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2017-03-15 / News

Jeremy Lesley – more than a radio co-host

by Cheryl Helton

For the past four years, local residents have known him as the co-host of WCRL’s Jeremy and Chris Morning Show. However, there is so much more to know about Jeremy Lesley.

Husband, father, worship leader, 911 dispatcher, musician, domestic violence victim advocate, and college student are just a few of the hats Lesley wears.

Immediately when you meet Lesley, you can feel the love he has for others and for God. As he talks about his family, his friends, his church family, his music, his ministry and his work, that love simply radiates in his voice.

Lesley, raised in Oneonta, referred to himself as “old school Pentecostal.” Known in his younger days as “Little Jeremy Lesley,” he often would be seen in a suit and tie singing and spreading the love of Jesus. According to Lesley, “church was all I knew.”

Lesley and his wife, a former Miss Alabama 2005 contestant, Kymberly Payne Lesley, have a blended family of seven children including an interracial adoption of their oldest daughter, Shantel.

While working in the ministry in Oxford, he met Shantel and her four sisters. He and Shantel developed an immediate connection. She spent many weekends at the Lesley home and after a series of sad and unfortunate events with Shantel’s family, her oldest sister called Lesley requesting him to “come get your daughter.” She has officially been a part of their family since that day and they have no regrets.

As a worship leader at Redeemer Church since September 2015, Lesley referred to this phase in his life as, “The greatest experience, being blown away, and a beautiful thing.” The fellowship of believers worship and celebrate their love of God without reservation.

Being a Blount County 911 dispatcher for two years has allowed Lesley to learn how to better deal with crisis. He initially pursued a degree in social work with aspirations of helping others in crisis; however, his focus was soon re-directed.

In April, Lesley and his wife will graduate from UAB and both are planning to attend law school. Lesley will receive his bachelor’s in anthropology and a minor in social work.

As a member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, Lesley wants to be an advocate within the tribe and be a legal resource for them.

Although the tribal community is proud, strong and known for their wisdom, there still remains a multitude of social problems within their society. Domestic violence, addiction, gangs, rape, poverty and other social abnormalities are amplified, unprecedented and need an activist. Lesley wants to be that voice.

Lesley’s vision of helping the Sioux Tribe conquer some of the social problems within its own people is his goal. According to Lesley, “Everybody’s looking for the same thing – security, stability, family.”

Music has been a large part of Lesley’s life. Since age 4, he has been singing, playing and writing music. He has had several albums produced, on both the gospel and the country record label.

The biggest highlight of Lesley’s musical career, however, occurred in 2008 while playing at the Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho. During the performance of his song, “Cowboy Tough,” the arena, filled with special needs children from all over the world, began to jump and dance as the band played. It was a very humbling, yet thrilling experience for Lesley.

To Lesley, “It was the greatest, most moving experience because of the love and happiness shown by the special needs children.”

Even as the band made their trip home through several airports, special needs children would approach them, give them notes, hug them and kiss them because of the notoriety they gained from their performance just a few hours earlier.

While Lesley’s life has not been perfect, it has been rewarding. To put it all in perspective, Lesley said, “God has forgiven me and given me new opportunities. God has never given up on me. He has given me a chance to make things right. When I didn’t deserve it, God has given me more.”

Having a passion for others is a light that shines brightly in the Lesley household. They experience the “ups and downs” of everyday life, but overall Lesley knows they are truly blessed and want to share those blessings among those they come in contact with each day.

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