Erinn Diaz: Entrepreneur, Performer, Author, Optimist
When people ask me where I live, my general answer is that I spend about 250 days of the year on the road. Though I spend a lot of time in Winston-Salem where I have Spring Theatre (my non-profit theatre company), and in Chicago (where we have the main offices of First in Flight Entertainment and our restaurant the Shore Club), the truck and trailer is where I spend the majority of my time.
I never get tired of the road, and it also allows us to have many “home away from home’s” through First in Flight Entertainment and especially Letters From Home. The family I have grown to love on the road is something indescribable, and something I am so grateful for.
Three Oaks, Michigan is one of those places that is a “second home”. Our bombshell duo show has performed there for the past 2 years on Flag Day, and this year, we had the honor of participating in the Three Oaks Flag Day Parade (the largest flag day parade in the WORLD)! On that trip, we won the “most patriotic float” award that proudly sits in my dance studio in Chicago. The town is beautiful, patriotic and warm.
Mike Shannon and his beautiful wife Chrissy are some of the most beautiful souls I have ever met, and are the ones who invited us to Three Oaks two years ago with the assistance of the incredible Tracy Jones. Mike is not only the commander of the American Legion, but him and his wife both run an amazing restaurant in downtown Three Oaks called the Viola Café. Looking much like the handsome actor Sam Elliot, Mike is a life-loving individual with a great heart. If you’re ever in the area, you’ve got to go by their place for breakfast…. It’s incredible!
On flag day this year, we spent time with the most recent Medal of Honor recipient, James McCloughan, who spoke at the opening ceremonies for the parade. His patriotism would give you chills and move you to be a better American! His Army awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal with “V” device and Oak Leaf Cluster, the Purple Heart with Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the Good Conduct Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with three Bronze Service Stars, the Army Valorous Unit Citation, National Defense Service Medal, the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with “60” Device, the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with palms and one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Combat Medical Badge, and the M16 Expert Rifle Badge. It was amazing to have him at our show, and get to know him throughout the weekend.
Another amazing man from the area is Roger Batton, who has a company called Indigan Storytellers. His mission is to create an enduring, supportive community of individuals who gather for the purpose of storytelling and to advance the art of storytelling, and he does just that! Roger not only does his own storytelling, but encourages others through his popular workshops for all ages. He’s currently performing abroad, but will be back in the states in October… you can (and should!) check him out at www.indiganstoryteller.org.
One of our favorite fans from Three Oaks is a young man by the name of Aydan. Though he just turned 9 last week, when you speak to this young man, you realize you’re talking to an old soul. We were coming back from a tour on the East Coast this week, and Nelson, Lisa and I made a special trip to Three Oaks to surprise Aydan for his 9th birthday… and he was truly completely and totally surprised! His family told him he was just stopping by the American Legion to visit his grandpa which was a regular thing they did, and the face he made when I turned the corner and came out singing was priceless! To know a 9 year old who truly appreciates not only the music but understands the history of the 1940s is simply beautiful.
One of the main reasons why I love living on the road are places like Three Oaks. I will never tire of those smiling faces, warm hugs and good hearts of my touring family.