This story is for a program called Community Connection. It is a program that tells stories about members from the community in 3 minutes and 30 seconds where they are doing all of the talking. This kind of story is called a “NAT” pack and this was my first time doing one!
I had the opportunity to meet John in March at the Parks and Recreation Award Ceremony where he won the main award of the night, Parks Friend of the Year. I first did a story for Meridian Magazine about how he earned the award and the construction of the chapel in the Historical Village.
It was during that first interview that I learned that he had lived in the Grettenberger Farmhouse in the village and has a lot of roots and family ties to Okemos dating back to the 1800s! I knew that his story would take longer to tell then just the allotted time for a news story in Meridian Magazine.
For the longer story, it took me a long time to complete. I had so much to work with and I actually made several different versions of the story before I decided on this one. John had an incredible professional experience as the General Manager of Cadillac. He traveled all around the world and has presented the Cadillac limousine to several Presidents of the United States. I wanted to incorporate that part into the story, but it would have been longer then 3 minutes and 30 seconds to tell. I decided that the story would be better if I just focused on his ties to the village and made the story about his family life.
I started with his roots to the village in the past, then about his present project which was the construction of the chapel, and ended it with the future and how he hopes he was a good example to his children and grandchildren.
I hoped to make the story meaningful to both John and his family as well as tell the story effectively for the community viewers who don’t know John.