Monday, July 17, 2017

UPDAT Week of July 10

Covering up my third eye as Buccaneer Bob at Vacation Bible School
The real Buccaneer Bob had a family emergency and I was handed the script about thirty-five seconds before going on stage. I'll be honest, it was not my greatest performance. 

- Meet the Incoming Fellows
- Meet our newest Addition to the Board Family
- Get the latest, greatest news
- A Look Forward


Abbey Sams
Abbey Sams
Abbey Sams is from Williamsburg, Virginia. She graduated from Campbell University and for the last two years has been serving as the High School Assistant Youth Minister at her Church. She loves a strong cup of coffee and dogs, especially hers, Pippin, who will be living with her parents while she is a Fellow. 

Interesting fact: Abbey was one of the nightly news anchors for Campbell University! 

Ashley Trewhella

Ashley is from Columbia, SC and studied Psychology while she attended Clemson University, graduating this past May. She was on Student Staff with Young Life and in high school had a prestigious career as a cashier at Chik-Fil-A. Like many of our Fellows, she loves the outdoors. 

Fun fact: Ashley is our first redhead! Woo-Hoo!

Caleb McKillop

Caleb McKillop
Caleb McKillop is coming to us from Covenant College in Chattanooga, TN. He received a B.A. in International Studies and is currently working with the youth at New City Fellowship, a cool, multi-ethnic downtown church in Chattanooga where his father is one of the pastors. 

Interesting fact: Caleb spent his high school years in Jamaica. Yah mahn. 

Grace Mezzy

Grace Mezzy
 Grace grew up in Virginia Beach, but has been living lately in the mountains of Lynchburg. A graduate of Virginia Tech in Interior Design, she has been working at Rockbridge Young Life Camp and Barista-ing this last year. 

Interesting fact: Grace worked with one of my old Young Life guys - am I old or what?

Kate Donahoo

Kate Donahoo
Kate is our Texan. Growing up in The Woodlands near Houston, she went to Davidson on a Belk Scholarship (the Belk Scholarship). She graduated with a History Degree, and minored in Young Life and playing guitar and singing. 

Fun fact: Kate roomed with one of Winston-Salem's finest, Caroline Bell, daughter of Dudley and Julie. 

JP Flynn

JP Flynn
JP hails from Charlotte, NC. He didn't travel far for college, traveling just up the road to Davidson. He graduated with a Mathematics Degree, minoring in Chinese. 

Interesting tidbit: JP is whatever the level is just under Grand Master in Chess. 

Natalie Bayer

Natalie Bayer
Natalie is from Upper Arlington, OH. She just finished up a Exercise and Sports Science degree (minoring in Neuroscience and German) at UNC - Chapel Hill, hence the tar heel blue gown. Like most of our Fellows, she loves the outdoors. She also has a heart for the marginalized, choosing to work with International Students and children with disabilities in her time at Chapel Hill.  

Fun connection: Lia, my wife, is also from Upper Arlington!

Morgan Bonds

Morgan Bonds

Morgan is coming to us from Franklin, TN via University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She graduated with a Children and Family Studies Degree and worked as a Student Staff with Young Life. Alex Loy, our Fellow alumni worked with her and called her the greatest human being on earth, or something to that effect. 

Interesting fact: Morgan is a twin! 

Patrick McCarthy

Patrick McCarthy
Patrick is from Hendersonville, NC, but he has a Winston-Salem connection. He just graduated from Wake Forest University. Go Deacs! He double majored in Economics and Religion, which sort of sums him up in a way. 

Interesting fact: Patrick is road-tripping all across the Western United States this summer. So cool. 

Sarah Wilkins

Sarah Wilkins
Sarah comes to us from Apex, NC. This May she graduated from Virginia Tech with a Health and Exercise Science Degree. She, like Ashley, Kate, Grace, and Morgan were Young Life leaders! Sarah is also First Aid and CPR Trained and is getting her EMT Certification this summer. Not to be outdone by Patrick, she went to Europe for her post grad trip!

Fun Connection: Sarah is friends with Grace Mezzy's sister!

Tucker Bartholomew

Tucker Bartholomew
Tucker is from my hometown, Philadelphia, PA. Like me, he came down south for college. Unlike me, he went to Wake Forest University. He majored in Sociology and minored in Philosophy. He also is quite the musician. (Can anyone say Fellows band?) This summer he is working with a moving company called The Sultans of Schlep (What a band name!)

Interesting Trivia: Tucker's first name is Rudolph.

let me know if you are interesting in Hosting one of these Fellows this year!!!


The Winston-Salem Fellows wishes to welcome Benjamin Joseph Truman Geer to the family!

Benjamin Joseph Truman Geer
 Born 7-10-17. 7lb 15 oz. Thanking God for this miraculous gift. Congratulations Andy and Lora. We look forward to Benjamin Joseph joining us the WS Fellows Class of 2030. 


We are in negotiations with a fine young gentleman, JD Lehman, who is considering coming next year. We have some competition with job possibilities in Charleston and Charlotte, so we need to pray!

Jobs are coming together for Fellows. I am very thankful for all of our employers: new and old. 

Ashley Trewhella interviewed with Boosterthon this week. Dan, the Area Director texted me right afterward and said: "Just interviewed Ashley and offered her an job on the spot. She's fantastic!"

There are a few folks interviewing this week, including Caleb with Allegacy and JP with Inmar - so please keep them in your prayers!

Love Out Loud has indicated a strong desire to hire a Fellow as well - wow! What an opportunity. Of course, finances are the key. I know many of you who support the Fellows also support Chuck. Please let Chuck or me know if you are interested in helping fund this position. 9k would do it!  

Speaking of fundraising - we are looking toward two dates for you to put on your calendar. Sunday evening August 28th. We are going to invite all volunteers and donors to a Burger Bash Welcome for the Fellows! Then, Thursday, October 5th we are looking at holding a fundraising breakfast at River Birch Lodge.

This week, we helped out with Hope Church's VBS. 

Niki stole my heart
What a great four days! And exhausting!

Anna Rose celebrated her 11th birthday with new friends at camp
We received evidence that she finally took a shower!
I had lots of coffee with Virginia Perry, Michelle Schapira, Paul Allen, Chuck Spong, Shannon Rainey, Beth Hilliard, Gardner Barrier, Stephen Edwards, Rob Alexander, Josh Benoit, Charley Donohoe, and Griff Gatewood...and Tripp Wilson and I won Trivia Night at Old Nick's Pub!!!


Lia and I are finally taking our 10th Wedding Anniversary trip (this year will be our 17th anniversary!) Better late than never!!! We have been squirreling our money away and now finally it is finally here! This evening we will be flying to France for a few days in Paris and then a bike tour down the Loire Valley! WHAT!?!?!?!?

Ever since Lia studied abroad in France she has been wanting to do it. So here we go!

In some ways the trip has already begun since the kids are at camps or with grandparents. On Saturday night Lia and I took some friends to Bowman Gray for the Night of Destruction.

Here we are in tasteful redneck
Lia ran into one of her nurses just as we entered
Bowman Gray Night of Destruction

 This pretty much sums up my wife - she loves France and she loves watching race cars at the Madhouse.

What a woman
 Please Pray for safe travels. 
- for our children
- for the Fellows Board who is picking up the slack while I'm gone. 
- for people to volunteer to Host Fellows
- for these employers to see the amazing opportunity it would be to hire a Fellow
- for funds to cover our program needs
- for JD or whoever that 12th Fellow should be.

Thank you! Keeping spreading the love and sharing the story!!!

Monday, July 10, 2017

UPDATE Week of July 3

Yep. That's a kangaroo - she did NOT get to keep it, thank goodness

Anna Rose is 11!

How did that happen?

Fellows Update

I am increasingly getting excited about this upcoming year. Our eleventh Fellow is officially official. Welcome JP!

We have a twelfth Fellow that is hopefully coming online this week. All in all, we are in great position for another great year!



What is a Host Family?

Host Families make room in their home, life and heart to welcome a stranger to become a valued member of the household, so that both the family and the fellow bless one another as they experience the love of God in community. 

The Fellow is more than a guest and something quite different from an exchange student; though at times your family’s culture might seem foreign to your Fellow! You will provide more than a warm bed and a hot meal and something different than parenting. 

Fellows are young adults who are ready to launch out on their own, but are choosing for a year to enter a unique living situation for the purpose of growing in wisdom. By God’s grace, deep relationships will grow between your Fellow and the members of your family as you work at living together in peace and loving each other through all the joys and trials the year will bring. 

We have had host families with young children
We have had empty nesters
We have had young couples without children. You name it!

Please let me know if you would like more information about hosting a Fellow this year. You won't regret it!


We are responsible to help each Fellow get a job this fall. We are looking for opportunities in health (like Scribe positions), Occupational Therapy, Business, Banking, Finance, Non-Profit, Church, etc. 

If you or your company or organization is interested in learning more about our Vocational Partnerships - please let me know. 

Fellows are getting scooped up by the day!

Celebrating Grace

Reese, Julia, David and Jessica
 We had the chance to celebrate Grace Hilliard (John and Beth Hilliard's daughter) on Sunday (my little girl's birthday as well). Grace is now one. She was pretty cautious with the cake. But she eventually figured it out!

Beth, as you know, is a vital player in our Fellows Program. Thanks Beth, for letting us celebrate with you!

More Summer Fun

Anna Rose and Cousin Evy accompanied Rich Simpson down the Upper Arlington Parade Group. Rich is chairing the Centennial Committee for Upper Arlington - that's big time!

Two hours and Twenty Minutes of Parade...

This guy has been in all 100 Upper Arlington Parades I think

Anna Rose took a couple friends to Zootastic for her birthday

She got to hold kangaroos, lemurs, bobcats, honey bears and etc.
That's a lemur

Yesterday we dropped her off at camp for two weeks. We miss her already!

The kids "washed" my car this week.


I was thanking the Lord this morning during my morning prayers that I get to do this. What a life. 

Thanks to all of you who have helped make this happen. 

Please pray for us. 
- Pray for Fellows old and new
- Pray for Host Families and Jobs
- Pray for Churches
- Pray for Fundraising

Here is the give link:
Or send in donations by snail mail
851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Please contact me if you have any questions or ideas for our Fellows!

thank you!

Keep sharing the story and spreading the love!

Monday, July 03, 2017

UPDATE Week of June 26

Lots to be thankful for as we head into July. There are now less than two months before the Fellows officially arrive. I write officially because one has already arrived and another will likely be arriving at the end of this month. So fun. 

Check out those guns!


We received word from J.P. Flynn that he is about as IN as you can be! His email was pretty classic: 

"Thanks for your kind words. I am happy to say that I have decided to say yes. As of now, after a lot of thought, I intend to be a Winston Salem fellow for the upcoming year, for I think you are right in thinking that this would be a good fit.

I will say that due to various scheduling conflicts I still have another interview for employment set up for next Friday (7/7), so I was hesitant to make an immediate decision. I would still like to keep that interview, and make an honest decision from there, but you have made it such that it would be difficult to imagine me coming back to you and saying no." 

As my friend Bill Fullilove told me, recruiting doesn't end until they arrive. 

But as a now, I'm as confident as can be that we will have Eleven outstanding Fellows coming next year. We are still open to twelve, and there are a couple folks we are talking to, but if these eleven make up our class, we will be just fine - more than fine - we would be thrilled!

But - If you know of a young man who needs to be a Fellow - now is the time. We have one spot left and the window is closing. Please reach out to me this week. 

One more note!

While in Columbus, Ohio for the Fourth Celebration, I had the chance to sit down with Steve and Amy Bayer, the parents of Natalie Bayer. 

Thanks Steve and Amy!

I don't get to spend enough time with parents of Fellows, and so when I get the chance I seize it. What a delightful conversation. Thank you Steve and Amy for entrusting your daughter to us! We couldn't be more thankful that she has joined us this coming year.


Celebrating Anna Rose's 11th Birdthday

What a year it has been 

Heading into our last month of the fiscal year, we look in pretty good shape. Thank you so much for your generosity over the last twelve months. 

As we transition into a new year, we will need that kind of generosity again. Our hope is to be as fully funded as possible by the time the fall hits, so if you are ready to make your contribution for Year 2 - there is no need to wait!

Checks can be mailed to 

Winston-Salem Fellows
851 W. 5th Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Or you can give online by going to

Thank you. 


I had a great phone call with Brett Allen, Fellows Director in Orlando. We go way back to our Young Life days, and it is honor to feel a part of their inaugural year this coming year. We are talking seriously about a joint mission trip...exciting stuff. 

Another highlight was a coffee meeting with my friend Oscar Santos with BB&T. Every meeting with Oscar is too short. He is so insightful and forward thinking. My hope is to find ways for the Fellows to collaborate with the Leadership wing of this great company. I'll keep you posted. 

A third highlight was with Eddie and Michelle Schapira of River Birch Lodge. Michelle mentored for us this year, and we had one of those conversations where Eddie and Michelle just kept saying what else can we do for you! Wow! What a blessing they are to this community. I don't know where this will go - but I assure you, if it involves hanging out with Eddie and Michelle, it's going to be good!

Other highlights included time with Eric Hein, Alex Hudson, Andrew Wild, Shannon Rainey, the good people with Love Out Loud, Tim and soon to be Emily Hilliard, Josh Benoit, Karver Bolton, Mike Zeoli, David Speakman, Tim Musser, Hardt Bing, the F3 Gas Group, Michael Craig, and Natalie Bayer to name a few. So blessed. 


Marrying Lia brought along a lot of wonderful stuff - like family vacations and amazing in-laws and super-fun sisters-and-brothers-in-laws...and the Upper Arlington 4th of July Parade. Somewhere written in teeny tiny words in the pre-nuptials there was a clause that every 4th of July we would be sitting on the curb of Northwest Boulevard watching the same parade over and over again. It's actually pretty fun. 

So here we are.   

Hanging out underneath the World War II Memorial where Julia's grandfather and great-grandfather's names are engraved

Evy and Anna Rose

They are so cool

Dave Dave walking up to his hole in one

He holds the putter hockey style - but it works!

Nothing like sparklers


Daisy, Anna Rose, Evy, Noelle, Eli, Wyatt and David


Playing the Jelly Bean Game Beanboozled - David with Rotten Egg, Lia with Spoiled Milk, Anna Rose with Rotten Egg as well, and Daddy with Stinky Socks