This article originally ran in the Cleveland Daily Banner on July 10, 2019
Trek Thru Truth is growing in its community support, and countless business owners, including Jonathan Cantrell, are getting behind the future interactive biblical museum.
Cantrell serves as president and owner of Caldwell Paving, a business started by his grandfather in 1958. In addition to being a business owner, Cantrell is also a devout Christian, who regularly attends Redemption to the Nations Church.
It’s because of his strong faith that Cantrell found supporting a venture like Trek Thru Truth to be an easy decision.
“I’ve known Doug and his wife Jill for years, and the past couple of years, they’ve really been getting their momentum with this museum going strong,” Cantrell said of Trek Thru Truth president Doug Caywood.
Cantrell also serves in Rotary Club with Caywood, and the two often cross paths because of their respective trades, paving for Cantrell and architecture for Caywood.
The two met to discuss Caywood’s plans and vision several years earlier, and while he believed it to be ambitious, Cantrell said — if done right — Trek Thru Truth would be incredibly successful.
While the museum is seeking donors who can contribute funding for the growing project, in-kind donations are also greatly appreciated, such as discounted rates off services, including paving by Cantrell’s team.
“As a Christian believer, I think the most amazing book ever written could have an awesome impact on the community overall if executed properly,” he said.
The various prototype exhibits and concept art already constructed have impressed Cantrell, and he feels the museum is headed in the right direction.
“We are thankful for Jonathan Cantrell and his in-kind contributions for this amazing ministry for Cleveland, Tennessee,” Caywood said. “The gifts, talents and generosity of individuals, families, churches and businesses are helping develop and build this children’s museum.”
Cantrell believes the museum’s location, between Nashville and Atlanta, will also be an excellent way to attract curious visitors to Cleveland. The area’s natural recreational opportunities, including hiking, swimming and rafting, will ensure visitors to the museum hang around a bit longer.
Cantrell has visited large, biblical attractions around the country with his family, such as the Museum of the Bible.
He said he believes it’s incredibly important for Christians, young and old, to have access to such wondrous and tangible representations of their faith in museums.
“The story is the same no matter what. That is showing the world the love of Jesus Christ in a way that ages 0-100 can understand,” Cantrell said.
Aside from working with Trek Thru Truth, Caldwell Paving is also heavily involved throughout the community. One example is working with the Norton Foundation through a program called Courts for Kids, which provides outdoor basketball courts for local schools that don’t have a court of their own. The courts are 60’x40’, and is paid for through the Norton Foundation.
Believing Cleveland to be growing bigger, better and stronger each day, Cantrell said attractions like Trek Thru Truth will serve to put the city on the map, and establish it as a legitimate tourist destination.
“Each of our donors thus far have joined in this capital campaign as they have caught the vision and see how they can leave their legacy while sharing the Bible with thousands of visitors each year for generations to come,” Caywood added.
Cantrell said having so many businesses support Trek Thru Truth only adds to the attraction’s credibility, and encourages reluctant business owners to feel secure in their support.
“We invite each Cleveland business to be a part of this project as the local economy will be impacted with over 150,000 visitors per year and a projected $10 million in direct and indirect annual impact,” Caywood stressed.
“This meshes well with the community. Even if you don’t follow the 10 Commandments from a Christian standpoint, I’m sure we can all agree that they’re all building blocks of society which produce good citizens,” Cantrell said. “This is a great way to shine our light out into the world.”