The Hatchers have managed to segue from one lifestyle to another. Since being married some 17 years ago, they’ve gone from fly fishing in Statesville’s Smith Fork Creek, to riding horses on lazy Sunday afternoons, to mothering mares in foal, to raising a field of alfalfa hay, to escaping on annual sojourns to places as distant as Cairo, Egypt, Grimsel Pass atop the Swiss Alps, or little known Rothenburg, Germany, a sleepy little village in Bavaria where time seemingly stopped during the Medieval period.
They’re now embedded in a race for the state senate. He’s a candidate for the Democratic nomination for the 17th district state senate seat and she’s his principal confident.
“This is something Teresa says I’ve been doing for most of my life. Maybe she’s right. But for the first time in my life, like a lot of things we do, it seems to be the right time, the right season to do it,” the candidate says.
His campaign message is fairly simple. He wants to share his experiences in life to help make good things happen for the district he plans to represent. He says this can best be accomplished by “bringing people together whether they are Democrats or Republicans,” an art many say he has practiced for a longtime.
A graduate of Cumberland University and Tennessee Tech, Sam began a career in journalism shortly after graduating from Castle Heights Military Academy.
“The summer I graduated from Heights I worked construction for R.E Hunt Construction Company. We were building barracks on the Heights campus. One of the buildings we built now houses the medical office of Dr. Hardie Sorrels.
“I had to work to help pay my way through school although Cumberland was kind enough to offer me an athletic scholarship, which helped tremendously,” he recalls.
After the summer construction job he said he had to find other work that could blend with his college class schedule and help provide the necessary financial assistance to get him through school. So, he took a job at The Lebanon Democrat as a sports writer. Little did he know that this would be the beginning of a career in which he is still engaged. Today he is the president of MainStreet Media, a print media company with newspapers in Middle Tennessee and Florida, including The Wilson Post.
“Our lives together (his with Teresa) represent one chapter after another of intriguing experiences. Some have been good and others not so good. The latest is our campaign for the state senate,” he says.
Besides the newspaper business, Sam says his life has been impacted most by three major happenings including his marriage to Teresa and daughters Karah and Kalyn; the death of his brother from cancer at age 46; and the 36 years he served in the Tennessee Army National Guard.
The Hatchers are members of College Hills Church of Christ and so were his parents, the late John and Billie Hatcher, and so are Teresa’s parents, Frank and Carolyn Dudley. Teresa’s brother, Curry, is one of the church’s song leaders.
Among the challenges in Sam’s life was a dark period in 1989 when his brother, whom he describes as “a very best friend,” was diagnosed with malignant brain
“We had just built a duplex together on Lewis Court just off West Main. I wasn’t married at the time and we did everything together. Jimmy, who was also single, lived on one side and I on the other. Life was really good for both of us. He was coaching and teaching at Mt. Juliet High School.
“And then life changed. For him life ended. For me I lost a very best friend. He was diagnosed in March and died months later on August 25,” Sam remembers.
In 1993 Sam and Teresa married and with their bonding came two daughters. Karah is now married to Ryan Sprouse and they live in Hermitage and Kalyn, who finished college last year with a degree in journalism, is working in Sam’s campaign.
“There’s not been a lot in my life that can compete with the experience I gained through the National Guard. It was one heck of a remarkable period.”
He said the Guard afforded him opportunities to travel the world, to learn structure and discipline and to develop a “genuine appreciation for a patriotic spirit.”
His assignments in the Guard took him to Saudi Arabia during Desert Shield, to Operation Bright Star in Egypt, to Europe and other places. He’s been catapult off an aircraft carrier in the Atlantic, visited Panama shortly before its overthrow, and was whisked through the streets of Taguichagopa, Honduras during a threatening coup.
His last assignment in the Guard, for a term of eight years, was as an advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau at the Pentagon in Washington on communications matters. He retired from the Guard in 2007 at the rank of full colonel.
The season in which he and Teresa are involved currently is the political season.
He explains he is running for the state senate because of his life experience.
Although his seasons may change, his enthusiasm to be involved in issues and organizations that can make a difference stays on track.
Sam is a past president of the Tennessee Press Association; is a member of the Board of Trust of Cumberland University; a member of the board of directors and the executive committee of Cumberland Region Tomorrow; chairman of the University Medical Center board; and a director on the board of the Nashville and Eastern Railroad Authority.
He was in the first class of Leadership Wilson, has been active in the Lebanon-Wilson County Chamber of Commerce, is a Rotarian, and has taken a lead role in a number of civic and community activities.
He has been a soldier, a journalist, a classroom teacher at Cumberland, a farmer, businessman, and hopes that his next season of experience takes him to Tennessee’s State Capitol as the senator from the 17th District.
Angel Kane can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org .