News Sports Opinion Photos Social Classified Obits Contact
McMeen with his Emmy

Emmy winner makes Tallassee new home

By Michael Butler

Chad McMeen found Tallassee last year. His road here has had many interesting stops.

McMeen hails from Southern Illinois. His travels have taken the 49-year-old military retiree many places - even picking up an Emmy Award along the way.

"My daughter was applying for colleges," he said. "We knew we wanted to get out of the (Washington) D.C. area. That's where we retired. She was accepted to Troy. We started looking. We just lucked out. We're here and we love it."

McMeen served with the Marines.

"I joined in '92. I figured I'd do four years and go to college. That never happened. After four years, I was deejaying, doing photography and met the right people. I became a print journalist."

In all, McMeen put in 28 years with a broad array of work.

"I did a little bit of everything. I was editior of a newspaper and supported recruiting. It was a little of a marketing and advertising thing. I started doing radio shows and interviews. That led me to Hollywood. I moved to Westwood. I was working as a liason between movie productions and video games."

He worked with "Celebrity Bootcamp," a Fox reality series that featured stars like Lorenzo Lamas, Tiffany and TV's Greg Brady - Barry Williams.

"Bud Bundy, (a.k.a. David Faustino) was on there. It was pretty cool."

Being around celebs was "hit or miss" regarding the good and the bad with McMeen's personal experiences.

"There's usually a general military appreciation. Some are like, 'I don't care who you are. I want my coffee.' It was interesting, but I had to be aware of where I was. We'd be at a premiere of a movie and I'd be chatting with someone and turn around and there's John Woo or Tom Hanks.

"I would coordinate military audiences. When the "Price is Right" would do their military-themed show, I would get 50 Marines to fill the seats. Who knew that was a job?"

McMeen served as an air crew chief too. He was eligible for retirement when another opportunity arose.

"They said, 'Would you stay if we got you to Germany?' So, we went to Germany for three years. I went to 32 countries covering events doing crisis communication. I was deployed into Moldova to deter Russian aggression. They were creeping up on Ukraine."

His final stint brought him to the U.S. Capital.

"The Defense Media Activity are basically the communicators for all of (Department of Defense). I became the senior enlisted advisor. I retired and moved into a position running a D.O.D. Media Awards Contest. They made that remote because of COVID. That opened up my aperture of where I could move, so hello Tallassee."

And there is that Emmy thing, a thing that is secondary in McMeen's eyes to his other work.

"It's sitting at the house. I don't usually bring it out. I won it for being the director/producer of a military feature. You look back and say, 'How was this the highlight?' There have been so many cool moments."

McMeen and his team's award-winning video has had over 17 million views.

"We had a group of body bearers. Their motto is, 'We're the last to let you down.' There the ones that carry the casket. There's a ridiculous requirement in what they can lift. We were asked to get more recruits. We needed Marines from around the world to apply for that program. We wanted to highlight what they did in a cool and dramatic way."

McMeen and his family are adapting well to Alabama and like what they have seen thus far.

"It's much slower, lot less stress. I've spent a lot of evenings sitting in peace and quiet. Everywhere we've lived has been chaotic. It was always something. It's calm and nice. It's been a good change."