Tag: Inspiration

Inspirational People: Michele Quinn

OKCI’ve written over 360 articles since starting my blog over two years ago. During this time, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing many artists, directors and musicians about their current and upcoming projects. My blog has also been a haven for my own musings and ramblings on everything from high school memories to home movies.

But of all the things I rant about and all the people I’ve interviewed, the articles that I’m most proud of are the ones where I get a chance to speak with someone who has really made a difference in this world. And such is the case with this one: my interview with my classmate, co-author and friend, Michele Quinn.

When disaster strikes, we as a society are inclined to come together and do whatever we can to lend support. Usually, we’ll donate things like money, blood and articles of clothing to various charities, but unfortunately (for many reasons) often have to leave it to others to provide the one thing we ourselves are unable to: our time.

On the afternoon of May 20th, 2013 an EF5 tornado, with peak winds estimated at 210 miles per hour, struck the town of Moore, Oklahoma; killing 24 people and injuring 377 others. The tornado was estimated to be 1.3 miles wide at its peak and stayed on the ground for 39 minutes over a 17-mile path, crossing through a heavily populated section of Moore.

After witnessing the horrific events that were unfolding, Michele (who had always donated and helped raise money at home) decided to physically get involved and take part in the relief effort. Together with a friend and her son, they drove over 1,000 miles from their home in Ohio to the ravaged Oklahoma town to assist total strangers any way that they could.

What follows is her story.

As I sit here now and contemplate Michele’s actions, I am reminded of how one person really can make a difference. When I read about her experiences and see the pictures she took, I am quickly overcome with emotion. She’s set an inspirational example the rest of us need to follow, and for that I am so proud of her.

When you first witnessed what was going on with the storms in Moore, what was your initial reaction?

My initial reaction was fear and sorrow; so much that I spent a great deal of the evening crying. I prayed that people would be safe; especially the children and teachers at the two elementary schools that were leveled by the tornado.


Considering that you live 1,000 miles away, what prompted you to decide take part in the relief effort?

I’ve always felt the desire to assist in disaster relief every time a tragic event like this occurs. Whether it was the tornado that hit northern Ohio three years ago, the tragedy in Joplin, MO, or as recently as Hurricane Sandy last year. While I would always make it a point to donate to the American Red Cross and collect donations to drop off at local collection sites, it never felt like I was doing enough. 

So as my husband, Patrick and I were lying in bed watching the horror unfolding on the news, I made the comment that I wanted to go help. Patrick’s reply was ”Then why don’t you?” It took all of two seconds for me to post on Facebook that I needed a travel partner to go with me, so who was game?


Many folks said that they wished they could do it, but understandably could not. That was me many times in the past. But I had finally completed my stint three days earlier as a full-time student as well as doing an internship and was in a position to go give whatever I could offer, despite the fact that I was scared to death of what I might see, hear and feel. One of my good friends and her teenage son were able to go with me, which turned out to be a blessing.


Knowing full-well that I am not a first-responder, I had no intention of hauling out there immediately since I’d only be in the way. And as anyone who knows me will tell you, I would need to plan the bejeebers out of a trip like this. Some might also think that I was doing this just for attention or a “pat on the back”, but that was never the case. Several people even tried to discourage me from going.

When you arrived in Moore, what was your first impression of what happened there?

It was strange on that first day. We arrived three weeks after the tornado struck and had to stay in the Tulsa area, as there were no hotels were available in Oklahoma City. We also had to drive two hours back and forth each day to Moore. All we noticed along the way were some lopsided light posts and a few odd items lying on the side of the highway outside of OKC.

I even remember that we were all marveling at how much clean up must have already been done before we arrived. Even when we entered the school parking lot where the church that we were working through was stationed [Everyday Church], we still saw nothing amiss. It wasn’t until we were sent out to canvas neighborhoods to find anyone who needed supplies that the impact of what happened hit us. I know this may sound cliché, but it was literally like entering a war zone.


What was your day-to-day activity?

Our daily job included unloading a supply trailer that was set up in the school parking lot so people could come by and take whatever they needed; toiletries, diapers, dog food, baby food, etc. We also organized the trailer and loaded it back up at the end of each day. We were then sent out to people’s homes to assist in debris cleanup, which was often brutal given the 95 degree heat.


Tell me about some of the people you met there.

We met an amazing number of people. The two pastors we met from Everyday Church were staying in temporary housing. There’s is a brand new church that wasn’t supposed to open until August, and hence the reason they were in a school parking lot.

OKC10We helped a woman named Karen move out of her rental apartment because she was given literally 4 days notice that she had to be out of her place. The poor girl was at her wit’s end; trying to make it happen with no truck, no people to help her and no storage unit to put her furniture in while she temporarily stayed with her mother. Had she not made the connection with Everyday Church, she would have lost nearly everything she owned.

We also met an older couple who have withstood many tornadoes over the years. They were actually able to get their property cleaned up after the storms on May 20th, but the next round of tornadoes the following week deposited debris all over it again. They opened their home to us and even showed us their storm shelter, which my friend and her son explored. 

OKC7Overall, we couldn’t have met kinder, more appreciative folks. Everywhere we looked, there were people helping others out. From the Red Cross canvasing farm lands with a meal truck to feed anyone who needed it, to one young man who miraculously showed up with a truck to help us move Karen, even though he had to go to court as a witness for something.

What did you take away from your experience?

What struck me the most about the experience is the resilience of the Okies; the love people have for complete strangers and that things are really just that…’things’.

It’s the lives in this world that matter more than anything else.

Some of the people we met initially referred to having been abandoned by God. But after surviving the devastation, and with the arrival of a few strangers into their lives, instead of understandably feeling bitter and angry, they’ve come to believe that God really is in everyone, if they only choose to see.

Please visit this website to learn more on how you can help.

Inspirational People: Lisa Jey Davis

Every so often, fate has a funny way of introducing you to some really amazing people. Such was the case for me when I met Lisa Jey Davis.

Lisa is role model for people who want to live their dreams. After going through a rough divorce, she made the decision to travel to Los Angeles and start a career in the production end of the entertainment industry. Through hard work and perseverance she became talent coordinator on the production crew of The Billboard Bash, a pre-show for the Billboard Music Awards. She hasn’t looked back since.

Today, Lisa owns her own successful public relations firm, Jey Associates Marketing and PR. She’s also an award-winning writer, a fitness instructor and a regular blogger/vlogger, both as herself and as her “alter-ego”, Ms. Cheevious.

As a blogger, she regularly documents and videos the adventures of her life. From the satisfaction of trying out for the Lingerie Football League with girls half her age to having to make a difficult decision when diagnosed with the BRCA 2 genetic mutation; Lisa is truly an inspiration.

Her latest project, a book entitled: Ms. Cheevious In Hollywood – Adventures & Mishaps of an Accidental Hot Mamma promises to be a guilty pleasure for anyone interested in learning what really goes on behind the scenes in Hollywood. It’s also a must-read for women who’ve recently experienced life trauma, such as divorce, and want to regain the confidence and courage to change their lives for the better.

I had the pleasure of speaking with this amazing woman and find out what makes her tick.

goJimmygo (gJg): You are one busy lady. How do you find time to do all this?

LJD: Not sleeping.

Actually, it’s because I love what I do. But I must admit, as I get older I more often find myself thinking, “Hmm, that couch over there is looking kind of nice to sit on”. <laughs>

Lisa and the cast from her “show” and blog: Bear, M.C. Nugget, Fred the Wonder Chicken and Bear.

gJg: Tell me a little bit about your book.

LJD:  It’s the story about my post-divorce enlightenment. About jumping into the world with both feet and saying, “It’s my turn to do what I’ve always wanted to do”. For me, it was pursuing a career in the entertainment industry. It’s the story of the whole process from divorce to pursuing the dream and all of the funny things that happened along the way. There will also be some stories about the celebrities I’ve met. It will be fun.

gJg: Tell me a good Ms. Cheevious Story from the book:

LJD: In 2002, I was working for MTV on a show called ICON.  Aerosmith was picked as that year’s ICON. What MTV would do was bring other popular artists and bands in to perform the “ICON’s” songs.  I remember we had Train performing “Dream On” and Pink did “Janie’s Got A Gun”.  The members of Aerosmith were all part of the audience. It was similar to an awards show and my job was to work with the band’s wives and kids  – as the kids were participating in one of the numbers.  

I remember at one point where there were two guys I had to take somewhere. So I was taking them back to their seats via the front row when all of a sudden everyone stopped. I suddenly realized that I was standing right next to Pink. What I didn’t know was there was also film crew there filming her while she was dancing. So I literally just stood a foot away from Pink and stared at her while all of this was going on.

All of sudden, she realizes that I’m standing there staring at her and she looks at me a little nervously like ‘Who is this crazy girl and why is she staring at me?’

But I swear to you, I am not a Pink stalker. Honest! <laughs>

gJg: Another dream you followed was trying out for The Lingerie Football League. How did that come about?

LJD: When the Saints went to the Superbowl a few years ago, my boyfriend (who is a huge Saints fan) and I bought tickets to Miami. At the time, we didn’t know if we would even be able to get into the game (we didn’t) but we went for the experience and had a great time. While we were there, I was able to get us into the Lingerie Football League’s Superbowl (the eve of Superbowl), as well as the after-party.

Initially, I thought it might have just been girls running around in g-strings but they were actually playing in bra tops, workout shorts and pads, and I loved it! It inspired me. I felt I was in pretty good shape so I thought I would try it. When I found out that they were holding tryouts here in LA the following year,  I signed up and it was so much fun.

Ms. Cheevious Does Lingerie…. Football, That Is

In 2011, Lisa had to make a very difficult decision when diagnosed with the BRCA 2 genetic mutation.

From her blog: In 2010, my beloved, beautiful sister Mimi lost her battle with Ovarian Cancer. Her illness prompted my gynecologist to begin a personal campaign to get me to the genetic specialists at Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. And when she passed away, my doc turned up the heat. She REALLY wanted me to be screened for Ovarian / Breast Cancer (they are related) gene mutations. So I succumbed. I went in for the screening, and more to the shock of the genetics counselors than to myself, I tested positive for the BRCA2 Gene Mutation.

There were a few choices available but having already had children and seen what my sister had gone through, I opted for the most aggressive approach to eradicating my elevated risks. I underwent a double prophylactic mastectomy (with breast reconstruction and implants) and at the same time, had them remove my ovaries and tubes.  

Click Here For The Full Story * Click Here For Video

I am so glad that I connected with Lisa and her “multiple personalities”. She is one of the most fun and inspirational people I’ve ever met. Someday I hope I get to tell her that in person. In the meantime though, here are some of Lisa’s / Ms. Cheevious’s Greatest Hits:

Fun Ms. Cheevious Blog Posts:

Ms. Cheevious Videos
Goofy Ms. Cheevious
* Delve into Twelve * Pretty Folded Thongs * Mammoth Mountain Moments I

Lisa Jey Davis Vlog videos:

Thoughts for the Day
Never Give Up
* Be Magnificent
Article first published as Inspirational People: Lisa Jey Davis on Technorati