Janet Griffith: As sweet as can be

Janet Griffith is a 15-year employee who works in DTC’s business department.

Janet Griffith is a 15-year employee who works in DTC’s business department.

If personality traits can be a bit like a recipe, then Janet Griffith’s ingredients would be as sweet as ice cream.

As a very talented baker, she spends many hours in the kitchen crafting other traditional desserts, a trait she learned as a teenager from her grandmother, Alberta Oakley. “I used to help my grandmother a lot on weekends,” Griffith says. “I’d go over to spend the night and helped her prepare family meals and desserts.” She also learned a few tricks on making treats from her mother, Joan Harvey.

Griffith is known for a sweet and velvety chess pie, winning the hearts of family members, friends and even co-workers with the recipe she got from her grandmother’s friend, Nell Hale. “At Christmastime, I am always baking cakes, fudge and cookies,” Griffith says. Each year, she takes some of those treats to elderly residents who are unable to get out for the holidays.

In true Southern fashion, Janet also brings her baked goods to friends and neighbors during their times of grief. “I enjoy helping people and letting them know that I care,” she says.

Serving the community
Griffith began as a temp at DTC, then was hired as a full-time switchboard operator in 2000. She transferred to customer service a few years later, preferring to work more directly with customers. Now, she serves the community in DTC’s business department.

Throughout her professional career, Griffith has always served the public. In her first job at University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tennessee, she spent five years as a switchboard operator, then became an emergency room clerk, and later a surgical secretary.

Janet’s professional compassion carries over to several community pursuits. Griffith attends New Hope Baptist Church, where she is a Sunday school teacher for first- and second-graders. She also has a card ministry, sending “get well” wishes and birthday cards to many community members through the years.

During the DeKalb County Fair, Griffith can frequently be found volunteering at the ticket booth or at the Lions Club booth, where both her husband, Tony, and son, Cody, are members, usually selling food at the event. Griffith is a Tennessee native — born in Lebanon, grew up in Watertown, and has lived in Alexandria since marrying Tony 22 years ago.

Their youngest son, Dusty, plans to continue the family tradition and serve a larger community once he joins the U.S. Navy later this year. Regardless of where he is stationed, he will be added to his mother’s card ministry, and he’ll certainly gain new friends when those delicious homemade care packages begin arriving.

Janet Griffith's Chess Pie

Janet Griffith’s Chess Pie

Chess Pie Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Bake Time: 45 to 50 minutes

1/2 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon cornmeal
5 tablespoons cream
1 teaspoon distilled white vinegar
1 (9 inch) unbaked pie crust

In large bowl, mix butter, sugar and vanilla together. Mix in the eggs, then stir in the flour, cornmeal, vinegar and cream until smooth. Pour into unbaked pie crust. Heat the oven to 350 F and bake.

DTC3’s dynamic duo

Tom and Nick at DTC3 - May 2015

Tom Duggin and Nick Nokes create the weekly DTC3 line up, and team up for a number of live sports broadcasts and community events.

Customers of DTC’s television service, DTC TV, enjoy many of the same networks and programming as any other television service. So, what differentiates DTC TV from the rest?

“Local programming on DTC channel 3 sets us apart from everyone else,” states Craig Gates, CEO of DTC Communications. “Where else can you watch events that are happening right here in our own area? Only DTC3 on the DTC TV service has it.”

Since the addition of DTC3 some seven years ago, DTC has prided itself on bringing local events to the channel, which is also available in high definition on channel 303. From high school athletics to county fairs, pageants, music festivals, high school graduations and more, DTC3 has tried to bring a variety of local events to its programming lineup.

“We work hard to offer something for everyone,” says Nick Nokes, video production supervisor for DTC3. “Of course, we have many sports fans in our communities, but we also have parents and grandparents who enjoy watching other events their children and grandchildren are involved in.”

Perhaps the most intriguing element in the growth of DTC3 over the years has been the fact that it is managed and maintained by a two-man crew. Nokes handles all aspects of the channel with the assistance of Tom Duggin, who serves as video production editor for DTC3.

“You won’t find many channels that operate with basically a two-man crew, but you won’t find many channels that have a Nick and Tom, either,” says Jannie Mulaski, sales and marketing director for DTC Communications. “These guys are never at a loss for an idea, and they are always looking for something they feel will be appealing to our viewers.”

Whatever Nokes and Duggin are doing must be working — DTC3 is routinely rated among the 10 most watched channels on the entire DTC TV service, and it was even rated as the most watched channel on the service for the month of February.

“The numbers show people are watching,” says Gates. “DTC3 is always among our most watched channels, and that’s virtually unheard of with other cooperatives that also offer local TV service.”

Nokes and Duggin say they are proud of the increasing numbers, but humbled by them at the same time.

“We go many places and hear words of thanks from our customers, or hear how much they enjoy watching certain programs,” Nokes says. “Those words make us feel good, but at the same time, we know we must continue to work hard to offer local programming our viewers will enjoy.”

Any television service can offer the national networks, but only one can offer truly local programming. “We are proud of the local channel, and we’re equally proud to offer our customers something they can’t get anywhere else,” adds Gates.

MY DTC 3 Process_CoatedDid you know?

DTC3 is routinely rated among the 10 most watched channels on the DTC TV service, and it was even rated as the most watched channel on the service for the month of February!

 

2015 Football Schedules

Print
Cannon County Lions
August 21 at Community
August 28 Jackson Co.
September 4 at Grundy Co.*
September 11 at Red Boiling Springs
September 18 York Institute*
September 25 Upperman*
October 2 at Smith Co.*
October 9 Middle TN Christian
October 16 Sequatchie Co.*
October 23 OPEN DATE
October 30 at DeKalb Co.*

DeKalb County Tigers
August 21 at Warren Co.
August 28 at Stone Memorial
September 4 at York Institute*
September 11 Cumberland Co.
September 18 Smith Co.*
September 25 Macon Co.
October 2 at Sequatchie Co.*
October 9 Grundy Co.*
October 16 OPEN DATE
October 23 at Upperman*
October 30 Cannon Co.*

Gordonsville Tigers
August 21 at Watertown
August 28 Smith Co.
September 4 OPEN DATE
September 11 Clay Co.*
September 18 at Trousdale Co.*
September 25 Jo Byrns*
October 2 at Middle TN Christian*
October 9 Monterey*
October 16 at Nashville Christian*
October 23 Pickett Co.*
October 30 at Red Boiling Springs*

Smith County Owls
August 21 at Macon Co.
August 28 at Gordonsville
September 4 Sequatchie Co.*
September 11 at Livingston Academy
September 18 at DeKalb Co.*
September 25 Stone Memorial
October 2 Cannon Co.*
October 9 OPEN DATE
October 16 at Upperman*
October 23 at York Institute*
October 30 Grundy Co.*

DTC to hold annual meeting

SU5 - Services 2 Lines CPursuant to Article III of the bylaws, DeKalb Telephone Cooperative (d/b/a DTC Communications) will host its annual meeting on Saturday, September 19, 2015, at the DeKalb County Fairgrounds in Alexandria. Article IV, Section 4 of the bylaws provides that the board of directors shall appoint a Nominating Committee who shall select nominees for the office of directorship for those directors whose terms expire in 2015, and provides a time frame on when this shall be accomplished.

The articles of the bylaws further provide that any 15 or more members acting together may make other nominations by petition with the secretary at least 45 days before the meeting, and these will then be reviewed by the Nominating Committee, to determine if the qualifications as set forth in Article IV, Section 3 of the bylaws (Qualifications of Board Members) have been fulfilled. The secretary shall post at the principal office of the Cooperative at least 30 days before the meeting the nominations for board members selected by the Nominating Committee and also those that have been qualified by the Nominating Committee through the petition process.

Directors will be elected in the Alexandria, Liberty and Smithville exchanges. Individuals interested in becoming a candidate for a director’s position must meet the qualifications as defined in the bylaws and submit a petition by 5 p.m. on August 5, 2015. Petition forms are available at our Smithville office located at 200 Walmart Drive.

For a copy of the full bylaws provisions relating to the annual meeting, the nomination of directors and the qualifications to be a director, please visit www.DTCcom.net or contact our office at 615-529-2151.

Did you know???

CEO, Craig Gates

Craig Gates

By Craig Gates
Chief Executive Officer

In this month’s DTC Connection you will find a crossword puzzle about all of the things that you may or may not know about DTC. I have listed below some of the local community support that DTC provides as helpful hints.

Did you know that DTC is the only provider in our five-county area that participates in and supports our local communities at the level we do? You have not heard me say anything bad about our competitors, it is just not something you do. You need to show your differences. In the five counties that we serve, it is DTC’s unwavering community support and dedication to service that sets us apart.

Did you know that DTC cares about you and your family? DTC was founded 64 years ago on the premise of providing service to all of our members and their neighbors.

DTC wanted their families to reach out to one another and to the outside world, at an affordable rate.

Did you know DTC brought the Internet to our service area first? DTC brought digital switching to the area first. DTC brought TV to areas that only had the option of satellite, or worse yet an antenna that no longer worked.

Did you know that DTC supports school events, the local fairs, the parades, the pageants, Smithville Fiddlers Jamboree, Cannon County Cruise In, high school athletics, graduations, scholarships and much more?

Today, DTC offers both landline and cellular phones for sale and service, Internet access to the world, security services (both alarm and video from 1st Choice Security), computer repair (in your home or office or in our offices), and of course our TV service. Do you know why DTC provides all of these services and offerings? Because we care and we want to provide you with the best possible level of customer service that you can’t get anywhere else.

Did you know that DTC has completed and is doing additional upgrades of our services in several of our surrounding areas? Already updated are the town areas of Smithville, Woodbury, Alexandria, Auburntown, Temperance Hall, Liberty, and Dowelltown. These upgrades give you unprecedented access to higher Internet speeds and TV service like you cannot get anywhere else. DTC has a plan in place to bring these new services to all of our service areas over the coming years to all of our customers. This year we are starting on the Woodland exchange area and will continue to move north and in other areas as we move forward.

As I close my update in this DTC Connections magazine, please remember that DTC cares about you and your family. If you still do not know what DTC does or can do for you; please call or stop by to see what DTC has to offer!

Providing a path in the life of a child

By Matt Ledger

Ben and Ermeda Chapman founded Lighthouse Christian Camp, in 1981 for disadvantaged children.

Ben and Ermeda Chapman founded Lighthouse Christian Camp, in 1981 for disadvantaged children.

In the 1960s, Ben Chapman had his eye on two things that would ultimately provide great meaning to his life. Naturally, the first was a lady, named Ermeda — they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 2014.

The second was a rugged piece of land that he found when they were newlyweds.
It took a while, but the Chapmans would eventually turn that tract of land into Lighthouse Christian Camp, which has helped build self esteem and has provided a refuge for thousands of disadvantaged kids.

Building a brighter future

Secluded benches provide the perfect opportunity for times of reflection or discussions of faith at Lighthouse Christian Camp in Smithville.

Secluded benches provide the perfect opportunity for times of reflection or discussions of faith at Lighthouse Christian Camp in Smithville.

Living in Baxter in the 1960s, both Ben and Ermeda worked for the Army Corps of Engineers, and his responsibilities as a ranger brought him by a large property adjacent to the Corps of Engineers land. Chapman contacted the owner, asking if he would sell the property. “Back then, I think my salary was about $4,500 a year, and hers was only $3,000,” Chapman says. “I tried to secure a loan, but bank officers just laughed at me.”

Impressed by Chapman’s career, the landowner decided to finance the couple for the purchase of the property. “We worked hard and managed to make the payments,” Chapman says. A few years later, Chapman purchased another tract of land with a farm, creating a 400-acre oasis, with a single gravel road that wandered over pine-covered hills and valleys.
“We were going to be big land barons,” Chapman says, joking. “Then I got saved in 1973, and when that happened everything changed.” Shortly after that he became a pastor, and the Chapmans purchased another farm in Clay County. “That’s when God started working on my heart about making a camp,” he says. “So we gave everything away — our home, our land, our horses and cattle — everything.” With that, Lighthouse Christian Camp soon became a reality and a 501(c)(3) charity in 1982, and Chapman resigned from his profession to focus on the project full time.

Ermeda and Bob Chapman founded Lighthouse Christian Camp which reaches kids ages 9 to 12 throughout the summer.

Ermeda and Bob Chapman founded Lighthouse Christian Camp which reaches kids ages 9 to 12 throughout the summer.

With no income, Chapman was determined to get started, doing much of the labor himself by cutting timber and improving the site to suit his long-term vision. The tack room became a snack bar, and barn stalls were turned into small cabins, as church groups began signing up for the summer camp program. Chapman also built two small log homes — still used to this day — and two outhouses, which were thankfully retired long ago.
More than 50 disadvantaged, abused or neglected kids were able to attend the first year. “At the end of the week, it was hard to get them back on the bus; they didn’t want to leave,” Chapman recalls. “They were hugging each other and had never really been in a place like this.” The compassionate environment at the camp led the Chapmans to become foster parents a few years later.

“God kept putting a question in my head: ‘What are you going to do about those children who could never come — the ones that are forgotten in society?’” he says. With another leap of faith, Chapman decided to make it free for children in 1984, and the challenge became how to fund it.

While in Nashville, Chapman was fortunate to meet a former professional boxing trainer named Kerry Pharr. “God had turned his life around, and he got saved at a camp,” Chapman says. Now a successful businessman and inspirational speaker, Pharr was willing to substantially donate to the camp. The two men went to the impoverished portions of the city, inviting children ages 8 to 16 to attend the summer camp.

Camp grows, along with kids’ needs

Campers wait their turn to ride on one of several horses, which helps build confidence for those youngsters who have never ridden before.

Campers wait their turn to ride on one of several horses, which helps build confidence for those youngsters who have never ridden before.

Chapman continued to add to the original camp facilities as donations allowed, building a gymnasium and larger group houses instead of cabins. Chapman says the Lord provided, often right when he needed funding. One donor who had consistently given a check of $25 a month for many years sent a one-time donation of $88,000 just as Chapman wanted to build the girls group homes.

To further expand the camp, the Chapmans sought qualified people who shared their vision and Christian faith. “One of our greatest needs is getting strong people to volunteer,” he says. Couples stay in a room adjacent to a bunkhouse with up to 10 kids. A few elderly widows who want to remain active in their twilight years live at the camp rent-free in exchange for helping prepare food and care for the children.

Two young campers pedal their way around the nearby lake.

Two young campers pedal their way around the nearby lake.

In 2002, a second camp was built on the site — without ever needing a loan — and now it includes a dining hall, hiking trails and pool. Now, the camp focuses on children ages 9 to 12, alternating weeks for boys and girls throughout the summer. Through the years, nearly 20,000 children have attended the camp for free. Some kids that attended the facility call back years later as adults, hoping their child may have that same experience. After their first visit to the camp, kids can return for weekend retreats each month. Local youngsters can attend a weekly program, which provides games, a meal and a Bible study session.

The camp has also hosted a Christmas celebration ever since the completion of the gymnasium in 1988. It was a modest gathering that first year, but has grown so large now that it needs 200 volunteers. A mission group of 30 people from Wisconsin and Minnesota has even come to help. Approximately 800 kids will return for the gathering with a large holiday meal and a few presents bought by others trying to make a difference.

A youth counselor tells the story of Jesus and the Samaritan to children.

A youth counselor tells the story of Jesus and the Samaritan to children.

The Chapmans selected DTC for internet and phone services many years ago, using social media and the camp website to recruit volunteers. Many of the contributions to the camp are made online, at www.lighthousechristiancamp.com.

The site features updates on their ministries and upcoming events like the Lighthouse Kids Golf Challenge on May 11. Like much of the rest of the camp, somehow, it all comes together.

“We have an obligation with no congregation and no assurances,” Chapman says. “We start each year — or week for that matter — by faith.”

For more information, visit online at www.lighthousechristiancamp.com.

Live broadcast of the best pickers around

By Matt Ledger

Brayden Chunn of Greenbrier, Tennessee kicks his heels during the Beginner’s Clogging competition.

Brayden Chunn of Greenbrier, Tennessee kicks his heels during the Beginner’s Clogging competition.

It’s a good thing Tom Duggin likes fiddle music. He’s about to hear plenty of it.

Duggin is the Video Production Editor at DTC Communications, and he, along with Nick Nokes, Video Production Supervisor, are the broadcast team that brings live events to DTC channel 3 on the DTC-TV service. Rather than filming a three-hour football game or other local event, Duggin and Nokes will soon have two 14-to-16 hour days broadcasting live from the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts festival.

“There is no shortage of snacks and energy drinks in the cooler,” says Nokes with a laugh.
Since 1998, Duggin has served as a stage emcee for the Jamboree. This year, DTC will expand its video coverage of the event, which has been held every year on Smithville’s public square since 1972.

“Watching our coverage is almost like being there,” says Duggin, who alternates his time at the event between the stage and the DTC broadcast van. “What viewers see is actually what’s going on in real time on stage.”

The Bluegrass Band competition

The Bluegrass Band competition is among the crowd favorites during the weekend.

“We plan to broadcast the event live from kickoff to signoff,” adds Nokes. “This year’s Jamboree will be the first DTC3 covered event in which 4G customers of DTC Wireless can watch the program live from their smart phones, thanks to the 4G speed upgrade completed last year.”

Can’t stay at the Jamboree for the entire time? No problem! This year, people will be able to watch the event from anywhere they have a good Wi-Fi signal.

 Birdhouses are one of the many crafts offered at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

Birdhouses are one of the many crafts offered at the Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival.

“A number of years, the Jamboree has been recognized as one of the top 20 tourist events in the Southeast,” notes Duggin. “Our little town has drawn folks from all over the world.” Over the 43 previous years of the festival, visitors and contestants alike have come from all 50 states as well as several foreign countries.

“Music lovers are everywhere,” says Tim Robinson, DTC’s wireless engineer. “Now it doesn’t matter where you are. That’s especially important for people who went to the Jamboree when it started and may no longer be able to attend.” It also makes it easier for people on the go, or for those who want to avoid large crowds and hot temps.

DTC has apps for both Apple and Android devices. The trend toward “real-time” video streaming of events – such as high school sports, graduations, music festivals and more – is dramatically increasing.

“Everyone who has it is excited about it,” Robinson says. “Nowadays, these devices are basically small computers that happen to make phone calls.”

Jack Barton (left) presents the James G. “Bobo” Driver Award to Maddie Denton.

Jack Barton (left) presents the James G. “Bobo” Driver Award to Maddie Denton.

The 44th Smithville Fiddlers’ Jamboree and Crafts Festival
Smithville Town Square
Free event for the family
July 3-4
Starting at 9 a.m. both days
smithvillejamboree.com

 

Louie Jack Medley

Farming ingenuity leads to a career opportunity

By Matt Ledger
Medley1668Like many in rural America, Louie Jack Medley grew up working on a farm. He likes the challenge of designing and building homemade versions of expensive equipment he sees, including a pneumatic wood splitter he made from scrap when he was 28. “Nothing has been as complicated as that one,” Medley recalls about the splitter. “It probably took me a year to complete it.”

As a teen, he built numerous small devices. “Typically, I don’t buy new material for the projects; I will go to the scrap yards and find what I need,” he says. “I may have to look around for two or three months to find everything I need to build it, but the scrap prices are so much cheaper, and sometimes you find things that are like new.”

Medley maintained the farm equipment and his tinkering skills, and that ingenuity has brought him from the farm to DTC’s installation department.

Passion turns into a profession

DTC trouble-shooting technician Louie Jack Medley finalizes repairs made during one of the temporary outages during winter storms earlier this year.

DTC trouble-shooting technician Louie Jack Medley finalizes repairs made during one of the temporary outages during winter storms earlier this year.

Medley has worked at DeKalb Telephone Cooperative for 14 years; it was his first paying job that began shortly after finishing high school. Medley married his wife, Constance, in 2006, and they have two children, Mason, 4, and Ethan, 2.

His problem-solving skills and friendly personality helped as he began in the installation/repair department, wiring customers’ homes and connecting devices to bring DTC services to families. Nearly five years later, he was promoted to cable splicer and continued advancing to become the technician for DTC’s communications system installations at larger businesses.

Now he combines all of those skills as the company’s most mobile troubleshooter. On any given day, he could be hanging from a power pole while upgrading the system infrastructure or making a simple phone line connection for a new customer. “Some guys will have an area where they work, but I go wherever they need me,” Medley says.

Sometimes, that means wherever the storms hit hardest. Wind, ice or lightning often mean a few long days of troubleshooting. The icy winter storms earlier this year made for several 12- to 15-hour days for technicians, re-establishing service for customers during those frigid days in February.

Luckily, Medley learned to handle troubleshooting on the farm.

Whether he’s working on his wood splitter or a tangled mass of phone lines on a downed pole, Medley studies the working components and makes a rough drawing of what he has in mind. “I try to improve these things and learn what the problems are from other people,” he says. For his 10-horsepower log splitter, he added a mechanical arm that will hoist the log from the ground. It saves on the back-breaking portion of the work by letting the machine do it for you.

It’s a skill he learned from his father. “We were always building something, or tinkering as we liked to call it,” he says. Taking a page from his uncle, Medley bought his own farm, raising nearly 70 feeder calves per year on 20 acres of land. It’s a slow-paced pursuit that is a stark contrast to his high-tech day job.