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MAY 2024

By Salwa Khan

Empowered Community:

Building Resilience in Wimberley with John McGimsey

On Air Personality Profile Picture



Salwa Khan:

John McGimsey is a co-host with Dee Rambeau of the Empowered Community, which airs on Friday mornings from seven to nine. How did the idea for this show come about?

John McGimsey:

Dee and I were sitting outside at a coffee shop and were discussing a recent event, the ice storm (of 2023). Dee has his own story about this. He had a huge load of firewood and yet it was wet and had solid ice cover, so he couldn't use it. A neighbor rolls up with a bucket full of firewood and says, hey, do you need this for your fireplace? That led from one story to another about what people didn't have.

My wife Leslie and I managed the cottages on Cypress Creek. We had about seven cottages and during that event, I was taking wood to people in their cottage for the fireplace, and one of them, a couple and their kids, they didn't know how to start a fire. That evolved in our conversation about what people didn’t know. Almost simultaneously we said we've got to do a show! Let's be the ones to help people, as Dee loves to say, get people ready for any societal disruptions. We know Wimberly has had floods and wildfires.

The name came up about people feeling empowered in the community, so empowered community. So now we're about how do we tell people? We don't want to do prepping. We don't want to be extreme; what guns do you have and what ammo and what animal can you shoot in the backyard to skin later on.

But how about preparing simple things like water, food, medicines, equipment, communication, and we added fitness. Are you fit enough to carry the logs or five-gallon water in? It just grew and grew and it's still growing.

We bring people in, experts with resources to share to get people ready for whatever we don't think is coming, which we know is coming. We'll have our storms. We'll have our floods. We'll have our you name it.

Salwa Khan:

The Empowered Community is on in the Wake-Up Club time slot from seven to nine on Friday mornings, right?

John McGimsey:

It really is the Wake-Up Club, but we just create our own label. We just focus on that very unique topic.

Salwa Khan:

Between the two of you, how do you go about producing your show?

John McGimsey:

I joke with Dee and say it's really the Empowered Community with Dee Rambeau, and he kind of chuckles. So I run the board and sometimes he does if I'm out, but I love doing it.

That's my thing. The music we agree upon, we like the same artists, a lot of the 70s and 80s. We like jazz and some off the mainstream, not a lot of pop.

That's the coolest thing, when we first started getting to know each other. I love Donald Fagan or Steely Dan, Peter Gabriel, just things that were like, oh my gosh, this is one of my favorites, the Rippingtons.

Salwa Khan:

So you pick the music generally?

John McGimsey:

I do, and you know, I'll send him a list, try to do it the day before. Here's what I've got. Most of the time it's great, thumbs up. Or can you add this or add that?

Salwa Khan:

How do you come up with the guests? Is that part of what you do?

John McGimsey:

We do it together. We find the topics and then we find the people. I started a new campaign to look at national resources. I'm working with the water quality association. I've always heard that desalination is so expensive, and you can't do it. You can't turn salt water into water. It costs too much. But there are thousands of plants around the U. S. that are treating salt water into water.

The largest is in El Paso. So I reached out to that group. I'll have them call in and talk through that. We do rain collection. We just had Jed on from Hill Country Rain Collection. We interview people that are specialists or experts to talk about those things. We did gardening with the Wimberley Nursery and had Jenny and Matt to talk about what can people plant. What's going to be easy for a non-gardener and what can I do long term? What will produce well?

We did the emergency preparedness fair to talk about what can you expect and what people need to have and prepare for long term sustainability.

Salwa Khan:

Are there any challenges in doing the show?

John McGimsey:

The thing that probably is a little difficult is finding the right guest and their availability. That's more of our struggle. I'm getting better at it, which is let's go research weeks in advance. Let's have this person on the 20th and this person on the 27th.

The challenges are finding the right person to talk about the topic and the rules of public radio, what you can and cannot say. You know, not selling things and advertising for people.

The second would be just the timing, This person's going to be phenomenal, but they're not available till July 7th. That’s really it.

One last thing I’d like to say it that we have the five pillars, which are having enough water, having food, medicine, equipment; equipment means clothing, gloves, the right boots. The last one is communication, know your neighbor, those kinds of things. I say it every Friday, I will say this till I'm blue in the face. These things are crucial to life when it comes to emergencies.

Salwa Khan:

Thank you, John.

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