(DOUG JESSOP – JESSOPS JOURNAL) In this episode we feature powerful, positive, and inspirational folks including an interview with a woman that has not only been on American Idol, but also has a family tie to an American Classic song – White Christmas (and yes, she’s going to sing for us).
We are also here a pretty cool rags to riches story with Engles Tejada.
Since we had one story tied to Christmas, we visit with the largest car manufacturer in Utah – that gives away all their cars for free – Tiny Tim’s Toy Factory.
BUT FIRST, KATIE HIGLEY
Stories have power. They help us understand each other. Sometimes those stories are told through song.
If you had to list a song that epitomizes Christmas, “White Christmas” with Bing Crosby has got to be high on that list. I had the opportunity to sit down with the great-grandfather of the man that sang first tenor in the quartet. Katie Higley told me with a wide smile; “You can hear grandpa every Christmas and their singing the word “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas.”
Great grandpa would be proud of the fact that Katie has been on American Idol Katie shared the story of how she picked the song to sing at her audition. “I was named Soul Sister on my girls camp when I was really young. DOUG: Ah, I knew there was a reason. KATIE: I love gospel music. So when this song came out by Train. that’s the song I’m going to sing. I loved how happy it is, it’s upbeat. Do you want to hear a bit? DOUG: Yeah, let’s hear it DOUG: So who were the judges that you played that in front of? KATIE: It was for Katy Perry, Lionel Ritchie and Luke Bryant.”
Everyone has a story. Sometimes these stories are told through music. It’s time for Jessop’s Jukebox and of course, Katie is going to sing White Christmas. Feel free to join along.
What does the American dream mean to you? Engels Tejada shares his story.
Imagine being a 13-year-old living in the Dominican Republic. You emigrate to the United States to be with your father.
Fast forward and you end up in Utah, learn English and your first day of High School there is a demonstration outside over LGBT clubs. Where you come from, demonstrations can be become violent, so you go inside and are befriended by a teacher. That teacher becomes a huge influence in your life and helps not only plant the seed of learning in your mind, but also the spirit of reaching out of your comfort level to become the best you can be.
Meet Engels Tejeda, one of the newest partners of the Holland & Hart law firm and recipient of the Utah State Bar Raymond S. Uno Award for the Advancement of Minorities in the Law.
Engels’ grandmother also emigrated from the Dominican Republic and watched over him. One of the jobs she did was cleaning offices. She would come home and tell her grandson about the fancy lawyer offices. Engels got emotional as he told me about taking her with him to see his office when he became a lawyer.
While compensation is a nice part of being a lawyer, an event while Engels was in law school put things into perspective for him. He had applied for internships and got an offer letter informing him of his weekly pay. Engels paused and told me that about the moment he realized that his weekly pay, $1800, was more than how much his mother earned in an entire year back in the Dominican Republic.
All of this because a teacher encouraged him and helped mentor him. Engels now gives back to his college as a member of the Board of Trustees at Westminster College.
He is also involved in something called the “Pipeline Mentor Program” at Holland & Hart in collaboration with the Utah Center for Legal Inclusion, providing diverse law students with access to career development advice and guidance from practicing attorneys. In non-COVID years, the firm hosts an in-person networking and informational session to connect students with supports available in Utah’s legal community. This year, despite the pandemic, 22 attorneys in Holland & Hart’s Salt Lake City office served as mentors, virtually connecting with, and supporting diverse law students throughout their law school journey.
A little block of wood. Four wheels that turn. A window big enough to put your finger through and imagine that you own it.
In this episode, I followed the journey of cars from the Tiny Tim Toy Foundation, the largest car maker in all of Utah. They have made and given away for free over a million cars around the world. Alton showed me the production improvements that streamlined the process. “That was our first Jeep. It took 11 cuts on the band saw. We need to do 1 cut. So, this is the Jeep. The Jeep Wagoneer.”
Seeing the cars being made by volunteers is a fun experience. The cost of shipping these cars can be a financial drain for this non-profit. I’ve been able to help by placing them in the hands of people that I know are traveling to distant lands with kids in need. Bruce and Karen Powell graciously delivered cars to Guatemala. All I asked was for pictures and the chance to sit down with them and have them tell me about the experience.
Bruce told me; “We were going to end up in a village above Antiqua, Guatemala. Working on a school. We ended up passing out a car to each one of the kids in the school.”
With a wide grin and a laugh, Karen exclaimed; “Probably one of my favorite pictures is a little pre-school girl. She’s sitting and it’s almost like she has a dolly because she is cradling her car. That was really sweet.”
As we looked at the pictures together Bruce gave me the background on a picture with a number of boys in a circle with their new cars; “It started with about 4 of them and they would spread their legs until they touched each other. Creating a kind of arena for these cars. Vroom Vroom and then they would actually crash into each other.” It seems that demolition derby has international appeal.
Bruce got a bit emotion as he described the joy that these little handmade wooden cars from Utah created; “This is for some kids the only thing that they’ll ever own until they become adults. When you have nothing, a little car like this can mean I have ownership in something, and I have something I can play with.”
The Powell’s have gone on a number of humanitarian trips. When I asked them why they do that Bruce stated simply; “It give you reality. It shows you how wonderful people are. How loving they can be when they have nothing and for me it gives me great hope and trust in humanity.”
Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that enjoys powerful, positive and inspirational story. Jessop’s Journal airs Sunday mornings at 10 on ABC4 TV and you can watch on-demand at JessopsJournal.com.
Everyone has a story. I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. A big shout out goes to my collaborator, Ed Wilets, who does a great job as my videographer/editor for all my stories.
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