Called to the Mountains: The Story of Jean L. Frese
In her own words, retired Salvation Army Major Jean Lorraine Frese shares her life story and her call to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. She invites the reader to travel with her into isolated hollows, laugh with her as she faces mountain traditions, and praise God with her as she recounts her years of spreading the gospel. Through interviews and many pleasant hours spent with her cousin, author Gretchen Griffith gives a compelling account of Major Jean’s service in the mountain mission. The book offers a glimpse into a faith-filled world based on Christian dedication and love. Gretchen remembers listening to these tales as a child at Thanksgiving Day family gatherings and now has recorded them in Called to the Mountain as an honor to her family.
From photographs to book cover…
Photograph by Bonita Swanger
Cover photography design by Andrew Pitts PhotographyCover design Brian Thigpen
In 2002 the 66th Annual Salvation Army’s Singing on the Mountain was dedicated to Major Jean Frese, for her love and service to the mountains.
The North Carolina Society of Historians2014 President’s AwardThis award is presented to a person, group or project which is deemed the president’s personal choice of all the awards presented in 2014, and after the winning entry has received recognition from our judges by unanimous decision.I learned a great deal from reading this book and a new light was ignited inside of me that made me realize that, even though times get rough, my faith will carry me through. Times were rough for this special lady, Major Jean Frese, but she fought back with her entire being and had me cheering for her as she overcame many obstacles…much greater than any I have yet suffered…and she emerged a better person. I love to help people, and this was her calling. I love the Lord and my faith is dear to me…she does, too, and her faith is reflected in everything she has done and continues to do.I have always supported the Salvation Army in any way I was able to. I have read a lot about their programs, but I have never actually become ‘close’ to a member of the group…until now. Reading Called to the Mountains: The Story of Jean L. Frese by Gretchen Griffith, touched my heart right up to the end…. Jean’s last words in this book are, “Thank you Lord for bringing me to the mountains.” My last words are, “Thank you Lord for bringing us Jean Frese and allowing her to touch so many lives, more than she would ever imagine; and thank you for gifting Gretchen Griffith with such talent that she can chronicle Major Frese’s life story to this grateful reader.”Elizabeth Sherrill, President, The North Carolina Society of Historianshttp://www.ncsocietyofhistorians.org/2014_Winners.php
The North Carolina Society of Historians 2014 Ethel W. Twiford Religious History AwardJudges’ Collective Comments: This book chronicles the amazing life of a simple woman, who through trials and tribulations, faith and strength, gave as much as she was given. Ms. Frese is real. She is a person the reader can identify with. There is no pretense involved, only the blunt truth. It is the story of a woman of tremendously strong character with a desire to become more, often settling for what life dealt, but making the most of every situation. Her realization that God was with her, protecting her, offering her opportunities to go forward in the right direction, was refreshing. Ms. Frese had no doubt as to what she had been put on this earth for – to glorify God. Frese’s connection to the Salvation Army in North Carolina was enlightening. We have always been aware of the “soldiers’” presence; however, we have not taken any in-depth looks into the movement itself.Gretchen Griffith has written the story as told to her by Jean L. Frese, and she has used Ms. Frese’s own style and dialect. After reading the book, we felt as if we had known her and shared her ups as well as her downs. While this book is about the life of Ms. Frese, it draws in a great deal of North Carolina Smoky history – mountain history; and we are really glad it did. Because of Ms. Frese’s living and working there in the ‘mountain mission,’ we got to know her as well as her beloved mountains. This opened up a lot of doors for us and we were able to learn a lot more than we knew.http://www.ncsocietyofhistorians.org/