Carson City residents share stories of hope, inspiration for national campaign

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

Jim Grant / Nevada Appeal

Although he has been writing since he was about 5 years old, J. Paul Horgan’s epiphany came decades later.

“I realized there were two things the world desperately needed,” he said. “And we need them today even more than we needed them then. We need inspiration, and we need comedy.”

Thirty years later he has written more than 100,000 poems, focusing on history, nature and political satire, among other themes.

He shared a Dr. Seuss-style verse Monday at the Carson City Library as part of the Mutual of Omaha’s Aha Moment Tour, which is visiting 20 cities throughout the summer to collect life-changing moments of hope and inspiration from people across America.

Participants who share their “aha” moments might be featured in a new 30-second television ad that will begin airing next spring.

Horgan, who often shares his work while giving tours of the Mackay Mansion in Virginia City, recited a springtime poem.

“It’s got bats eating upside-down cake while hanging from the eaves,” he said. “It’s a pretty good one.”

More than a dozen people stopped by Monday to share their moments of inspiration.

“We had a lot of stories that really tugged on the heartstrings,” said Spencer Beavers, associate producer. “We had a couple that were really intense.”

Traveling more than 7,300 miles, four crew members tour in a custom-built 34-foot Airstream trailer designed as a mobile video-recording studio. In its three-year run, the tour has captured more than 3,000 people sharing their “aha” moments, with the videos shared socially and posted to the campaign website.

Tammy Westergard, deputy director of the Carson City Library, said her moment of realization came while filling out a grant application for the library.

“You bring about what you talk about,” she said.

As she reviewed the goals set forth in the application, she said, she realized the library had accomplished them all.

The recording studio will be in the parking lot of the library until 6 p.m. today. Reservations may be made online, and walk-ups are also welcome.


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