."  - You're from New York though right? -  "I was in New York before I came here...for eleven years."  - Where are you originally from? -  "I was born in Miami. My dad was in the Army. Longest I was anywhere before New York was Maryland for like four years. Other than that we moved around."  - Did you enjoy New York? -  "Yeah...until I got tired of it. (Chuckles) There, I was doing about 120-130 piercings a day and there were seven or eight of us on the same block. I was getting ready to turn thirty years old and I was looking at what I was doin'...I was just working and going home. I was like...'I need to get out of here, I'm not going to any shows or anything.' I was spending all this money to live there and it didn't make sense to me. Really all I was doing was eating pizza and taking a Lincoln Town Car to and from work which was 8 bucks. I came here (Columbus) and I was like...I haven't seen this much fucking space in eleven years. I'm not going back.   I was ready for change anyway. The reason I went to New York was for a girl. We're not together anymore. She moved to California. I didn't even want to be there. I made the most of it as much as I could, but there comes a time when you realize you are just working to pay the bills...what's the fucking point?"  - Did you find it easy to get used to Columbus? -  "Once you figure it out you enjoy it. You've got all these people bitchin' about Columbus but they don't get out and try to find things to do. They all want their Atlanta or any other big city where you walk down the street and you have fifteen things hit you all at the same time, when in fact there is plenty to do here you just have to go out and look for it."     

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love.

- There are two realms in the tattoo world...the art of tattooing, and the art of piercing. The Aztecs of Mexico and the Alaskan Eskimos are well documented for using piercing as body art. The art is traced back thousands of years. Vincent here, has truly turned piercing into a craft. Using simple and effective methods, Vincent is one of the fastest and more accurate piercers I have ever met. -

- Matte, you've been in this shop for how long? -

"What time is it?....twelve hours. (Chuckles) On and off...more on than off...since '95.

- How about you Vincent? -

" '99. April 1st will be 17 years."

- You're from New York though right? -

"I was in New York before I came here...for eleven years."

- Where are you originally from? -

"I was born in Miami. My dad was in the Army. Longest I was anywhere before New York was Maryland for like four years. Other than that we moved around."

- Did you enjoy New York? -

"Yeah...until I got tired of it. (Chuckles) There, I was doing about 120-130 piercings a day and there were seven or eight of us on the same block. I was getting ready to turn thirty years old and I was looking at what I was doin'...I was just working and going home. I was like...'I need to get out of here, I'm not going to any shows or anything.' I was spending all this money to live there and it didn't make sense to me. Really all I was doing was eating pizza and taking a Lincoln Town Car to and from work which was 8 bucks. I came here (Columbus) and I was like...I haven't seen this much fucking space in eleven years. I'm not going back. 

I was ready for change anyway. The reason I went to New York was for a girl. We're not together anymore. She moved to California. I didn't even want to be there. I made the most of it as much as I could, but there comes a time when you realize you are just working to pay the bills...what's the fucking point?"

- Did you find it easy to get used to Columbus? -

"Once you figure it out you enjoy it. You've got all these people bitchin' about Columbus but they don't get out and try to find things to do. They all want their Atlanta or any other big city where you walk down the street and you have fifteen things hit you all at the same time, when in fact there is plenty to do here you just have to go out and look for it."

 

"I met a guy who was from here, his wife died...he was up in New York tattooin' at tis crazy Korean place I was working at... Chip Taylor. He kept askin' me to come down. I couldn't get the time off. I was helping set up my buddy's shop a couple of doors down. My crazy boss found out about it and fired me. He thought I was going to start sending people his way. I had two weeks of dead time. I called Chip up and was like...'hey, I've got two weeks of dead time can I still come down?' He said, 'hell yeah.' So, I grabbed my crazy girlfriend at the time and we hopped on a grey hound, drank for 26 hours and came here. When I got here there were only three shops. It seemed like a good move at that time. Three shops, no one designated just as a piercer...it just worked."          

"I met a guy who was from here, his wife died...he was up in New York tattooin' at tis crazy Korean place I was working at... Chip Taylor. He kept askin' me to come down. I couldn't get the time off. I was helping set up my buddy's shop a couple of doors down. My crazy boss found out about it and fired me. He thought I was going to start sending people his way. I had two weeks of dead time. I called Chip up and was like...'hey, I've got two weeks of dead time can I still come down?' He said, 'hell yeah.' So, I grabbed my crazy girlfriend at the time and we hopped on a grey hound, drank for 26 hours and came here. When I got here there were only three shops. It seemed like a good move at that time. Three shops, no one designated just as a piercer...it just worked."

 

 

    - Do you find piercing as an escape? You hear artists sometimes saying that they get lost in their craft. Do you enjoy piercing? -     "Yeah. For me it's, you know...these kids come in scared. Three seconds you have your setup in front of you, and even though there are so many things that can go wrong...you have control over the situation. That's what I was immediately drawn to."    

 

- Do you find piercing as an escape? You hear artists sometimes saying that they get lost in their craft. Do you enjoy piercing? - 

"Yeah. For me it's, you know...these kids come in scared. Three seconds you have your setup in front of you, and even though there are so many things that can go wrong...you have control over the situation. That's what I was immediately drawn to."

 

    - Sometimes we forget that any kind of freedom of expression can be overwhelming. This young lady wasn't crying from the pain; she was crying because she was proud of herself...proud of being her own woman. It may sound silly to some, but as humans we must realize that there is a multidimensional conceptualization of expression when coping with life's struggles. I didn't pry nor did I want to busy-body my way into her life if only for a moment, but I could tell that in this very moment...she felt free. No one knows what we as people go through. It's amazing to stand there and witness raw, pure human emotion like that. -

 

- Sometimes we forget that any kind of freedom of expression can be overwhelming. This young lady wasn't crying from the pain; she was crying because she was proud of herself...proud of being her own woman. It may sound silly to some, but as humans we must realize that there is a multidimensional conceptualization of expression when coping with life's struggles. I didn't pry nor did I want to busy-body my way into her life if only for a moment, but I could tell that in this very moment...she felt free. No one knows what we as people go through. It's amazing to stand there and witness raw, pure human emotion like that. -

"Name's Guzik...born and raised here in Columbus. The first shop I ever worked in was here when it was Superior Skin Art. When I first got a job, I had a couple of friends that were tattooin' here and I was a designer for a commercial cabinet shop here in town. I was doing design work for them in the day, and coming out here at night. My buddies were like, 'We don't have a floor guy...we'll kick y  ou some money if you come in and help us out.' That was kind of how I got my foot in the door."  - That's when Bill ran it right? -  "Mm hm...yup. That's when Bill ran it. My friends ended up moving out of the state, and I didn't really know anyone except for Bill. I ended up going to a competitor and started an apprenticeship...ended up leaving there and getting a job back here. I now own my shop in Athens,  Mothership Tattoo , and I come down here in the weekends to guest tat for Matte.   Some of my closest friends are down here. I've known Matte and Vince for a long time. I've known Vince since he came down here from New York and I knew Matte. We weren't the best of friends at first...you know...I was working for the competitor...but you know...Matte's a solid dude. He's always been there for me."

"Name's Guzik...born and raised here in Columbus. The first shop I ever worked in was here when it was Superior Skin Art. When I first got a job, I had a couple of friends that were tattooin' here and I was a designer for a commercial cabinet shop here in town. I was doing design work for them in the day, and coming out here at night. My buddies were like, 'We don't have a floor guy...we'll kick you some money if you come in and help us out.' That was kind of how I got my foot in the door."

- That's when Bill ran it right? -

"Mm hm...yup. That's when Bill ran it. My friends ended up moving out of the state, and I didn't really know anyone except for Bill. I ended up going to a competitor and started an apprenticeship...ended up leaving there and getting a job back here. I now own my shop in Athens, Mothership Tattoo, and I come down here in the weekends to guest tat for Matte. 

Some of my closest friends are down here. I've known Matte and Vince for a long time. I've known Vince since he came down here from New York and I knew Matte. We weren't the best of friends at first...you know...I was working for the competitor...but you know...Matte's a solid dude. He's always been there for me."

"I had visible tattoo's on my hand before I had any other tattoos. At that time...I almost lost my job as a floor guy because I had them tattooed. Even then, the owners were so old-school that you couldn't have anything you couldn't hide from a judge... if you put a coat and tie on, you shouldn't be able to see any tattoo's. Back then, they didn't do those tattoos on anyone. In that time of my life it was 'middle-finger to the world' though. I was wide open."    

"I had visible tattoo's on my hand before I had any other tattoos. At that time...I almost lost my job as a floor guy because I had them tattooed. Even then, the owners were so old-school that you couldn't have anything you couldn't hide from a judge... if you put a coat and tie on, you shouldn't be able to see any tattoo's. Back then, they didn't do those tattoos on anyone. In that time of my life it was 'middle-finger to the world' though. I was wide open."

 

"The game has changed so much. We use tools now that weren't around even ten years ago."    

"The game has changed so much. We use tools now that weren't around even ten years ago."

 

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love.    "I almost got shot in the back at this shop when I was 19. I was probably about four or five feet away from the win  dow. This other guy I worked with was talking to two clients. All of a sudden, I see him grab both of them and just drop behind our couch. This big 12 foot fluorescent bulb just exploded and I was like, damn...is that what they do when they go out? I turned around and I looked and this guy was cockin' that shot gun. I jumped over that half door, Superman style...hit the tile and it knocked the wind out of me. I just thought for sure he was going to come in the shop and shoot us all."  -What was his deal?  "Discrepancy over a price for a tattoo earlier in the day. Over some panther paws on the thigh. (Laughs) I think my co-worker told him it was going to be $80 bucks. The dude said that was too much and said he was going across the street to get it done. See that white building over there?"  -Yeah-  "That used to be one of our big time competitors Fast Freddy's. My co-worker told the guy look man, you can go over there and get your tattoo if you want. He never cussed in front of his kids. My co-worker's daughter was coming by to the shop that night to show him her hair. Anyway, the guy with the discrepancy came back to us because he was unhappy for what they charged him over there. He was pretty pissed off at this point. He started getting 'lippy', cussing up a storm and My co-worker said 'look man, don't cuss in front of my kid.'  The guy said 'FUCK HER...and FUCK YOU!' And my co-worker palmed his face like a basketball and shoved him back. The guy fell back and tried coming at him but he bucked up. He's a pretty stout guy so at this point, the dude just backed off. He said, 'Alright, it's cool. I'll be back later. I know you guys stand up front smokin' all the time.' I didn't think anything of it. What he ended up doing was parking behind that field and walked though our back fence. If it wasn't for the two ladies that came in, he would have had us dead to rights. The sad thing about it is that by the time the cops came in...the fucking tape had run out fifteen minutes before he showed up. They never caught the guy. Never caught him. That happened in 1999."

**Warning** - The following articles this week will feature interviews containing profanity. I feel silly even having to post this but, you know...I decided to be nice and follow some photojournalism rules. I hope you all are enjoying the feature so far and I thank you for the love.

"I almost got shot in the back at this shop when I was 19. I was probably about four or five feet away from the window. This other guy I worked with was talking to two clients. All of a sudden, I see him grab both of them and just drop behind our couch. This big 12 foot fluorescent bulb just exploded and I was like, damn...is that what they do when they go out? I turned around and I looked and this guy was cockin' that shot gun. I jumped over that half door, Superman style...hit the tile and it knocked the wind out of me. I just thought for sure he was going to come in the shop and shoot us all."

-What was his deal?

"Discrepancy over a price for a tattoo earlier in the day. Over some panther paws on the thigh. (Laughs) I think my co-worker told him it was going to be $80 bucks. The dude said that was too much and said he was going across the street to get it done. See that white building over there?"

-Yeah-

"That used to be one of our big time competitors Fast Freddy's. My co-worker told the guy look man, you can go over there and get your tattoo if you want. He never cussed in front of his kids. My co-worker's daughter was coming by to the shop that night to show him her hair. Anyway, the guy with the discrepancy came back to us because he was unhappy for what they charged him over there. He was pretty pissed off at this point. He started getting 'lippy', cussing up a storm and My co-worker said 'look man, don't cuss in front of my kid.'

The guy said 'FUCK HER...and FUCK YOU!' And my co-worker palmed his face like a basketball and shoved him back. The guy fell back and tried coming at him but he bucked up. He's a pretty stout guy so at this point, the dude just backed off. He said, 'Alright, it's cool. I'll be back later. I know you guys stand up front smokin' all the time.' I didn't think anything of it. What he ended up doing was parking behind that field and walked though our back fence. If it wasn't for the two ladies that came in, he would have had us dead to rights. The sad thing about it is that by the time the cops came in...the fucking tape had run out fifteen minutes before he showed up. They never caught the guy. Never caught him. That happened in 1999."

Years ago Fred "Falcon" Sibary owned some of the most successful tattoo shops in Columbus. After dominating 6 years in his downtown location, the city decided to change the ordinance, forcing him to have to move his business off of Broadway.     "After being there for 6 years with no problems I didn't think that it would be that difficult just to move across the street, but when I did and went to g  et my license...found out they had changed the zoning and there were no more tattoos studios allowed to open on Broadway."  - Trevor, Falcon's son, is continuing the family tradition. -  "My dad started tattooing in 1970 in Detroit. He came down here in '84. I've pretty much seen it all. I've been around it all my life. Tattooing is what fed me as a kid and now it's feeding my kids. My dad had a stroke, then found out he had a detached retina so he took a back seat to it all. It was sad. You know, this isn't a career...it's a life. We don't have 4O1K's, retirement and insurance. You don't get a gold watch after your twenty years. That's probably the hardest thing to realize being in this business. If you aren't smart from the get with your money, you realize you're fucked at the end of this.   Everyone wants to get into it because they think it's cool and make millions but, my back hurts...my hands hurt...we have horrible diets. We deal with all types of people."  - How hard is it to change with the business? This business is constantly changing isn't it? -   "The biggest changes have already happened. Back when I was a kid...no one in any shop wore gloves...they didn't do the sterile thing the way we do today. Hell my dad would tell me stories...he was there for the first ever Sturgis. They would have people lined up for tattoos. And it wasn't like there were 50 million setups or whatever it was like one little place on the corner. They would have ink in baby jars. You come and sit down, they'd pull a rag out with soapy water, wipe your arm down and go to town. Artists would smoke while tattin' your arm too. I guess that's why back then tattooing developed a stigma for it being dirty and getting diseases. Nowadays, they'd shut you down if you don't take the proper precautions. We have disposable one time use needles. Customers will always have their eye on you. I make sure every customer watches me open up new needles. If I'm set up before they get here, they don't like that."  - It's amazing how far this industry has come, however I bet the reasons people get them never changes. -  "The funny thing is, most people who come in to get tattoo's need a momentary life change, or they want a 'WOW' moment. Maybe they want to be rebellious...whatever the case may be...this is our every day. Their 'wow' moments are our every day."

Years ago Fred "Falcon" Sibary owned some of the most successful tattoo shops in Columbus. After dominating 6 years in his downtown location, the city decided to change the ordinance, forcing him to have to move his business off of Broadway. 

"After being there for 6 years with no problems I didn't think that it would be that difficult just to move across the street, but when I did and went to get my license...found out they had changed the zoning and there were no more tattoos studios allowed to open on Broadway."

- Trevor, Falcon's son, is continuing the family tradition. -

"My dad started tattooing in 1970 in Detroit. He came down here in '84. I've pretty much seen it all. I've been around it all my life. Tattooing is what fed me as a kid and now it's feeding my kids. My dad had a stroke, then found out he had a detached retina so he took a back seat to it all. It was sad. You know, this isn't a career...it's a life. We don't have 4O1K's, retirement and insurance. You don't get a gold watch after your twenty years. That's probably the hardest thing to realize being in this business. If you aren't smart from the get with your money, you realize you're fucked at the end of this. 

Everyone wants to get into it because they think it's cool and make millions but, my back hurts...my hands hurt...we have horrible diets. We deal with all types of people."

- How hard is it to change with the business? This business is constantly changing isn't it? - 

"The biggest changes have already happened. Back when I was a kid...no one in any shop wore gloves...they didn't do the sterile thing the way we do today. Hell my dad would tell me stories...he was there for the first ever Sturgis. They would have people lined up for tattoos. And it wasn't like there were 50 million setups or whatever it was like one little place on the corner. They would have ink in baby jars. You come and sit down, they'd pull a rag out with soapy water, wipe your arm down and go to town. Artists would smoke while tattin' your arm too. I guess that's why back then tattooing developed a stigma for it being dirty and getting diseases. Nowadays, they'd shut you down if you don't take the proper precautions. We have disposable one time use needles. Customers will always have their eye on you. I make sure every customer watches me open up new needles. If I'm set up before they get here, they don't like that."

- It's amazing how far this industry has come, however I bet the reasons people get them never changes. -

"The funny thing is, most people who come in to get tattoo's need a momentary life change, or they want a 'WOW' moment. Maybe they want to be rebellious...whatever the case may be...this is our every day. Their 'wow' moments are our every day."

Meet Jonathan Shuskey.  A father, United States soldier and sport talk personality. We met at the Infantry Museum here in Columbus, getting to know each other while reminiscing on some of our nation's history.   “I was here at Ft. Benning on 9/11. I showed up here September 4th 2011, which was my first day in Ft. Benning I was in processing into the Army. I remember a week later we were getting filed into the barbershop, I remember thinking. 'we just did this a week ago man, I haven’t grown any hair back yet.' (Chuckles) But we had to get another mandatory hair cut. In the barbershop they had a TV in the corner. There was that breaking news on it that day and everyone just stopped. There were Drill Sergeants; Privates in complete silence and even the barbers turned their clippers off. We just sat there and watched it happen.  I joined the Army because my dad told me it was a great opportunity and because they told me they’d pay for college…that’s why I joined. I tell my guys, like my soldiers, this all the time. Your reasons for joining the Army and your reasons for staying in the Army get different over time. That’s what I joined for, and a week later my reason became, ‘I want to go find who just did that.’ A few years later I met my wife and my reasons became a ‘hey we’re going to start a family and I need to be able to provide for them.’ Now I’m at 15 years and we’re still at war and I feel like it’s my job now to make sure these kids that are coming in now are prepared. This is what’s going on so far, now I pass the torch down to these guys ‘cause I’m not going to be here much longer. Whether you stay in for four years or thirty years…it’s amazing how much your reasons change over time.”     

Meet Jonathan Shuskey.

A father, United States soldier and sport talk personality. We met at the Infantry Museum here in Columbus, getting to know each other while reminiscing on some of our nation's history. 

“I was here at Ft. Benning on 9/11. I showed up here September 4th 2011, which was my first day in Ft. Benning I was in processing into the Army. I remember a week later we were getting filed into the barbershop, I remember thinking. 'we just did this a week ago man, I haven’t grown any hair back yet.' (Chuckles) But we had to get another mandatory hair cut. In the barbershop they had a TV in the corner. There was that breaking news on it that day and everyone just stopped. There were Drill Sergeants; Privates in complete silence and even the barbers turned their clippers off. We just sat there and watched it happen.

I joined the Army because my dad told me it was a great opportunity and because they told me they’d pay for college…that’s why I joined. I tell my guys, like my soldiers, this all the time. Your reasons for joining the Army and your reasons for staying in the Army get different over time. That’s what I joined for, and a week later my reason became, ‘I want to go find who just did that.’ A few years later I met my wife and my reasons became a ‘hey we’re going to start a family and I need to be able to provide for them.’ Now I’m at 15 years and we’re still at war and I feel like it’s my job now to make sure these kids that are coming in now are prepared. This is what’s going on so far, now I pass the torch down to these guys ‘cause I’m not going to be here much longer. Whether you stay in for four years or thirty years…it’s amazing how much your reasons change over time.”

 

 "I'm hoping that the soldiers here take advantage of this place (The National Infantry Museum). The unit I was in, would bring in some guys who fought in Hamburger Hill or some of those types of battles. We'd sit and have dinner or breakfast or whatever, and those guys would sit around the table and talk about us...tell us we were heroes...and I'm just like, I've seen what you guys had to go throu  gh. I read the books and saw the movies of what you guys had to go through.   For us to be around those guys as much as we are...the Army is really good to us. You come to Ft. Benning and you see the sports, and all of the recreational things to do. If it wasn't for those guys, those soldiers who gave their lives...or people like my dad, who went through 'the suck.'...they're the reasons we have what we have today."    

 "I'm hoping that the soldiers here take advantage of this place (The National Infantry Museum). The unit I was in, would bring in some guys who fought in Hamburger Hill or some of those types of battles. We'd sit and have dinner or breakfast or whatever, and those guys would sit around the table and talk about us...tell us we were heroes...and I'm just like, I've seen what you guys had to go through. I read the books and saw the movies of what you guys had to go through. 

For us to be around those guys as much as we are...the Army is really good to us. You come to Ft. Benning and you see the sports, and all of the recreational things to do. If it wasn't for those guys, those soldiers who gave their lives...or people like my dad, who went through 'the suck.'...they're the reasons we have what we have today."

 

- Follow Me is a United States Army memorial located at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was created in 1959 by two soldiers, Private First Class Manfred Bass, sculptor and designer, and Private First Class Karl H. Van Krog, his assistant. The model for the statue was Eugene Wyles, an officer candidate and ten-year Army veteran. It depicts a 1950s-era infantry soldier charging forward and gesturing for o  thers to follow.  Originally called The Infantryman, the statue was installed on Eubanks Field on May 3, 1960. In 1964, it was renamed Follow Me and moved in front of Infantry Hall. Some students and graduates of the U.S. Army Infantry School call the statue "Iron Mike", after Lieutenant General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, but most soldiers use the term Iron Mike to refer to the Airborne Trooper statue at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.  In 2004, a new bronze version was cast and the original statue was moved to the front of the National Infantry Museum in 2009.  "Follow Me!" is also the US Army Infantry motto. -  "Every time I see 'Iron Mike' I can't help but to think of all the  soldiers that have given their lives for our country."

- Follow Me is a United States Army memorial located at Fort Benning, Georgia. It was created in 1959 by two soldiers, Private First Class Manfred Bass, sculptor and designer, and Private First Class Karl H. Van Krog, his assistant. The model for the statue was Eugene Wyles, an officer candidate and ten-year Army veteran. It depicts a 1950s-era infantry soldier charging forward and gesturing for others to follow.

Originally called The Infantryman, the statue was installed on Eubanks Field on May 3, 1960. In 1964, it was renamed Follow Me and moved in front of Infantry Hall. Some students and graduates of the U.S. Army Infantry School call the statue "Iron Mike", after Lieutenant General John W. "Iron Mike" O'Daniel, but most soldiers use the term Iron Mike to refer to the Airborne Trooper statue at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

In 2004, a new bronze version was cast and the original statue was moved to the front of the National Infantry Museum in 2009.

"Follow Me!" is also the US Army Infantry motto. -

"Every time I see 'Iron Mike' I can't help but to think of all the
soldiers that have given their lives for our country."

"My name is Jonathan Shuskey. I'm from Thomasville, North Carolina. I've been in the Army for a little over 14 years now. I'm stationed here in Ft. Benning now but I've been in Hawaii, I've been in Ft. Campbell Kentucky...and now here. I've had a lot of opportunities since I've been in the military. I've played on the All-Army Golf Team. Being able to live in Hawaii was opportunity in itself. I li  ved there for almost 8 years and that's where I met my wife and...now being here in Ft. Benning, having the opportunity to do Sports Radio, being able to do some Sports Television and now doing my podcast that I'm doing...I feel really blessed for the career that I've had but I feel even more blessed that I've had all of these opportunities while I've been doing it.  When I got here to Ft. Benning I listened to The Press Box with Bobby Z and I loved the show. When we just moved here it was a real tough time in my life. My dad had just passed...and so I listened to that show... and I listened to Bobby and some of the guys that'd call into the show and they'd have a lot of the same takes that my dad would have had. So, I got really hooked on that show and I told Bobby, there was part of me that felt like that show saved me a little bit 'cause I was...I was in a rough spot. I just...I messaged him one day and asked him if I could come by and check out the studio and come sit and talk with him. And, he said 'yeah.'  I went in and did the show. We did that a couple of times a week at first, and then it turned into 'Hey man, let's do this five days a week.' I left there around the end of December and started the podcast that I'm doing now. Bobby is one of those guys I'll always be grateful for. I would have never thought of doing this as a career after the Army if I had not met him."

"My name is Jonathan Shuskey. I'm from Thomasville, North Carolina. I've been in the Army for a little over 14 years now. I'm stationed here in Ft. Benning now but I've been in Hawaii, I've been in Ft. Campbell Kentucky...and now here. I've had a lot of opportunities since I've been in the military. I've played on the All-Army Golf Team. Being able to live in Hawaii was opportunity in itself. I lived there for almost 8 years and that's where I met my wife and...now being here in Ft. Benning, having the opportunity to do Sports Radio, being able to do some Sports Television and now doing my podcast that I'm doing...I feel really blessed for the career that I've had but I feel even more blessed that I've had all of these opportunities while I've been doing it.

When I got here to Ft. Benning I listened to The Press Box with Bobby Z and I loved the show. When we just moved here it was a real tough time in my life. My dad had just passed...and so I listened to that show... and I listened to Bobby and some of the guys that'd call into the show and they'd have a lot of the same takes that my dad would have had. So, I got really hooked on that show and I told Bobby, there was part of me that felt like that show saved me a little bit 'cause I was...I was in a rough spot. I just...I messaged him one day and asked him if I could come by and check out the studio and come sit and talk with him. And, he said 'yeah.'

I went in and did the show. We did that a couple of times a week at first, and then it turned into 'Hey man, let's do this five days a week.' I left there around the end of December and started the podcast that I'm doing now. Bobby is one of those guys I'll always be grateful for. I would have never thought of doing this as a career after the Army if I had not met him."

The Infantryman and sports talk podcast host - Jonathan Shuskey. Thank you for an amazing week.    "I left the Press Box in December, and I talked to some guys here in the area. I know Josh Pate from Football Nightly Down South. I went on and did his show for really almost two weeks. His normal co-host was having a baby at the time so I filled in. So, I did that kind of in the middle and talked to m  ore friends in the area. I remember telling him it's only been three weeks and I am going crazy if I don't talk about sports to somebody.' I didn't have that outlet anymore. I talked to a couple of folks about what it takes to do the podcast and really it's as simple as having an i-pad...a microphone...recording it and then having a program to edit it.   I spent a week doing trial runs. Even now that I'm doing it three days a week, it's still a learning process. Somewhere, somebody wants to hear people talk about sports, and I want to be their guy. I always jump on the opportunity to do it."    

The Infantryman and sports talk podcast host - Jonathan Shuskey. Thank you for an amazing week.

"I left the Press Box in December, and I talked to some guys here in the area. I know Josh Pate from Football Nightly Down South. I went on and did his show for really almost two weeks. His normal co-host was having a baby at the time so I filled in. So, I did that kind of in the middle and talked to more friends in the area. I remember telling him it's only been three weeks and I am going crazy if I don't talk about sports to somebody.' I didn't have that outlet anymore. I talked to a couple of folks about what it takes to do the podcast and really it's as simple as having an i-pad...a microphone...recording it and then having a program to edit it. 

I spent a week doing trial runs. Even now that I'm doing it three days a week, it's still a learning process. Somewhere, somebody wants to hear people talk about sports, and I want to be their guy. I always jump on the opportunity to do it."

 

"On my first ever Our City of Fountains post, I featured John Houzer, a graphic artist here in the city who later began a movie pod cast with his "protégé" and best friend Edward. This is his Ed's story.     I am Edward Joel Lamboy, I was born July 26, 1987 in Vicenza, Italy. My dad was military and my mom wasn't. They decided they wanted to get stationed somewhere else. That led us to Ft. Benning,  Georgia. I grew up in Ft. Benning for a few years, my dad then retired and we moved to Columbus. I thought I hated everything."  Did you ever think you'd be where you are; doing what you love?  "Not at all man. I wasn't insecure about who I was. I was very impressionable. I was always handy and had to make with what I've had. The one thing I can truly say about Columbus is that everyone in my entire life, has been there for me when I've needed them and I wish I could do so much for them...more than I can do now. These people will always be there for me and I them. We are family. At the end of the day that's the thing that matters most."   - You and Houzer have a powerful friendship. How did you guys meet? -  "I worked at the Carmkie 15 when I was 17 years old, we met there. It's almost like Stepbrothers where we never argue...like, "Did we just become best friends?" (Chuckles) We became friends and had the same interests in film, it just stuck. When I moved to Atlanta, he was already living there so we hung out then. He was always..."Goals"...always on top of school and doing his thing. I was always the one that would say, "Man I can't afford school but what you're doing looks like much fun! I always supported him." (Laughs) He's worked for everything that he has. He is truly my brother."  - How did you guys decide you wanted to do a podcast? -  "I was staying off of 15 Ave. It was something we always did. John and I were hanging out with friends, and we couldn't stop talking about movies that day, like normal...someone made a comment, not sure if it was him, Widilia or Bianca that was like y'all should start recording your conversations about movies.' After that day, we decided to write notes about subject matter we wanted to talk about and just bounce off each other's conversation. We started uploading them to SoundCloud and went from there. We also needed a name, so we just called it The Roundtable."    

"On my first ever Our City of Fountains post, I featured John Houzer, a graphic artist here in the city who later began a movie pod cast with his "protégé" and best friend Edward. This is his Ed's story. 

I am Edward Joel Lamboy, I was born July 26, 1987 in Vicenza, Italy. My dad was military and my mom wasn't. They decided they wanted to get stationed somewhere else. That led us to Ft. Benning,Georgia. I grew up in Ft. Benning for a few years, my dad then retired and we moved to Columbus. I thought I hated everything."

Did you ever think you'd be where you are; doing what you love?

"Not at all man. I wasn't insecure about who I was. I was very impressionable. I was always handy and had to make with what I've had. The one thing I can truly say about Columbus is that everyone in my entire life, has been there for me when I've needed them and I wish I could do so much for them...more than I can do now. These people will always be there for me and I them. We are family. At the end of the day that's the thing that matters most." 

- You and Houzer have a powerful friendship. How did you guys meet? -

"I worked at the Carmkie 15 when I was 17 years old, we met there. It's almost like Stepbrothers where we never argue...like, "Did we just become best friends?" (Chuckles) We became friends and had the same interests in film, it just stuck. When I moved to Atlanta, he was already living there so we hung out then. He was always..."Goals"...always on top of school and doing his thing. I was always the one that would say, "Man I can't afford school but what you're doing looks like much fun! I always supported him." (Laughs) He's worked for everything that he has. He is truly my brother."

- How did you guys decide you wanted to do a podcast? -

"I was staying off of 15 Ave. It was something we always did. John and I were hanging out with friends, and we couldn't stop talking about movies that day, like normal...someone made a comment, not sure if it was him, Widilia or Bianca that was like y'all should start recording your conversations about movies.' After that day, we decided to write notes about subject matter we wanted to talk about and just bounce off each other's conversation. We started uploading them to SoundCloud and went from there. We also needed a name, so we just called it The Roundtable."

 

"We decided to change the name of our pod cast to 'The Film Scouts'. John had that name locked away for a long time. Columbus hasn't really had anything 'film-related' so what we're doing is giving a voice to our city and showing appreciation for film. We love to give our insight as well as encourage others to share their opinion."    

"We decided to change the name of our pod cast to 'The Film Scouts'. John had that name locked away for a long time. Columbus hasn't really had anything 'film-related' so what we're doing is giving a voice to our city and showing appreciation for film. We love to give our insight as well as encourage others to share their opinion."

 

"You've gotta see people for who they are. That's why Columbus is wonderful! People give Columbus so much shit, but at the same time, I've met some of the best people, and have made the best friends in my entire life here. That's something that will never die. That's something that will never go away.   All the motivation I have comes from the people around me."       

"You've gotta see people for who they are. That's why Columbus is wonderful! People give Columbus so much shit, but at the same time, I've met some of the best people, and have made the best friends in my entire life here. That's something that will never die. That's something that will never go away. 

All the motivation I have comes from the people around me."
 

 

- If you had any advice to give to the younger generation coming up...what would it be? -     "Be yourself. You're going to take low-blows and shots; you've got to run with it and make the best with what you have man. It's all about perspective. It's not meant to be easy. You have to work for what you want. It's not fun being patient...but it's rewarding. If you can do something for someone else, to better someone's life, essentially that's all that really matters."

- If you had any advice to give to the younger generation coming up...what would it be? - 

"Be yourself. You're going to take low-blows and shots; you've got to run with it and make the best with what you have man. It's all about perspective. It's not meant to be easy. You have to work for what you want. It's not fun being patient...but it's rewarding. If you can do something for someone else, to better someone's life, essentially that's all that really matters."

According to some online sources, the average waiter at a restaurant in 2016 makes about $5.01 an hour in the United States. Like most states however, a server here in Columbus, Georgia only makes $2.13 an hour plus tips. Most restaurants also mandate their wait staff to tip out their bartenders, food runners, sometimes food expediters and "bussers", which means some servers bring in around 70% of   their daily cash tips. In this city, one of the things we know best is food. It's amazing to me that a $4.2 billion dollar a year industry has guidelines that to most...seem a bit outdated when it comes to the fairness of employee wage. According to the United States Department of Labor, The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the Federal minimum wage to be covered for nonexempt employees.   If this concept is new to you, I encourage you try to follow this closely. Non-exempt is the more exact way of saying you are an hourly employee who is entitled to overtime when you work over 40 hours, and need to take leave for any hour you are out. It also means you are not in a management position--those are usually exempt. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the Federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour DO NOT equal the Federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. If the employer doesn't...well...they're breaking the law.   This week I dive into the lives of individuals working in a world I have known for over fifteen years; the restaurant industry. It is a world that certainly isn't for everyone. Many arguments exist when the subject of server wage is discussed. Some see waiting tables as a summer job for college kids, while others make it a living, raising their families and paying bills if fortunate enough to do so. With a record high turn-over rate, little incentive and overworked employees, the restaurant industry is a perplexed world filled with many uncertain outcomes.

According to some online sources, the average waiter at a restaurant in 2016 makes about $5.01 an hour in the United States. Like most states however, a server here in Columbus, Georgia only makes $2.13 an hour plus tips. Most restaurants also mandate their wait staff to tip out their bartenders, food runners, sometimes food expediters and "bussers", which means some servers bring in around 70% of their daily cash tips. In this city, one of the things we know best is food. It's amazing to me that a $4.2 billion dollar a year industry has guidelines that to most...seem a bit outdated when it comes to the fairness of employee wage. According to the United States Department of Labor, The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requires payment of at least the Federal minimum wage to be covered for nonexempt employees. 

If this concept is new to you, I encourage you try to follow this closely. Non-exempt is the more exact way of saying you are an hourly employee who is entitled to overtime when you work over 40 hours, and need to take leave for any hour you are out. It also means you are not in a management position--those are usually exempt. An employer of a tipped employee is only required to pay $2.13 an hour in direct wages if that amount plus the tips received equals at least the Federal minimum wage, the employee retains all tips and the employee customarily and regularly receives more than $30 a month in tips. If an employee's tips combined with the employer's direct wages of at least $2.13 an hour DO NOT equal the Federal minimum hourly wage, the employer must make up the difference. If the employer doesn't...well...they're breaking the law. 

This week I dive into the lives of individuals working in a world I have known for over fifteen years; the restaurant industry. It is a world that certainly isn't for everyone. Many arguments exist when the subject of server wage is discussed. Some see waiting tables as a summer job for college kids, while others make it a living, raising their families and paying bills if fortunate enough to do so. With a record high turn-over rate, little incentive and overworked employees, the restaurant industry is a perplexed world filled with many uncertain outcomes.

- There is so much that factors into the restaurant industry as far as making money is concerned. In order to succeed as a waiter/waitress, you must understand general principals as well as human behavior. There are unspoken rules that come into play when adapting to your customers. You must be on point every second with what you say, how you say it, what you do and how you do it.     There are thre  e general types of customers/guests a waiter/waitress encounters every day. 1.) The Tipper - The tipper will tip a server appropriately no matter how they perform. Even if they've received the worst service...at least a 10% tip is usually left. 2.) The "Over-analyzer" - These types of customers will nit-pick and base their tip on every move you make or don't make. They are generally rude and create an awkward experience for the server. C.) The Poor Tipper/Stiffer - These individuals normally plan to dine in and not tip; they create a scenario to sabotage their waiter in order to not have to tip or walk out on their tab. These customers are generally loud, rude and disrespectful.   In many specific areas of our country, demographics play an integral role in our city as far as what kind of business a server's restaurant attracts. Stereotypes are formed, both for cliental and wait staff based off of customer's tipping patterns and wait staff behaviors. Generalizations and having a 'quick-to-judge' attitude is common. It's an ugly truth that no one wants to discuss, however it exists.   This week, I stopped by the busiest restaurant in our city, and I say this with no exaggeration. Serving large portions for a bang-for-your-buck kind of deal, it's not uncommon for this restaurant to have three-hour wait times on a Saturday night. With quick turnover times, you'd think this place would be a cash cow for any server. Unfortunately, it has gained a blended mix of tipping cliental.   I spoke to someone I can truly say is one of the best waiters I have ever met. I wanted to get an inside view of what it's like from someone who has been in the industry for quite some time. -  "My name is Derek Nason, I'm 35 and from Columbus, Georgia. I've been waiting tables for about 15 years now...(Long pause) loving every bit of it. Enter eye-roll. (Laughs)"  Do you make a lot of money working here? -  "It's hit or miss man." - (Looks at his customer's receipt. He was tipped six dollars on a one hundred dollar tab).- Like I said...hit or miss. You just never know. All people are different."  -Is it better than worse? -  "It equals out. It pays the bills for the most part. I make 2.13 an hour. A lot of people don't know that and tip small amounts because they think we make so much money. It's not for everybody. I've seen so many servers last a few days to a week. We are the busiest restaurant in the city. It's brutal. It keeps me in shape though. (Laughs) I am always in the party section so I depend on larger party gratuities. I get 15% but after tip out I get 12%. Sometimes, we have servers work double shifts all day and walk with under $20.00 dollars. I frequently get customer's who are ungrateful and who don't tip. We don't get breaks. We are non stop. We don't get lunches. If we work all day on weekends...we work 12 hours plus without breaks. With me, you don't have to worry about extra napkins, your order coming out wrong, straws, refills, lemons and any extras you need because I already know what you need before you say anything...and even still...when it comes time to pay, I hear a 'You already got your tip right?' I mean, I'm grateful for whatever I get, but some people truly don't give a shit and tip nothing. It's a hard industry. We have some servers who are going to school and this job is helping them pay for college...and then we have the server's that are supporting their family with their server income. I can't really see myself doing this much longer...honestly man, I'm getting burned out."

- There is so much that factors into the restaurant industry as far as making money is concerned. In order to succeed as a waiter/waitress, you must understand general principals as well as human behavior. There are unspoken rules that come into play when adapting to your customers. You must be on point every second with what you say, how you say it, what you do and how you do it. 

There are three general types of customers/guests a waiter/waitress encounters every day. 1.) The Tipper - The tipper will tip a server appropriately no matter how they perform. Even if they've received the worst service...at least a 10% tip is usually left. 2.) The "Over-analyzer" - These types of customers will nit-pick and base their tip on every move you make or don't make. They are generally rude and create an awkward experience for the server. C.) The Poor Tipper/Stiffer - These individuals normally plan to dine in and not tip; they create a scenario to sabotage their waiter in order to not have to tip or walk out on their tab. These customers are generally loud, rude and disrespectful. 

In many specific areas of our country, demographics play an integral role in our city as far as what kind of business a server's restaurant attracts. Stereotypes are formed, both for cliental and wait staff based off of customer's tipping patterns and wait staff behaviors. Generalizations and having a 'quick-to-judge' attitude is common. It's an ugly truth that no one wants to discuss, however it exists. 

This week, I stopped by the busiest restaurant in our city, and I say this with no exaggeration. Serving large portions for a bang-for-your-buck kind of deal, it's not uncommon for this restaurant to have three-hour wait times on a Saturday night. With quick turnover times, you'd think this place would be a cash cow for any server. Unfortunately, it has gained a blended mix of tipping cliental. 

I spoke to someone I can truly say is one of the best waiters I have ever met. I wanted to get an inside view of what it's like from someone who has been in the industry for quite some time. -

"My name is Derek Nason, I'm 35 and from Columbus, Georgia. I've been waiting tables for about 15 years now...(Long pause) loving every bit of it. Enter eye-roll. (Laughs)"

Do you make a lot of money working here? -

"It's hit or miss man." - (Looks at his customer's receipt. He was tipped six dollars on a one hundred dollar tab).- Like I said...hit or miss. You just never know. All people are different."

-Is it better than worse? -

"It equals out. It pays the bills for the most part. I make 2.13 an hour. A lot of people don't know that and tip small amounts because they think we make so much money. It's not for everybody. I've seen so many servers last a few days to a week. We are the busiest restaurant in the city. It's brutal. It keeps me in shape though. (Laughs) I am always in the party section so I depend on larger party gratuities. I get 15% but after tip out I get 12%. Sometimes, we have servers work double shifts all day and walk with under $20.00 dollars. I frequently get customer's who are ungrateful and who don't tip. We don't get breaks. We are non stop. We don't get lunches. If we work all day on weekends...we work 12 hours plus without breaks. With me, you don't have to worry about extra napkins, your order coming out wrong, straws, refills, lemons and any extras you need because I already know what you need before you say anything...and even still...when it comes time to pay, I hear a 'You already got your tip right?' I mean, I'm grateful for whatever I get, but some people truly don't give a shit and tip nothing. It's a hard industry. We have some servers who are going to school and this job is helping them pay for college...and then we have the server's that are supporting their family with their server income. I can't really see myself doing this much longer...honestly man, I'm getting burned out."

- Over the last few months I went out to find more amazing people doing every day jobs here in our city. The growth and success of every city depends on so many important factors...most importantly, measured through its people. We forget that everyone has a story. Many of them are similar, and so many are so unique. No matter the story, every contribution to society is an important one.  I stumbled into a humble little Dentist's office the other day. I knew from the moment I walked in, that it embodied the loving "small-town" feel we here in Columbus are very accustomed to. Everyone was so gracious and hospitable when I came in. Although this is how we expect every establishment should be, we know that's not always the case.  Like in every business, first impressions can forever make or break someone who comes in for the first time. No matter the polls, I can assure that a great number of you reading this article has a certain dislike for any mean-old tooth doctor. I am certainly one of them. Finding comfort from speaking to the staff of this establishment however ironed out any wrinkled thoughts of familiar madness. It was a simple reminder that when the proper care is implemented, any job can be a pleasant one. Thanks  Adams Family and Cosmetic Dentistry  for giving  Our City of Fountains  a glimpse into your lovely staff and establishment. -

- Over the last few months I went out to find more amazing people doing every day jobs here in our city. The growth and success of every city depends on so many important factors...most importantly, measured through its people. We forget that everyone has a story. Many of them are similar, and so many are so unique. No matter the story, every contribution to society is an important one.

I stumbled into a humble little Dentist's office the other day. I knew from the moment I walked in, that it embodied the loving "small-town" feel we here in Columbus are very accustomed to. Everyone was so gracious and hospitable when I came in. Although this is how we expect every establishment should be, we know that's not always the case.

Like in every business, first impressions can forever make or break someone who comes in for the first time. No matter the polls, I can assure that a great number of you reading this article has a certain dislike for any mean-old tooth doctor. I am certainly one of them. Finding comfort from speaking to the staff of this establishment however ironed out any wrinkled thoughts of familiar madness. It was a simple reminder that when the proper care is implemented, any job can be a pleasant one. Thanks Adams Family and Cosmetic Dentistry for giving Our City of Fountains a glimpse into your lovely staff and establishment. -

“My name is Brenn Butler, I’m 27 years old. I was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia.  I’m a Dental Assistant; I was trained on the job almost four years ago and started with no experience. It’s a huge passion of mine now. I couldn’t have chosen a better job for myself.”  - You didn’t know that going into it though?  “No. It was one of those things that…I was looking to start a new career. I was at a place where I had to…my life basically started over from scratch about five years ago; I hadn’t finished school, I wasn’t in a place where I was in a career. I put in for an application, not really thinking much about it. The way it happened was much better than I could have planned.  We are a staff of thirteen women. Here we encourage each other and we love each other. We spend more time here than we do at home with our families. When life events happen and big things come about we each get the support that we need. I’m an only child so having sisters to lift each other up every day is just an added plus to the job.  As far as the job itself…so many people are terrified of the Dentist. People have had bad experiences. That’s the cool thing though because we have those patients that come in terrified and need to be on Nitrous, or need some sort of sedation…here we work with them and break down all of their fears while gaining their trust. It certainly fulfills me. This is what makes our job special. For children too, except we get the chance to make a child’s first experience great. A child’s first experience at the dentist can change their perspective for life.”

“My name is Brenn Butler, I’m 27 years old. I was born and raised in Columbus, Georgia.

I’m a Dental Assistant; I was trained on the job almost four years ago and started with no experience. It’s a huge passion of mine now. I couldn’t have chosen a better job for myself.”

- You didn’t know that going into it though?

“No. It was one of those things that…I was looking to start a new career. I was at a place where I had to…my life basically started over from scratch about five years ago; I hadn’t finished school, I wasn’t in a place where I was in a career. I put in for an application, not really thinking much about it. The way it happened was much better than I could have planned.

We are a staff of thirteen women. Here we encourage each other and we love each other. We spend more time here than we do at home with our families. When life events happen and big things come about we each get the support that we need. I’m an only child so having sisters to lift each other up every day is just an added plus to the job.

As far as the job itself…so many people are terrified of the Dentist. People have had bad experiences. That’s the cool thing though because we have those patients that come in terrified and need to be on Nitrous, or need some sort of sedation…here we work with them and break down all of their fears while gaining their trust. It certainly fulfills me. This is what makes our job special. For children too, except we get the chance to make a child’s first experience great. A child’s first experience at the dentist can change their perspective for life.”

Loving The Light  - Somewhere along the way, embedded in the highways and byways of technology, we lost touch with the way we communicate with each other. However, whether you call it observation, experience or even courage…creating real conversations and building friendships is one of the easiest ways a small town develops a big city feel; it helps cities grow, and not in the way you may think! I'm talking about progression. A 'catching up with the times' kind of growth. And, we as people grow. In my honest opinion...understanding others is the best way to understand ourselves. The power of human interaction and understanding of one’s neighbors is very important. One of the greatest things about doing this project is that I not only get to connect with the person being interviewed…but I get to build a family thorough our community. -  “You have to be a little vulnerable and open up to do something like this, but once you do that, you get to see others do it and know what other people are going through. It’s a connection where surface level…just doesn’t cut it!”  - You open up a part of you that people can understand…relate to. Do you remember a time where you felt so defeated? How did you overcome it? What did it teach you? -  “I have and I’ve prayed about it. I was not always living a productive life nor was I a productive member of society. I got involved in the party scene in Columbus. I walked down a really dark road of drug addiction and found myself just…really broken. (Takes a second) You know…you lose your family…my dad was an alcoholic. That was something that affected me my entire life. I continued in his path of drugs and alcohol for six years and ended up so lost. I had no idea what I was here for. I still had my friends but I had two separate lives. I loved that life until I was in a place where I was so hopeless and didn’t know where to go. I put myself in a six-month treatment."  - Good for you! That is so hard to do. -  “It was. I remembered wanting to make that decision. You know you aren’t doing the right thing and you know you need to change but, making that change; taking that first step is always the hardest in the other direction.”  - Explain to me what it’s like to be in that position where you need to get out of where you are, but you just can’t. I’ve been there before and I know what worked for me, but I ask you because I want everyone out there who is struggling with this to know that IT is different for everybody! They think, “Well I’m a failure because I can’t do what so and so did.” But ‘so and so’ is a different person than you are…you can’t compare yourself to others because we are all different. What was the main thing that truly brought to that resolution…where you just said ‘I can’t take it anymore?’ -  “There were situations that happened that continued to get me to that place. Ultimately, I was so sick of running and I didn’t know where I was going. I had a strong desire to change and stop…but I can remember not having a single idea on how I could. The only way I knew how to cope was to continue doing what I was doing. There was so much shame and regret. You take one right step forward but are met with such a deceiving feeling and shame that just put you back to where you came from.”  - I don’t think that people understand that when you are in that position…you run into judgment and finger pointing. It’s an ugly road. It’s hard, but it’s beautiful to see where you once were in comparison to where you are now. -  “The transformation is unreal. There is so much healing that has happened. You start living this new life and you almost forget where you came from…what you’ve been through…the dark thoughts and the bad feelings. It makes you love the light.”

Loving The Light

- Somewhere along the way, embedded in the highways and byways of technology, we lost touch with the way we communicate with each other. However, whether you call it observation, experience or even courage…creating real conversations and building friendships is one of the easiest ways a small town develops a big city feel; it helps cities grow, and not in the way you may think! I'm talking about progression. A 'catching up with the times' kind of growth. And, we as people grow. In my honest opinion...understanding others is the best way to understand ourselves. The power of human interaction and understanding of one’s neighbors is very important. One of the greatest things about doing this project is that I not only get to connect with the person being interviewed…but I get to build a family thorough our community. -

“You have to be a little vulnerable and open up to do something like this, but once you do that, you get to see others do it and know what other people are going through. It’s a connection where surface level…just doesn’t cut it!”

- You open up a part of you that people can understand…relate to. Do you remember a time where you felt so defeated? How did you overcome it? What did it teach you? -

“I have and I’ve prayed about it. I was not always living a productive life nor was I a productive member of society. I got involved in the party scene in Columbus. I walked down a really dark road of drug addiction and found myself just…really broken. (Takes a second) You know…you lose your family…my dad was an alcoholic. That was something that affected me my entire life. I continued in his path of drugs and alcohol for six years and ended up so lost. I had no idea what I was here for. I still had my friends but I had two separate lives. I loved that life until I was in a place where I was so hopeless and didn’t know where to go. I put myself in a six-month treatment."

- Good for you! That is so hard to do. -

“It was. I remembered wanting to make that decision. You know you aren’t doing the right thing and you know you need to change but, making that change; taking that first step is always the hardest in the other direction.”

- Explain to me what it’s like to be in that position where you need to get out of where you are, but you just can’t. I’ve been there before and I know what worked for me, but I ask you because I want everyone out there who is struggling with this to know that IT is different for everybody! They think, “Well I’m a failure because I can’t do what so and so did.” But ‘so and so’ is a different person than you are…you can’t compare yourself to others because we are all different. What was the main thing that truly brought to that resolution…where you just said ‘I can’t take it anymore?’ -

“There were situations that happened that continued to get me to that place. Ultimately, I was so sick of running and I didn’t know where I was going. I had a strong desire to change and stop…but I can remember not having a single idea on how I could. The only way I knew how to cope was to continue doing what I was doing. There was so much shame and regret. You take one right step forward but are met with such a deceiving feeling and shame that just put you back to where you came from.”

- I don’t think that people understand that when you are in that position…you run into judgment and finger pointing. It’s an ugly road. It’s hard, but it’s beautiful to see where you once were in comparison to where you are now. -

“The transformation is unreal. There is so much healing that has happened. You start living this new life and you almost forget where you came from…what you’ve been through…the dark thoughts and the bad feelings. It makes you love the light.”

-Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? What goal would you like to accomplish? -  "That's a hard question...I have multiple dreams for the future. I have hopes to get married and start a family. On the other hand I plan to pursue expanding in my field by focusing on more of the training side of assisting; see what doors open up. Basically, I want to continue to grow in every aspect of my life. I want to create a program that would financially help recovering addicts get their smiles back. Giving that sort of gift to someone in that position would be overwhelmingly rewarding."

-Where do you see yourself in the next couple of years? What goal would you like to accomplish? -

"That's a hard question...I have multiple dreams for the future. I have hopes to get married and start a family. On the other hand I plan to pursue expanding in my field by focusing on more of the training side of assisting; see what doors open up. Basically, I want to continue to grow in every aspect of my life. I want to create a program that would financially help recovering addicts get their smiles back. Giving that sort of gift to someone in that position would be overwhelmingly rewarding."

- While it's always helpful reflecting on the hard times in your past, it's also beneficial to take a look at the happy times. What happy memory normally jumps out at you from your past? -  "Would probably have to be, making mud pies at my grandparents house. Life was simple. My innocence was at its purest form during those weekends. I actually haven't thought much about this question before. It's easy to look back and find the painful or bad memories...Our minds like to play tricks on us I guess. It's really good for me to look back over my life for these types of moments because there were many many good ones."    

- While it's always helpful reflecting on the hard times in your past, it's also beneficial to take a look at the happy times. What happy memory normally jumps out at you from your past? -

"Would probably have to be, making mud pies at my grandparents house. Life was simple. My innocence was at its purest form during those weekends. I actually haven't thought much about this question before. It's easy to look back and find the painful or bad memories...Our minds like to play tricks on us I guess. It's really good for me to look back over my life for these types of moments because there were many many good ones."

 
4th of July Weekend #downtoncolumbusga

4th of July Weekend #downtoncolumbusga

    For those who didn't know...the 2.5-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River is located in the heart of Uptown Columbus and was named one of the Top 12 Man-Made Adventures in the World by USA Today. Not bad for our little city.  Columbus GA Whitewater   #GeorgiaSummers     

 

For those who didn't know...the 2.5-mile stretch of the Chattahoochee River is located in the heart of Uptown Columbus and was named one of the Top 12 Man-Made Adventures in the World by USA Today. Not bad for our little city. Columbus GA Whitewater #GeorgiaSummers

 
- A bit about the editor -  "Hey there. My name is Christian Ortiz. I am a 33 year old single dad of four fantastic children and co-parent with one of the coolest moms on Earth. I was born in Los Angeles. My family and I took off to New Jersey during the beginning of the LA Riots. We lost many friends during that horrible time. My family and I never had much. Although we came from nothing, we had everything we needed; each other. My mom was a single mom raising 3 boys in some of the largest and most dangerous cities. We practically raised ourselves. I have seen so much sadness in my time; experienced things people could never imagine. I've struggled with dyslexia my whole life, making learning and living, a challenge. When I turned 24, and held my first born for the very first time...I knew I wanted a life that no one could ever imagine having. I worked endless nights teaching myself photography, editing, music and music production in my two bedroom apartment. Anyone who has ever built their craft from scratch knows that when you push yourself so much...their comes a point where you start to question every decision you make.  After so long I started asking myself, "What the Hell are you working this hard for? You're not making any money...you spend countless nights awake creating. Is this worth it?" So, as most frustrated artists do...I took a break. After one week of doing absolutely nothing creative...I felt sick. I immediately became depressed. I remember picking up my guitar and feeling like whatever sickness was inside of me go away. In 2012 I walked in to a local pawn shop during tax season and saw this Sony a200 laying behind the glass of a showcase table. Something inside of me knew that if I didn't purchase it then and there...I was going to regret it.  I knew absolutely nothing about photography except that I loved taking pictures. It was yet again, another means of creation for me. Editing photos became a serious thing to me. Every night I took a few hours after putting my son to sleep to edit the most random things on Photoshop. I learned every button, every trick of the trade. I knew that somewhere, some time...everything I was doing would one day pay off. Today, I own and operate a freelance photography company called Modtography, as well as manage this photojournalism project called Our City of Fountains. It's almost been a year now, but I've acquired a position with a Fortune 500 company doing exactly what I have been doing for the last eight years right here in my home Columbus, Georgia. I absolutely love my life. I live, breathe and eat photography...creativity, really. I hope you enjoy my work, and if nothing else...I am so glad that you all gave me an opportunity to tell my story. I pray that my children will one day follow in my footsteps and have the same wonderful experiences I've had with their creativity."  -Christian Ortiz

- A bit about the editor -

"Hey there. My name is Christian Ortiz. I am a 33 year old single dad of four fantastic children and co-parent with one of the coolest moms on Earth. I was born in Los Angeles. My family and I took off to New Jersey during the beginning of the LA Riots. We lost many friends during that horrible time. My family and I never had much. Although we came from nothing, we had everything we needed; each other. My mom was a single mom raising 3 boys in some of the largest and most dangerous cities. We practically raised ourselves. I have seen so much sadness in my time; experienced things people could never imagine. I've struggled with dyslexia my whole life, making learning and living, a challenge. When I turned 24, and held my first born for the very first time...I knew I wanted a life that no one could ever imagine having. I worked endless nights teaching myself photography, editing, music and music production in my two bedroom apartment. Anyone who has ever built their craft from scratch knows that when you push yourself so much...their comes a point where you start to question every decision you make.

After so long I started asking myself, "What the Hell are you working this hard for? You're not making any money...you spend countless nights awake creating. Is this worth it?" So, as most frustrated artists do...I took a break. After one week of doing absolutely nothing creative...I felt sick. I immediately became depressed. I remember picking up my guitar and feeling like whatever sickness was inside of me go away. In 2012 I walked in to a local pawn shop during tax season and saw this Sony a200 laying behind the glass of a showcase table. Something inside of me knew that if I didn't purchase it then and there...I was going to regret it.

I knew absolutely nothing about photography except that I loved taking pictures. It was yet again, another means of creation for me. Editing photos became a serious thing to me. Every night I took a few hours after putting my son to sleep to edit the most random things on Photoshop. I learned every button, every trick of the trade. I knew that somewhere, some time...everything I was doing would one day pay off. Today, I own and operate a freelance photography company called Modtography, as well as manage this photojournalism project called Our City of Fountains. It's almost been a year now, but I've acquired a position with a Fortune 500 company doing exactly what I have been doing for the last eight years right here in my home Columbus, Georgia. I absolutely love my life. I live, breathe and eat photography...creativity, really. I hope you enjoy my work, and if nothing else...I am so glad that you all gave me an opportunity to tell my story. I pray that my children will one day follow in my footsteps and have the same wonderful experiences I've had with their creativity."

-Christian Ortiz

- About the editor Pt2 -   "It was around 3 AM and my oldest brother woke me up. He told me we were going on a trip. We get in a cab, bags fully packed in the pouring rain. We hydroplane and lose control on our way to LAX . As we drove by, buildings were on   #fire  . Cars were upside down engulfed in flames. During the 8 hour flight to   #Newark   , turbulence damn near killed us. When we got to our new apartment in Jersey, I watched   #LIVE   coverage of our apartment and neighborhood in   #California   burning from the helicopter skycam on a black and white 13 inch television sitting by a bird cage on our counter top. We had left just in time. I was five years old.   #losangelesriots

- About the editor Pt2 -
"It was around 3 AM and my oldest brother woke me up. He told me we were going on a trip. We get in a cab, bags fully packed in the pouring rain. We hydroplane and lose control on our way to LAX . As we drove by, buildings were on #fire. Cars were upside down engulfed in flames. During the 8 hour flight to #Newark , turbulence damn near killed us. When we got to our new apartment in Jersey, I watched #LIVE coverage of our apartment and neighborhood in #California burning from the helicopter skycam on a black and white 13 inch television sitting by a bird cage on our counter top. We had left just in time. I was five years old. #losangelesriots

There are hidden gems in every city. People who have contributed their passion and soul into the city they live in for years. Kenny, is surely one of our gems. I’ve known this man for years, and every time I see him…I just can’t help but to smile. A talent filled giant with a heart of gold; it’s people like him that put faith back into humanity for me. This, is his story.  “Hey guys, my name is Kenny Miller. People around Columbus, Georgia know me as a musician. I play lead vocals, percussion and harmonica in my band Haywire. I’m also the percussionist, harmonica player in another local band The Breakdowns, the Tom Petty Tribute Band.”  “You had a big show lately here in town.”  “We had a blast! We played out in the Civic Center two weekends ago. We opened up for the band Big & Rich. Got a chance to meet the guys and hang out. We got a chance to sound really, really good. The sound guys we had working for us were meticulous in getting our sound quality right. They took the time to get all the levels right and all the monitors right. We weren’t just some opening band…it wasn’t your wham-bam, you’ve got your five minutes now get out of here. We got a good sound check so we tore the roof out that sucker. Terri Young…his voice was strong and all the guys in the band…Willie, Kurt, Mike, Emily and Rick…all of these guys were on top of their game that night. We played great songs. We got a great response and we got great reviews, especially from  gigsalad.com.   We’ve been doing Haywire since ’92. We’ve been around for a long time. We had some personal changes over the years ya’ know? But we haven’t had a lull in our plans since ’92. No more than a couple of months. We are still out there doing our thing and people still seem to show up. “  - You guys have very faithful followers.  “Oh we have some of the best fans in Columbus! They’re going to come out to the show. They’re going to hoop and holler. They’re going to make the show great. “

There are hidden gems in every city. People who have contributed their passion and soul into the city they live in for years. Kenny, is surely one of our gems. I’ve known this man for years, and every time I see him…I just can’t help but to smile. A talent filled giant with a heart of gold; it’s people like him that put faith back into humanity for me. This, is his story.

“Hey guys, my name is Kenny Miller. People around Columbus, Georgia know me as a musician. I play lead vocals, percussion and harmonica in my band Haywire. I’m also the percussionist, harmonica player in another local band The Breakdowns, the Tom Petty Tribute Band.”

“You had a big show lately here in town.”

“We had a blast! We played out in the Civic Center two weekends ago. We opened up for the band Big & Rich. Got a chance to meet the guys and hang out. We got a chance to sound really, really good. The sound guys we had working for us were meticulous in getting our sound quality right. They took the time to get all the levels right and all the monitors right. We weren’t just some opening band…it wasn’t your wham-bam, you’ve got your five minutes now get out of here. We got a good sound check so we tore the roof out that sucker. Terri Young…his voice was strong and all the guys in the band…Willie, Kurt, Mike, Emily and Rick…all of these guys were on top of their game that night. We played great songs. We got a great response and we got great reviews, especially from gigsalad.com.

We’ve been doing Haywire since ’92. We’ve been around for a long time. We had some personal changes over the years ya’ know? But we haven’t had a lull in our plans since ’92. No more than a couple of months. We are still out there doing our thing and people still seem to show up. “

- You guys have very faithful followers.

“Oh we have some of the best fans in Columbus! They’re going to come out to the show. They’re going to hoop and holler. They’re going to make the show great. “

-You’re from here right?  “Being an Army brat, yes. I was born in North Carolina…moved to Germany for a few years…wherever he got stationed. Left Germany and went to Ft. Hood, Texas. When I was a kid, we came to Columbus and have been here ever since.”  - Columbus has treated you well yes?  “It’s done me well. I have met the love of my life here. (Proudly points and glances at his wife Marnita)… Shameless plug (Chuckles hysterically)  - How long have you all been together?  “A little over ten years now; been married a little over two. Fantastic…fantastic woman!”  - That is most excellent. Are there other things you like to dabble in, on the side? Any other interests?  Now I get a lot of comments that go; ‘Well, we see you as a musician all the time…but do you have a day job?” Well as a matter of fact I do. I am a mechanic for Pratt & Whitney. I tell people all the time…I kinda have a cool life! I build jet engines during the day, I play rock and roll, I ride my Harley Davidson on the weekends and I have a great woman! What the Hell can be wrong with that?” (Chuckles)

-You’re from here right?

“Being an Army brat, yes. I was born in North Carolina…moved to Germany for a few years…wherever he got stationed. Left Germany and went to Ft. Hood, Texas. When I was a kid, we came to Columbus and have been here ever since.”

- Columbus has treated you well yes?

“It’s done me well. I have met the love of my life here. (Proudly points and glances at his wife Marnita)… Shameless plug (Chuckles hysterically)

- How long have you all been together?

“A little over ten years now; been married a little over two. Fantastic…fantastic woman!”

- That is most excellent. Are there other things you like to dabble in, on the side? Any other interests?

Now I get a lot of comments that go; ‘Well, we see you as a musician all the time…but do you have a day job?” Well as a matter of fact I do. I am a mechanic for Pratt & Whitney. I tell people all the time…I kinda have a cool life! I build jet engines during the day, I play rock and roll, I ride my Harley Davidson on the weekends and I have a great woman! What the Hell can be wrong with that?” (Chuckles)

- How did you get started in music?  "My mom, she's German, (speaks with a German accent), 'You will play the violin.'...yes ma'am." (Chuckles) I went to Elementary school here at St. Elmo. I still have that violin. It's more of a relic than anything else. It's about 18 inches long."  -How long have you had it?  "Since the 2nd grade. I've had some other family members play it over the years. They learned how to play it. It came back to me. I've been in orchestra all through middle school and high school. My family calls it being an 'orchadork.' I learned how to play the cello all through High School. I did the All-State thing. I got to be pretty decent. Sometime in high school, I got in to electric bass and got more into rock and roll. It wasn't long until I started playing music constantly. I took some lessons, percussion lessons from Dave Holland. Dave is a superb musician. I learned a lot just by watching him. I got a chance to learn from the feet of the master."

- How did you get started in music?

"My mom, she's German, (speaks with a German accent), 'You will play the violin.'...yes ma'am." (Chuckles) I went to Elementary school here at St. Elmo. I still have that violin. It's more of a relic than anything else. It's about 18 inches long."

-How long have you had it?

"Since the 2nd grade. I've had some other family members play it over the years. They learned how to play it. It came back to me. I've been in orchestra all through middle school and high school. My family calls it being an 'orchadork.' I learned how to play the cello all through High School. I did the All-State thing. I got to be pretty decent. Sometime in high school, I got in to electric bass and got more into rock and roll. It wasn't long until I started playing music constantly. I took some lessons, percussion lessons from Dave Holland. Dave is a superb musician. I learned a lot just by watching him. I got a chance to learn from the feet of the master."

I really can’t say enough about  Paul Pierce  and the actors within the Springer Opera House here in Columbus, Georgia. Paul has been the Producing Artistic Director for the Springer Opera House and has opened his 29th year with Sister Act. I was invited to catch a glimpse into the new season last night and I wanted to write a little something for all of these hard working individuals who truly put a smile on my face. Although I don’t normally write reviews, I am known to have a strong opinion on things. (Chuckles)  Growing up as a fan of  Broadway, New York  I've had the privilege of watching amazing actors on stage. I have been a fan of the Springer for years. The shows they put on and the sets they create are simply amazing. There is a hash tag circulating social media right now labeled #thebroadwayofthesouth  and I can completely agree that the Springer is just that. So, for all of you who are familiar with the movie Sister Act starring Whoopie Goldberg as the incredible character Delores Van Cartier, let me just start off by saying that every character in this play was portrayed perfectly.  Jeanette Illidge  (Delores), an Atlanta actress, led an amazing cast with her powerful and confident stage presence. Her voice truly soared with every song. The control of her pitch and tone made her character’s humor spot on. Every character stood out so well it felt like every one had a leading role. From Mother Superior, played exquisitely by  Christy Brumfield Baggett , Ishmael Markael  exploding with his unbelievable performance as Lt. ‘Sweaty’ Eddie Souther, everyone’s favorite agile and spunky Nun, Sister Mary Patrick played by Hillary Paige Willis and the rest of the cast;  Shane Hall  has directed and choreographed yet another new favorite of mine.  I know without a doubt, Ron Anderson is smiling down on his Springer family from Heaven. This show, and many like it, not only proves that the bond these actors share with each other is real, but it clearly expresses the passion for what they each live for. You can’t help but be proud of what these wonderful people are doing for the arts and especially our community. Long live our State Theater, the  Springer Opera House  .

I really can’t say enough about Paul Pierce and the actors within the Springer Opera House here in Columbus, Georgia. Paul has been the Producing Artistic Director for the Springer Opera House and has opened his 29th year with Sister Act. I was invited to catch a glimpse into the new season last night and I wanted to write a little something for all of these hard working individuals who truly put a smile on my face. Although I don’t normally write reviews, I am known to have a strong opinion on things. (Chuckles)

Growing up as a fan of Broadway, New York I've had the privilege of watching amazing actors on stage. I have been a fan of the Springer for years. The shows they put on and the sets they create are simply amazing. There is a hash tag circulating social media right now labeled#thebroadwayofthesouth and I can completely agree that the Springer is just that. So, for all of you who are familiar with the movie Sister Act starring Whoopie Goldberg as the incredible character Delores Van Cartier, let me just start off by saying that every character in this play was portrayed perfectly. Jeanette Illidge (Delores), an Atlanta actress, led an amazing cast with her powerful and confident stage presence. Her voice truly soared with every song. The control of her pitch and tone made her character’s humor spot on. Every character stood out so well it felt like every one had a leading role. From Mother Superior, played exquisitely by Christy Brumfield Baggett,Ishmael Markael exploding with his unbelievable performance as Lt. ‘Sweaty’ Eddie Souther, everyone’s favorite agile and spunky Nun, Sister Mary Patrick played by Hillary Paige Willis and the rest of the cast; Shane Hall has directed and choreographed yet another new favorite of mine.

I know without a doubt, Ron Anderson is smiling down on his Springer family from Heaven. This show, and many like it, not only proves that the bond these actors share with each other is real, but it clearly expresses the passion for what they each live for. You can’t help but be proud of what these wonderful people are doing for the arts and especially our community. Long live our State Theater, the Springer Opera House .

- This week I had the pleasure of diving into the world of nursing. There will always be a demand for nurses. It is a field that is growing each day. Every now and again, if you pay close attention, you can see passion in those who define service, those who live to help others. Brittany is this person. This is her story.  My name is Brittany McMillion, I am 26 years old. I’m from Smiths Station Alabama; a very small town but, it’s a good one. Go Panthers. I graduated high school in 2009 and I went straight into nursing school. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, but for some reason God chose me to be an advocate for health for so many reasons. My mom always told me I could always argue with a book. If it was black I’d say it was white. That’s why I always wanted to be a lawyer because I was good at arguing, but I think I would lose because I’d argue too much. So, I said you know what - I’m going to be a nurse. I took no break out of high school and I went straight into nursing. I did the Associates program at Chattahoochee Valley in Phenix City. I kept everything local. Everything was here. I can’t get away from my parents. They HAVE to be like five minutes away from me. I love my parents. I need them. They’re amazing. I don’t know where I would be without them. They’re the strongest couple I know. They’ve been married for 26 years now. They are the reason I am the person I am.  When I say I am an advocate for health I, care for people. I work in the operating room at St. Francis and then I also work at the Rehab Hospital in Phenix City. I’m a circulator in the operating room. I see all of these people getting all types of surgeries from their knees, to their gallbladders or hernias and then I work with them when they’re transferred to the Rehab Hospital in Phenix City. It’s really good to see the progress of someone. I may have someone who has suffered a stroke and can’t move a side of their body and need help. They are completely dependent on me, the person I have to be for them…and then they leave walking. I don’t know…it’s like…you don’t know what you would do without two hands. I broke my wrist last year, I thought I was a dirt bike rider superstar…I had one hand. I was in bad shape! My mom had to give me a shower at 25 years old. I depended on her. You don’t know what you do with two hands until you don’t have two hands anymore. So, it really helps me to be able to help these people when they need it the most. I mean, they’ve lost their pride, they’ve lost their dignity. You're having to pick someone up or give them a shower…things they’ve been doing for x-amount of years and now they are completely dependent on that person. I definitely think that with that type of job you are chosen by God to do that. That’s your calling and that’s your serving for HIM to help these people in need.

- This week I had the pleasure of diving into the world of nursing. There will always be a demand for nurses. It is a field that is growing each day. Every now and again, if you pay close attention, you can see passion in those who define service, those who live to help others. Brittany is this person. This is her story.

My name is Brittany McMillion, I am 26 years old. I’m from Smiths Station Alabama; a very small town but, it’s a good one. Go Panthers. I graduated high school in 2009 and I went straight into nursing school. I’ve always wanted to be a lawyer, but for some reason God chose me to be an advocate for health for so many reasons. My mom always told me I could always argue with a book. If it was black I’d say it was white. That’s why I always wanted to be a lawyer because I was good at arguing, but I think I would lose because I’d argue too much. So, I said you know what - I’m going to be a nurse. I took no break out of high school and I went straight into nursing. I did the Associates program at Chattahoochee Valley in Phenix City. I kept everything local. Everything was here. I can’t get away from my parents. They HAVE to be like five minutes away from me. I love my parents. I need them. They’re amazing. I don’t know where I would be without them. They’re the strongest couple I know. They’ve been married for 26 years now. They are the reason I am the person I am.

When I say I am an advocate for health I, care for people. I work in the operating room at St. Francis and then I also work at the Rehab Hospital in Phenix City. I’m a circulator in the operating room. I see all of these people getting all types of surgeries from their knees, to their gallbladders or hernias and then I work with them when they’re transferred to the Rehab Hospital in Phenix City. It’s really good to see the progress of someone. I may have someone who has suffered a stroke and can’t move a side of their body and need help. They are completely dependent on me, the person I have to be for them…and then they leave walking. I don’t know…it’s like…you don’t know what you would do without two hands. I broke my wrist last year, I thought I was a dirt bike rider superstar…I had one hand. I was in bad shape! My mom had to give me a shower at 25 years old. I depended on her. You don’t know what you do with two hands until you don’t have two hands anymore. So, it really helps me to be able to help these people when they need it the most. I mean, they’ve lost their pride, they’ve lost their dignity. You're having to pick someone up or give them a shower…things they’ve been doing for x-amount of years and now they are completely dependent on that person. I definitely think that with that type of job you are chosen by God to do that. That’s your calling and that’s your serving for HIM to help these people in need.

- Helping people comes naturally to you doesn’t it?  It’s natural. My momma always asks me, ‘How do you do that? Clean someone up or see them throw up or see the blood? It doesn’t bother me! I just know that person needs me more than I need them. Taking care of people is a great feeling, especially when they appreciate it or show appreciation. You know we have these surveys they fill out. If you’re mad, you’re you going to fill out a survey right? You’re going to put everything on there that you’re mad about. You don’t get many of the good ones, but when you do, it helps. It really helps. So I push that. I say, ‘hey if you’re happy, sign here!’ (Chuckles) We get yelled at a lot. It’s not the Doctor’s fault, it’s not the techs fault, it’s not the case managers fault…the Nurse takes everything because they’re always there with that patient. You know I'm just following the Doctor's orders I don’t write the orders; I give my suggestions sometimes but the nurse is always there for them.

- Helping people comes naturally to you doesn’t it?

It’s natural. My momma always asks me, ‘How do you do that? Clean someone up or see them throw up or see the blood? It doesn’t bother me! I just know that person needs me more than I need them. Taking care of people is a great feeling, especially when they appreciate it or show appreciation. You know we have these surveys they fill out. If you’re mad, you’re you going to fill out a survey right? You’re going to put everything on there that you’re mad about. You don’t get many of the good ones, but when you do, it helps. It really helps. So I push that. I say, ‘hey if you’re happy, sign here!’ (Chuckles) We get yelled at a lot. It’s not the Doctor’s fault, it’s not the techs fault, it’s not the case managers fault…the Nurse takes everything because they’re always there with that patient. You know I'm just following the Doctor's orders I don’t write the orders; I give my suggestions sometimes but the nurse is always there for them.

-I’ve encountered many health conscience individuals for years, but none so honest and light spirited as Brittany. As an individual who lives to inspire people and help get them in the best shape of their lives, she also knows that a good treat never hurt anyone.  "I’m a sugar person. I don’t want to die one day saying, ‘Man I shouldn’t have eaten all that!’ but we’re here now sitting in a donut shop and I can eat six or seven of them. If I’d say yes you’d say yes! (Chuckles) People know how much I love donuts. If you put some in front of me they are going down.  I love the gym. The gym is my passion in life. I work out every single day. I like to inspire others to work out. It just makes you feel good. It’s like my drug, it gets me high. I love to sweat. I don’t care what I look like when I leave the gym. I started lifting weights three years ago after a bad relationship. Working out changed me mentally and physically. I gained 20 pounds of muscle. I am in the best shape of my life."

-I’ve encountered many health conscience individuals for years, but none so honest and light spirited as Brittany. As an individual who lives to inspire people and help get them in the best shape of their lives, she also knows that a good treat never hurt anyone.

"I’m a sugar person. I don’t want to die one day saying, ‘Man I shouldn’t have eaten all that!’ but we’re here now sitting in a donut shop and I can eat six or seven of them. If I’d say yes you’d say yes! (Chuckles) People know how much I love donuts. If you put some in front of me they are going down.

I love the gym. The gym is my passion in life. I work out every single day. I like to inspire others to work out. It just makes you feel good. It’s like my drug, it gets me high. I love to sweat. I don’t care what I look like when I leave the gym. I started lifting weights three years ago after a bad relationship. Working out changed me mentally and physically. I gained 20 pounds of muscle. I am in the best shape of my life."

This image definitely defines the humor that fuels Brittany's spirit. Still, her strength is an unbelievable thing to witness.  "I am also an  AdvoCare  distributor. I advocate for care. I’ve been on it for two years with different products. I love it. I have my Spark energy drinks. I have the whole operating room stocked up. I open up my locker and ask them, ‘What flavor do you want?’ (Laughs) You know, we get up early in the morning and this makes you feel awesome. It’s sugar free and has all of your vitamins and amino acids…I just don’t get out there and sell something unless I look into it. I research all of the bad reviews on why you don’t like it and I research the good reviews. I have been taking this stuff for two years and I love it why not give it to other people they’ll love it too."

This image definitely defines the humor that fuels Brittany's spirit. Still, her strength is an unbelievable thing to witness.

"I am also an AdvoCare distributor. I advocate for care. I’ve been on it for two years with different products. I love it. I have my Spark energy drinks. I have the whole operating room stocked up. I open up my locker and ask them, ‘What flavor do you want?’ (Laughs) You know, we get up early in the morning and this makes you feel awesome. It’s sugar free and has all of your vitamins and amino acids…I just don’t get out there and sell something unless I look into it. I research all of the bad reviews on why you don’t like it and I research the good reviews. I have been taking this stuff for two years and I love it why not give it to other people they’ll love it too."

"I have a friend that was so skeptical.    She’s like, ‘Brittany I’ve tried everything, I’ve done everything.’ I just said, I will give you your money back if it does not work for you. She started off and lost 18 pounds with the challenge. 4 months later, with my help and training she’s lost 52 pounds. She is my guinea pig I am so proud of her. She texts me every time she jumps on the scale and the weight goes down. I am so happy for her."

"I have a friend that was so skeptical. 
She’s like, ‘Brittany I’ve tried everything, I’ve done everything.’ I just said, I will give you your money back if it does not work for you. She started off and lost 18 pounds with the challenge. 4 months later, with my help and training she’s lost 52 pounds. She is my guinea pig I am so proud of her. She texts me every time she jumps on the scale and the weight goes down. I am so happy for her."

- Was there ever a time you went through something in your past that truly defined the path you are on now? Do you ever look back and say, "If this never happened, I would have never been where I am today."  "That's a hard question. Like I told you earlier, Kaden (Her son) is my reason for living. He pushes me every day to be better. He'll come up to me and say 'mommy you did so good today...in the gym!' He loves to workout with me. I think it was the amount of doubt I had around me, that I wasn't going to make it in nursing school being pregnant.  - Did you hear a lot of that?  "I did. But I made it. And not only did I make it, I made it with really high grades. The nursing exam that you can have, the least amount of questions you can have is 75 questions. You can take the full version which has around 215 questions I think. You can take up to five hours for it. My computer shut off at 75 questions at 45 minutes. I was like either I did really really really bad...or really really good. I just prayed about it and remembered what kind of life I can give Kaden and myself with this career, and I made it.

- Was there ever a time you went through something in your past that truly defined the path you are on now? Do you ever look back and say, "If this never happened, I would have never been where I am today."

"That's a hard question. Like I told you earlier, Kaden (Her son) is my reason for living. He pushes me every day to be better. He'll come up to me and say 'mommy you did so good today...in the gym!' He loves to workout with me. I think it was the amount of doubt I had around me, that I wasn't going to make it in nursing school being pregnant.

- Did you hear a lot of that?

"I did. But I made it. And not only did I make it, I made it with really high grades. The nursing exam that you can have, the least amount of questions you can have is 75 questions. You can take the full version which has around 215 questions I think. You can take up to five hours for it. My computer shut off at 75 questions at 45 minutes. I was like either I did really really really bad...or really really good. I just prayed about it and remembered what kind of life I can give Kaden and myself with this career, and I made it.

"My goal in life is to heal and make happy."  - What advice would you give to girls out there reading this article. Younger girls especially who are trying to fit in. Trying to find themselves. Trying to be successful. What would you like to say to girls who have hard times with their insecurities and who are trying to be their own person but maybe feel discouraged?  "There was something someone told me before I started working out or anything. Right before I became a nurse. Don't get me wrong...I'm a very happy person but everyone has their insecurities...whatever it is. No one can determine your self worth but you. No one can say, 'This is what you're worth." because your worth is something that you make up. Every girl out there will have insecurities no matter how many times they work out or do whatever they need to feel beautiful. But no one, can determine your self worth. That's it. I will remember that until the day I die. Every time I feel bad about myself or feel that there is something I could change, I remember that saying."

"My goal in life is to heal and make happy."

- What advice would you give to girls out there reading this article. Younger girls especially who are trying to fit in. Trying to find themselves. Trying to be successful. What would you like to say to girls who have hard times with their insecurities and who are trying to be their own person but maybe feel discouraged?

"There was something someone told me before I started working out or anything. Right before I became a nurse. Don't get me wrong...I'm a very happy person but everyone has their insecurities...whatever it is. No one can determine your self worth but you. No one can say, 'This is what you're worth." because your worth is something that you make up. Every girl out there will have insecurities no matter how many times they work out or do whatever they need to feel beautiful. But no one, can determine your self worth. That's it. I will remember that until the day I die. Every time I feel bad about myself or feel that there is something I could change, I remember that saying."

- I come from a family that was taught to fight for what's deserved; to never give up. We came from nothing and made a life for ourselves. Growing up in the harshest conditions; in a socio-economic day-to-day struggle, life teaches you a thing or two. Things such as survival, appreciation and most certainly humility. Given the similarities to my situation, I am immediately drawn to those who have struggled in their life. It's easy to understand what someone has been through when you yourself have experienced it ten-fold. Recently, I met Trevor, a restaurant owner, his wife and beautiful baby boy. The moment I entered their restaurant, I knew I found a little miracle in our city. What they've accomplished, not only as a couple, but as business owners in one of the most difficult industries today, is mind blowing. I am proud to share Trevor's story.  "My name is Trevor Morris. I'm 32 from Austin, Texas.  I believe God uses broken people. My childhood was a mixture of living in poverty, yet being blessed most days. We were the poor kids in class. One of my 8th grade friends recently told me this. It was something they talked about when my brothers and I weren't around. Second hand clothes and donated food were a part of life, and in our case, something to get excited about. But at the same time, we always had enough, and us kids could have fun anywhere.  Life changed when my stepfather went off the deep end and we ended up in witness protection. At that point I was shipped to Illinois where my real father lived, in a very nice house, in a very nice neighborhood. I then attended a very nice high school where once again, I didn't fit in. I didn't know how to. Severe depression set in. I joined a punk band with some guys on the bus. After high school we broke up, but later they got signed by Fueled by Ramen, and toured for 10 years. That was pretty hard. At this point, I felt like a depressed loser. Somehow, I ended up in culinary school. Then, I dropped out in the last semester. It wasn't 'til I met my wife that my life started to turn around and make absolute sense. We moved to Columbus and started a new life, and a little restaurant called  Trevioli artisan pasta company   I love owning my own restaurant. It's almost like I designed a humble house that makes everyone happy. People come visit it, sit inside for awhile, have dinner and drinks and leave happy. And I have the keys."

- I come from a family that was taught to fight for what's deserved; to never give up. We came from nothing and made a life for ourselves. Growing up in the harshest conditions; in a socio-economic day-to-day struggle, life teaches you a thing or two. Things such as survival, appreciation and most certainly humility. Given the similarities to my situation, I am immediately drawn to those who have struggled in their life. It's easy to understand what someone has been through when you yourself have experienced it ten-fold. Recently, I met Trevor, a restaurant owner, his wife and beautiful baby boy. The moment I entered their restaurant, I knew I found a little miracle in our city. What they've accomplished, not only as a couple, but as business owners in one of the most difficult industries today, is mind blowing. I am proud to share Trevor's story.

"My name is Trevor Morris. I'm 32 from Austin, Texas. 
I believe God uses broken people. My childhood was a mixture of living in poverty, yet being blessed most days. We were the poor kids in class. One of my 8th grade friends recently told me this. It was something they talked about when my brothers and I weren't around. Second hand clothes and donated food were a part of life, and in our case, something to get excited about. But at the same time, we always had enough, and us kids could have fun anywhere.

Life changed when my stepfather went off the deep end and we ended up in witness protection. At that point I was shipped to Illinois where my real father lived, in a very nice house, in a very nice neighborhood. I then attended a very nice high school where once again, I didn't fit in. I didn't know how to. Severe depression set in. I joined a punk band with some guys on the bus. After high school we broke up, but later they got signed by Fueled by Ramen, and toured for 10 years. That was pretty hard. At this point, I felt like a depressed loser. Somehow, I ended up in culinary school. Then, I dropped out in the last semester. It wasn't 'til I met my wife that my life started to turn around and make absolute sense. We moved to Columbus and started a new life, and a little restaurant called Trevioli artisan pasta company

I love owning my own restaurant. It's almost like I designed a humble house that makes everyone happy. People come visit it, sit inside for awhile, have dinner and drinks and leave happy. And I have the keys."

"When you are a giving person you find joy in other people's happiness. Owning a successful restaurant is better than owning a home, a nice car, a boat, or motorcycle. Owning an unsuccessful restaurant is what prison is like I imagine. Watching a 'walk-in' full of food slowly go bad because people just aren't coming. Eventually your hands are tied financially. And you feel like you'll never leave this place alive. Eventually you have to let go of employees and you worry for their livelihoods, their kids, their mortgages, and you revert back to depression. I believe God has given me a tough life so that one day I will be a good businessman. I believe that one day I will be financially able to help lots of people."

"When you are a giving person you find joy in other people's happiness. Owning a successful restaurant is better than owning a home, a nice car, a boat, or motorcycle. Owning an unsuccessful restaurant is what prison is like I imagine. Watching a 'walk-in' full of food slowly go bad because people just aren't coming. Eventually your hands are tied financially. And you feel like you'll never leave this place alive. Eventually you have to let go of employees and you worry for their livelihoods, their kids, their mortgages, and you revert back to depression. I believe God has given me a tough life so that one day I will be a good businessman. I believe that one day I will be financially able to help lots of people."

"I wouldn't consider myself a chef. More often than not the people who call themselves chef are those arrogant guys, standing in the kitchen, demeaning the kitchen staff, telling everyone how great their food is. Every now and then you find a really cool one. Those are typically few and far between. When I worked for the Ritz Carlton I had a great sous chef. He really cared about his staff, and he taught me more about food than I was learning in culinary school. And he was so passionate about it. I remember asking him why we ordered unsalted butter. He said " Do you want corporate bullshit nabisco deciding how much salt in is your beurre fondue?!??" His eyes were bulging and that little vein was raised on his forehead. Then he said 'stick with me young Jedi, you'll get it.'And I did. When he left the ritz I followed him. There is no room for arrogance in my kitchen. We do pick on each other and joke. Together we stress for the day, and at the end of the night we wash the dishes and scrub the floors together. I hope to one day make an impact on someone like my sous chef did."     

"I wouldn't consider myself a chef. More often than not the people who call themselves chef are those arrogant guys, standing in the kitchen, demeaning the kitchen staff, telling everyone how great their food is. Every now and then you find a really cool one. Those are typically few and far between. When I worked for the Ritz Carlton I had a great sous chef. He really cared about his staff, and he taught me more about food than I was learning in culinary school. And he was so passionate about it. I remember asking him why we ordered unsalted butter. He said " Do you want corporate bullshit nabisco deciding how much salt in is your beurre fondue?!??" His eyes were bulging and that little vein was raised on his forehead. Then he said 'stick with me young Jedi, you'll get it.'And I did. When he left the ritz I followed him. There is no room for arrogance in my kitchen. We do pick on each other and joke. Together we stress for the day, and at the end of the night we wash the dishes and scrub the floors together. I hope to one day make an impact on someone like my sous chef did."

 

- The moment I found your restaurant and took two steps in, I knew I wasn't in Columbus anymore. No need for dramatics or any over exaggerations, but I know a wonderful thing when I see it. This is what I was referring to earlier when I said I can relate to people who make something from nothing. It's not every day you see so much effort go into something so personal. It really ends up becoming a beautiful thing. When you truly believe in that thing you've created, and put your heart and soul into it, the result is simply magical.  "I never imagined that i would own a restaurant. I always thought that was for wealthy people. I am still amazed everyday at what we've slowly, yet quickly accomplished. I've never had this many friends. And I've never been so complete. We built this restaurant in a storage unit. And it has slowly grown over the past 3 years. We built everything ourselves. We started as a 600sq foot takeout window. People started coming, telling me that their friends told them of this great restaurant but where are all the tables and chairs?!? When we got our first party of 8 and it took up the whole room we decided it was time to expand. God reached down from heaven and moved my neighbors out. So we cut a hole in the wall and built a dining room in the next storage unit. Eight months later, we had an hour wait every night. Then the other neighbor moved out, so we cut another hole. Now we have a 40 seat, 1800sq ft storage unit/restaurant. It's more blessing than I ever felt I deserved."

- The moment I found your restaurant and took two steps in, I knew I wasn't in Columbus anymore. No need for dramatics or any over exaggerations, but I know a wonderful thing when I see it. This is what I was referring to earlier when I said I can relate to people who make something from nothing. It's not every day you see so much effort go into something so personal. It really ends up becoming a beautiful thing. When you truly believe in that thing you've created, and put your heart and soul into it, the result is simply magical.

"I never imagined that i would own a restaurant. I always thought that was for wealthy people. I am still amazed everyday at what we've slowly, yet quickly accomplished. I've never had this many friends. And I've never been so complete. We built this restaurant in a storage unit. And it has slowly grown over the past 3 years. We built everything ourselves. We started as a 600sq foot takeout window. People started coming, telling me that their friends told them of this great restaurant but where are all the tables and chairs?!? When we got our first party of 8 and it took up the whole room we decided it was time to expand. God reached down from heaven and moved my neighbors out. So we cut a hole in the wall and built a dining room in the next storage unit. Eight months later, we had an hour wait every night. Then the other neighbor moved out, so we cut another hole. Now we have a 40 seat, 1800sq ft storage unit/restaurant. It's more blessing than I ever felt I deserved."

- What do you love most about Columbus?  "What I love most about Columbus are the people I hang out with. We don't care who you are we just love ya. Whoever you are. I love that the food scene is changing here, and I love being a part of that. I want to see Columbus grow. I love seeing small business like mine grow. My wife's cousin owns PTAP. He started his business with small humble roots like mine. I really respect that. Last week we went to 12th street deli to have lunch and the owner recognized me and wouldn't let me pay. That's pretty awesome. There is a strong sense of community here. And even though we all don't get along, even though there is crime not just on the streets but within government and business, I know who's in charge, and I don't worry about it. I'm excited to see what God does for Columbus. There are many broken people in Columbus, but God uses broken people."

- What do you love most about Columbus?

"What I love most about Columbus are the people I hang out with. We don't care who you are we just love ya. Whoever you are. I love that the food scene is changing here, and I love being a part of that. I want to see Columbus grow. I love seeing small business like mine grow. My wife's cousin owns PTAP. He started his business with small humble roots like mine. I really respect that. Last week we went to 12th street deli to have lunch and the owner recognized me and wouldn't let me pay. That's pretty awesome. There is a strong sense of community here. And even though we all don't get along, even though there is crime not just on the streets but within government and business, I know who's in charge, and I don't worry about it. I'm excited to see what God does for Columbus. There are many broken people in Columbus, but God uses broken people."