|VAUGHN: Fastest Jett on air lives dream helping others
|Posted: Sunday, June 3, 2012 4:30 am
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As one of the organizers, I was proud of the successful, inaugural Tennessee Radio Hall of Fame Banquet & Induction Ceremony recently held at Embassy Suites Hotel in Murfreesboro.
Radio broadcasting luminaries Ralph Emery and Gerry House of Nashville, John Ward of Knoxville, Scott Shannon of New York, Wink Martindale of Los Angeles and Luther Masingill of Chattanooga were all present to be inducted. Masingill, age 90, is the oldest broadcaster in the state having been on the radio for more than 70 years.
Another nominee for the Hall of Fame was Tommy Jett of Chattanooga, a native of nearby Smithville and longtime personal friend. His radio career is still going strong after 50 years.
A person much wiser than me said more than 2,000 years ago a prophet is better known everywhere except in his hometown.
I think that statement is applicable to Tommy Reynolds, known to the world of radio and entertainment in the mid-south as Tommy Jett. His persona includes sunglasses and rings on every finger of his hands, but his legacy is much more.
My wife, June, and I recently attended the Tommy Jett 15th annual Entertainers Reunion in Chattanooga and were impressed by the outpouring of admiration for him.
The reunions raise money each year for a charity of choice while providing a venue for radio and television folks, singers, musicians, and songwriters to get together and reminisce about the bygone years. The most-recent one benefitted Hospice of Chattanooga.
In 1993, he and two friends, Larry Mason and Eugene Coleman, were talking when Jett remarked that it would be great to have a simple gathering of their radio and television buds along with other entertainers.
It was unanimous among the three; thus the genesis for The Tommy Jett Entertainers Reunion, named accordingly because of his popularity in the Chattanooga area.
In addition to his radio celebrity, Jett organized, promoted and was master of ceremonies for sock hops and Rock ‘n’ Roll concerts.
He and his two buddies then saw another opportunity through their network of friends.
With Coleman being a minister, they decided to expand their efforts into a Christian ministry; fashioned after a similar outreach in Nashville started by a sister of Country Music superstar Johnny Cash. Carpenter’s Cowboy Church of Chattanooga was then born.
Minister Coleman and the church cater to entertainers and those who have difficultly attending regular Sunday morning services by offering afternoon worship opportunities.
The first services were held in a nightclub because they were given free rent, a built-in sound system and a central location in Chattanooga. The ministry is now housed in a traditional church building just outside of downtown.
Still known as TJ the DJ; the fastest Jett in the air; and his memorable words “hey now,” he has the ability to make those around him laugh or cause them to consider more-serious matters.
Many wayfaring souls have been reconciled through Christian faith because of his concern for them.
Concerning the Carpenter’s Cowboy Church of Chattanooga and the early vision given by its three founders, more than 6,000 decisions have been made for Christ since the ministry began nearly two decades ago in a nightclub.
Now nearly 72, Jett has slowed his pace a little because of a recent automobile accident.
A one-vehicle mishap, his car careened off the road, hit a guard rail and flipped five times.
It took authorities and medical personnel two hours to extract him from the twisted wreckage. Looking at photographs of the damaged car, one would be convinced that he is fortunate to be alive.
He believes that God spared his life for physical and spiritual reasons.
TJ the DJ continues to be the fastest Jett in the air through the Internet and on local radio. For proof, log onto tommyjett.com.