Last month we introduced you to our bass-playing director of internal operations, Aaron Sands. As promised, Erin Todd is back this month to help you get to know our country-crooning director of engagement, Jake Smith.
Jake lives in Sylvan Park with his wife, Caroline, and their lab, Mister. Mister will soon have to share the spotlight when Jake and Caroline welcome their first baby in March.
Mister will likely have the opportunity to relive his only-dog status when he goes to visit his grandparents while baby Smith jets around the world to meet the family. As one of three kids, Jake is the only one to live in the U.S. He has two sisters: one, a teacher in Samoa, and the other, a missionary for Living Hope in South Africa.
It was a trip to Zambia with his sister that ultimately led Jake to Blood:Water. Prior to that experience, Jake had been fundraising for about seven years for the University of Tennessee athletic department. However, after getting to know some amazing people in Zambia, Jake left knowing he would fundraise for the rest of his life for a bigger calling.
… and I don’t mean lion wrangling. Although, if you’re thinking about taking a Vision Trip with Blood:Water, I would recommend going with Jake as your guide. He has valuable experience getting out of treacherous situations.
On one especially exciting outing, Jake’s vehicle got stuck in the mud in the middle of a wild game safari, surrounded by fresh lion prints. Fortunately, for the four hours it took to free the vehicle, lions steered clear. They probably knew not to mess with Jake; perhaps they sensed the beard meant business. Good news for you, he always sports it.
The look may be a nod to his heart’s one true desire: to someday become a country music star. Growing up in Hendersonville, Tenn., country music runs deep in Jake’s veins. His mom once lived next door to Johnny Cash; Trisha Yearwood was his neighbor; his classmates were country music royalty. Jake is grateful that until the day comes when he gets to play the Ryman, Blood:Water allows him to live out that dream.
And, in the meantime, he will share his experience of memorable neighbors with Sylvan Park. This summer, in addition to his garden, he will also introduce his first batch of chickens.
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, “Chickens? In the city?! Can you do that?” Yes, UCAN.
Check back with us in March to meet more of our world-traveling, fun-loving staff.