Our Story

My name is Trey Dodson and I’m one of the founders of Project Let’s CHAT. My grandmother passed away from COVID-19 in January 2021. Watching her fight the virus with all of the might in her 95 year old body was incredibly heart-wrenching, but it inspired me to find ways to allow her legacy to live on. Leading up to her death, I had been conducting a series of virtual interviews with her.

During these interviews, she would walk me through what life was like growing up in the hills of East TN as a black woman. She would delve into the stories of her favorite presidents and historical figures, and complain about the politicians who simply just ‘got on her nerves’. And lastly, she would enlighten me on how, in the thick of it all, she and her family found their way when there was no way to be found.
I became enamored with these stories and began conducting similar interviews with other elderly citizens within the Jefferson County Community. I began reaching out to my village for help with bringing this vision to life. I am so very fortunate that Patrick Darby and John Turner, two Jefferson County alumni like myself, agreed to hop in to drive this mission forward. Overnight, this mini-side project turned into a fully functioning non-profit attached to the Jefferson County Education fund thanks to the love and support from our partners within the JCHS faculty, Niswonger Foundation, Chamber of Commerce and Jefferson County Tourism department.
As we look to the future, we are fully invested in the slogan found on the back of our shirts… “Our town through 10,000 stories.” We will continue to collaborate with students, business partners, and community advocates to bring something truly incredible to the East Tennessee community, allowing the legacy of people like my grandmother and the many other angels looking down on us to live on forever.
If you’re interested in being a part of our our mission to preserve the history and culture of East Tennessee, we encourage you to reach out to us for ways to get involved.

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