Monday • April 15
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Get Involved, America!
 
Vernon Grossman-Orr

Vernon Grossman-Orr was born and raised in a small textile town in south central North Carolina. His parents and grandparents made their living working hard in the local textile plants, almost all of which are now abandoned buildings today due to the jobs they housed being shipped overseas.

His father was an alcoholic and wasn't around much past his very early childhood, and so to help out with the family finances and have his own spending money, he took his first "job" when he was nine. He delivered the local paper throughout his neighborhood in the afternoons after school. He took one of the tiniest routes in the county with less than thirty customers and over the next few months grew it by over 500% into one of the most lucrative routes in the area. That was the foundation of an entrepreneurial spirit that has never died, though all of his businesses were not to be as successful as his first.

He went to college in western Tennessee to become a Church of Christ preacher. For those of you who are not familiar with the Church of Christ, they are about as conservative and fundamentalist as a church can get. Vernon often quips they make Southern Baptists look like Episcopalians by comparison.

One semester shy of graduation, he became so tired of the "black and white," "just because we said so" mentality of the college and the denomination, that he decided that becoming a preacher for this particular group was not really his calling. So he abandoned his pursuit of a college degree to explore business interests, and his religious beliefs gradually changed from seeking to tell other people how they should live their lives to seeking how he could and should best live his own.

For more than three decades, Vernon has been the quintessential entrepreneur. He has started businesses that have done well and he has pursued businesses that failed miserably. Both the successes and the failures were great teaching experiences. He learned a great deal about managing finances, about dealing with people, about managing lifes unexpected twists and turns, about honesty and humility, about different perceptions and beliefs and how they can shape your life, about how important communication is and how to be an effective speaker, teacher and communicator, as well as about what really is important in life.

Today, Vernon has been happily married for almost twenty years, is the father of four terrific kids (three boys aged 21, 17, and 15, and an 11 year old daughter), and continues to successfully operate two small but thriving businesses.

He has never been able to just sit still and watch, but has always felt compelled to do whatever he can to help improve a situation. He has a deeply rooted compassion for people and a desire to help them, and frequently donates his time, his sweat and the use of his old pick up truck (along with its driver!) to helping friends and acquaintances fix, move, haul, patch, clean up, make or remake whatever needs attention.

This show is an extension of his desire to help make things better for others. Vernon loves America and the opportunities this country has afforded him and his family. He, like nearly every parent and parent-to-be wants to leave even greater future opportunities to his children and grandchildren and you will hear him speak passionately about that throughout the show.

He believes that in life, you choose either to be participant or a spectator, part of a solution or part of a problem. He thinks that we have become obsessed with "watching" rather than participating, that we've let things get out-of-hand. The solution is to get off our butts, roll up our sleeves and choose to make a difference. Even small efforts of many people can have a tremendous result.

So the focus of this show is to encourage listeners to TALK about problems and ideas for solutions, but also to become part of the solution and GET INVOLVED!

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