When Randy Lanham’s name is mentioned, most conjure up the image of Lanham and a bluegrass instrument since he is involved with so many outreach music programs in the community. But since 2011, Lanham has also been serving the community through Volunteer Owensboro.
Co-founded by Lanham and Wayne Morris, the organization was originally called Help Someone, but Lanham said no one could remember the name. Five years ago, they rebranded to Volunteer Owensboro.
Lanham said he has always known he lived in a great community where many people wanted to help others and organizations in need, but they were unaware how to reach out.
“I’ve always been a dreamer,” Lanham said of his idea to pair those who want to volunteer with local nonprofits. “I started asking, ‘What can we do to get rid of the barriers [that keep people from volunteering]?’ There is no excuse why there shouldn’t be a waiting list to help.”
With dreams beyond Help Someone, Lanham took to the local radio stations to promote local nonprofits and their needs. He created a newsletter and social media pages and began recording public service announcements.
“You have no idea how many people would tell me they heard about something on the radio,” Lanham said. “People love to hear stories.”
More than four years ago, Lanham said that God put it in his heart — and wouldn’t leave him alone — to educate more people in another way. Along with Morris, Lanham reached out to then-Time Warner Cable regarding a local, daily show about “local heroes who did inspiring things, doing unselfish things.” Lanham said they didn’t have to be affiliated with a nonprofit.
The show’s conception was loosely based on “Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe,” Lanham said of the nationwide show where audiences learn about businesses and the host becomes involved for a day.
After three years, the local station closed and the show — as it was then — also ended. However, around that time, Kentucky Educational Television (KET) approached Lanham about a show that highlighted nonprofits around the state. Lanham walked in the shoes of a volunteer for a day in the series episodes.
The show, “Voluntour Kentucky” ran a 12-episode season that began in January 2019. Lanham and crew went around the state covering different topics, including Exit 0 Homeless Outreach, Knottsville Fire Department, Morgantown Care and Rehabilitation Center and Hospice of Western Kentucky.
“I kept thinking, ‘This is so much fun, such a blast, but how can I step it up?’” he said.
So, for 2020, he rebranded to “Project Volunteer” and asked Theresa Rowe to co-host. He said their personalities work well together, almost like a brother-sister relationship. Lanham and his team of Morris and Brian Snyder built their production abilities with better cameras and audio equipment “to look as good as possible.”
Beginning in March, KET will show “Project Volunteer” three times a day and NRB TV — a national Christian station — will air the show beginning April 1.
The season will have 12 episodes, which have already been filmed.
The opportunity to take the program national excites Lanham because he said that it opens the programming up more.
“We are planning to do more traveling, working to get a bigger budget and reaching out to other nonprofits around the country,” he said.
In between creating, taping and editing the show, Lanham will continue to juggle his musical outreach programs and his private music lesson schedule.
“I’m not sure how, but it’s going to work out,” he said.