Erlan Aristides Martinez and his wife Mima Fabiola Castro made some crucial decisions in their lifetimes, decisions that have forever changed not only their lives, but those of their sons.
Martinez and Castro now live in Bristol, Tennessee, thousands of miles from their place of birth: Tegucigalpa, the capital of Honduras.
In 2010, Michael Luchtan set out on an adventure to Mexico, hoping to learn Spanish and study Mexican heritage through its music. Along the way, he hoped to find connections to his own culture.
In 2016, Rodrigo Guridi came to East Tennessee State University from Uruguay to continue his music studies. His friend Diego Núñez would later follow.
Through Arrabal, a tango trio born from the three men’s love of music, Luchtan’s goals have been realized.
“Music doesn’t know about borders,” Núñez said. “People used to cross borders and music would just go with the people.”
Limestone, Tennessee, is a small farming community. Most of its businesses are auto repair shops, gas stations, a medical clinic, restaurants and a post office. CrossFit Glorified, owned by the Florez family, is the only fitness facility.
CrossFit is not just a business to Gustavo “Gus” Florez and his family: It’s a passion.
Gus and his wife Lourdes owned and operated sports facilities and a premier competitive soccer program in Connecticut before deciding to move to Limestone to be with family. After moving they decided to start their own CrossFit affiliation. Their daughter Camila and nephew Samuel train with with them. Gus’ mother, Dennyr Florez, also does CrossFit training.
It all started in South Texas. As a kid, Esmeralda Lopez loved visiting “raspas,” street vendors selling finely shaved flavored ice with traditional Mexican toppings. In 2011, with daughter Sam graduating from high school, she saw an opportunity for a new business.
The summer after Sam’s graduation, her parents, Esmeralda and Miguel, bought her a food truck and helped her start what is today Sam’s Snoball Paradise.
"Let's go Devils! BLUE, BLUE, BLUE BLUE BLUE!" screams a line of girls in blue jerseys. The sun is starting to go down as the players on the sidelines cheer for their teammates on the soccer field. For the six seniors, this is the last home game before graduation. By the end of the game, the girls are on their feet, barely ahead. As the time runs out, the girls jump up to embrace one another in a massive huddle, celebrating a win for their last home game of the season.
Two years ago, Unicoi County High School didn't have a soccer team. Head coach Bettina Chirica has been surprised by the amount of community support for the new program.