Member Spotlight: Martha Paradeis

Protecting a Home-Away-from-Home in the Mountains

By Lorelei Goff

Martha Paradeis traces her love for the Appalachians back to childhood trips with her family. Driving from the hustle and bustle of Atlanta to the quiet and rugged beauty of the northeast Georgia mountains left its mark on her.

Martha Paradeis, center, with husband John Dozier, left, sons Carey and Julian, and Julian's wife Casey during a 4th of July boat ride at Lake Glenville, N.C.

Martha Paradeis, center, with husband John Dozier, left, sons Carey and Julian, and Julian’s wife Casey during a 4th of July boat ride at Lake Glenville, N.C.

Later in life, she and her husband, John Dozier, vacationed with their own two children, Carey and Julian, in the western North Carolina mountains every year. They rented a cabin for a week-long stay, usually around Franklin or Boone, and enjoyed hiking, camping, canoeing and swimming. In 1999 they purchased a mountain home of their own between Glenville and Franklin, where they enjoy having guests and bringing them to see the area’s beautiful waterfalls.

“We go up to our little house every chance we get,” Martha, a retired hospice nurse, says in an email interview.

She discovered Appalachian Voices 15 years ago, when she picked up a copy of The Appalachian Voice in The Dripolator, a coffee shop in Black Mountain, N.C., and long-time supporter of Appalachian Voices. Our mission resonated with her and she became a supporting member that day.

Drawn to environmentalism for years, she is passionate about the need for leadership that will fight for policy change.

“I want destructive practices such as mountaintop removal and its resultant pollution and destruction of communities to stop, and I know that if citizens band together, positive change can happen,” says Martha. “I’ve become a grandmother in the last two years, and I’m even more dedicated to ensuring a healthier planet for future generations.”

Both Martha and her husband share a commitment to environmental causes in their primary home in the Florida Panhandle as well as the Appalachian Mountains.

“Florida has many environmental challenges of its own to work on, and I try to take an interest in those, too,” says Martha. “It’s just too important not to.”

Martha’s passion for protecting Appalachia is complemented by her awareness that there are underlying economic challenges facing the region and its people.

“It is important to recognize that people’s’ livelihoods are intricately involved in Appalachia, and that all people need to be represented and educated so that progress can continue to be made,” she says.

Martha likes to read The Appalachian Voice and says, “What I most appreciate about it is the way it tries to bring people with varying interests and values together to protect and improve the region. There are articles about pollution, actions being taken, victories won, work still to be done. But, in addition, there’s the educational component, with articles about trails to explore, festivals celebrating the natural and cultural diversity of the region, etc. I liked the recent articles about helping low-income women become trained and more self-sufficient.”

“I also appreciate the ‘I Love Mountains’ website component — very effective!” she adds.

Martha plans to become more involved with Appalachian Voices’ mission as a volunteer when she can spend more time in the region. Until then, we are grateful for her faithful, monthly support as a “Mountain Protector” and her love for Appalachia.