Skip to main content
deenie mckeever, carrying 1996 olympic torch in cartersville georgia

Into The Arms of Jesus: Deenie McKeever's Lessons Learned From Dancing Through Nine Decades of American Life

In this Inspirational People interview on the Share Life podcast, I'm speaking with Deenie McKeever.

Deenie McKeever, 86, is one of the few friends I made soon after moving to Atlanta in 2005, and have maintained since.

Soon after moving to Atlanta, I had a computer tech support job for a computer repair client and Deenie was one of the residents I was sent to help. We;ve known each other ever since!

deenie mckeever meets George Bush

We've done a great deal of life together over the years, but well before we met, she was going on adventures all across the world.

In this conversation, we weave through Deenie's life starting in Atlanta, in 1937, when she was born. 

Discussion Highlights

Across three hours (making this my longest podcast episode), Deenie and I talk about a lot of things!

Here are some of the highlights.

on a mission trip, helping a dentist

  • What it was like living in the South, in the 1930's and in Atlanta
  • Moving to Washington DC at 5, going to the pentagon and learning about America at War (WW2)
  • Moving back to Atlanta at age 10
  • Being a woman then and now
  • Life change and family
  • The Outdoors: Spending time in nature and pursuing outdoor activities can provide a sense of peace and healing.
  • Mission trips and helping those in need
  • Volunteering in the 1996 Olympics & carrying the torch: a transformative and humbling experience
  • Volunteering to help George W. Bush get elected in 2004, meeting him, and going to the inauguration
  • Horse Life and Gentle Horsemanship
  • McKeever's First Ride
  • Joining the Catholic Church: Faith and a belief in God's guidance can provide a sense of purpose and direction in life. Overcoming fear and taking risks can lead to incredible experiences and personal growth.
  • Deenie's final message is one of encouragement and love, emphasizing the importance of faith and the hope of an afterlife.
deenie mckeever's first ride, carrying flag

Connect With Deenie McKeever

Listen To This Discussion

Click here to listen in on Anchor directly, or click play below to immediately begin streaming.

You can also find this discussion on Pocket CastsItunes, and Spotify and wherever you listen to podcasts under the name, Share Life: Systems and Stories to Live Better & Work Smarter or Jason Scott Montoya.

Watch This Conversation

Click here to watch this discussion on Youtube directly, or click play on the embedded video below to begin streaming the interview.

Click here to subscribe to my Youtube channel.

NOTE: There is a photo slideshow at the end of the interview with additional images from Deenie's life.


Hour 1

00:00 Introduction and Meeting in Atlanta
03:52 Growing Up in Atlanta in the 1930s
08:09 Experiences with Racism in Atlanta
09:31 Life in Atlanta During World War II
16:14 Moving to Washington, D.C. and the Pentagon
32:51 Summary of the First Two Decades
42:56 Moving to Cartersville
43:21 Discovering Leadership and Vision
44:10 Navigating Limited Career Options
45:07 Involvement in Student Council
46:06 Cultural Pressure and Career Choices
47:27 Leadership and Organizational Skills
49:23 Facing Rejection and Overcoming Obstacles
50:27 Following God's Path
52:23 Finding Purpose and Using Talents
53:22 Overcoming Fear and Taking Risks
54:45 Finding Strength and Resilience
56:40 Midlife Crisis and Self-Discovery
57:34 Embracing Personal Desires and Overcoming Insecurities
58:31 Building Self-Worth and Overcoming Diminishment
59:58 The Importance of Self-Belief and Positive Encouragement

Hour 2

01:00:26 The Role of Supportive Relationships
01:01:26 The Value of Listening and Self-Insight
01:02:15 The Impact of Meaningful Connections
01:03:08 Family and Creating a Legacy
01:04:07 The Joy of Family Gatherings
01:05:07 Discovering a Love for Animals and the Outdoors
01:06:01 The Fulfillment of Owning Horses and Building Relationships
01:07:26 The Importance of Nature and Finding Peace
01:09:22 Sharing Family Stories and Creating Memories
01:11:17 The Strength and Resilience of Mothers
01:14:37 Honoring Family History and Legacy
01:18:01 The Impact of Tennis and Founding Alta Tennis
01:19:00 The Strength and Resilience of Mothers
01:20:28 The Evolution of Women's Tennis
01:26:12 Involvement in Tennis and the 1996 Olympics
01:27:09 Volunteering for the Olympics
01:28:08 Working in Various Departments
01:29:01 Preparing for the International Olympic Committee Conference
01:30:00 Navigating the Snowstorm during the Conference
01:30:31 The Challenges of Organizing the Olympics
01:31:30 Auditioning for the Closing Ceremonies
01:33:17 Carrying the Olympic Torch
01:36:02 Reflections on the Olympics and World Unity
01:37:26 Getting Involved in National Politics
01:41:23 Experiencing the 9/11 Attacks
01:49:49 Involvement in the 2004 Election
01:54:32 Discovering Gentle Horsemanship
01:57:27 Inauguration and White House Christmas Party

Hour 3

02:09:01 Connection with George Bush
02:09:59 Starting a Nonprofit for Amputees
02:11:21 Horse Therapy for Veterans
02:14:16 Expanding McKeever's First Ride
02:17:06 Lori Johnson's Contributions
02:18:30 Volunteering and Serving in the Catholic Church
02:44:24 The Power of Prayer and Faith

Additional Resources

Unedited Transcript

Jason Scott Montoya (00:00)
inspirational people interview on the Share Life podcast. I'm here with my long time friend, Deenie McKeever. Deenie, say hello. I'm Jason Scott Montoya, the host, and today we're gonna talk about our relationship. Deenie and I met almost 20 years ago. It's 2024, and I believe we met in 2025. And we were both in Atlanta. She's in Atlanta, I'm in Atlanta. The way that that's happened is I...

Deenie McKeever (00:07)

Jason Scott Montoya (00:27)
I was in Arizona at the time and I, me and my wife got married, we went on our honeymoon and then the day we got back we packed up everything and moved to Atlanta. And I transferred to the Art Institute of Atlanta to finish my degree there. And I needed some work. So this guy, his name was Derek, and he owned a little computer repair company called Computer Connections. And so he put a job posting in the Art Institute of Atlanta. Hey, I need someone.

that can do this IT work and I was like, oh, I'm a computer guy, I grew up with them. You know, I never had a job doing it, but I always figured out how to fix things. And so I walked, the other thing was, is me and my wife at the time, we shared a car. So his office was literally like across this, like it was around the corner, across the street from the school. So I could walk, I walked over to his office to just say, hey, I want the job.

And so I got there and he's like, you know what, you look, you seem like a great guy, I would love to hire you, but I had this curly hair and it was really long at the time, it went down to my neck. And he says, as much as I like you and I would love to hire you, I just, I can't send you off to companies and people's houses with that mop on your head, so I'm sorry you don't have the job. So that night,

Deenie McKeever (01:40)
I'm gonna go.

Thank you.


Jason Scott Montoya (01:55)
Me and my wife, I remember going to the mall and I said I need to chop all my hair off. So I chopped it all off and I just went back to him the next day and said I'm ready to start working. And he hired me. So one of the first jobs that he did was he assigned me to go to Deanie's house up in this place called Cartersville. Was like 30 minutes north of Atlanta or something. And back then it was less developed so it was like driving through the forest and I had to, you know.

Deenie McKeever (01:59)
Thank you.

That was...

Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (02:24)
go through the yellow brick road and eventually I found her house. And that's when we first met and I helped Deanie with her computer. She was always the, you know, you were born in 1937 but you were always, for your age particularly, like you were always on the cutting edge of you had the newest technology, the newest computer, whatever. And so I started helping you and that, our relationship evolved over the years and we've had our ups and downs.

and laughs and cries and yells and screams, but we've continued to persevere through it and we have been great friends through it. And I think for me, one of the things that I think about in our terms of our relationship is just how much you've poured out your life into me and how much you've given to me. And as particularly as someone who was an exile from my homeland, I left Atlanta, or I left Arizona, which is friends and family, all these people I knew,

Deenie McKeever (03:14)
Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (03:23)
and me and my wife moved across the country to a foreign land where we knew no one. And you were one of the anchor points that kept me from going insane. So yeah, there's a little bit of an introduction.

Deenie McKeever (03:27)

or German is crazy.

It's special. It was special.

Jason Scott Montoya (03:43)
Yeah, so you were born in 1937. You've got a lot of history. You know a lot of the history of Atlanta. I'd like to dive into your story. You've got a lot of stories to share with us and lessons you've learned and weird experiences and scary experiences and fun experiences and sad experiences. But let's start with what it was like growing up for you in the little city of Atlanta in 1937. Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (03:58)
Thank you.

Well, Jason, thank you for having me on. I'm honored to share my many stories and you have a lot if you're 86. So I just pray folks hear through them, my encouragement to be the best you can be, no matter what obstacles come in your path. I wasn't always totally successful. There have been many painful times and challenges and.

Jason Scott Montoya (04:18)


Deenie McKeever (04:36)
big fears and regrets many times, but my faith in God and Jesus and their love for me kept me trying to lead the life they wanted me to do and that's sort of my theme across my head and in no way am I a perfect person. I'm just trying to be what I'm supposed to be for their big plan and not screw it up.

Jason Scott Montoya (04:57)

Heheh... yeah.

Deenie McKeever (05:03)
But going back to Atlanta, people younger than me, a lot younger than me, would just never imagine it. Atlanta was so small. It was like a small town. And the farthest northern point was Buckhead. I don't know if you can hear the thunder behind me or not, but there's a big thunder. My dog's gone. He's gone.

Jason Scott Montoya (05:15)


I heard a little grumbling but it sounded like maybe your dog was growling at you.

Deenie McKeever (05:33)
But Atlanta was, the northern part was Burkett, and the biggest store there was Sears, which is no longer there. But it was just a very small town, and it was, I actually have a story to tell about Sears.

I had a wonderful friend in Atlanta and she was always into everything and Judy got me into things. And so there was an Episcopal

Jason Scott Montoya (06:02)

Deenie McKeever (06:06)
house downtown that catered to children who were in difficult situations. They maybe had no money or food or you know all of those things and the church was trying to help them and so Judy got a call and they asked her if she would take some children who needed they were going to take the children to the beach.

Jason Scott Montoya (06:14)

Deenie McKeever (06:30)
and they want Judy to take them to buy some shoes. They don't have any tennis shoes or a bathing suit.

Jason Scott Montoya (06:30)

Deenie McKeever (06:37)
or shorts or anything. And so she called me and she said, Dene, can your children, I'm taking my children, and can you bring Dee and Dana, and we'll go to Sears with the kids. We've got the kids. So we go to Sears. And now understand we're very different. Our kids are different from them. They look different, they're a different color. So we just go in, we're gonna just go buy these cute kids some things to go.

real excited and they're giving it, you know, being able to do that for them and they were excited. We go in the store and there's just this wall. It's like back people backed up. I mean these are kids and people backed up all the way from us. Like, like what are you doing?

Jason Scott Montoya (07:07)

Yeah. Oh wow.

Deenie McKeever (07:28)
And what Judy and I were for a while, we were oblivious to it. But then we couldn't get waded on. It went on and on. And so, you know, they were staring at us and all of that. And we finally did, you know, get the kids clothes and everything. And we actually went to McDonald's and had the same thing happen. It was just awful. I didn't think we were going to get food at McDonald's. So.

Jason Scott Montoya (07:35)

Hmm. Wow, how old were you at that time?

Deenie McKeever (07:58)
Let's see, that was in the 1950s. So I was probably late 20s. I married early. And so, yeah, and it was just before segregation really came about and they had sit-ins and everything in Atlanta. So...

Jason Scott Montoya (08:02)

Okay, yeah.


Deenie McKeever (08:21)
But I got to thinking about it as I was thinking about talking about it, and I thought, you know, we didn't understand the difference. I mean, we just saw some kids that need some help, and my kids, our kids had a lot of stuff. And so I, you know, I had a lot of friends that were different for me, different color, different age, different whatever. But as I grew through this experience back then, and I realized how insensitive...

Jason Scott Montoya (08:32)

Deenie McKeever (08:51)
or maybe unaware, unconscious, ignorant of what the black people or anybody different felt. And this happened to be some children that were African American, but it could have been somebody in a wheelchair. I mean, this happens a lot in different places. So it was a big... I was devastated when I opened that in me and said...

Jason Scott Montoya (08:55)




Deenie McKeever (09:20)
where have I been ignorant of that? So anyway, I just, that was, I don't know to me to see how much anger there was in the world. But I think it was more ignorance than anger. There were wrong assumptions and ideas about what the difference meant. But that's the way Atlanta was. And then we had all the stuff that we just spoke about. At that time,

Jason Scott Montoya (09:49)

Deenie McKeever (09:50)
or even earlier when I was in my teens, we used to, a group of girls would get together on Saturday and we would drive, ride the bus downtown and we would shot at Rich's and Davison's, which was Macy's and we could wander around downtown Atlanta. It was great. I mean, there was no safety rules or fear of guns or anything. And it was just a different world then, totally different world.

Jason Scott Montoya (10:01)
Mm-hmm. Okay.


Yeah, well I wanna, yeah. Well I'd like to peel out a couple layers there. So you mentioned Buckhead. Sears is like the only store which is like, what is Sears? Tell us what a Sears is. I don't know if even people know what a Sears is because it's no longer around. Ha ha ha. Ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (10:20)
Just make me sick.

Oh gosh, okay. Well, Sears was like the all American store. It had a catalog that was two feet deep and you ordered your stuff out of there. It was sort of like a, oh gosh, Tractor Supply, JCPenney, Home Depot. I mean, it was clothes and everything else. And it was just one of the main.

Jason Scott Montoya (10:43)

Deenie McKeever (11:03)
I mean, Riches and Davisons were more the club, more house themes, house things and clothes, you know, that kind of thing. Church doors maybe. But Sears was an order catalog mostly. And it was just a giant store, but it had everything at that point, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (11:11)
Yeah. Hahaha.


Yeah, I imagine it changed quite a bit by the time I visited one in the 90s. I'm sure it was quite a different experience. But now you talked about your experience kind of helping these people that you had no qualms with helping and then sort of the, the, um, the way that other people treated you and them as a result of helping them.

Deenie McKeever (11:32)
Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (11:49)
I'd be curious, you know, what would you, cause I think when people, people may not think of themselves or may not think that they're outright racist, but when you talk about like that ignorance, sometimes they can get defensive. And so how, what would be your recommendation for people, you know, to kind of be willing to listen and hear things that might be different than how they've experienced it and not to take that defensive approach? Does that make sense?

Deenie McKeever (11:50)

Yes, it does. And I think one thing is fear. I was saying to you earlier that I think that when I get over out of my niceness and I get maybe ticked off about something more than I should or whatever, I think it's big. I'm scared of something deep down and I'm afraid something's going to change or somebody's going to hurt me or...

Jason Scott Montoya (12:23)





Deenie McKeever (12:47)
And I think a lot of times that's it. That when you are, when someone's different, and maybe you have a thing in your head that they're gonna hurt you, you know, then you sort of guard yourself and back off. And also sometimes it's awkward. You don't know what to do with them because they speak a different, you know, you're in your bubble. A lot of us were in bubble.

Jason Scott Montoya (12:59)
Mm, yeah.



Yeah. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (13:15)
of people like us, houses like us, you know, cars, schools, all of that. We were in a world of a bubble. And unfortunately for me, I came out of it and was able to go around the world and see things and also be around different people and learn that basically we're all alive. But

Jason Scott Montoya (13:25)



Deenie McKeever (13:38)
we get rid of our assumptions and ignorance and figure it out, find out what's good.

Jason Scott Montoya (13:43)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I would be curious, do you have any memories like Martin Luther King Jr. like when he was in Atlanta or even when he was assassinated or any of this? Like do you remember that anything specific about Atlanta?

Deenie McKeever (13:59)
Yes, there was a drugstore right across the street from Davison's and we would go there and get grilled cheese sandwiches and cherry coats and We'd line up on all the little seats at the counter. Well, that's where they did the sit-ins So it was very much. Oh my gosh They're not giving them food where we could go in and get our sandwich and coat just fine

Jason Scott Montoya (14:10)

Oh wow.

Deenie McKeever (14:26)
There was a restaurant that I used to go to a lot that they did a lockdown in. And so for me personally, I could relate to that. Not long ago, I worked with someone who was helping wounded veterans. And I went down to Auburn Avenue and in that area to see her. And Martin Luther King's home growing up was down the street. And I...

Jason Scott Montoya (14:44)


Deenie McKeever (14:55)
sat there in the car and just thought about that for a long time and thought, you know, gosh, that was where we was. I remember when President Kennedy got shot and that was huge in my mind about, and I think everybody's. So it was all kind of a whole big time of upheaval.

Jason Scott Montoya (15:02)

Yeah, was Martin Luther King shot before or after Kennedy?

Deenie McKeever (15:21)
Let's see, I think it was before, wasn't it? I'm sorry, I don't. Yeah, I should know that, but I'm sorry, don't. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (15:24)
I don't remember or I mean I wasn't there so I'd have to look it up but yeah.

But they were both in the same year, I think, if I remember right. Or within a year of each other. But... yeah.

Deenie McKeever (15:34)
It seems like it was a close time. Yeah, I know President Kennedy was 63. So, someone, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (15:41)
Okay. Yeah. So, um, now for those of us who live in Atlanta, just a real quick fact, was there a 285? Was there a 85? Was there a 75?

Deenie McKeever (15:53)
No, no, no expressways. I mean, just imagine Atlanta with no expressways. There were none zip. It was no cell phones and no zip, no expressways. Yeah. And that's a whole different world.

Jason Scott Montoya (15:59)
Heh heh.


And were there any horse-drawn carriages?

Deenie McKeever (16:17)
You know, I want to go back to that because I have a carriage and I drive it and I would love to go to the grocery store in it instead of the taxi.

Jason Scott Montoya (16:19)
Yeah. Heh heh.

Maybe Amishness is what you're calling here?

Deenie McKeever (16:30)
Yes, yeah I'm working on that.

Jason Scott Montoya (16:32)
Alright, so when you were five, you moved to Washington, D.C. So let's tell us about why, and so this is 1942, so this is like World War II is unfolding before you as you're a kid. Talk to us about your father and your grandfather and their artificial limb business and your visit to the Pentagon. You can kind of go where you want to start, but let's jump to Washington, D.C.

Deenie McKeever (16:39)




Well, that was quite a time. I was an only child at that point. And so daddy, daddy was in the ROTC at Georgia Tech, and that means that you need to serve somewhere. And so, but during tech, daddy didn't have any money, he had nothing. And so he had to work six months to get enough money to go to the next six months at tech.

and he would go off and on and on and on. Then when he graduated.

Jason Scott Montoya (17:30)
Yeah. And for those that go to Georgia Tech, what was Georgia Tech? Was it just like a single building? Or was it a house?

Deenie McKeever (17:40)
It was a little more than that. It was really well known and the only guys went. You know, there were no girls there. The only girls that the, there were no girls, no, they weren't allowed there. And I may be wrong about that, but that was my concept at the time. And maybe some women went, but it would have been very few and far between.

Jason Scott Montoya (17:42)

Were they not allowed or they just didn't wanna go?



Deenie McKeever (18:08)
Most of the women went to Agnes Scott in Atlanta, and they would be the ones that would date the tag boys and stuff. But Daddy, back in his time, he was, he may have been money for, but he was smart and he was a leader. But he was just really a very special guy. And he's always loved tagging.

Jason Scott Montoya (18:09)


What was your father's name?

Deenie McKeever (18:38)
Dan, Dan McKeever. And he, one thing we used to say was he had two children, my brother and me and Georgia, three children, my brother and me and Georgia Deck. Cause he really loved it. He did a lot of things after school to enhance it. But back then he was, he had gotten out of college, but he was,

Jason Scott Montoya (18:39)
Dan. Yeah.



Deenie McKeever (19:08)
He had two things going on. One was he was needed to serve in ROTC, but not necessarily go into the war. But in the meantime, his mother-in-law, this is not his mother, but his mother-in-law, my mother, her husband died and he owned an artificial land business and her brother-in-law.

said he would buy her out for a certain amount of money. And daddy said, you can't live on that the rest of your life because she was just 50. And he said, I need to help you and I will take over the business and run it for you so that you can be the president of the business and I'll be the treasurer. And we'll work it out for you to have a salary. And that's what he did. And that's why he went into that business because

Jason Scott Montoya (19:56)


Deenie McKeever (20:04)
helping somebody. And I always watched that. That was something that, you know, he didn't have to do it. He could have, you know, whatever. But he did. Well, then when he got into the business, he could have been exempted from going to war because he was in a business that helped the war. But he felt very strongly he should be part of it. Well, they sent him to the Pentagon. He didn't get involved, so he was sent to the Pentagon.

Jason Scott Montoya (20:21)

Deenie McKeever (20:34)

Jason Scott Montoya (20:34)
Now is the Pentagon, is it the same building that we now know or is it a different building? Okay.

Deenie McKeever (20:38)

main building and it's the large octagon and back then I could go into it with him. Nowadays, boy, you can't get in unless you know somebody. And I got to go in with him. I got to see his office. I was, you know, he was always putting me on his lap and doing things with me as far as, you know, I could do this thing on the desk. And before he went there, though, he was at Fort McPherson in Atlanta.

Jason Scott Montoya (20:53)

Deenie McKeever (21:09)
And I remember sitting at this tall telephone thing. If you ever saw the Lily Tumlin show where she said, I don't think we're gonna answer the telephone like this. And she would put those long cords into the thing and as you know, well, I got to put those long cords in and get the people to their phone. And I'll never forget all that. That was really fun. But daddy actually,

Jason Scott Montoya (21:24)
Heh heh.

Deenie McKeever (21:35)
was the officer of the day at Fort Mac when the call came in to say we're in war, we're at war. So that was, gives me jail bumps now.

Jason Scott Montoya (21:41)

So when you say we're at war, like what did that mean at that moment? Was that like?

Deenie McKeever (21:50)
They were calling to tell him that America had joined the World War II with Britain.

Jason Scott Montoya (21:57)
Yeah. So this was not even known to the public then at the time? Or was this, okay. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (22:03)
That was the first calls. But then daddy went to the Pentagon and we were there a couple of years and went to Philadelphia and then we came back to Atlanta. But while he was there, you know, he just made such a difference wherever he went. He was a very logistics person. He was organized. He could see something that needed to be done and figure out how to do it better.

Jason Scott Montoya (22:24)

Deenie McKeever (22:31)
So he got a lot of medals, but he didn't go to war. He didn't go in the trenches with the guns. He was at the Pentagon sending all the materials and things they needed. And he organized all the stuff that was going over there to the soldiers in the battle. And so he won a lot of medals. And I told the people at school, I said, my daddy won the American Legion of Honor. And I think it's like, no, he didn't.

Jason Scott Montoya (22:43)


Deenie McKeever (22:58)
He didn't win that one, D. Yes, he did, because I thought he was game to me. So anyway, but he did so many wonderful things there. And then when the war ended, we went back to Atlanta. But I have to tell a story about the Pentagon. I may tear up in some of this. Y'all just have to live with me. I...

Jason Scott Montoya (23:01)


Yeah, yeah, I figure we'll cry and laugh and scream throughout this. Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (23:28)
had the privilege of going to the Pentagon not long ago. It was in 2008, well, that's a long time ago, I guess. But anyway, I had a chance to be in Washington and a friend of mine's son had a position in the Pentagon. And it was right after it had been bombed in 2001, not yet. So it had been repaired,

Jason Scott Montoya (23:51)
after 9-11. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (23:58)
They were getting ready to renovate the area that my daddy had been in. And so Mike took me into the Pentagon. Oh, I know, it was just amazing and breathtaking really because it was different. It was growing up too, but I have to see and it re-bombed and all of that happened. And then to reverse my brain to go back to when I saw daddy there.

And it was 1940, so the pipes were all exposed and you had different doorknobs. And it looked like when you see a movie in the old cars, well, this was like the old Pentagon. And Mike took me through the whole thing. It was just so special to be able to go in there and remember daddy and our times there. So.

Jason Scott Montoya (24:35)
Heh heh.


What was the trigger like? They could have just not had you come back, but did you ask or did he invite you?

Deenie McKeever (24:57)
I'm sorry, I didn't get the question.

Jason Scott Montoya (25:00)
What was the trigger to going, like why were you invited back in 2008, what was the trigger?

Deenie McKeever (25:07)
Well, there's another story later on that I'll tell you about where I invited Mike to go with me somewhere. So when he heard about the Pentagon with me, I guess I told him. Yeah, I'm sure it did. It seems that way was working. Then he treated me to that. Yeah, that's right. I'll tell you the story. That's a teaser.

Jason Scott Montoya (25:12)
ties into it. Okay.

Ah, okay.

So he must have known the story. Yeah. Okay.

Now, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. So I guess to pull a few more layers out of this, was your dad's degree, was it related to this artificial limb business or was it unrelated? In terms of his Georgia Tech degree.

Deenie McKeever (25:44)

No, we kind of laughed about it because he got an engineering degree. I mean, he was smart and he did a lot of good things, but he really didn't know how to plug plugs in very well. We asked him not to fix anything at home. Um, but he, he was an organizer. So what he did in that business, he did make them, he did make the limbs and he did go in the dark days. You went, you, you traveled in your car and took a piece of wood and you, and,

Jason Scott Montoya (25:51)

Deenie McKeever (26:17)
done something to it at the office, but you took glue and leather and these pieces of wood and you went to someone's home and you worked on building them a leg. Nowadays they get the computer out and draw your leg and it's done. It's really amazing. Yeah, but that's what he did. So no, he did not. But you know what? He actually won his awards at Tech was that he was in the Hall of

Jason Scott Montoya (26:28)


Deenie McKeever (26:46)
So he just did really good things, but you never knew it. He was very humble and he never, never did anything for ego. He just did it because it's the right thing to do. So yeah, it's cool.

Jason Scott Montoya (26:47)

Yeah. And so how did his, I guess, how did he like, so this is World War II, which is like a big deal. How did you conceptualize it? How did he conceptualize it? Do you remember how it affected him? How he sort of processed it emotionally? Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (27:20)
After the war, he was asked to go to all the bases and close them. So he went and it affected him big time because he saw the damage and it was heartbreaking for him. I mean he just...

I think it really hit him hard. He was like the others, I mean, he did not go when they were killing each other, but he saw the damage and he saw the people and it was crushing, but he was also glad that he could be the one that says you can go home now. You know, we can close the base now, you can go home. That felt good, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (27:43)
Yeah. Yeah.


Yeah. And what about you? How did you conceptualize the war when you were just a little kid? When you were five to eight-ish, I guess.

Deenie McKeever (28:08)
The thing that I think, because I didn't daddy went overseas, then I didn't have that fear, you know, for him. But we had to ration. And mother and I would go to the grocery store and we had little books, ration books. And we could only buy a certain amount of sugar or a certain amount of this or that. And we had little stamps and we would put them in the book because after we bought them, then you know, that's all you get. And so we didn't have everything we wanted.

Jason Scott Montoya (28:29)


Deenie McKeever (28:38)
to eat but it never really affected me big time. I was little and

Jason Scott Montoya (28:43)

Deenie McKeever (28:44)
I think that was the biggest thing. I liked going to the commissary and it was fun, but that was, yeah, I don't, I mean, I was six through 10, you know, basically. And so the only thing that, you know, I didn't get a good education at some point because my mother reminded me that I went to the teachings that I don't know how to read.

Jason Scott Montoya (28:49)
Yeah, exciting, yeah.


Yeah. What was your mom's name?

Deenie McKeever (29:14)
grade or something. D. We all go back to the D River in Scotland somewhere. My my grandmother was Bessie D, mother was D, and when I was born daddy didn't want two D's so he called me Deanie and that's why my name is Deanie. Yeah, my daughter's name is D.

Jason Scott Montoya (29:18)


Yeah, okay. Yeah. The other question I would ask is, well, I guess two questions. One is how did the war affect your mom? Did it affect her much at all? Or did she, I don't know how close or, in our current world,

with the internet and stuff, we kind of see so much of what's going on, particularly in Ukraine right now and in Israel. Those are things you probably just didn't see in World War II, but even though it was happening. So I'm just trying to understand the way that people understood it, made sense of it, saw that kind of thing. And so with your mom, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (30:00)
Yeah, yeah. Mm-hmm.

Well, even though we weren't on a, yeah, we weren't on an army base there. We didn't live on it. And we didn't live on the base at Fort Mac either. We were in our own house, but we were surrounded by military. I mean, my school was all military kids and.

Jason Scott Montoya (30:26)

Deenie McKeever (30:33)
I think the biggest thing was the absence. Daddy worked so long and hard and late hours. And I feel, I can feel that she was there a lot with me by myself, by ourselves. That was probably the biggest thing. And then, I mean, we didn't have a lot of money because you didn't make money in the Army. We still don't a whole lot now, I think. And, but it was hard because we were rationing and that kind of thing.

Jason Scott Montoya (30:38)


Deenie McKeever (31:03)
So it was different. I didn't feel we were poor by any means. Don't get me wrong, but I know that she worried about it all. Actually one day I found an old budget book that she had and in the budget she had budgeted five cents for an ice cream cone for both of them.

Jason Scott Montoya (31:10)


Oh wow. Yeah. 5 cent ice cream. That's a miracle.

Deenie McKeever (31:27)
She knew every dime and nickel, literally. Yeah. She, you know, had to really figure out the money and be sure we were okay.

Jason Scott Montoya (31:39)

Now, when you were younger, like in that age, or even maybe shortly after the war, I mean, did you have any conceptualization of the Nazis or communist Soviet Union? Was any of that something that you were aware of or knew about?

Deenie McKeever (31:55)
Not like now, not like now. You're right. I mean, we know on TV everything. I know all the stuff now. But back then, you know, we really didn't.

Jason Scott Montoya (32:03)

Deenie McKeever (32:06)
We didn't have cell phones. We didn't have a TV. I remember when we got a TV. It was like the kids shows, you know, I mean, and Ed Sullivan. I mean, you know, we didn't have news. We had news, I'll tell you where we had news. And you've seen it sometimes, probably in movies or something. And then in the movie theater, they would have these, blah, there's the news of the day.

Jason Scott Montoya (32:31)


Deenie McKeever (32:35)
And they would show you a shot of the war, but it was very just, they were over there, we were here. Now I just cringe at what the British people had to go through, very scary. One thing we did talk about a lot, there were bomb shelters and a lot of people in Atlanta built bomb shelters at different times, especially when the nuclear bomb was underground.

Jason Scott Montoya (32:38)


Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Like underground or just inside their house? Yeah

Deenie McKeever (33:02)
And it was like when the nuclear bomb came and people got really scared and said that was something that happened.

Jason Scott Montoya (33:10)
Yeah. So when you're 10, you move back to Atlanta. You don't have a cell phone. I guess, but you go to Westminster High School, you're a cheerleader. You're hoping somebody comes to the game so you have someone to cheer for. And it's quite different now than it was when you were there. So tell us about life when you came back to Atlanta from DC.

Deenie McKeever (33:29)

Well, when I came back I was 10, so I was in grammar school at that point, but I want to tell you a funny cell phone story. So we lived on Collier Road, a lot of people know where that is near Piedmont Hospital, and I loved the house. I had a little playhouse in the back. And my brother was born 10 years younger when I was 10. He was born, so he was 10 years younger, and he was always my baby. So anyway, I can remember that house.

Jason Scott Montoya (34:00)

Deenie McKeever (34:05)
And now, Collier Road's a very busy road, but back then it was quiet and we could play and stuff, stuff. Anyway, one night we went dinner and Daddy had a friend named Randy Whitfield. And Randy was in the technology business. And Randy called Daddy. We had phones in the house, you know, on the wall.

Jason Scott Montoya (34:18)

Deenie McKeever (34:27)
kind of thing. And he called daddy and he said, so Dan, what are you doing? Where are you? You know, what? And dad said, well, I'm just here right now. And he said, well, I am too. I'm out. I'm out in your front yard. He said, what?

And he went out and Randy had this giant, I mean, giant, I can't get my hands in here, giant phone. And he was talking to daddy. And that was the first cell phone. He had, if I was 10, it was 1947.

Jason Scott Montoya (34:44)


What year was that?

or at what decade.

So they had a version of a cell phone in 1947.

Deenie McKeever (35:08)
That was, it was what went out to the public, but Randy had one and they were working on it. And that was, yeah, we couldn't believe it. Daddy was so funny. He was like a little boy. It was so amazing. I mean, he never even thought of me.

Jason Scott Montoya (35:14)

I mean, in 1947, there's just nothing like that.

Deenie McKeever (35:27)
How did you get to talk to somebody, you know, in the air? I'm still saying that, but yeah, that was really fun. That was really fun. I'll never forget that. But jumping from primary school, elementary, back then, again, Westminster got started. We had Northside and North Fulton schools in our area. That was it. Everything else was South or Grady or Decatur.

Jason Scott Montoya (35:30)
Hehe. Yeah. Hehe.

Deenie McKeever (35:57)
And so Dr. Presley wanted to start this school there, and he wanted it to be a Christian school. And so it started very small, and they actually took girls from Washington Seminary, which was a dog girl school, and NAPS, which was North Avenue Presbyterian School, and brought those in, but they were juniors and seniors. I went in as a, I was,

Jason Scott Montoya (36:06)


Deenie McKeever (36:27)
15 and I went sophomore.

Jason Scott Montoya (36:29)

Deenie McKeever (36:31)
So I had been to Northside and my little group of friends, we decided that we would go to this new school. So we went to Westminster. And then they brought in boys at our age. So that's when they went to live. And so, yeah, so we had just enough guys to play football. And we played in the afternoon because we didn't have any lights or a stadium. And as you said, the story.

Jason Scott Montoya (36:39)




Deenie McKeever (37:01)
is I wished somebody would come beside my mother so we could cheer. But, you know, yeah, cheerleaders.

Jason Scott Montoya (37:06)
So how does that, so you're, I imagine this dirt road and then there's like a half grass field and a bunch of kids on it trying to play a game. How does that differ to how that school is today?

Deenie McKeever (37:15)


It looks like one of the largest college campuses in the whole United States, maybe the world. I don't know. It's huge. We saw some growth during my years, the last two years there, but it is immense and they have, a lot of their students have gone to great heights. I was watching a football game the other night and I realized that Harrison

Jason Scott Montoya (37:40)

Deenie McKeever (37:56)
team that won the Super Bowl this year and he went to Westminster. Now that's just a good example but some had gone scholar-wise and done amazing things and it grew very big, very big.

Jason Scott Montoya (38:00)
Oh wow. Yeah.


Now, did you go to any of your high school reunions over the decades and reconnect with people there?

Deenie McKeever (38:16)
Yeah, I did. We stayed close. My friends my age and the boyfriends my age, we all kept in touch, throughout the years. And one wonderful thing happened to me at school. They had a queen, I said they had a homecoming queen, and then she had her court and all that.

But the team wanted me to be their mascot. And I didn't know they were going to do this. And so in the middle of assembly one time...

Jason Scott Montoya (38:50)

Deenie McKeever (38:55)
And they were all winking at me when we went into assembly. I thought, what is going on? What are they, what is this? Hey, Deanie, hi. Well, they just carried on. They picked me up, threw me around, and it was just wonderful. And that was the kind of camaraderie we had. And there's still a group in Atlanta that I stayed close to.

Jason Scott Montoya (39:01)

Deenie McKeever (39:17)
We had the girls after we graduated and I kept a bridge club and I was in that for quite a while till I moved to Partisville and recently they asked me if I would learn to play bridge again and come down every week to play with them but I can't do that right now but we stayed tight and it still was wonderful. We had a I guess because Westminster was small you know we had a really

Jason Scott Montoya (39:31)

Yeah, yeah. So before we jump into you moving from Atlanta to Cartersville and kind of the next stage of your life, when you just look at these first two decades of your life, how would you summarize it? What was the impact that your parents had on you and how you saw them and other mentors in your life? And how would you sort of tie a bow around those first few decades of your life?

Deenie McKeever (39:47)

You know, you made me do that by asking me to do this. I've thought about it a lot. My mother and daddy are gone now. And so they've been gone for a while. So I miss them every day. I was very fortunate. I think they loved me a whole lot. I was basically an only child and then I got married early. So...

Jason Scott Montoya (40:20)

Deenie McKeever (40:45)
I don't know if, excuse me, if there'd been more children, if there would have been a different atmosphere, but I know they really cared about me. And that was, I know there are families where that doesn't happen. And there's conflict. And I'm very grateful for that. You know, I think that that's a big thing. When I went through this.

Jason Scott Montoya (41:01)

Deenie McKeever (41:09)
The deal of looking at my whole life to talk about today, I thought, gosh, I've been so blessed because now you do see the news about people who are hurting. You do know it. You're not in the bubble. You can't be. And I was not. I was really, and Danny.

was very, he was very respectful of me in my mind. He had me on his board of directors after a while. And he said one thing to me that stuck with me forever. He just casually said this to me coming out of a board meeting one day, he said, you always answer the questions nobody else does.

Jason Scott Montoya (41:40)


Deenie McKeever (41:56)
And that was just life changing for me to carry that around. And as I told you, I thought, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (42:02)

Deenie McKeever (42:05)
It's also the reverse. If there was something bad said, you carry that around too. And I thought, boy, just a few words can just impact you like crazy. But that's the way he was. I don't remember him being mad at me, but twice. And once was when he thought he said a dirty cuss word. And I don't even remember the other one. But anyway, and mother was, mother was,

Jason Scott Montoya (42:11)




Deenie McKeever (42:34)

His sidekick, you know, she was his sidekick. And they would, I remember they would, you know, come into the living room at night after you got home from work and have a cocktail together and talk about the day. He would always share a lot about work with her. And she had a great brain and wanted to, you know, give her, he wanted her to, you know, give her input. So we had that kind of family and it was good. We did, oh, I'll tell you one big part of our family was athletics.

Jason Scott Montoya (42:52)



Deenie McKeever (43:07)
We were all athletic and daddy at 87 was mad because he couldn't get up on water skis and he did everything.

Jason Scott Montoya (43:16)
Was this Lake Lanier or Lake Alatuna?

Deenie McKeever (43:20)
Yeah, it was probably Lanier. But no, I know it wasn't. It was down where my brother lived at the time on Lake Martin. That's what it was. But he always was very athletic. Mother was very athletic and I followed in that. But so we did a lot of outdoor sports. We wanted to be on the go all the time. We didn't do a lot of sitting around. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (43:23)

Okay, like mine. Okay.

Yeah. So let's jump forward. You moved to Cartersville. What year is that? Do you have a decade? Are we in when that happens? You get a ranch.

Deenie McKeever (43:56)
89. It was, yeah, it was 1989. And, all right, so let me see here. We jumped some places here. Yeah, we'll cut, we, yeah, let me get to that. Yeah, here we are. Okay.

When I went to Cardiff, still a lot of that in my life and I just felt strong about it. And, but one of the things about me was that I had never sat down and said, well, I want to be this, you know, and I'm going to make a beeline for Emma's study to do it. And because when I went to Georgia, which I went to Georgia,

The choices of a career were a secretary, a teacher, a nurse, or a homemaker. And, um, I didn't really feel good about any of them because later in life, when I realized that I'm just a leader and an organizer and a visionary, and so nothing really fit, you know, and so I just, I mean, I had to just decide I'd be a homemaker.

Jason Scott Montoya (44:52)

Yeah. Well, so what your did you go to UGA right after high school or did you wait?

Deenie McKeever (45:14)
I was there at 56. Yeah, 35 inches loose. But, um, but, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (45:17)
Okay. Okay. And was it like Georgia Tech where it was there wasn't as many women there?

Deenie McKeever (45:26)
No, it was total, you know, it was equal. And we had guys and us, and yeah. And I was asked by, I guess by sorority, I can't remember now, but I was asked to run for the council, the student council. And you have to go out and do all like they do now, you just put up signs and all this stuff.

Jason Scott Montoya (45:31)



Deenie McKeever (45:54)
I was against the coach's dog and his name was Wiley Butz and her thing was, you can't beat our Butz. And I was out and I was, don't be a meanie, vote for Deanie. I was like, oh my gosh, anyway she won. But I enjoyed Georgia, but I did not, I didn't stay all four years because I got married, but I.

Jason Scott Montoya (46:06)


Deenie McKeever (46:24)
I decided to do the homemaker thing and that didn't work out. I mean, I had to be a homemaker.

Jason Scott Montoya (46:29)
And did you want to do that or was that something that, like how much cultural pressure was there for that type of thing at the time?

Deenie McKeever (46:39)
Well, I mean, girls back then, you got married. And that was it. You didn't think about a career. You thought, well, I could teach school till I get married or be a secretary till I get married. It was not like, well, I really wanna be a teacher. I really wanna be a secretary. Nothing wrong with those jobs. They just didn't fit me. But so I just felt like, well, maybe I need to learn how to cook, because I didn't know how to cook at all. And I didn't know how to sew or any of that stuff.

Jason Scott Montoya (46:43)

Hmm. Yeah.

Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (47:09)
I took a sewing class and I stitched the thing I was making to the thing I was wearing. And that was about as good as I got. So Georgia was fun. The only thing I regret is that I didn't go out to cheerleading. Mother was worried that I was, I don't know what she was worried about, but she taught me how to go out to cheerleading.

Jason Scott Montoya (47:16)


Deenie McKeever (47:37)
I really wish I'd done that. I love doing that. It's fun. But I met some great people there and I still have friends from there and it was good. But it was 5,000 people

Jason Scott Montoya (47:39)

Yeah, wow.

So what was, did, yeah, okay. What was your, like did you have any kind of vocational vision or inclination? Tell me, tell us about that or leadership, being a leader.

Deenie McKeever (48:06)
No, I didn't. I was a leader in high school, but it was because I felt strong about something. I wanted to see team spirit, so I was involved in that and was president of the pep club.

Or I would feel like I wanted to, we had a May Day at Westminster and I wanted to help organize that. So I was head of all the costumes in May Day. I mean it was just like, and then I was in, I can't remember what you called it, but I was the, I made the grades, let me say that, I made the grades. But I...

Jason Scott Montoya (48:46)
Yeah. Was that because of your own work ethic or did your parents kind of encourage you to get good grades?

Deenie McKeever (48:54)
I just felt like, I always felt like there was a right and wrong and sometimes I got that mixed up. But I felt like, you know, I was supposed to get my homework in. I was supposed to pay attention. I wish I remembered all that stuff now, but I did make good grades. But I just, there were times when I just felt like I...

Jason Scott Montoya (49:01)


Deenie McKeever (49:19)
I wanted to help some way. So I started way back then doing that. And then I just, I did it at Georgia and they asked me in the sorority to do some things, head up some stuff. And so it was not like, oh, well, I need to be a leader. I need to lead this. Or it was like, oh, well, this opportunity's here and it might do some good or something. And I need to, I could organize that. Yeah, I'll help. I'll do that. And that's sort of the way it went.

Jason Scott Montoya (49:47)

Yeah. And so tell us about like being a woman then in terms of how like the roadblocks and the negativity, did you face much of that? Do you remember the women's rights movement at all?

Deenie McKeever (50:04)
I remember it, but I remember personal more. I think, I jot down a couple of notes here. I wanna be sure I can get to where they are. Look in here to see, because I wrote down a couple of things I thought of as we were talking about that. I think, I think that, like I say in Georgia,

Jason Scott Montoya (50:08)


Deenie McKeever (50:33)
I didn't see ways to have a lot of different careers, and nothing was presented like that. It was those things, and then you just mostly got married. But one of the, I guess that was my feeling was that what I began to learn about myself was that I enjoyed.

making things work that I thought would help. If I saw something that could be done better or if there wasn't a something and I had a vision of, well gosh, if we did this, then, you know, maybe we would be able to get that and help other people.

I think you've clicked off, Jason. I think I should go on here.

Jason Scott Montoya (51:36)
Alright. Hello.

Deenie McKeever (51:39)
Let's see, are you gonna connect Becht with me? We'll figure it out.

All right, so I'm going to maybe just go on and talk and maybe he'll come back on. One of the things that I felt was that I was a leader and my feeling was that there were

Jason Scott Montoya (52:13)

Deenie McKeever (52:13)
times when I had an idea about doing something and it wasn't accepted. And so there were times when I felt I was rejected because my idea was. And a lot of times that was really hard because I felt passionate and strong about something.

and felt like it would really be a good thing to do and could help a lot of people. And that was disappointing. Or there were times when, in some ways it was hurtful because maybe someone said to me, you're not good enough or you, you know, we don't need you kind of thing. I think we all faced that at some point maybe.

But there were a lot of times that I knew that I had helped and I was doing something that mattered. And I think that's part of what life is about. But it didn't always easy. And I think that that's a place where I felt God had paths for me. And he wanted me to use what I had, what he'd given me as a talent in leadership and organizational.

things and he would put things in my path and I felt like, well, gosh, I just, I need to do this. I need to do it no matter what the obstacles are or roadblocks. And so that's kind of how I ran my life. Now sometimes I didn't hear God very good and he had to scream at me, but that is something I believe in very strongly. So I believe Jason's back now.

Jason I've been talking while I'm gone. I hope that was a good recording

Jason Scott Montoya (53:58)
I am, I am.

Cool, well it'll, yeah it was recording so did you, my power went out.

Deenie McKeever (54:05)
I'm sorry.

I thought so. I talked about how I felt like I did have rejection in different places where my ideas weren't taken or even I got put down. But that I felt God had paths he wanted me to get on and that he had given me the tools to do it and the talents to do it and you know I really tried to stay with it if I could even though things didn't go well.

could get hard. So I don't mean in any way in any of this story to say that, yay, look at me. It was hard, a lot of times, to do things. But I just lived my life feeling there is a God and He is, you know, did make us all. He did make the earth. And He has plans for us. And a lot of them make the world better. And I just wanted to do whatever that was that He put me here to do.

And like I was just standing up saying, there were times I missed the signal. And he said, Dene, I said, you know, or don't, or back up, or, you know, don't do, or whatever. I don't mean for it to sound like it was, oh, God told me to do this, so I'll go do it. No, that didn't work for me. It was like, oh, you really want me to do this? Are you sure? Anyway, so like with my horse trainer, when he would say,

Jason Scott Montoya (55:11)



Deenie McKeever (55:36)
you need to go down that hill, you know, lickety-split. And I said, oh no, are you sure I can do this? Yes, I'm sure you can do it. So go. Yeah. And I would go down screaming, oh God, oh God, oh God. Yeah. So one place that I went in my 50s, early 50s, it happened in my life then.

Jason Scott Montoya (55:44)


Deenie McKeever (56:06)
I went on a pontoon boat down the Grand Canyon for two weeks. And my pontoon mates were 17 guys and two women. One woman was a librarian from somewhere and the other woman had gotten married the night before on the side of the canyon. And the other guys were everything from UCLA to Maine.

Jason Scott Montoya (56:14)



Deenie McKeever (56:34)
and we're just at the top of our lives. It was amazing. But one of the things that happened then was we would, excuse me, let me get more.

Jason Scott Montoya (56:39)

Deenie McKeever (56:50)
We would get out of the boat at lunch and dock, you know, I mean not dock, but pull it up on the edge of the thing and just walk around. Well, we were, they all were going up the side of the cliff, up the canyon, straight up, and go to an inside water pool and swim. They can't get up the side of the hill. So I'm scared of heights, and I mean really, really. So I remember Joe.

Jason Scott Montoya (56:55)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.



Deenie McKeever (57:19)
Joe said, Deedee, if you go up, I'll walk you up. I'll go with you. Well, I didn't know there was a tiny little ledge, like big enough for my foot, that I had to stay on for, I don't even know how long, across where there was a drop, I mean, the whole thing was a drop off the side of the mountain while I was going up. And I froze, and I couldn't move my foot, and he said,

Jason Scott Montoya (57:46)

Deenie McKeever (57:46)
I'm gonna talk you across and he talked me across that whole thing and I got to go in with everybody and I thought Okay, that was cool Because he got my attention away from what was scaring me and I got to go in because I had to go back the same way But anyway, he I never forgot. He was Amazing and one of the guys also after we got back from the trip, I got a letter from one of the guys and

Jason Scott Montoya (57:51)



Deenie McKeever (58:15)
who said, I'm so sorry I haven't met you. I wanted to write you sooner, but I've been on an aircraft carrier in Desert Storm.

Jason Scott Montoya (58:22)
Mmm. Wow. Wow.

Deenie McKeever (58:27)
I mean, you know, you never know. You never know what other people are. I never heard him say anything about doing that, you know, on the trip or what. I didn't even know he would. Yeah. So just everyone. But it was such a great experience.

Jason Scott Montoya (58:34)

that he went, yeah. So did you move to Cartersville after or before the Grand Canyon ship?

Deenie McKeever (58:48)
I went before. I had just moved to Cartersville. And actually someone here in Cartersville had gone on a trip and told me about it. And she said, I think it would be really good for you to go. And it was because it really put me, my feet back under me after a lot of tough stuff. Yeah, it was, it really did.

Jason Scott Montoya (58:52)

like a way to reset your life in a way? Is that kinda what you mean?

Yeah. So in 1990, you said you were 54. So what you said, 53? Am I right?

Deenie McKeever (59:19)
I was, let's see, I was more than 37, so 53, probably 53, yeah. Yeah. Yeah, yeah. Actually, I did get a convertible, but you know what's funny? I had to really work to decide I deserved the convertible.

Jason Scott Montoya (59:28)
So that was like your midlife crisis moment. Did you buy a sports car by chance?

Deenie McKeever (59:47)
It's funny, I don't want to ever look like I'm showing her off, but a leader is in front of the pack sometimes. And I didn't want to ever...

Jason Scott Montoya (59:53)

Deenie McKeever (1:00:00)
let that leadership indicate that I felt, you see me, you know, I really didn't. And so it was kind of challenging to be, you know, in that place. And so I didn't want people, I wanted to enjoy the convertible, but I didn't want it to be like showoffy. So it took me a long time to buy it. And now, now it would be without, cause I just love it. They are blowing in your hair. But that was, that was something that I struggled with.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:00:06)



Deenie McKeever (1:00:30)
Um, I still do a lot because

Jason Scott Montoya (1:00:31)
So what would you tell the person that they do feel diminished, their self-worth has been broken down, and they're in a low spot, what would you say to them to encourage them right now if they happen to be listening and watching this?

Deenie McKeever (1:00:48)

You know, I don't think anybody God made is a mistake or a bad thing. I mean, God put us here, all of us here. And I think it's tragic when there are things said to somebody that are negative. You're not good enough. You're stupid. You're an idiot, whatever. I'm reading Henry Winkler's book right now and he was dyslexic and he went through hell because he didn't know it. Nobody knew it then.

And he was amazing, he is amazing, but he was told, he was never diagnosed and he was told all these bad things and just felt horrible inside. And it makes me cry because there's so many people that are abused or hurt in small or large ways. And I think the way you come out of it is you...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:01:31)

Deenie McKeever (1:01:44)
Well, for me, I think you know that God is there, and He's big, and He's powerful, and He sent Jesus to show us who He is, kindness and goodness, but rules that help us not to get run over by the semi coming down the road. And I think if we can turn back to that and know that He loved us and still does, no matter what's happened to us, no matter what we've done.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:01:56)


Deenie McKeever (1:02:14)
and that he's there and that we are made of good stuff. And find somebody that will talk to you good instead of in a bad way. I had that. I had some really good special people in my life.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:02:27)
Yeah. And do you feel like those people that spoke life into you, did you seek them out or did God bring them to you or was it a combination of the two?

Deenie McKeever (1:02:40)
No, both. No, both. Um, you and I both worked with Laurie Johnson, um, uh, for many, many years before she unfortunately died. Um, she was a counselor and, um...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:02:41)


Deenie McKeever (1:02:56)
She was a person who never would tell you what to do or how to do it or when to do it. She said, you have it in you. You, you're inside. I used to call it, I know it, my Noah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:03:10)

Deenie McKeever (1:03:11)
But said, you do, you know, you might not understand it up here or in your heart, but you, in some way in your spirit, is the right thing to do or say or act on. And so she would talk to me and bring that out and let me talk. And one of the things she did was listen.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:03:26)

Deenie McKeever (1:03:34)
She just let me, you know, she let me tell all my crazy thoughts. And then she would, there were times when she could correct an assumption I had wrong, which we do a lot with some things. Or my expectations were too high. And that's why I hurt because it didn't happen, but I expected something different. So different ways that she helped bring that out. And she was a big part of my life.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:03:40)

Mm-hmm. Yeah. Ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (1:04:02)
for a long time and yours too. The three of us.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:04:04)
Yeah, yeah, and she was, and we'll talk, yeah, yeah, and we both knew each other and through McKeever's Ride, we'll talk a little bit more about that. How long did you end up knowing Lori in total?

Deenie McKeever (1:04:11)

Well, she died three years ago, and I met her in probably 1990s. So, what's that, 20 years, 30 years? Yeah. Mm-hmm.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:04:32)
Yeah, about 30 years. Yeah, and so I probably knew, I probably met her, you know, 2009 or so or 2010 and knew her until she passed away of cancer, unfortunately, at an early age. So.

Deenie McKeever (1:04:41)

Yes. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:04:52)
So, yeah, now tell us a little bit about maybe that connection as well as just, you're on this interesting, you live in an interesting place. You have horses and donkeys and a golden doodle and you've had lots of golden retrievers. You are an outdoor person. You love animals, but you didn't have them growing up and you have a family and they come and visit and tell us about what you got there.

Deenie McKeever (1:04:52)

Thank you.


Okay, well, all right, so this is very interesting. So when I, I have, well, let me back up. I have two wonderful daughters and an incredibly fantastic son-in-law that's married to Dee, my older daughter. Dana is my second daughter. And a couple of years ago, Dee and Mark moved to Cartersville. And that's just been really special.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:05:43)

Deenie McKeever (1:05:45)
But Dana was in Louisiana for many, many years and she had three children and she moved to Blue Ridge for a while and now she's getting ready to go back to Louisiana. And Dee and Mark had two sons. So we've had five boys and our grandchildren and now one of the oldest grandson, Dee and Mark's son, Saf, has just had a baby boy.

So we have eight horses and an animal. And so all of them would come to the ranch for different reasons. The boys in Louisiana would come up and they were, Dana had two, but she had an older son and then she had two younger ones. And they would come up and put hay out for the horses.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:06:15)
So you're a great great grandma. Great grandma.

Deenie McKeever (1:06:41)
riding the Gator and you know, we just had a ball and then Cy and Jay lived closer. So I got to see them a little bit more and they Well, I guess I've just done every guy thing there is to do with boys and one of the most fun things was when I asked Cy and Jay to play my birthday party and so they took me to something called

Jason Scott Montoya (1:06:44)

Ha ha ha!

Which birthday?

Deenie McKeever (1:07:09)
you know, I don't remember, but it was, they were, must've been about 10 and eight or something. So that was 30. So I was probably in my 50s. I was in my 50s. I'll say I was in my 50s. And they took me to what I would call a plastic maroon boot camp. And we had, we had all these, you had to crawl through tunnels and then you had this slick plastic wall.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:07:16)

Okay, yeah.


Deenie McKeever (1:07:38)
And you was both, you know, you've seen the Marines climb up that thing, you know? Well, if you've got something on your feet, and you've got this slick plastic wall, trying to get up and over, and I did it, I tried to do it, I tried to do it multiple times, I said, guys, I can't do it, I think I better turn around and go back. Well, I turned around, all the munchkins, all the other kids who have been there for birthdays, who are a lot younger than I am.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:07:42)
Yeah, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:08:02)
are in the tunnel. I can't go back, I gotta get up. So they all, they just pushed me until I got up and over into the balls on the other side of the wall. But anyway, it was so much fun. And that's the kind of thing we did. We just did crazy fun things together and have ever since. But the, and the girls growing up, we just, it was a little special. They're different.

types and that made for a lot of fun and interest in the house. And I've always loved Dee's husband Mark and he's just fit right in and actually up here at the ranch, both of them have been able to help me and Dana has too here with things that need to be done or whatever. Dee's doing boarding her horse here with me. No charge though.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:08:58)
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:08:59)
But so but yeah, I didn't have any animals growing up mother and then just didn't care for animals And they didn't just blame didn't want them and so I didn't get the pony I asked for at 10 So I got one when I was Tuesday when I got my first horse and that was because of Laurie had was a wonderful horse woman And she encouraged me. She said you've looked up here and you got a lot of grass. That's all you need

Jason Scott Montoya (1:09:13)
You had to wait until you were 60.

Deenie McKeever (1:09:28)
And so I did. Yeah, I built it not knowing what to do, but it's wonderful. And I ended up getting two horses and then I, and I went a real great rider. I just rode a camp and fell off and got back on and, you know, never tethered across the field beautifully. I just loved horses and something felt right being around them.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:09:30)
So you didn't have a barn then, you must have built the barn after that, right? Okay.



Deenie McKeever (1:09:58)
And so when I came to Cartersville, I'm in the woods, I was until they built a road in front of my house, but I really just knew that I felt better outside. And I just really do, I still do. I feel, it's just, it's like a sanctuary. It's just wraps its arms around me. It's like I feel peaceful. I feel close to God out. I have...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:10:16)
What does it do for you? What does it give you?

Deenie McKeever (1:10:28)
walking paths around in my gardens where they're called prayer paths. And I don't know, it's just, it's like you see the creation. You know, I'm seeing it in the trees and the flowers and the birds and the animals and it's beautiful. So yeah, that changed my life by getting all the animals and putting me into a whole lot of other worlds. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:10:51)

Yeah. So should we talk next about showing your mom around Atlanta, your mission trips, or tennis? What's the next...

Deenie McKeever (1:10:59)
Thank you.

Well, let me just add one more thing. I talked about my brother earlier, who's 10 years younger than I am. Well, he had four boys. So, we had nine boys.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:11:17)

Deenie McKeever (1:11:22)
between us and so Christmas and anything else they were all lined up at the counter. You know, I built, when I built my house, I built a counter long enough to hold all those boys. So that was another thing that's, and it still goes on. I love those kids and they're all not kids anymore. Some are married and have wonderful wives and children.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:11:33)


Yeah. I mean, what is it like to look across your family and see them all and to see.

Deenie McKeever (1:11:47)
Yeah, that, oh, I have a picture. I have a picture of some of us. Let me show you. So, all right, so there's always a story behind everything I do, I think. But, so I started having Christmases here. So I've had them for 30 years, and over 30 years now. And one time I decided I was gonna get these little, I think you call them like they snap open, they're little poppers, poppers. And you open it up,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:12:03)


Deenie McKeever (1:12:16)
this little paper thin hat. Everybody put their hat on. I thought this is so cute and fun. We're just going to do this every year. So the next year I got antler ears and every year I get something new. So this is a picture of one of the years and all that. Let me get it wet. There we are. Can you see the ear? I think these are the Kiss Me

Jason Scott Montoya (1:12:29)

Yeah, okay, yeah, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:12:45)
But everybody's got ears. We've got the dogs. We've got old, young husbands, wives, children, all the mess of it. That's not the whole family. We unfortunately, we are somebody is, you know, can't get here or whatever, but this was most a lot of them. And so, yes, they, what did you ask me? I'm sorry, I forgot what you asked me.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:12:56)
Yeah, yeah.

Well, now I'm forgetting what, oh, what's it like to look, like in terms of your own legacy and life, to look across your family and to see that, because I think...

Deenie McKeever (1:13:16)
Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:13:28)
I think it's important for a lot of reasons, but one thing that comes to mind is, people are having less kids, they're having smaller families, and in some ways they're not having what you're seeing. And I think it would be great to just encourage that, like show them that picture of what it could be and encourage them towards that, if that makes sense.

Deenie McKeever (1:13:48)
Oh yeah, you know, as I said, I was really young when I got married and so I had D when I was 20. And I didn't know what to do. I had never babysat, I had never done any real child stuff. And we moved to New Orleans when I was eight months pregnant. So, and I had no one really to teach me anything and we didn't have any teaching back then. Dr. Spott's book, you know, was all that we did and unfortunately we found out a lot of that white and good.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:14:00)


Deenie McKeever (1:14:18)
So I was, I didn't, I wanted to enjoy her. You know, gosh, she was the cutest thing ever. And Dana too, when she came. I was better with Dana, because I'd already practiced on 4-0-D. But to have them in my life has just been the best thing ever. There are certainly times when they want to kill me and I want to, you know, cut their heads off.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:14:30)
Heh heh heh.



Deenie McKeever (1:14:47)
or whatever, but we did have a wonderful life. And as we're older now and then they have children, they understand a lot more about that. And it's been just, it's been a very empty life for me.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:15:02)

Deenie McKeever (1:15:11)
to not be able to give that love and to receive it. I'll show you one other picture I've got here. Let me see where it is. I'll make that little boy here. Here we go. So the new great-grandson is eight months old and we call him the golden boy because he is. He's just golden. And so look at this.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:15:15)


Deenie McKeever (1:15:36)
Now look at that. Now how can you not want that? Isn't that wonderful? Look at that face looking at me.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:15:40)


Deenie McKeever (1:15:44)
I mean, it's just, it's breathtaking. There's nothing like it. And my girls were that way. And when Mark and Dee started dating, I felt so strongly about it because he was not that young then, but he was precious to me. And it was Lena and her boys and the son, Jay, and then I married Britton, just by the door. And...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:15:49)


Deenie McKeever (1:16:09)
It just, the circle's gotten bigger and bigger, and that's why we have Fresh's break, and here are the parents at Christmas and little break later.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:16:19)

Deenie McKeever (1:16:20)
And so, you know, it's, and Sai and Britain are older and they waited, you know, a while to have children and they're beside themselves. They're having a wonderful time, you know, they're waiting for you out because it's a non-stop job. But, you know, it's just a joy. And I think nowadays you asked me about being a woman differently, having children's different because there's so many helps now and there's so much information you Google it.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:16:32)
Yeah. Hehehe.


Deenie McKeever (1:16:50)
at what to do and you know it fades like that but oh yeah it's been wonderful and one of the reasons I love this place is that I built it for them to be coming up here and I love it when they're here it's just it's magic when you're here. Yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:16:51)
Yeah. Yeah.



Well, do you want to flip the script and talk about your mom and showing her around Atlanta and her, you know, the end of her story? Yeah. So you're the daughter in that case. You're the other side of the coin.

Deenie McKeever (1:17:18)
Yes, yes. So, yes, yes. And you know, I'll tell you, I would encourage everybody out there to get a record of your family, get them to tell you about stuff. I wish I'd known what to ask my grandma more.

And I wish I'd thought of more things to ask mother. But I did do one really cool thing. We got in the car and I took her to everywhere she lived in Atlanta or where anything was important to her in Atlanta. And back then, I did it on a cassette, you know, we had recorded her talking. So I have her voice telling me the stories. And she grew up on Ponce de Leon, if y'all know that,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:18:02)
Hehe. Yeah.

Oh wow, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:18:11)
town and they lived up on the top of the hill and I didn't think they had very much money but I'm not sure about that because mother went to the private school Washington Seminary but it really wasn't I don't know she went to girl's high for a long time but she didn't have enough money to go to college and that was really hard for her.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:18:20)

Thank you.

Deenie McKeever (1:18:36)
She was really a good tennis player and she could beat the girl who won the state championship. And she went, the other girl went to college and she didn't. And that was one of the differences with women back then too, was not a lot of women played sports. They didn't have the openness that we do now. And I think that hurt mother a lot. Yeah, but she grew up a posse player and she had two sisters and

Jason Scott Montoya (1:18:53)

Okay, so...

Deenie McKeever (1:19:04)
Down Ponce de Leon there's a big church and they went to church there. I think it was a pretty famous church. There was a pastor there that I think was famous at one time. But anyway, she went, she would go to church and then they would go further down Ponce de Leon to her grandmother's. And she said they would sit on the front porch and watch the streetcar go by. And that grandmother would give them little brown bags with cookies in them. And that was one of her memories of...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:19:33)

Deenie McKeever (1:19:34)
you know, time with back then. So we went around to all these places where a lot of the buildings are still there. And she would tell me what had happened in the buildings and what mattered to her. Mother was smart, very smart. And as I said, a good athlete, she ended up being a crack golf book and won all the championships in her club and everything. And she, I think she could have really done something with those two talents.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:19:45)

Deenie McKeever (1:20:04)
had it been a different world, you know, open more to her. She loved, she thrived on being outside and being active. She was president of the golf.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:20:07)


Deenie McKeever (1:20:17)
and golf associations and garden clubs and stuff. And she asked me a lot of times to tell some of my adventures to them. She took a pride in that and thought they were fun and all her friends did. So we connected on that. After she lost daddy, I think that was really hard for her. But yeah. But.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:20:21)


So your dad died in 1998 and then she passed away in 2006.

Deenie McKeever (1:20:48)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, so she had a pretty good time without him. But, but, uh...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:20:54)
Yeah, what was kind of you look at your mom and you're to tell someone, you know, this is who my mom was and this is the story she lived, you know, how would you describe that?

Deenie McKeever (1:21:06)
You know, I think there were some things I didn't know about her. She, I think she, sometimes I felt that things weren't as easy for her. She told me a story that she was actually thrown away when she was born. That she was blue. And they put her in the trash can. Can you imagine? I can't even imagine that.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:21:28)

Deenie McKeever (1:21:30)
And I don't know, I mean, I'm a psychiatrist, I don't know if that had something to do with anything or what that was just, you know, whatever. But anyway, she survived that. But I always felt she is, as much as she was present, I don't know, but she always felt wonderful about herself. And I've probably saying that from being as old as I am now and looking back, but not while I was in it.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:21:56)

Deenie McKeever (1:21:58)
but she was a good mother and she was a good wife. And again, she excelled and had lots of friends in those organizations and things. Of course, she had a 10-year-old. She was still raising a 10-year-old when I was out of the house and gone too. So she had that going on and she had a good relationship with my brother. So, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:22:05)



Now you mentioned tennis, so is that a point of connection that you both had with each other was tennis? And you want to talk about founding Alta Tennis?

Deenie McKeever (1:22:31)
No, no.

Yeah, you know, she didn't talk about tennis very much. So it was, I don't even remember when she told me that story that I told you, because she was so involved in golf. But I, tennis was not a sport that was out there for girls very much. And so I didn't start playing tennis until I was in my 30s. And, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:22:50)

Okay, so this was the 60s that you started playing? Yeah, okay.

Deenie McKeever (1:23:07)
Mm-hmm. So back then, we just played it, if we had a club or a neighborhood court, there weren't many of either in Atlanta back then. There were three or four clubs, and then there were, I guess, a few park courts. But men played tennis, but women didn't play too much. But I decided to play, and some of...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:23:18)
Okay. Yeah.

Yeah. Okay.

Deenie McKeever (1:23:34)
friends we all decided to start tennis and we did and I had never played doubles when I decided I would get in a little way on Robin at the club. I didn't know what a round Robin was. I didn't know doubles. I don't know what I was thinking but anyway here's the point to this. So I got out on the I had to pull some of his name out of the hat. Well I pulled the champion and slayed the club out of the hat. So Charlie

Jason Scott Montoya (1:23:52)


Deenie McKeever (1:24:03)
at 6'5", and he said, just serve and get out of the way. So, what I did, and I stood back there and watched him hit this ball like crazy. So anyway, Charlie and I got to be good friends, Charlie Cox, and he was, he went in as president of what was this small organization, the Waylander Tennis, and he came over to my house one night, out the door, he looked down at me and he said,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:24:09)

Deenie McKeever (1:24:33)
I got this idea about playing tennis, you know, lead the play between the countries, between all the clubs. And I, I think it might be a lot of fun, would you help me organize that? Well, that was after tennis, 85,000 members later. Um, yeah. And so I said, sure. And so we started working on it. His wife, Ann, was my tennis partner. And so she got in it.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:24:42)



Deenie McKeever (1:25:02)
We pulled a couple of other people in and we started doing, well it was from rock bottom because we, it had never been anything like it. And so we had to figure out everything, you know, and so we did. But one funny story is we wanted people to know about it and get them involved and help see if they could do it in their club and all. So we decided to have a meeting, well they sent letters out to everybody who could think of that might play tennis or to the clubs.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:25:11)

Deenie McKeever (1:25:31)
So we had a meeting. We had it at a motel in Atlanta. We went over there and we said, should you put out 100 chairs? Or, I mean, we don't want to look empty. You know, how many people were coming? Well, we had probably hundreds. I don't even know how many. They were crawling all over the windowsills. I mean, people really wanted to do it. And so we started, we started. And we ended up in a little newsletter.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:25:39)



Deenie McKeever (1:26:01)
Um, college day and well anyway, we got, we got organized and it was, it was really going well. And then the world, um, world championship tennis tournament, which was at that time, the highest tennis in the world, all the top players, um, came to Charlie and myself and said, would you all run this tournament? Well, we had three months to organize it.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:26:19)
Okay. Yeah.


Deenie McKeever (1:26:30)
And this meant, this meant everything. This meant deciding tickets. How many tickets are you gonna sell to make a profit? How many, how many possessions are you gonna have? How many, I mean, ball boys, referees, dealing with the players, getting them places to stay. So we went to the breaks and we said, we need help on tickets and we need to understand some of these things and I'll never forget this guy.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:26:38)


Deenie McKeever (1:27:00)
won't name names. He turned up and said, you can't do this. There is no way you can do this. You know, basically you're gonna fail and there's no way you're gonna do it in three months. So just don't, you know, basically. Well, guess what? We outsold the world and we're the biggest tournament out of all the tournaments all over the world that year. And we were invited.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:27:19)



Deenie McKeever (1:27:30)
out to Mr. Hunt was owned this whole thing and he invited us out to his place out west and I met, I mean we had all the top players here. We had Rob Laber and Stan Smith and that whole group and Arthur Ashe, you know, you name it and it was astounding. I'll tell you one funny story so

Jason Scott Montoya (1:27:51)

Deenie McKeever (1:27:57)
I had lined up people to house the players and I had this one girl that was from her, she had a connection to Georgia, Russia and this player comes in from Georgia, Russia. So he comes in, I said, I've got the best place for you to stay. This is wonderful lady, but I don't know, I said, oh no, I stay hotel. I'm telling you, no, I stay hotel. Okay, all right.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:28:08)
Mmm, wow. Hehehe.




Deenie McKeever (1:28:26)
So I called her and I said, he's not coming. Which, you know, okay. So the next day comes up to me, I hear about ladies, she has food for me. And I told you. So I called her up and I said, he's coming. She said, we had a party last night. We ate all the food I had baked. I said, do it again. But it was so much fun because we got to know him personally. And that...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:28:29)

Heh. Heh heh heh. Heh heh.


Deenie McKeever (1:28:54)
To me, that and the Olympics were when I believed people could understand the difference. We were talking about it at the beginning of the program. The difference in people. People who didn't look like us or talk like us or think like us. And I think that is where world peace comes from. I really believe that. We had camaraderie, you know, no matter the differences. We all laughed and figured it out.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:29:10)


So how long were you involved in tennis? And you know, whenever I went to your house, you have that newspaper thing on the wall of you playing tennis. Is that related to that event or is that separate? Okay.

Deenie McKeever (1:29:24)
Yeah, so.

Yes, yeah, yeah. Gosh, I played a long time. I actually got pretty good. And, but I played until the Atlanta Olympics came and I got involved in that. Yeah, that was, I couldn't do it by myself. Yes.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:29:41)

Well, so let's talk about the 96 Olympics. Yeah, let's, you're volunteering. Man, 19, it's, from what I can tell from the pieces of stories I've collected, Atlanta changed a lot because of the 1996 Olympics in a lot of positive ways. But let's tell us about the Olympics. Where's the best place to start there?

Deenie McKeever (1:30:04)
Thank you.

The best place is where I started. I didn't I just heard about it and I remember what article I read in Whatever, but I read about they were looking for volunteers and I thought that sounds like fun Well, this was five and a half years before it nine or six

And so I didn't know what you know but I thought well Yeah, I think I'll go down talk to him. So I went down and interviewed with this fella and He asked me, you know What to do what to do and I told him some of my adventures on my organizations and um some of my Um things I could do with that and he said well

Jason Scott Montoya (1:30:38)

Deenie McKeever (1:30:55)
um, we need, I need to put you before some other people and let's talk to them and blah, blah. So we ended up saying, well, what would you like to do in the Olympics? Because we want you. And that was so great. They, they actually, we had a small crew in the beginning. It was five and a half years ahead. And, um, he said, basically I could work in any department because it was all

Jason Scott Montoya (1:31:09)

Deenie McKeever (1:31:24)
the activities or what you did. So I worked, I ended up, and down the road they offered me a job, they offered to pay me. And I said, no, I want to stay a volunteer because I'm more flexible that way. I can't.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:31:38)

Deenie McKeever (1:31:39)
you know, call my hours and do different things. So anyway, I went to every department except TV. That was nailed down somewhere else, but I loved it. I got the opportunity to meet amazing people and to have amazing adventures. The one of the funniest, not funny ones, was

Jason Scott Montoya (1:31:45)

Deenie McKeever (1:32:00)
It was, we were three years into it and I was doing, I ended up choosing press. I wanted to be in with the press because I figured.

They're going to be coming in to do press reports after their things. And I get to see a lot of activities instead of being in one particular place. But anyway, so we're going to have this giant International Olympic Committee, huge conference in Atlanta. It was three years out. All the kings and queens from the same countries, all the people, all the, I mean, just huge athletes, everything.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:32:19)

Wow. Yeah, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:32:40)
So they're coming to Atlanta and we had this hotel down there on Peachtree Street, you know, where they have several hotels and it was threatening to be snowed. And so that would have been the snow of whatever that year was. I can't remember now but it was...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:32:55)

That was the first snowpocalypse, is that what you're saying?

Deenie McKeever (1:33:07)
It was like it would have been 99 or 91 because it was, you know, about three or four years before the 96. So anyway, I thought I am not going to be able to get to Carter's Hill. I better get a hotel room. So I got a hotel room in the hotel down the road and down the block. And so the morning

Jason Scott Montoya (1:33:12)
Yeah, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:33:31)
The day of the event, I was trying to get to the second hotel, walked down into the lobby, opened the door, and I've never seen Atlanta like this. The streets were empty. There was no one on the streets.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:33:46)

Deenie McKeever (1:33:48)
there was a canyon between the buildings on this side of the road and this side on this. And the wind was going through it like a tunnel. So I had my umbrella. Well, I'm like Mary Poppins. All of a sudden I am flying down Peachtree Street. Like, you know, my feet were off the ground and I'm squealing like a pig. And they were filming me from the TV station.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:34:00)


Deenie McKeever (1:34:14)
W.A.G.A. was filming me. I didn't realize it till I landed. And he said, what are you doing? And I said, well, I'm trying to help the Olympics out here. And you know, there's no sleep, whatever. We are going to be working on this. So anyway, there were not but about 40 of us in the office at those times. That was about as many people as working on a thing at that time. So we was a small type group and we had lump bag luncheos.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:34:19)


Deenie McKeever (1:34:44)
and meet together and we'd have a lot of fun, but also talk about what we were doing with them. Well, they got the tape from ATA. I was a star of the lunch and it was hysterical. I mean, and then after, every year after that they have a weather bad thing, they show that tape and it's me squealing. You know, anyway, but the seriousness of it was,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:35:08)

Deenie McKeever (1:35:14)
all these people are coming in and we got to get them at the airport, we've got to get them in.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:35:20)

Deenie McKeever (1:35:21)
We couldn't get people. All my volunteers were out in, you know, Sandy Springs and Buckhead and all the parts around. They couldn't get into the hotel to come help us. So we had this skeleton crew down there that were the only ones there, and we had to do everything. So we had to, the ones that could fly in and got there, we had to register them. We had all this, you know, security and all these things going on.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:35:34)
Oh wow.


Deenie McKeever (1:35:51)
do it all on our own. It was it was crazy but it was such a good you know it was a picture of how you can do things if you work together. We were working together nobody was pulling apart or saying I can't do it or that's not my job you know but once you

Jason Scott Montoya (1:35:53)

Yeah. Yeah.

Mm-hmm. You just made it happen. It was a you figured it out and made it happen

Deenie McKeever (1:36:15)
One humorous thing happened to me was that we did have security and there was a policeman that was kindly offered to take me back to the hotel that night because we had worked till midnight and I said, oh that's great, that's great, thank you, it's snowing and slippery and everything. He got out there, he hadn't allowed to show his shoes on, he was sliding, I was holding him up. Anyway, so you know, it was, it's always something funny in there. We got to find the funny stuff in the

Jason Scott Montoya (1:36:16)



Yeah. So how do you end up auditioning for the closing ceremonies?

Deenie McKeever (1:36:45)
and nurse of the world.

Oh gosh, that was also really funny. So a lot of my volunteer friends, we all got together one way, they were asking for acts to come on for the, you know, being the closing ceremonies, opening or closing.

And so a lot of my buddies said, you know what, we all take aerobics, let's do a thing. Let's get a little aerobic thing and we'll just get our little shorts and tennis shoes and we're gonna get out a little thing together. So we did. And at lunch we would practice and the whole Olympic group would just cheer us on, you know, here with the girls, you know, we're gonna do our little thing. We didn't know.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:37:17)

Deenie McKeever (1:37:35)
But the closing ceremonies was going to have acts from all over the world, professional acts coming in with costumes. And what were we thinking? In fact, one of the girls said, you know, I thought we could just go out there maybe with a Southern umbrella and just walk around like Southern bells or something.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:37:43)

Heh heh.

Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (1:37:59)
So we got down to where we had to perform, and that's when we were like, oh dear God, we're going against professionals. We look like idiots. We got out there and everybody was cheering for us, and you know, well, we got on. And so we, excuse me, we did get to perform, but.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:38:08)

Deenie McKeever (1:38:20)
We were practicing after work till two in the morning. And we ended up, out of 12 of us, I think two ended up actually being in the team that did it. And I was one of them. I was so happy. I did it. It was phenomenal. When we were in the underground of the stadium, the night we performed and Celine Dion and...

Oh, I don't know, everybody was under there with us. And I thought when I go out that tunnel, I'm either gonna throw up or I'm gonna be seriously happy. And I was so happy. Oh my gosh. And my sweet daddy, mother wasn't able to because of health, but daddy wrote the mark down. And he was in his, I'm thinking, I mean, he was 70 or something, maybe older.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:38:47)


Haha. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:39:15)
rode the Marta down there and sat through the whole thing. And you know, it was, it was astounding. It was absolutely astounding. And then at the end, all the athletes flooded the stadium floor and we were able to just jump around and I could hug all the people I've worked with all year, all those years. And it was, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:39:37)

Deenie McKeever (1:39:40)
The Olympics and carrying the torch and all of those different things, it was like America. It was like our America. This is what we're about. This is who we are. And I...

I'm sorry, I feel like a lot's gone now. But that time to do that, everybody was so positive. It was, we're gonna do this together and we're gonna make it be wonderful. And people all over Atlanta were housing people that were different and having a ball. And it was, you know, that's what I think could happen and it did and I hope it comes to you.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:40:23)
Yeah. Well, tell us more about the torch bearing, because you carried the Olympic torch through Cartersville. Tell us how that happened and how you made the news doing that.

Deenie McKeever (1:40:29)

Wow, you know, that was just amazing because they really selected really people who've done so many wonderful things all over the world to carry it. And Coca-Cola had a community hero, don't make me cry, a community hero kind of thing. And people nominated people and I got nominated.

And I got chosen. And oh, sorry, I didn't know I was gonna do this. And so I was, the torch team mapped out different, wherever you went. And so they mapped me out for Tec, for Cartersville. And I had this great route. And the kids were little, the grandchildren were.

Gosh, I don't know how old they have been, maybe 10? Yeah, yeah. And so they got made t-shirts and said, run, ma, run. And they were up on the hill and I could see them and everything when I went by, but they had, Cartersville was just packed. I mean, it was just a billion people. And I ran down the,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:41:31)
96? Yeah.


Deenie McKeever (1:41:55)
And I ended up at the...

Frank Moore building, which is the court building, not the old one, but I went by the old one and went to that one. And they had a speech thing then, they had a program. And Mother and David, sitting right in front of me, they were both crying and everybody was crying. It was just so emotional. It was so emotional. And the torch team had told me, they said, don't run, milk it.

minutes you can to enjoy this. And, oh, sorry. So anyway, I stood and held the torch while they were doing this program. And every time they would say, hold the torch, I'd go, hold the torch. And everybody was screaming and yelling and everything. It was magic. It was just, it was one of the best moments of my life. And...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:42:44)

Deenie McKeever (1:42:56)
I felt very humbled because there were so many people that ran it for different reasons and it was humbling, very humbling. But I kept the torch and I looked at it and didn't think about that. It was just...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:43:04)


Yeah, and I've seen it. I've seen it. So, what was the length that you ended up carrying it? How long a distance?

Deenie McKeever (1:43:15)
That was a really good one.

Gosh, I don't know how to tell you exactly. It would have been on several blocks. I mean, I had to, there's a bridge in Gardensville and I started at the end of the bridge and had to go all the way down that road and then come back up another road. So I had a good stretch. Yeah. I just want to.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:43:31)

Yeah. Well before, yeah, yeah, well before we dive into the next story of you getting involved in national politics, I do have one last question on the Olympics piece. Do you remember the bombing?

Deenie McKeever (1:43:53)
Thank you.

Oh gosh, yes. Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah. Because I had chosen the press area, the night of the bombing, I was called during the night, and so I just flew down there.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:44:01)
And what was that like and how did that unfold?

Deenie McKeever (1:44:27)
and the security was so hard up and hard to get in. And it was, you know, we had bomb threats.

every day at the center, at the work center. When, you know, we had, when we first started out, we had a small telephone situation, then we got, you know, more and more. And I, at one point, I was training people to be on the telephone and, but we would get calls all the time about bomb threats and different things. And

We just were so praying it wouldn't happen and then it did and it was just devastating. And but that team, Ben Payne was amazing. He was a wonderful leader and the team that came to fix all that and to take care of it and to handle.

what was happening was just magnificent. They really were, they had, they took charge and...

And I thought, well, the Olympics is over. You know, oh, god, this Delta shut it down. No, sir. We went right back out there and said, by golly, it's not going to get us down. And we did. And people rallied, even though everybody was scared. We didn't know what happened. We didn't know who had done it. So we didn't know what was happening. Right. But yeah, that was pretty major. Yeah, but everybody rallied.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:45:36)



what the motivations were and all that. Yeah. Yeah.

So, yeah. So I know you wanna talk about your mission trips. Were those in the 90s or were those later?

Deenie McKeever (1:46:09)
I did mission trips. Yeah, most of them were in the 90s.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:46:18)
So you had Habitat for Humanity, it was at 90s as well?

Deenie McKeever (1:46:23)
Oh gosh, I have a habitat. I probably did that earlier. I might have done that in the 80s. I did a lot. I built a lot of houses. I hope they're still standing. I'm not sure how good I hammered. But that was cool.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:46:28)
Okay. So tell us about how that came about and how did that connect?

Deenie McKeever (1:46:40)
I think that a friend of mine said something about she wanted to go do it. And I had a wonderful, fun tennis partner at the time named Danny. We were Danny and Danny. It was really cute. But no, we did not. But anyway, three of us went down, I guess was the first time I did it. And we had...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:46:54)
Did you go to Denny's for breakfast?


Deenie McKeever (1:47:05)
I mean, we put windows in. I mean, we did work. We really did. And...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:47:10)
Yeah, I mean I remember doing Habitat for Humanity once when I was a kid, probably like a teenager or something, in Arizona.

Deenie McKeever (1:47:15)
You do. Now what did you do? What did you do? Do you remember what you did?

Jason Scott Montoya (1:47:22)
There was a house being built and it was like a Saturday where we were helping, I think, paint, if I remember right. Maybe painting some of the walls or something. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:47:29)
Mm-hmm. Yeah. I mean, we built them from ground up, and it was amazing. It was amazing. I remember that one time getting up on a scaffold and I was hammering. I didn't like hammering and I was just doing the best I could in this tall big guy next to me. He must have done a hammer-off. I mean, he knew how to hammer and he held it back as long as he could and he said...

Jason Scott Montoya (1:47:35)



Deenie McKeever (1:47:56)
I think I have a suggestion, might be easier if you did it. Okay, but I loved it. I thought, you know, it's something about being in the atmosphere of people who are trying to do something good. And there's no negativity and people are trying to help everybody get it done and done well. And like that guy telling me how to do it in a nice way. And it just is a good feeling. So I love doing that. So I did that.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:47:59)




Deenie McKeever (1:48:24)
And then I've never been on a mission trip before. And the first one I went on was from a single Sunday school class that was going. And I thought, well, that'll be neat. And I actually brought my picture of my... We had little Bible studies. And this was my little class of people in Jamaica.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:48:51)

Deenie McKeever (1:48:54)
When you see it, there it is. See me in the middle? Gotta make a difference. But they were precious, and they were the happiest people I ever saw to be as poor as they were. And they, us and we loved them, and we built a church for them. It had been blown down in the hurricane. And we built a church, and it was amazing. We were hauling cement, rebar.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:48:55)
Okay, yeah, okay




Deenie McKeever (1:49:25)
And then we did Bible study with him. So I loved that. And then I went on several others, but the other memorable one was the flying doctors. And I got called and, you know, to join.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:49:38)
Do you remember what state you went, what reservation you went to and what state?

Deenie McKeever (1:49:43)
You know, I was trying to think about that the other day when I was making notes on this and it was Arizona. And.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:49:51)
Okay, do you remember which reservation it was? Was it the Navajo Nation or the Hopi Nation? Because the reason I ask is because being from Arizona, you probably were at one of the reservations near where I lived. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah. But anyways, flying doctors, tell us about these flying doctors.

Deenie McKeever (1:49:54)
That's all.

Oh, and that's better.

Oh gosh, I didn't think of that. I'll look it up for you. I'm sorry, people won't know it. I'll look it up.

So I got called and I said, well, I'm not a nurse. I'm not a, you know, I'm not, I don't know nurse stuff. But I thought, well, okay, I could, I can line up people and pat them on the back and you know, get them ready to go see a doctor and everything. And the day before,

Jason Scott Montoya (1:50:27)

Deenie McKeever (1:50:33)
The guy called me, the head guy called me and said, well, you're gonna work with this dentist. And I thought, and again, I thought, okay, well, why not, so we were going to Mexico and we went up in the Sierra Madres with the banditos and people who'd never seen a doctor or a dentist ever in their lives and didn't speak English. So, and then I get in there and I'm finding out I'm the dentist's assistant.

I have to hold the flash for a while, who's doing surgery in somebody's mouth. So anyway, but these people, this is a community, isn't it? Oh.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:51:00)


Deenie McKeever (1:51:14)
these people. Is it four o'clock? I can't believe that. Oh my gosh, do we need to quit?

Jason Scott Montoya (1:51:19)
It is 410.

Oh, now we can keep going if you're still good.

Deenie McKeever (1:51:27)
Oh my gosh. Oh my word. Well, anyway, we.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:51:29)
We got more to go.

Deenie McKeever (1:51:34)
All these people had never seen, and they weren't being told, this is what we're gonna do to you. And you know, blah, blah. They just opened their mouth and the dentist would be pulling teeth out and everything else. And they were not crying or screaming or tearing on. And I wanted to tell them they were very brave. So I asked the interpreter, I said, tell me what to say. She said, you know, I forget what it was, you know, some word about brains. And so I got that word and I was just doing it over and over and over.

I thought, well, they don't know what I'm saying. I'm gonna just say, you know, so, so the head of the thing came in and he asked the dentist, he said, how y'all doing? He said, well, he said, Dene is over here saying, bravo!

Cadillac, convertible, you know, whatever I could think of that would just be able to say, yay, you, you know, you did so great. But that was, you know, I wanted so much to tell them. They were just being so wonderful and good. It was hard not to be able to tell them and do that and to see them in.

The poverty is really tough. We don't have a clue sometimes how much people suffer and what they deal with. Boy, that was a trip. Yeah, but that was also a life changing thing to see all of that.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:52:39)



Yeah, so we're gonna flip across the century here to the 2000s, but we're at 2000, we're like 63 years into your life, so is there anything else that you would sort of wanna cap off in terms of kinda making sense of your first 63 years of life, and also, most importantly, do you remember Y2K? Ha ha ha. Y2K.

Deenie McKeever (1:53:20)
Hey, remember what?

Oh, gosh, yeah, the country went crazy. Yeah, I know, yeah, I know. Yeah, that was crazy. That was a little crazy. But yeah, the man did it. It was okay, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:53:26)
The end of the apocalypse of the 2000.


Yeah, we all ended up alright.

Deenie McKeever (1:53:45)
Well, one of the biggest things for me was getting the horses. Laurie had encouraged me, you know, to get the horse. I got one. I realized horses need a buddy, so I got two. But all I did was I thought, well, I'll just walk around. I don't need to be galloping across the plains, and it'll be okay. But I never felt I was close to the horses. I felt like there was a fence.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:53:59)

Deenie McKeever (1:54:13)
And I just couldn't get that closeness. And then I met when I was 70, I met Ed Gabbard, who is turned out to be the greatest friend and trattorist trainer. But I met him.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:54:23)

Yeah, and his business is, he does gentle horsemanship, so it's very different than what people might think about when they think about horse training. Maybe give us a little, for those that don't understand how Ed Devney approaches it, just give them a little snippet of what that means.

Deenie McKeever (1:54:33)

Well, um.

A lot of people treat horses like motorcycles. And you get on, you kick them, and you go. And you pull them back and you stop. But they don't get the spirit of it unless you really look for it. Because it's there. And they want to give it to you. They want to commit to you. They want to be with you. But they are going to look at you and decide if you're going to be the leader or not. If it's one of you, because you and the horse are a herd, then one of you is going to be the leader.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:55:08)


Deenie McKeever (1:55:17)
There's the most incredible teacher of that. And teaching me how to be a good leader. So the horse feels trusting and safe with me. And so the night that I met him, he said it that two or three sentences and I thought, he knows. He knows this thing that connects you. So I think I had one lesson with this guy. This would be just wonderful. Well, anyway, one lesson turned into thousands.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:55:40)


Deenie McKeever (1:55:47)
and I've been friends and connected since 2008. And he has taken me and others all over the world. We've been to Sicily and Sweden and Finland and, oh gosh, I mean just everywhere. But the funniest thing is when I had that one first lesson that I thought was gonna happen.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:55:52)
Mm hmm.

Deenie McKeever (1:56:08)
I turned into a 10 year old that wanted to follow me and I was just beside myself and he knew it. So he said, after I'd written and done with it, he said, do you want to go to my other lessons and watch me? I said, yes, can I go please? Can I go please? So I did and then he had sent an email out to everybody that he was connecting with when he, I got the lesson from him. And I said, you know, you sent that email out and it says something about a camping trip

Jason Scott Montoya (1:56:12)


Heh heh.

Deenie McKeever (1:56:39)
And I said, gosh, I'd really like to do that, but I'm 70 years old and I don't know how to ride real good and blah, blah. And he said, well, I think it was in the fall. Yeah, it was like November, December, that's when it was. And he said, with that till the summer, there's no fall, of course you'll go. Well, I went three or four times a while.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:56:44)

Deenie McKeever (1:57:08)
camping on the ground, riding in the mountains, just wonderful. And I've just gone all over with him and gone to clinics with him and helped him work with the horses. He has done a lot of work with.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:57:10)

Deenie McKeever (1:57:26)
the police and with like in Sweden we worked with the palace guards and got to see him march into the castle and we were on the streets we yelled into our buddies that we had taught to ride the horses and I don't know it's just magic but then he got asked to provide horses for movies so my horses were in Sleepy Hollow for three years and

Jason Scott Montoya (1:57:32)
Mm-hmm. Wow.

Wow, the TV show. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (1:57:58)
One of my horses was a star. He was war and Ed rode him and it was just, it was incredible. Stories after stories with that. And then they've been in a lot of other TV shows, movies, just a whole lot, both of them. And pulling carriages, which I drive a carriage now and we've taught my horses to pull a carriage, two of them at a time.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:58:25)
Yeah. What did the gentle horsemanship teach you about yourself and God and animals and life? What did you learn in that experience, from those experiences?

Deenie McKeever (1:58:26)
So I have wonderful movie stories.

No, you're not.

Good question, because when I first met Ed, his whole line is that when he, I had two horses when he came to me and neither one of them had ever had training.

and he put Smoke into the arena with him and then he taught Smoke to trust him and to come to him in 15 minutes. But what he did was he stood in the middle and he was the safe place. And I always thought, you know, okay, that's like God's the safe place. You know, you can run around all you want to and act crazy and kick your legs up, but God is your safe place. So he's

Jason Scott Montoya (1:59:10)


Deenie McKeever (1:59:22)
standing there as the trainer at the safe place and he's got a...

He's got a whip, but he's not whipping the horse. So he's cracking it and getting them to run. And if they turn, if Smoke would turn his head to it, he would quit. So he's teaching him, okay, I want you to do that, and I'll be safe if you come do that. So Smoke was running like a crazy man, and then he would come in a little bit, and then he'd go back. Anyway, at 15 minutes, that horse melted like butter. I've never seen him like it in my life. I cried like a baby.

Jason Scott Montoya (1:59:31)




Deenie McKeever (1:59:58)
He just went in and was loved on like he'd never been loved on. And it was, yeah, it's a feature of God. And that's the way Ed teaches is, you know, you're the safe place, and you're the leader, and you're the comforter. But...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:00:16)

Deenie McKeever (2:00:20)
you gotta decide to come to me. And that's what my horses did and the way I live and the way Ed lives. And so yeah, that was, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:00:28)


Deenie McKeever (2:00:32)
Really, and there have been a million ways that I've watched him and learned from him in doing that. How do you act with the horse? You know, you don't need to get mad at it. You need to teach him and have him trust you to do what you've asked him to do.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:00:42)
Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Yeah, yeah. Well, I wanna jump into the next part of the story, but could you scoot a little bit forward? It looks like it's getting dark. I don't know if the clouds are coming in, but if you scoot up a little bit, make sure I can see your... Yeah, that's better. There we go, cool. Cool, well, let's talk about national politics. So...

Deenie McKeever (2:00:58)
Okay, am I getting the right one? Yes. Can we do that? Is that better? Yes. Okay. Good. That's what we need to get our data. Hmm. Woohoo! Hehehe.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:01:14)
George Bush is the president. Maybe you could tell us about your 9-11 story. Where were you when that happened? And then how you ended up getting involved in the 2004 election. That was the first time I voted for president and I did vote for George Bush. So tell us, give us the backstory there.

Deenie McKeever (2:01:29)

Well, actually, I think 9-11 affected all of us. As a matter of fact, Laurie was at my house that day, and I think my daughter called, Dana called and said, you better turn the TV on, and of course, the world was just devastated. And I watched George Bush handle that, and I thought, wow, he is so strong in this. He's just so strong.

And then the years after I felt terrible that he was put down. I'd never been in politics. I didn't, I didn't pay too much attention to it. I mean, it was like, okay, we have a president and okay. But I really watched him and I just thought, boy, he's gone through stuff personally and, and is strong before it. And he,

He's a great leader. So in 2004, I called somebody that I knew was politically connected and I said, look, this is what I've done. These are the things I can do or want to do or can't, but I'll lick envelopes, you know, I'll stuff envelopes. I'll do whatever I can do, but I'd like to help this guy get voted on again, kept depressed again. Well, I got to say.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:02:45)


Deenie McKeever (2:02:55)
I got through multiple people. I got asked to go to an office with a group that was heading up Georgia. And so I worked on the grassroots for Georgia, and I would communicate with all the people there. And I kept thinking, gosh, I wish George Bush knew how many people in little towns and everywhere else are for him. It's just so amazing. So I worked in that.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:03:07)


Deenie McKeever (2:03:25)
Two weeks out, I went to Florida. They sent me to Florida two weeks out, two weeks before the election. So I went over there to the headquarters over there. And Santa Rosa County, it was near Destin and between Destin and Pensacola.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:03:28)
two weeks out from the election.

The voting? Yeah, yeah, okay.

Okay, and what part of Florida was that?

Okay. You know that's so wild because I mean with the whole wild Florida recount and the Supreme Court and the hanging chads I mean it was all in Florida. So yeah so that was four years later.

Deenie McKeever (2:03:54)
There we were. We were there. And.

Well, I had a couple of things happen there. One was not good, but it worked out okay. But I had the headquarters was in a shopping center. When we had kids who came in, it would go out to the houses and knock on doors. And we had cell phones as telephones to call people to say, go vote. And there was a little store next door that had supplies. And I went next door to get something out of home. And I walked down the sidewalk. And as I did, I knew.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:04:12)


Deenie McKeever (2:04:30)
I was going to be attacked. There was a group and it was, I think they called it, oh gosh,, I think that was it. Anyway, it was a huge, well, a country-wide organization.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:04:32)
Bye bye.

Deenie McKeever (2:04:49)
And in some places they were armed. And so I knew that was happening and I was by myself. So I just didn't look at them and I just kept walking and they stormed into the headquarters around me and started asking me things that I knew they wanted to get me to say and be on TV, you know. And so I...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:04:52)


Deenie McKeever (2:05:12)
I got the police there and it all calmed down, but it was very scary. And when I got back to the headquarters in Atlanta and looked up some emails from back when it was flooded with warnings about this group and how to watch out for guns. And it was just awful. Here you have, you know, people working so hard to help the country and a man who's trying to lead it in a good way.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:05:28)
Oh, wow.

Deenie McKeever (2:05:43)
And then you have this rage and people are getting killed that way. It was really hard. But it was also, I loved knowing I was working towards helping him get there. And yeah, that was amazing. After

Jason Scott Montoya (2:05:53)


Yeah, so what was election day like? You know, he won, so what was that like?

Deenie McKeever (2:06:10)
Well, it was crazy because...

In Pensacola, there was a wonderful guy named Nick, and he was pretty much head of the pole area, and Nick and I got to be good friends. He was a great guy, and he would call me and say, T, we have got to get the count from your headquarters. You send people over to the place they're voting, and you ask people outside, do you mind telling me who you voted for? And that's the way they get this count.

Well, the girl that was sent over there decided she didn't want to do it anymore, but she didn't tell anybody. So we're not getting the number. And there's a lord in my office headquarters there that is not thinking it's a problem. And Nick is screaming saying, we've got to get the numbers. I know. So we were trying to get our numbers and that's the behind the scenes when you're trying to, you know, the numbers are on the board all over the TVs. That's what's going on.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:06:41)

Oh no. Yeah.

Mm-hmm. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:07:11)
So that was pretty exciting. And then we thought he won. And then, you know, I went, I had a hotel room way down the road because we were in a hurricane damaged area and there weren't many hotels. But I thought it was over and then it wasn't. It was just, you know, it's crazy. But he won and that was wonderful.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:07:28)

Yeah, so yeah, he won in 2004. 2004 I think was a little bit more decisive if I remember it. But what happened after that? Did you have any involvement? Was there anything, I think you had the Christmas party? Was there anything?

Deenie McKeever (2:07:42)

Yes. Well, yes. Well, one thing I did, I wrote him letters. I never was sure if he got them in or anything, but I would get, sometimes I would get a thank you note from him, but I knew it wasn't necessarily personal, but I...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:08:03)

Yeah, from the White House.

Deenie McKeever (2:08:14)
I never know if you read all of them or whatever, but anyway, I felt so strong about it. I did that. And then when it was getting to the end, it was in 2000. No, let me back up. No, no, let me back up. I went to be in operation. Oh my Lord. Oh my gosh. I thought I would send them home. Oh my gosh. It was magic.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:08:33)
Okay, so that would have been.

Deenie McKeever (2:08:39)
I was invited to all these balls. I went there by myself. I just went around everywhere and I just was like, oh, this is amazing. And I was, you know, five or 10 feet from him where he would be up on a big stage and I was standing in the crowd and everything but I thought, oh.

Whoa, you know, it's so crazy. Well, so I was in Washington, DC and it was snowing and I had to go check in to get to, I got a tour of the West Wing because Nick got me in and Nick had said, you know, go to this guard station that your name is there, you can get in and da da. So I go to this guard station, it's freezing cold, snow, and I'm all by myself and I go, I'm in busy Washington,

station is not near anything. So I go up there and the guy says, you know, I'm jacked off, I'm okay, but I can't come in the guardhouse with them. And so I'm standing out there in my little coat, you know, and this guard comes out and he says, all right, I want you to just stay in here a minute. And he said, don't move, don't move, just stand there. And this car comes down and he's George Bush.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:09:28)


Deenie McKeever (2:09:54)
And so, you know, he didn't stop or anything, but it was like, oh, how sweet of this guard to, you know, help me come out in the cold with me. And he knew they were coming down because they'd been, you know, told. And that was just, you know, I was just like, this is just, you know, what am I doing here? And it's a little speck on earth that's here at this point station. So anyway, I did that. And then I was able to go in and have a tour of the whole West Wing. And that was just.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:10:03)




Deenie McKeever (2:10:25)
wonderful, and I was in there with Nick and everything. Well, so I did all the inauguration. Well, in 2008, I got an invitation that I thought, well, this can't be, this is fate or something, but I got an invitation to the Christmas party at the White House. And it was, I'm supposed to call it the White House, 2008, it was when he was going out. It was his last Christmas party.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:10:46)
What year?

Oh, okay. Okay, so it was last year.

Deenie McKeever (2:10:54)
And oh I've got dogs in here, okay So all right boys at a way back My photos and they can go out earlier, can you call the boys I'm still on Sorry, um, but anyways, I Go out there, um, so sorry

Jason Scott Montoya (2:10:57)


Deenie McKeever (2:11:19)
So I thought, oh, this is amazing. So I answered the invitation. You have to get your background checked and everything else. And I went. And I told you earlier that Mige had taken me to Pentagon. Well, I asked Mike to escort me because they said I could bring somebody. And I thought, well, he's been so nice to me. I did this for him. And we just reciprocated. So anyway, but the thing that I went to, the Christmas party,

this will be neat, I can see the White House and maybe I'll get to see him somehow or other. Well, I didn't know what else was gonna happen. So in the middle of the party, they come and get all these Marines and these, you know, dressed blues come down and they say, we want you to come downstairs to this room. And so they take us down there and we're in line. And I'm thinking, okay, God, I'm gonna have to get my shake hands with him. It's so really nice. So we get down there and it's the big oval room

when they interrupt and interviews people and stuff. So he's in there and we're slowly moving up the line, my parents, and I'm realizing, oh my Lord, we're going in, it's the two of us in there. So we get up to the thing and I'm standing there and whoever announces, Danny Matero.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:12:22)


Deenie McKeever (2:12:43)
And Christ the Lord comes running over and throws his arms around me and says, Genie! And I'm like...

I was like, oh my gosh. And so he keeps his arm around me and we're supposed to have a picture made, you know? And so we get over there and he's talking to me and I'm just, you know, just like this. And the photographer says, we gotta move on now. We gotta get going. He said, where is the sign right here? You just hold on, we're talking and we're gonna, you know, just give me a minute here. And that's the way it was. I was overcome.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:12:56)


Deenie McKeever (2:13:24)
over gone but I had enough

sense of myself that when we finished the photograph and Laura came over and we would talk for a moment, I did want to tell him that I felt that there were times in my that I felt he was the I can't remember exactly my words but that he had done so much to be a good leader and to change America and to that he had changed me that I felt there were days when I was going through tough

he was going through and I thought if he can go through that I can go through what I'm going through. And it was so personal and then I walked out of the room and burst into tears and the Marines were all over me saying are you okay? So I just was so emotional. It was just amazing to have that connection with him. There's a stay on these.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:14:12)

Yeah. Is there any other stories from your volunteering on the campaign or after that you haven't shared that you'd want to... that we haven't already covered? Okay. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:14:32)
No, I think that covered that. And I think we've covered everything. I think that we didn't get to Mativa's first ride, but just briefly that I started a nonprofit for learned warriors and amputees that ran 10 years. And we had therapy, course therapy.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:14:52)
And you'd started that, that was 2006, 2008, you were doing, tell us about the Good Morning America thing, the catalyst there. Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:15:02)

Okay, I had, well, of course, my dad was an amputee for the Army and he was in the Army, and then I had actually had some good friends who had been military and were retired. So I was connected in those ways. And then the horses, and I knew horses were now, I met Ed, so I knew horses were therapy. And I saw Good Morning America. They had like a one minute clip showing the horses at the fort.

that is in Washington DC. And the horses are the ones who carry the case signs for the funerals in the cemetery there. And they were saying it was a pilot program and they were using the entities from Walther Reed to build these horses. And they said, we hope it will go. Well, I said, I'm standing at Sabin saying.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:15:42)


Deenie McKeever (2:15:57)
It's gotta go. This is everything together that is so good and those...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:16:02)
All of the pieces came together, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:16:06)
So I started trying to get in touch with whoever was in charge of that and I found her. She was a commander, retired naval commander. And Mary Jo and I got to be good friends and spent hours on the phone with Laurie and myself and you were involved and we all connected with people who were doing things with horses. And at the time there was a large horse organization and I thought, well, if they could get their

Jason Scott Montoya (2:16:32)

Deenie McKeever (2:16:37)
you know, they could pull this all together, but one of the hard things was that if you're going to do this, you've got to do it right. You can't take these wounded warriors and do it wrong. So I ended up doing my own thing with the ones in the Atlanta area, and I started out with the amputees that were not necessarily military, they were from debt business and all of that.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:16:45)



Deenie McKeever (2:17:06)
later and some were military and we enlarged it but it turned out to be Matieva's first ride named after daddy and we did it for 10 years.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:17:09)

Now obviously McKeever is your last name and his last name, but why First Ride?

Deenie McKeever (2:17:21)
Because the company that we, the organization, the nonprofit, we connected to who had the liability insurance and all the things we needed did first golf, first tennis, different firsts, and did small things. I wanted to see the world change.

to get as many people as I could. And so we ended up with a huge group and we ended up doing things like, you know, one-on-one with a horse. And people don't have to ride a horse to feel the spirit of it. I asked the Marine one time what his feeling was when he was standing next to the horse for basically maybe five minutes. Then he said, I felt empathy. That horse knew I was hurting. And it's the best feeling I've had.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:17:43)

Deenie McKeever (2:18:11)
since I've come back from Iraq. It was amazing. So we had, but my fever's getting really weak because I wanted the families to be involved too. The people who came back had families that were hurting too. And so we had carriage rides and roping and all sorts of things, food and music. And it turned out to be a wonderful, wonderful time. And I loved every minute of it.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:18:13)



Yeah, well you did 15 events from 2009 to 2016, most of them in Atlanta, but you had a couple others that were.

Deenie McKeever (2:18:46)
We did several, actually Ed and I went to Europe and we did some in Rome, Italy. And they had us on TV and everything and the people over there never seen anything like it. So we presented it, something they could get going over there. Yeah, that was great.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:18:54)


Now tell us about the experience itself. Like what was it like to go to McKeever's first ride as someone with maybe an artificial limb, maybe it's a leg or an arm, or kind of give us, you know, what was the experience like for them and what were the different things that happened there?

Deenie McKeever (2:19:25)
Well, when we first started, we did one on one. And this was before my kid was first dragged. We just did the therapy with some of the folks that were in hospitals in Atlanta. And so we got to see how they felt around the horse, they may have ridden or not. That didn't matter. It was the spirit of the horse being there with them is just something that happens. And what happened was we heard their stories. They don't, usually they do not talk about things

come back because they don't want to feel that pain. They don't want to open those doors. And yet the horses, by listening and being in spirit with them, really brought that out. We heard about homelessness. We heard about drinking. We heard all the...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:19:58)

Deenie McKeever (2:20:12)
rushed up the things that we're experiencing and feeling from trying to get rid of the pain that they had seen. So many people blow up in front of them, some of them. And so, that was amazing. So when they kept telling us that was the best they had felt since Iraq and they were able to talk about it, once they talk about it, it releases some of that pain. So that's what we tried to do in Mateevers, in a bigger scale,

Jason Scott Montoya (2:20:23)

Deenie McKeever (2:20:42)
funds involved and not just one-on-one. And so they just they got their kids on the horses, then they drove carriages, they got to rope, you know, and feel. They felt respected, they felt seen, they felt somebody cared, and they felt a camaraderie because of all the ones that came along with them. And because we cared about them.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:20:59)


Yeah. And so tell us about, I mean, so we've talked a little bit about Lori Johnson before, and she's since passed, but she was heavily involved in the Kever's First Ride, a big part of it. You're a co-founder. What were some of the things she did, talk to, especially with like the teens and getting them involved in this? Do you want to talk about that?

Deenie McKeever (2:21:15)


Thank you.

Yeah, I think that was so great. She never wanted to get credit for anything. She did. And so, although she was right in there from the beginning, but she helped us with a website. And you did too. You built that website for us. And Lauren added stories to it. You added pictures. It's still up. It's an amazing website. And it really showed so much of the healing that went on with this.

But the fun too. And she was an idea person. She was great. But she loved those teams. And she had all these ideas for creativity for them at the Moteevers. She did painted shirts for them and just everything. And she had teenagers herself. So she had them very involved. And she's a horse woman. So she was a huge package altogether. And was so much of those.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:22:07)


Deenie McKeever (2:22:35)
Heart and Soul of the Tupus. And yeah, you too, you were, the website was amazing. And it still is with so much information out there, healing and health, and yeah, it was great.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:22:38)

And the teens would volunteer. What were some of the things they were doing to serve? They were checking people in, they were helping people with the different activities, right? Oh, oh yeah, the boxes, I forgot about that.

Deenie McKeever (2:23:02)
Yes, and they made boxes. We sent boxes over. And I remember one military person came over and said, oh, these little packs of little teeny swabs that you didn't clean your hands with, that's what we bathed in. That was our bath in the field.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:23:21)


Deenie McKeever (2:23:27)
So that was something the kids thought, whoa, that's really getting it, you know, seeing a side of it there. But she was instrumental in packaging, getting the materials to package all those boxes and the kids, that made it real for them that they could do something physical and personal to send to people over there, yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:23:37)

Yeah, well in so much of McKeever's first ride, in all the events you did and as it kind of grew and evolved over the years, it was a culmination of all the things you'd gone through before in terms of organizing and planning and inviting and creating these events. You'd sort of learned all the lessons on how to do it in these different seasons of life you've shared with us. And you were also, you know, a performer at these events. You did this sort of horse

Deenie McKeever (2:24:14)
Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:24:21)
with the flags in this show and you had speakers, tell us about that part of it.

Deenie McKeever (2:24:28)
Oh gosh yes. I love you guys. Well, the fun part was we had, Ed's daughter was a wonderful trainer too. And she had gathered a group of us. We called ourselves the Rusty Spurs because we were all over 50. And she was, we were her first team that she made, a drill team.

uh... she did choreography for. Now she has a whole academy teaching all these young kids now.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:24:54)

Deenie McKeever (2:24:58)
So she was teaching us how to do. Well, she taught us how to hold flags and ride, and that's not easy. Those flags are heavy, and you've got to hold them just right or they fall down. You know, and we were a bunch of nuts. And so when I suggested that we do a thing for the drill team, with the drill team from the Kiebers, you know, as an opening of the show.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:25:05)

Deenie McKeever (2:25:23)
Everybody went just into nervous. I mean, we went into this. We'll there's no way we can do this thing. We end up, yeah. Well, we ended up doing it. It was marvelous. We were all wonderful and, and it turned out great. And it was just, uh, carrying that flag. Oh my gosh. It was just amazing. So, um, yeah, we did that. And, um, I forgot what you asked me.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:25:50)
Oh, so what about the speakers? You actually brought in speakers and bands and yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:25:53)
I was thinking, oh, Lord, yeah. We ended up, Dale was the most wonderful one, I guess. He was a double entity. And Dale and I met because we were both invited to a Bush summit at his library.

after he was president and yes, George W. Dougher. And so there was a meeting about how do we help the vets and he had gotten invited for certain reasons and I was. So somebody in the nonprofit that had worked on helping me get McEvers told me about Dale and...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:26:17)
George Bush, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:26:44)
said, you need to keep, she said, Demi's gonna be at this summit or something and she'll be back soon. He said, oh, I'm going too. So Dale, anyway, long story short, he called me at the hotel and he said, I'm in the lobby. And I said, well, I'm short and I wear glasses because we're dead at the time. And he said, well, I'm tall and I have two metal legs. And it's.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:27:09)

Deenie McKeever (2:27:11)
And then he was absolutely amazing guy. And then he died, unfortunately, very young because the blood in his leg, something happened. We never knew exactly what, but it was all of a sudden.

He passed away and it was, yeah, it was hard because he was wonderful. He loved Delore, he got her a doc, but she had turned into a doctor and she, you know, had a doctorate degree. And he loved both of us and him.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:27:32)


Yeah, so you have, yeah. So your dad, you're and your grandfather, they work in prosthetics developing these for people who have had amputations or lost limbs or maybe they were born without them.

You're continuing the legacy, so your father's inspiration for this McEviss First Ride, where you bring all of the talents you've collected over your life to put on these events. And it's got carriage rides and the shows and speakers and crafts and you have miniature ponies running around with the petting zoos. But yeah, yeah. How do you...

Deenie McKeever (2:28:04)


Mm-hmm. And I'm a doggy. Ha ha ha. A doggy was a panty.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:28:21)
Yeah, I mean, when you think about that journey, what was it about and what was it that it gave you through that experience?

Deenie McKeever (2:28:33)
Oh, the most incredible satisfaction. I wish it could have gone on forever, but just seeing people come alive again.

There are suicides every day for the veterans. They just can't handle the pain they went through. And unless they get help, they don't, they just can't heal themselves. And well, I'm not gonna say they can't. I'm sure there are many that have been able to do that. But they just saw so much awfulness and it's hard to come back from that. And I think we did a lot

heal those wounds and to actually present horse therapy for veterans because that wasn't done before this. It wasn't done anywhere. They had never tried it. They did it for children and they did it for people who had autism or something like that but they never done anything with the wounded wounds and that was an amazing time and it was very satisfying to know that.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:29:27)


Deenie McKeever (2:29:46)
Maybe we're making some difference. Yeah, that was a good thing that God had.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:29:50)

Yeah. So before we jump into the last part of this interview, where we talk about your personal faith, talk to us about dancing in New Orleans.

Deenie McKeever (2:30:04)
Oh, you know, I did, I have done a lot of things in my life. And it's really funny how some of my family didn't know, hadn't seen me do some things. And some of my friends had not seen me do some things. And I danced all my life when I was born. I came dancing in the world, I love music and I love to dance. So, but over the years I...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:30:31)
And by the way, you're sitting in a dance room right now.

Deenie McKeever (2:30:35)
It's better, isn't it? Yes, it is. But I ended up in my 90s in Atlanta. They had a lot of dance clubs, and so you could join a swing club, a country club, country music club, country dance club, or ballroom.

You could do all that. You could get lessons and then dance or whatever. I hated lessons because they're just so structured. I liked to just dance to the music, but I loved to dance. And so, Dee and I had gone down to New Orleans, down to Louisiana to see Dana on her 40th birthday. And we went in the first quarter, and they were playing all this music, you know, and everybody hopping around.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:31:02)

Deenie McKeever (2:31:27)
bar, restaurant kind of place. It's open on two sides so people, you know, see it standing there watching the musicians and stuff. So we go in and we sit down and this band is fabulous and this guy's standing there, a big tall guy. He's got a washboard, you know, he's playing the washboard and I'm just, you know, going like that. So he comes over and he says, would you like to dance? And I said, oh would I? Well there's no dance for it, it's just a little spot in front of where he was standing.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:31:47)

Deenie McKeever (2:31:57)
And he said, what do you want to do? And I said, you do it, I'll follow. Well, it's the best dance I've ever had out of millions of dances ever in my life. And when you have a good leader, you just go, you don't have any idea where he's going.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:32:02)



Deenie McKeever (2:32:16)
but his body tells you and if you can listen to that, he could take you anywhere and that's what we did. Well, my daughters had never seen it before. Dee's calling Mark and saying, Mark was doing this thing and all the people screaming and yelling and they come in to this, you know, from the street. And I mean, he did everything but throw me up to the ceiling and that damn, I mean, it was so much fun. We just went and...

Afterwards, he said, well, you really took me through my paces. Because once a leader gets a good dancer, then they want to keep going. And they love it too, because they can take this partner anywhere.

And so I said, well, you're just astounding. I said, where'd you, boy, tell me about you. And he said, well, my mama told me that if I took dance lessons, girls would like me. But Tony had to do the champion dance and he had won championships all over the country. And I am so mad at myself that I didn't find out how to get in touch with him another time or something to have that dance again.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:33:14)

Deenie McKeever (2:33:32)
It was amazing, absolutely amazing. And yeah, a little special. But also at my grandson's wedding, he has a friend who dances like crazy. And Cheyenne and I danced. And later Cheyenne came over and told me that dance was a legend. And so I've had wonderful dancers and precious dancers in my life. And it's one of the joys of my life. I let loose on it.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:33:34)


Deenie McKeever (2:34:01)
And it's just fabulous. Yeah, so yeah, that's me. Part of it.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:34:02)

Yeah, well is dancing in the leading part that you describe, is that a metaphor for your life between you and God?

Deenie McKeever (2:34:17)
Yes, it is. Yeah, I Knew I mean I've been taken to Sunday school real early and then I always you know went to church and So I was always connected to God and believe I totally believe there's a God that created the world and that's why we're created and that Jesus came to show us who he is in flesh and

I got to places in my life that I couldn't control. As strong and a big leader and blah blah, then I can do. I could not make my life okay. And I had to have something bigger than me. And so I leaned.

big time on God and Jesus. And I wanted to, and I don't really separate them, but I know they're together, but you know what I'm saying. But...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:35:15)

Deenie McKeever (2:35:18)
really went to a lot of Bible studies. I tried to really learn about what they wanted me to do, how to do it with the Holy Spirit, listen to that and to be guided that way because I want them to do good in parts of my life. And I wanted to be sure that, you know, I did things better and I wanted to treat people right. And I wanted to write my own.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:35:43)
And how was that, were your parents also Christians or not? And how did that, okay.

Deenie McKeever (2:35:47)
Yes, they were. But they, I think, they didn't have a lot of conversation to that. I think they were typical.

churchgoers, but I'm not sure how close they were, you know, to Jesus. And they, Daddy, he did everything at the church. He was every person at the church working and doing. But I think.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:36:05)


And was it Protestant? What were these different denominations? What were? Yeah. Yeah, okay.

Deenie McKeever (2:36:19)
We were episcopating. Mm-hmm. And, uh, and, and we, Mother did a lot of, uh, work at the church, and she volunteered and everything. So you did, you sort of like doing what you're supposed to do. But I think, for me, there was a difference in a personal relationship where you felt like Jesus was your best friend, and you could talk to him and, and really, really get help. I know there are times when I've been

Jason Scott Montoya (2:36:33)

Deenie McKeever (2:36:49)
stopped or pushed and to write in wrong places you know just because things would happen in my life that I didn't orchestrate or plan to have these people I met that I was supposed to meet events that came together that were

Jason Scott Montoya (2:36:53)

Deenie McKeever (2:37:09)
life-changing and I knew they were beyond me being able to put it together. And so that's where my faith came from and now it's even stronger.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:37:17)

Yeah, so you kind of, you've gone through this life long journey and now I guess at some point when you're older, you start looking for a church to go to. So tell us about why you were looking for a church, how old were you and why you were looking and what you found.

Deenie McKeever (2:37:37)
Thank you.

Well, it is kind of really interesting. So I was 2004, I believe. Yes, it was 2004. Churches began to split over laws, rules, whatever, you know, values. And it began to be, to me, this person in the pulpit, in this church, in this building,

I'm the truth. I'm the truth about God. I'm the, you look at me and listen to what I say and that's the truth. And it didn't sit in my spirit. I got, I got so, I mean my Holy Spirit just turned my stomach around. I may not understand exactly what's bothering me or whatever in my head or heart, but I know something's wrong and it just didn't feel right to me. So, um, I just started doing, excuse me, to um,

Jason Scott Montoya (2:38:28)

Deenie McKeever (2:38:42)
different churches to see what they, how their structure was, what would they do. And I never really thought about Catholics. I didn't think good or bad. I understand now there's a lot of people that think really funny things about Catholics. But God literally parachuted Catholics in steps. I had to step over them to get around. I mean, it was terrible. Now they-

Jason Scott Montoya (2:38:58)

What are all these Catholics doing around me?

Deenie McKeever (2:39:12)
Yeah, they never evangelized me, though. They never were preaching to me or saying, you need to be a Catholic, and, you know, it's all wrong wherever. None of that. There was just a love about them. And also, I would hear them talk about what they had in their church. And one was to honor Mary, and not that Mary replaced Jesus and prayed to Mary instead of Jesus or anything.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:39:15)
Uh huh, okay, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:39:40)
was you honored Mary because she was the mother, she is the mother of God, you know, and Jesus. And that made sense to me. And then they have a confession. Well, I mean, yes, we're forgiven. We're all forgiven. However, guess what? We still do bad things. And I thought, well, if we had a definite confession where we said, you know, I did this and I am sorry, you know.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:39:45)

Deenie McKeever (2:40:09)
what a world we have. If everybody was accountable to themselves to just put it out there and say it. And I thought, well, that's cool. And then there were just other things that just felt right to me. I felt like they had a real connection to the Eucharist because of Jesus in the Last Supper and that His presence in the...

Jason Scott Montoya (2:40:18)

Deenie McKeever (2:40:38)
new Christian in the church. And I love the stories of the saints that have gone before us. So it always made sense to me. And so I started taking it out and decided that's what I wanted to do. And I love it. I just love it. I always loved Jesus, but I love the extras that they see and do.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:40:41)


Deenie McKeever (2:41:07)
so that we're closer to him. I mean, I'm not saying anything else is wrong or not right. I'm not saying that for me, that's what I'd wanted to be. And it's been a perfect place for me. And a lot of good people there, yeah. So.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:41:22)

So what is the Catholic Church? How has it strengthened your faith and what has it given you in terms of the community and the way they do things?

Deenie McKeever (2:41:41)
I think that we did, I was thinking about this the other night. We have certain prayers like the rosary and they're different.

the things that we do as a group or individually. And I was thinking, I'm so glad I know this and I'm so glad I'm doing it. I'm doing an app that's called Halo and it's with Jonathan Ruhmink, who is the Jesus in the chosen.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:42:15)

Deenie McKeever (2:42:16)
He is just a great guy and he leads you in prayers and things and I think he's such a community because the Catholic Church is not different in Rome, Italy or Sicily or Hawaii or every church has the same service every Sunday all around the world.

and people think we don't read the Bible, but we go to the Bible a lot. And we have Bible studies at my church, but the Bible is read from the Old Testament, the New Testament songs.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:42:38)

Deenie McKeever (2:42:51)
And the gospel is always with every church service. And so we go through the Bible. So you know everybody all over the world is doing things that you're doing. And I think that is a huge thing. You belong somewhere. When I went to ride in those countries, I went to mass in those churches. I didn't know their language, but I knew what they were saying. And it was great. And so I think that's a big thing.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:42:56)



Deenie McKeever (2:43:21)
hard at it. I've certainly had some priests that I've been very close to.

a very human, not just up here. The Pope doesn't tell us everything to do. The Pope is a man, but there are certain... You need a head. When you have a giant organization, you need a head. So he's elected to be the head, and hopefully he's been the man God wanted. But there are certain things that...

You know, like I say, he's human and there are things that can, well, maybe not be right or whatever, because he is human, but there are certain things that you will carry out or do that come straight from Peter, who was the first Pope.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:44:13)
Yeah. Yeah. And is, you've been volunteering there as well? Yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:44:21)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, I love working within the church. It's funny when I first joined, I...

had a lot on my plate, personally. And I thought, okay. And I was going to the church in Atlanta, funny enough, because I had moved to Gartersville, but I was familiar with the church in Atlanta, and I didn't really know that, hadn't met the people up here that, and I didn't really know about the church up here, you know, it's five minutes from my house. And so, but after a while, I thought, I'm not gonna drive to the Atlanta church. I don't wanna start up here. But I'm, I've got too much to do. I can't volunteer.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:44:34)



Deenie McKeever (2:45:01)
and you know I'll be real quiet and I don't you know need to meet a million people and it's okay I'm doing enough work in the world and well I'm sitting there and I have a wonderful Kenyan family that's our church and Sam is up there you know serving communion his wife is reading the Bible lecturing is what we call it reading the Bible his children are being alter servers and I'm thinking the same as family what you're doing this I wouldn't

church service today. This is crazy. I've got to hell. So I thought, well, I'll volunteer. So I figured out who was the captain of the mass and head of it. And I went to him after church and I said, I introduced myself and I said, I really would like to volunteer, but I do not want to be realistic now. It's too because I don't want to be standing in front of everybody because I didn't want that show-off thing to happen in church serving Jesus as body.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:45:35)

Yeah. Hehehehe.

Deenie McKeever (2:45:59)
Lord and so I said, you know, I told him I said I'm a go out town a lot and so, you know, probably can't you know serve and I said we said well You call me on Saturday night. Let me know you can't come I said well, I don't know what to do I don't have to do it. I'm not trying to sell training next week So I said, okay

Jason Scott Montoya (2:46:21)

He got rid of all your excuses, is that what you're saying? Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (2:46:27)
So the first time I served communion, I thought, ding, don't start bawling. You're gonna, I thought I ain't gonna break out and burst into tears. It was so humbling. I thought this is so humbling to be serving, you know, the body and blood of Christ. And I just.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:46:34)

Deenie McKeever (2:46:47)
Now it's such an honor. It's such a humbling honor to be able to do that. I'm thrilled to be able to do that. So I did that and I am Mass Captain now with others at my Mass and we make sure everything's going right. Make sure that people are there to do things. And then I was on the committee, Stewardship Committee, which did a lot of planning, like long-term planning for the church.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:46:52)



Deenie McKeever (2:47:16)
And I'm in a Bible study of women that do a lot of personal things. You know, we help out a lot around the church. So yeah.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:47:22)
Yeah. So if someone's watching this or listening and they've been hurt by the church, what would you tell them?

Deenie McKeever (2:47:31)
Yeah, I think that can happen. You know, the church is human. The priests are human, the people are human. They make mistakes. I think there's a lot going on in the gay crowd, in the gay community. I've heard that it's misunderstood. I think that's the biggest thing. It's misunderstood because people do...

don't hear the whole message. The message is we want everything to be in the church. We want love in the church. But then we do follow God's commandments and God's. The thing that I think about God is he's like the daddy you're holding in the hand at the road and there's a semi coming down the road and he's saying, I don't want that semi to hit you so you stand there and hold my hand. I'll tell you when to cross

Jason Scott Montoya (2:48:22)

Deenie McKeever (2:48:24)
with us and the things that God says, it's not a good idea, is because it's going to harm us and I don't think it's the church that's saying it, it's the church that's standing up for those things that God has said and so that's where I come from on that and I think there's just been, there's always been a lot of hurt under the name of religion and I hate that. You know, it's missing the skin.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:48:48)
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I know you have a final, yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, I know you have a final story to share. Not assuming, yeah, yeah. But before you share your final story, is there anything else you wanted to share or did you wanna sort of summarize the life of Adini? Ha ha ha.

Deenie McKeever (2:48:54)
And then, I'm sorry.

I can't believe we talked three hours. I was concerned about one hour. What have we done? Oh my gosh. Well, I would like to end on this because this is the biggest thing, I think one of the biggest things that ever happened. So we talked about daddy and what he believed, what he didn't believe.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:49:12)
Have a good one.


Deenie McKeever (2:49:38)
We never talked, you know, I never talked a little deep about it. He was always a little, you know, I think he was a little awkward about it, you know, about being personal on it. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well, so, Danny was talking to Mother one night.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:49:54)
with his relationship with God, you mean? In terms of talking about it, yeah.

Deenie McKeever (2:50:05)
And he said, you know, do you believe in heaven? And he said, daddy was very logistical. He wanted, you know, he's got everything, he's got to have a way to work it out. He said, there's just too many people. Where would they all be, you know? There's no where they could be. So, no, I don't think so.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:50:14)


Deenie McKeever (2:50:31)
Well, the next day he had a stroke and he was unconscious. He was unconscious for 10 days. He was dead. And my dad was very athletic, so he was strong and muscular, and he was, you know, could lift and do all sorts of things.

And he was glad on his back for 10 days. And I just felt he could hear us. And so I would talk to him. Well, the day came when we had to unplug the things that were keeping him alive, like the people that told me. I'm sorry. Sorry. Toby, please don't bark. Please don't bark, Toby.

The nurses had said, all right, this is what the monitor's going to do, and he'll start breathing hard. And that's it. Well, I had sat with him, and my family had all left, and I was sitting with him. And it was hours, and I was sitting there, and I was talking to him and stuff. And I went outside while they were doing something with him. And I said, Lord, I don't know if I can. I mean, it's been hours. And I'm.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:51:23)

Deenie McKeever (2:51:45)
I want to stay, keep me, help me to be able to stay long enough that, you know, I'm tired, I'm hungry, I have to go to the bathroom. You know, I was long hours, I was staying like living, and I just didn't want to fall out, you know. And so I prayed, God would help me, and I went back in, and my heart just started going, and I knew it was going.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:52:02)

Deenie McKeever (2:52:13)
So I just kept saying, I don't know, just to have to have been from God, because I didn't think about this statement. I wasn't intending to, I hadn't thought in my head or anything. I just kept saying, daddy, put out your arms, and Jesus is gonna meet you. It is a heaven, I know it. And I just kept saying, put out your arms, put out your arms. And after, I don't know how long it was.

My daddy rose from the bed straight up, opened his eyes and put his hands out and fell back down. And his eyes were yearning. It was a look I've never seen in my daddy's face. And I knew I had stood with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth. There was no question in my mind. I mean, it just...

You can't see that and not believe. I mean, I know Jesus was meeting me and I know that's where he is. So I hope everybody out there joins the club and goes to heaven too. It's very important. I think we do have an afterlife and I have such a peace that my daddy is there and that my mother is too and that I'll see him.

And that's very important. And it's good. Real good.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:53:49)
Well thank you so much for sharing your life with us today, Deanie. I love you, thank you, and I look forward to sharing this with others.

Deenie McKeever (2:53:59)
I love you too and I'm so honored that you asked and were interested in all of my life. I'm floored that we were on this long, but I hope it will be a message of encouragement and love in different ways for people out there that may be hurting or maybe indecisive about things and maybe that will matter. That's what I hope.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:54:09)

Deenie McKeever (2:54:31)
I would like to inspire them for good things. That was something that I felt God wanted me to do. It's been a pleasure to be here. Sometimes in my life I've said, Oh my goodness, what am I doing here? And then it's like, well, God said you have to do it. Or I can give it to you as a gift. He has given me many things as a gift.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:54:40)




Deenie McKeever (2:54:58)
And I'm very grateful, very grateful for my life and where I've been able to be and the people in my life. And you are one of them, right up on the top. Well, I love you too. Thank you for this. What a gift. Thank you.

Jason Scott Montoya (2:55:08)
Yeah. Yeah.


Podcast - Inspirational People

  • Created on .
  • Last updated on .