I’ve always been an Alabamian, and I always will be. I grew up near Gadsden, Alabama, in a small town called Attalla. After high school, I joined the Marine Corps and traveled around the world. I’ve slept under seven-ton trucks in the middle of the Iraqi desert. I celebrated my 21st birthday in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. I’ve seen castles in Japan and giant skyscrapers in New York City. I’ve seen Diamond Head peak in Hawaii and giant sequoias in California.
All of my travels, far and wide, finally led me back to North Alabama, where I belong. It’s here in Decatur that my wife from Arizona and my kids from California have finally found their roots. Decatur, Alabama, is our home now, and we positively love it.
God called me to plant a church several years ago, but I didn’t know where. Someone said, “Why don’t you plant one in Alabama where you have friends and family that will help you?” I visited Decatur in February 2021 to check it out. No one here knew why I was visiting, and I didn’t want them to know because I didn’t want to get their hopes up in case it didn’t pan out.
During that trip, a pastor friend of mine met me for lunch in Huntsville, and before I could even say hello to him, he asked me if I was moving back to Alabama to plant a church in Decatur. He had no idea that I was there checking out Decatur for that very reason. I hadn’t told my family in Alabama yet, and I was staying an hour and a half away from Decatur during my visit. He said it was revealed to him in prayer, and I believed him. That conversation was the only confirmation that we needed that coming to Decatur was the right move.
Within four months, we were living in Point Mallard, and we positively love it here. We planted River City Pentecostals in our living room in August 2021 and moved into a storefront on Church Street in May 2022.
It’s been almost two years since I came to scope Decatur out on a cold week in February and I have zero regrets. I know I’m where I’m supposed to be. I know this is our home. Our kids love their school. We love the fall leaves and the spring flowers that you don’t see in SoCal. I know the weather gets crazy here, but we love the changes. I can’t wait to grow old here with my wife.
We love going to 3rd Friday, seeing firework shows and the hot air balloons, eating ice cream at Tess’ Place, the BBQ shrimp and grits at the Railyard, birdwatching by wheeler lake, and enjoying the southern hospitality. We love the improvements we are seeing around the city, too, especially in the historic downtown area.
We only knew one of our neighbors in Southern California after three years of living in the same place. The first weekend that we lived in Decatur, we met about 25 of our neighbors, who were all so kind to us. I think it’s the people that make Decatur positively the best place to live.