Church media director shares iconic, forgotten Ash Grove, Missouri history via skills picked up at vo-tech school

ASH GROVE, Mo. – Jacob Ruchotzke had no idea what he wanted to do in life – until, at 19, his parents inspired him to learn a trade.

Now, equipped with a year’s worth of hard-earned video production and editing skills acquired at a vocational-technical school in Kansas City, Ruchotzke is the media director at Ash Grove Assembly of God – and says he is using his talents to enhance his community’s knowledge of its rich history.

“What better way to minister to your community than to show them you care about the history?” he asks. “There is not really anything spiritual to it, but I’ve found whenever you put your hands to work for the Lord, it doesn’t matter what you are doing; it will yield fruit and impact people. It touches the hearts of people. It’s an outreach. It’s a ministry.”

The media creator says his pastor came up with the idea at a Chamber of Commerce meeting and suggested Ruchotzke contact the mayor of Ash Grove, Caleb Smith. Smith was instrumental in providing help, and connected Ruchotzke with local historian Mike Busekrus.

Busekrus is a seasoned researcher and is superintendent of the Nathan and Olive Boone Homestead, a State Historic Site. Nathan Boone was the youngest son of legendary pioneer Daniel Boone. The son played his own iconic role in Missouri as a soldier, surveyor, businessman and hunter.

Busekrus and Ruchotzke typically meet up to discuss which historical accounts they will cover next. Bullet points are created for each story, while Busekrus comes up with his own narrations.

“He’ll go on for 30 minutes and talk about history and the depths of stuff,” Ruchotzke says. “Then I go in and edit it after the fact and trim it down to key bullet points that make it a nice concise and shorter video. The idea was to produce historical videos for the future generations from Ash Grove and to make an impact in this community.”

To date, the two-man team has covered the beginnings of their community and a timeline of Christmas happenings from Ash Grove’s past. Ruchotzke tells The Heartlander he would love to hear more historical accounts from locals who would like to share details. 

The goal is to create one video per month. Additionally, the graphic designer says he plans to create an upcoming presentation about the infamous Ma Barker – a farm girl born in Ash Grove, who, legend has it, turned into a gangster matriarch, though Ruchotzke says there are contradicting stories about Barker’s legacy and he hopes to find the facts.

To view the Youtube videos, click here

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