Ep. 8. Gold Medal Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee on Urban Farming and Common Ground

June 9, 2020

Ep. 8. Gold Medal Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee on Urban Farming and Common Ground

Jun 9, 2020

 

Ep. 8. Gold Medal Olympian Jackie Joyner-Kersee on Urban Farming and Common Ground

The JJK Foundation provides hope to kids in the inner city and bridges the urban-rural divide.

 

The so-called “Urban-Rural Divide” has played a growing role in American life, politics and social issues recently. But it doesn’t need to be that way. Together, Jackie and Jon agree that there’s more to unite us than divide us.

 

In this episode, NCGA CEO Jon Doggett has a candid discussion with three-time Olympic gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee about her experience growing up in East St. Louis, the issues facing residents of the inner city, and her accomplishments as a world-class athlete.

 

She also talks about the JJK Foundation’s efforts to educate city kids on the art of urban farming, including corn and soybeans, and the valuable life lessons they take away from the experience.

 

Learn more about the JJK Foundatio

 

 

 

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

The work around urban farming, we talk about the discipline, we talk about the work ethic, and that they can take what they grow, come back and make salads and cook and just see, wow, this opened their mind. Then, they find themselves being entrepreneurs and being able to help feed a family and to understand, and to appreciate where food comes from.

 

Dusty Weis:

Hello, and welcome to Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast. This is where leaders, growers, and stakeholders, in the corn industry can turn for big picture conversations about the state of the industry and its future. I'm Dusty Weis, and I'll be introducing your host association, CEO, Jon Doggett. You can join Jon every month as he travels the country on a mission to advocate for America's corn farmers. From the fields of the corn belt to the DC Beltway, we'll make sure that the growers who feed America have a say in the issues that are important to them with key leaders who are shaping the future of Ag. In this week's episode, world record-holding three-time Olympic gold medalist, Jackie Joyner-Kersee joins us, to talk about her efforts to teach urban farming to kids in East St. Louis. She shares the lessons they've learned, tells some tales from her time as the world's top female athlete, and stakes out some common ground between urban and rural America in a time when that's sorely needed. If you haven't yet, make sure that you're subscribed to this podcast in your favorite app, that way you can take us with you and your truck, your tractor, or on your next trip, and never miss an update from Jon. Also, make sure you follow the NCGA on Twitter @nationalcorn and sign up for the National Corn Growers Association, email newsletter at NCGA.com.

 

Dusty Weis:

With that, it's time to once again, introduce Jon... Jon Doggett, the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. Jon, not only does this episode bring a whole lot of star power to the table, but it touches on one of these big picture, timely issues that we face as a nation right now.

 

Jon Doggett:

Certainly does Dusty and in recent years there's been a lot of attention paid to the so-called urban, rural divide. It's been something that we've discussed in our organization, in our industry. The nation's discussed it and in particularly in the last few months, but is there really this divide and where are the places where we can bridge that divide, where it exists? Today, we're going to talk with someone who has taken her incredible achievements as an athlete and used them to give back to her community in East St. Louis, Illinois. She's a three time Olympic gold medalist in the heptathlon and the long jump. She was named as one of the all time greatest athletes by Sports Illustrated and that's Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Today, the Jackie Joyner-Kersee center promotes food and nutrition security by teaching urban farming to children. Jackie, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It is truly an honor to have you.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Oh, thanks for having me, I really appreciate it to talk with you today.

 

Jon Doggett:

We have a lot to discuss, but recent months and recent weeks have been a painful time for our country and particularly for the African American community. What I want to ask you first and foremost is how are you doing?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

I'm doing well. I think it's been really strange times for the nation as well as my community of East St. Louis dealing with COVID-19, but then also just dealing with the whole situation with George Floyd. I think also bringing people together to really talk about some of the things that we have in common and coming together. People are protesting all over the nation and I know there's despair and there's anger, but when we all shed all of that, we must come together and start looking at the things that we have in common. Then, what are some of the changes that we can make? You see a young generation out there, protesting and rightfully so, but I think it's also good that eventually we all come together and share our differences, agree to disagree, but in the end to agree so our nation can be a better nation, as well as our community.

 

Jon Doggett:

Amen. We're all Americans and we need to get back to that sense of unity that, at times in this country has been hard to achieve. Let's start at the beginning and what I'd like to hear from you, and I know others would, is what was your experience like growing up? When I have mentioned to folks that you are going to be on the podcast, it was amazing how many people from various parts of the country and in various places in society, everybody knew about your athletic career, but what was it like growing up in East St. Louis? What is it like for kids growing up in East St. Louis today?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Yeah, growing up in East St. Louis, my hometown had very young parents, my mother and father, had my brother when they were 16 and 14. Then, I'm the oldest girl, second eldest to my brother. We had a lot of love in our home, and my mom would always tell us that you can't focus on the materialistic things, strive to work hard in life, try to achieve your goals, but then being in the community, you were surrounded by people who really would encourage you to be the best that you could be. Even though within the community there was violence, there was drugs, but still set goals and try to achieve the goals that we had set for ourselves. A community that's underserved and a community that a lot of people associate with bad, but for me, there's a lot of great people in there that's really trying to make a difference. That stuck with me from the time I was introduced to running at the age of nine into understanding what it meant to volunteer, giving back and helping others.

 

Dusty Weis:

Ms. Joyner-Kersee, what got you interested in becoming a professional athlete? What was that spark that really drove you to go out and achieve?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

The spark that got me involved in athletics was, I came through a community center and they were building this center as we were growing up. We didn't really know what it was going to be we thought it was going to be a skating rink. It was just really something amazing that was being built in our community. Then, once we realized it was a community center, it was like, oh, the best place to go. Because not only did that community center have the recreation portion of it, it also had a library where I worked with a librarian at that time, learn how to check out books. I know everybody Google everything now, but I had to learn how to do book reports. Also, the senior citizens that were over there became a part of my extended family. That had the different meals on wheels programs.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Then me, my sisters and my next-door neighbors, we made up the cheering squad for the midget league football team. Then, I got involved in track and field, and that's when my sisters and next-door neighbor, who let me do that on my own, because they were like, "It was too much running." What I loved about running was that it was fun. I didn't know what I was doing, in my first competition I finished last. I just said, if I could improve a 10th of a second, if I'm running, half of an inch, if I'm jumping, that meant the work that I'm doing was paying off. That's how I set my goals. I started with the passion of it and then by the time I was 14, had saw the '76 Olympic games on television and I said, "Oh, I want to go to the Olympics." That maybe one day I could be on television.

 

Jon Doggett:

You certainly did that. Didn't you?

 

Dusty Weis:

Actually, I've got the list of achievements right here, Jon, if I can, because I think that this bears repeating. 1984 silver in the heptathlon, 1988 gold in the heptathlon, gold in the long jump. Set a world record in both of those events, one of those world records still stands today, correct me if I'm wrong about any of this, by the way, Ms. Joyner- Kersee. 1992 gold in the heptathlon, bronze in the long jump. Then in 1996, playing through an injury, a tweaked hammy still landed a bronze in the long jump. Just an unrivaled set of accomplishments, certainly led to Sports Illustrated naming you one of the top athletes of all time. Also, Jon, I don't know about you, but I think this is the first time I've ever had a conversation with someone who appeared on a U.S. Postage stamp.

 

Jon Doggett:

I didn't know that. That is kind of cool

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

I think it was a special edition they did during the Olympics. It was some kind of event they were doing and it's amazing how you have a dream of just wanting to do one thing and then how it transcends and become something that you didn't even envision. For me, the pleasure of running, the passion for running, but then also the connection, being able to work with people who saw the potential in me that I did not know I had at the time. Then, also taught me a lot about giving back.

 

Jon Doggett:

Isn't it great, you have people in your life that look at you and see things that you can do that you didn't know that you could do, and what a difference that makes.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

I'm so blessed and I'm so grateful. It's very important for me to understand what it means to be a role model. Because I realized I am a messenger. Throughout my work, and what I do, is always about teaching others, what I've been taught and for myself, always being a great listener. Being able to share and encourage others and hopefully motivate them to be the best that they could be.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well and that's such a great message and we want to get to what you're doing in your home community in a second, but I have a particular question I have to ask because I had to look it up. The heptathlon, I kind of knew what it was, but what is the heptathlon?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

The heptathlon is the makeup of seven different events and it's contested over two days. The first day, you do four events. The first event is the hundred-meter hurdles. That's where you see people jumping over, we call barriers, they're jumping over a barrier and you trying to run as fast as possible while staying on your feet because the times and the heptathlon equal up to so many points. That's how you garner the points and then the next event is the high jump. Where you would go and you eat a jump off your left leg, or jump off your right leg, and you go over a bar and I always tell young kids, you land into this soft mat. That event is the longest of the seven events and it's the one that you can accumulate the most points. The next event would be the shot put, and it's a four kilo steel ball that we put, and it's approximately right around nine pounds.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

That event takes a lot of technical work, body positioning work and utilizing your legs. Then, the last event on the first day is the 200 meters. If you ever go out to the track, one lap around is 400 meters. Half of that is 200 meters and you run at top speed. Usually, after the first four events, we're iced down, my physical therapist, I get a good meal, try to get a good night rest. Then, I come back the next day with the long jump. The long jump of all the seven is my favorite one. That's where I run down, hit the board. It's about an eight-inch board that you're trying to negotiate, size 10, make sure you don't go over climbing the air, hold myself in there for at least, try to say a second, and land into what I call the sandbox. It's the sand pit and then they measure your distance.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Then, the next event is the javelin. A lot of people look at it as a spear, but it's a very light implement. Again, that's where the technical and the mental controlling, in your lower body to allow yourself to be able to throw it as far as possible. Then, the last event, the grueling event in the women's heptathlon is the 800 meters. Two laps, my best time in that was 2:08. They accumulate all the times, all the points, and that's how you determine who is gold, silver, or bronze. Sometimes, in the heptathlon, a lot of people think that, oh yeah, I might run the hurdles fast, I might not high jump well. Well, if I don't do that, then I can find myself at a disadvantage. If you win all 7 events, which never been done. I thought I could do that, but no. Yes, clearly you could be the winner, but it takes strategy, it takes negotiation, it take mental and physical preparation and training to make sure that you're on that roller coaster. One event doesn't go, well, then you're not upset. You have to get yourself together, because the heptathlon is 7 events, not one. We only get one medal for it.

 

Jon Doggett:

Yeah. You have to have so many different abilities to do all of those well enough that you can succeed. That is just amazing. Jackie, you and I met a few years ago at a farm foundation event in Virginia, and you were talking about some amazing work you were doing with your foundation. Can you talk about the work you're doing for kids through your foundation? Where it is? Who you're working with and trying to help?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Yes, so the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Center. I started my foundation work back in 1988 and it was really after my gold medal performances in Seoul, Korea. I had come back home and wanted to inspire young people because we always heard nothing good come from our community. I had won the gold medals, but in the closing ceremonies, I had wrote on a white board and paper and just let everyone know in East St. Louis that I was thinking of them and I loved them. When I traveled back from a Seoul, Korea, taking 110 kids along with chaperones to the Macy's Day Parade, because I supported that parade, wanted our young people debate to see other communities that look just like ours. How you can have a dream and you can travel wherever, but somehow find a way to come back home.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Through my work at that time, I was just working with my church and through the schools and through the different organizations that I had been involved with as a youngster growing up. Wasn't until 1996, that I was approached about still that I wanted to build a center. We broke ground in '96 on the JJK Center. We opened in 2000, and at that time was doing it, we do afterschool programs, we use sports as a hook to get them in the door, but it was really about exposure. Then, right around, I think 2008, we hit a rough patch and we shut for like six months, but regrouped, re-di the board and realized that we couldn't rely on just government funding. We went from 90% of grant funding and only 4% at individual giving. Today, we changed it where it's 96% on individual given and looking at how do we subsidize through some of the grant funding programs.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

For me, probably right around, I think of 2012, me and my team, we wanted to address food [inaudible 00:16:23]. What did that really mean? When you grow up in a community, not really having a grocery store, you only know what you know. Then also, how could we explore the idea of growing certain vegetables in the inner city? At this time we had leased some land and planted field corn, radishes, soybeans, and just to see what would grow in our inner city and really having a buy-in from the community. It was a little rough at times, but then when we were explaining that most people see corn, they see the soybean, yes, all that's good, but we see opportunity and how can we get our young people to see opportunities in this field? That's what we were doing then and the work that we were doing at the JJK center involved wellness, nutrition, come from that. Didn't realize how the two came together, outside of my athletic world. I also understood that I had to know what I was putting in my body. As we transitioned over at the JJK Center, we have a partnership with the park there, where we're running a greenhouse and now our kids are planting seeds, learning where food comes from. That it just don't come out of the can, or it's just not in a bag, that dirt is okay.

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Also, working on other partnerships with U of I, and really trying to maybe have community gardens for the community, but just longterm ranges that allow us to, not only have our young people be able to learn where food comes from, plant it, then take it into the next level of entrepreneurship. There is a lot of things, that when I talk about that exposure, that's part of that exposure and that's what we're doing on the Ag side of it. We also, when COVID-19, we would do a transportation. We'd pick our students up from school, they come to the center, they'd get their enrichment. We feed them because we learned over the years that when they were coming to the center, they were very rowdy and you're trying to get them to do homework and that just wasn't working because a lot of them, you're getting out of school at 2:30, 3:30, and that your last meal was at 11 o'clock. Just learning more about our families and the students that we're working with and hopefully we can continue to help them get on a path through STEM that they would find the excitement of it. That there are so many levels and so many avenues, and that we're just a small portion of that.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, as the son, husband, and father of teachers, I know well that a hungry kid can't learn. That's what's so neat about what you've done is tie in activity, putting seeds in the ground to nutrition and feeding folks. As a kid growing up on a cattle and sheep ranch and seeing kids that have been raised on farms and ranches, you learn so much through those experiences. At your center, what does the work around urban farming, what does that teach the kids in your programs?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Yeah, the work around urban foreman, first of all, I want to say that the discipline and the hard work that goes into a farmer doing their work in and bringing their family along and the connection. For us, we talk about the discipline. We talk about the work ethic, but more importantly, to be able to take them from the greenhouse, but then having an opportunity to go visit a farm. They can really put it all together, makes a big difference because you can read about it, but being able to experience different things from what they learned and when they were planting seeds, or maybe they might go to a county fair, but then being able to see it all to me encouraged them in a way they might've thought about agriculture. Myself being an ambassador with 4-H and the work that 4-H does and some of the work that I would do with them through my Winning in Life program. That my goal and hope is not only teaching them about hard work, but then also a career path of understanding that I might not be thinking this, and then having a relationship with U of I.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Our goal is to do what we can within the community of East St. Louis, but then longterm to be able to grow, to have an endowment, to have a research center, to have a commercial kitchen, that they could take what they grow come back, and make salads and cook, and just see, wow, that this open their minds and their world up to something that they didn't even know was possible. Because all you see around you is confectioneries or the discount stores and not dismissing them at all, but what it's like to really go into a grocery store and be able to buy eggs or milk at a fair market value. Because that grocery stores in your community, or you have decided through the work that you're doing, through your urban gardens and all the things that we're doing it on the weekends, young people are having their own, their market, where people are coming and getting. Then they're seeing themselves being entrepreneurs and being able to help feed a family and to understand, and to appreciate where food comes from.

 

Jon Doggett:

That is so great and I want you to know that if there's anything our organization can do to be a part of that, we would like to do that. You mentioned earlier that most of your revenue comes from individual donations. I would imagine if I asked you, you might be able to tell us how we could make a, a donation online to the JJK Center.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Oh, yes. You can go to our website, JJKFoundation.org, and not only make a donation, but see what we're doing. Once we get out of this COVID-19, I'd love for you to come and visit. Even if you want to visit, we could set it up and I'll be there.

 

Jon Doggett:

I tell you what I can guarantee you, that we will be having a visit with you. I hope soon, who knows how long it's going to be-

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

I know.

 

Jon Doggett:

I know I can get a group of farmers to come and visit. Then, I'm sure many of them would like to have your folks come and visit their farms. Jackie, the current pandemic has highlighted some other challenges, we also share across communities. Rural health facilities, were in bad shape long before this. It's certainly been the case in some urban areas. How is the JJK Center helping your community deal with the pandemic?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

We're very fortunate, one of the things that we're doing today is still delivering hot meals to our families. Just about over 200 families, but then also partnering with the National Guard for testing and it's free is very important because it was impacting all of us, but their indication where they're impacting African Americans significantly. Then, continuing to have our workers work but then also, social distancing. We're getting ready to start our summer camp from the standpoint of bringing in our students and making sure that they're six feet apart and that we have a one to four ratio in our different classrooms because we sit on 36 acres and our building itself is over 60,000 square feet with Headstart in the back. Just really trying to make sure that we could do our part, not only being able to provide a safe environment, but also continue to make sure that, that education gap isn't spreading, because we have a reading specialist on hand, we try to make sure that all our young people can read at grade level. We have our math and science teacher, but then they all are doing this, they have a curriculum based off my autobiography called A Kind of Grace called Winning in Life.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

There's 14 different principles and all these principles came out of how I evolved and grew up and being able to have it evidence base. Our goal has always been to scale it, but we're slowly doing that, because we see this as being a revenue source for the organization. These are the things that we're doing and throughout all our programs, Winning in Life is a part of it. People get stuck on the winning, but no it's we're winning with the right attitude, the right behavior and character and leadership, how crucial those things are.

 

Jon Doggett:

Oh, thank you. Great, great words and a great message. Jackie, kids across the country have had to learn from home over the last few months and broadband access has been a real problem in rural America. What is that access like for kids in urban areas right now?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

It's unfortunate that broadband is not available to everyone. I was very fortunate throughout the year to work with Comcast on bridging that digital divide and how our young people and in rural areas and inner cities, if they do not have access then they already behind. Because even in today's time, a lot of the kids have to have access to the internet to even be able to finish their hard work. Some of the schools were providing wifi and providing it for them, but it's been tough. That's one of the assets that we have at the JJK centers is that we have our computer lab, but we have to be real careful because it's not set up for where we are today, the social distancing. Where we have, I think 20 some computers in there, but we might have to pull some out and put them somewhere else so you could practice that social distancing. I do think that the need in rural, as well as inner city, having access is very important because if they do not have access, they're already behind.

 

Jon Doggett:

Amen and that is one of the things that we've certainly learned in our organization is, as we've tried to have meetings, the disparity across the board of who has good internet access and who does not. It makes such a difference, your ability to participate in whether it's a Zoom meeting or getting your lesson plan done. I know my daughter is a teacher and teaching virtually and with two little girls who are learning virtually and that broadband access is so important for things to work well. Without that, kids that were behind before are going to get even more, more behind. We need to find ways to make the investment in infrastructure in this country. A lot of times in our community, we think infrastructures, bridges, roads, locks, and dams, but infrastructure for all of us is also includes that broadband access and ability to communicate on so many levels. The pandemic has just pointed out the need for it and again, the disparity.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Even when you think of the infrastructure and you talk about the broadband and most of the time, if you go into a rural area or in some cases in the inner city, just having sidewalks. We think about health and wellness and paths to just walk where young people can feel safe, just different things that impact communities that a lot of people don't even think about. You live in poverty and you stay in that frame of mind, and so many other things that are so important, but just some of the basic needs that you don't even think about contain or hold a community or an area down.

 

Jon Doggett:

I know that you've mentioned that the STEM program at your center is so important and we are working at the National Corn Growers Association on, on a STEM project. How are you helping those kids with the STEM program?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

One of the great things, we always talk about [inaudible 00:29:41] STEM. Then, the basics for us, it starts with the reading and making sure that they can read, and they can understand getting involved with the Lego projects or some of our kids got involved with building, they wanted a trophy case. The construction side of it, which was great that they were able to put all these pieces together. Even like, when I talk to them about Winning in Life, getting them to understanding math and science that goes into me being a heptathlete. Even when we just talk about working on the six feet distancing, all this is a part of it, as well as our Ag side of it and the arts. We think that this summer should be very, very fun for them, but then we're allowing them to connect and to see, and hopefully they evolve and have fun with it. Because everyone always do the robotics, which is great, one of our goals too, is that we just got a JJK team with e-sports. Trying to get our young people who love to write music, who love to do things that now they might be able to work on getting a certificate, as they're learning coding, all of these things that we've been able to collaborate with different organization to help us to bring this to our students.

 

Jon Doggett:

One last thing, the COVID pandemic has kind of moved the 2020 Olympics to next year, the year after or whenever. I promised my daughter and a couple of other people I would ask you about the Olympics so what is your favorite Olympic memory or favorite Olympic memories?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Competing in four different Olympics I would say that, yes, winning of course always sticks out, but my first Olympic games, '84, and I was picked to win the gold medal and my brother wasn't even picked to make the team, let alone win. In 1984, we both made the Olympic team and my brother went on and won the gold medal in the triple jump. Then, I struggled because I wasn't mentally tough. I was dealing with an injury, didn't know how to handle it. It's one thing to dream about going there, but I mentally just wasn't ready. '84 sticks out because I left those Olympic games saying that if God blessed me to make another Olympic team, I want to be the toughest that got there mentally. That to me, prepared me to go on and win a double gold the next four years. Each one has taught me so much.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

In my last Olympic games in '96, being able to ... Everyone that we all made the team together, how fortunate it was for us to be able to compete in two different Olympic games on American soil. That doesn't happen. I didn't realize the position that we were in to be able to finish my last Olympics game as my first one began in Los Angeles on American soil. The last one in Atlanta, on American soil, winning a bronze medal. When I wasn't able to finish the heptathlon and I worked hard to try to see if I could pull off a win in the long jump. That attitude got me a bronze medal and that means the world to me to know that, as I say to young people everyday, never give up on yourself. Even when others count you out. You can turn a doubter into a believer as long as you believe. That's what I said to myself and winning that bronze medal was something special.

 

Dusty Weis:

It's a remarkable career and it sounds like you have a remarkable family as well. Ms. Joyner-Kersee, your brother is an Olympian. As I understand it, he's married to an Olympian. You're married to an Olympic coach. I picture what getting together at Christmas must be with so much athletic talent in your family. Do you guys ever to this day, you sitting around, you've just finished up Christmas dinner and look at each other and be like a hundred yard dash out in the street right now, let's see who's got it?

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

You know what, that's how we used to do when I was younger. My brother would always challenge me to a foot race because he didn't believe in practicing. This one day, he was showing off in front of his friends, like "Oh, she go to practice every day." We set up a foot race from the stop sign to the mailbox and I outran him. I looked back at him and I told him, "See, this is what practice would do for you." He got the last laugh. He won the first gold medal in the family in the '84 games. Yes, we are very, very fortunate. My brother was married to the late Flo-Jo. My husband, Bob Kersee, coach all of us as well as many more Olympic champions and still today, with the Olympics being delayed, they were training in Los Angeles and Allyson Felix is an athlete, someone I mentor. My husband is coaching her. Hopefully they find a vaccine or we find something that these athletes that have trained for so many years.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

I don't want to trivialize the pandemic that we're dealing with, I mean, health and wellness as first and foremost, but I do know that, so many athletes have trained because the Olympics are every four years and we know you have to be ready on those given days for your Olympic trials. Then, when the Olympic games approach, but I'm just staying hopeful and that allow the doctors and the scientists to do what they need to do, so we as a nation, as well as the world can come back and do the things that we love doing. Conjugating and being able to shake hands and wish people well.

 

Jon Doggett:

When I hear you say that Jackie, we have so much more in common than we think we do at first blush. You have such a great story and a great commitment to your community. Whether you grew up in an urban area or a rural area, that sense of community, that sense of toughing things out, of moving forward, despite adversity, it works well for all of us. That's something that we all have in common. We just really appreciate all of the work that you've put into your career, your athletic career, and in your career in helping your community and in helping our community better understand the challenges and the opportunities that you have. Thank you so much for being on the podcast. This has just been wonderful. We can't thank you enough and look forward to visiting the JJK Center soon.

 

Jackie Joyner-Kersee:

Well Jon, I just want to thank you and I want to remind you and also to your listeners is that hopefully this is my first time, but it won't be my last time. I'd love to come back and be on your podcast and thank you for having me.

 

Jon Doggett:

Well, thank you. As I was getting ready for the podcast this morning, I thought of my dad and he always subscribed to Forbes magazine. One of the quotes that Malcolm Forbes, the publisher of the magazine had on the masthead of every copy of Forbes magazine was, "With all thy getting get understanding." We thank our guest today, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, for helping us better understand a key component of our society and this great nation. That's all we have for this episode of Wherever Jon May Rome, I'm Jon Doggett, I'm the CEO of the National Corn Growers Association. We'll talk to you again real soon on the next episode of the NCGA podcast.

 

Dusty Weis:

Once again, if you're interested in learning more about the Jackie Joyner-Kersee Foundation or in supporting their mission, you can visit JJKFoundation.org. That is going to wrap up this edition of Wherever Jon May Roam, the National Corn Growers Association podcast, new episodes arrive monthly so make sure you subscribe and your favorite podcast app and join us again soon. Visit NCGA.com to learn more or sign up for the associations email newsletter. Wherever Jon May Roam is brought to you by the National Corn Growers Association and produced by Podcamp Media branded podcast production for businesses. Podcampmedia.com for the National Corn Growers Association, thanks for listening. I'm Dusty Weis.