My name is Chip Dial and I grew up here in Appalachia. Red Bird is my home. I left to join the Navy in 2001, expecting never to return.

After separating from the Navy in late 2012, I volunteered my time to help with Red Bird Mission’s Grow Appalachia site. I knew nothing about gardening. Asking Chad a lot of questions, I started learning why things are done the way they are. Working with him almost everyday, I met most of the participants and got to see some beautiful gardens. I also got plenty of tips for growing my own garden. To my surprise, many of the skills I had learned in the service carried over beautifully. “Adapt and overcome”, being a motto I picked up in the submarine force, is what I’ve learned about gardening. There is nothing that you can’t figure out or work around.

I have been out of the service since November 2012 and have been seeking employment since January 2013.  Employment opportunities are scarce. I have a lot to offer my community in training, work ethic, skills and want to be productive. After volunteering for months with Grow Appalachia at Red Bird Mission, I realized there was a need for committed labor help during the harvest season. I wanted to continue assisting, but I have spent all of my savings and must find employment. Thanks to Red Bird Mission and a partnership with Grow Appalachia, I am able to do both. A temporary internship was a wonderful solution!

I have enjoyed myself more doing this than anything I have done before. I grew up here and being part of a solution, and something bigger than myself, means a lot to me. I am grateful for the opportunity I was given to help with this program. I have a great mentor, excellent teacher in Chad Brock, GA Coordinator at Red Bird Mission. I have utilized some of my training to create a power point presentation for the Grow Appalachia program that Red Bird Mission is using and I am able to assist with spreadsheets and computer applications. I am also looking into Growing Warriors and similar programs. I am seriously considering doing this with the rest of my life.

Adapt and overcome.