What a busy few days we have had. Last Thursday morning, we headed for Nashville, Tennessee. We met the rest of the Relay For Life Leadership Summit attendees from our area in Little Rock. We caravaned with them to Jackson, Tennessee where we stopped for the night. When we entered the hotel we were met with a sign greeting us.
After a good nights sleep we headed towards Nashville. The autumn colors were exceptional. I have never traveled on an Interstate highway that was so beautiful. We stopped at a rest area, and I took a few pictures of the fall foliage.
We arrived at the Opryland Hotel at around 11:00 A.M. If you have never seen the Opryland Hotel, I can't really explain it to you. It is the largest hotel in the U.S. that doesn't have a casino. It has 2,881 guest rooms and over 600,000 square feet of meeting space. The hotel is spread across nine acres and includes a natural indoor atrium that features winding rivers, walking paths, marvelous landscaping, and peaceful waterfalls year-round.
We checked into our room, and then registered for the Leadership Summit. There were over 1200 people attending the Relay For Life training event. There were Relayers from the six states of Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee along with special guests from South Africa. The Leadership Summit was the first-ever divisionwide Relay For Life training event. There were inspirational speakers, and lots of information at the breakout workshop sessions.
I really enjoyed the summit, but being that crowded does make me a bit uncomfortable. There were more people in the hotel than people who live in my hometown of Mena. As crowded as the Relay For Life summit was, It was only one of several conventions that were occurring in the hotel.
One of the most inspiring things was when we were introduced to a young girl who was a cancer survivor. Even though she was blind, you could feel her enthusiasm for life. She sang "This Little Light Of Mine", as all of us in the audience shined our flashlights.
The Leadership Summit left Gina and I inspired and full of ideas for the Relay For Life that will be held here in Polk County in 2009.
Click on the photo above to purchase my latest book, In the Fog, for $5.99. The Kindle version is only $2.99.
I was born in 1956 in Madison, Tennessee, while my parents were attending Madison College. I grew up along the Front Range in Colorado, attending schools in Longmont, Brighton, Boulder and Loveland, Colorado. Two years after graduating from Campion Academy, I married my sweetheart, Regina. We lived in Loveland, Colorado for six years before moving to Mena in western Arkansas.
I love the people of Mena and the friendly easy going way of life here. I have owned and operated my own business since moving to Mena. I enjoy the natural beauty of western Arkansas and being out of doors.
My newspaper column in The Mena Star, An Arkie’s Faith, premiered on January 7, 2016. In March 2017, I published my first book, titled The Little Things - Devotionals from a small town, using articles from the column. I published the second book in the Devotionals from a small town series, titled In the Fog, in December 2017.