By Al Cross
Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues
Some of the best stories to be told in rural news media are those of successful expatriates, those who found success elsewhere but built it on the values, experiences and knowledge they gained growing up in small towns. All too often, their inspiring stories are condensed or even ignored in standard obituaries. But when two remarkable expats from a poor Appalachian foothills county of 10,000 people die in the same week, that's a news peg not to be missed, even if it takes a "citizen journalist" to do it.
|William Russell Miller|
|John G. Woodrum (Las Vegas Sun photo)|
He concludes, "Both J.G. Woodrum and Russell Miller used their rural raising in Kentucky as an advantage, not as an escape. They learned how to deal with people, and to appreciate people, big and small, but with a love for the little people. . . . Their success stories, as well as the stories of those who have chosen to return home, should help motivate our young people to see what they too can achieve when they put their mind to it.
"J.G. Woodrum and Russell Miller both came from similar origins: large, poor families that lived at the end of their roads in rural Clinton County. Ironically, both of those roads now bear their family names of Miller Road and Woodrum Road, but those roads were not dead-ends for them. It was the beginning of their separate journeys. They both used it to help them achieve success, and to help others along the way. These are two stories of The American Dream, fulfilled and achieved, by two country boys from Clinton County who never forgot where they came from." (Read more)