Aaron Ball recalls sitting on the sunlit back porch of his great grandmother’s farmhouse as a young boy in Andalusia, Alabama, listening intently as the old family camcorder recorded her. His father asked the good-natured matriarch questions about her life lessons from difficult times, about her fondest memories and most meaningful family heirlooms. “Back porch interviews,” as Aaron calls them, are a primary technique he now uses to capture authentic and compelling stories as an archivist and communications’ consultant. He explains, “The term is personal archiving. It’s about capturing details that are meaningful to individuals and companies, organizing them, and preserving the best of your culture to inspire the next generation.”

Aaron is the co-founder of MediaTech Direct, Inc., a business that accomplishes this goal of archiving through consulting and publishing, using innovative technology that combines print and video. Aaron’s company, co-founded with his business partner in Melbourne, Australia, offers photo books and brochures that feature an ultra-thin, video screen built inside.

Aaron has served as a member of the Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation board for two years, involvement he considers an honor, particularly in light of his recent personal experience. He saw firsthand the quality and depth of personalized treatment provided by Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital when his beloved, 90-year-old grandmother was admitted. “Every member of her care team looked after my grandmother with genuine concern and compassion,” says Aaron. “Her care really was a ministry, and that’s what sets Sacred Heart apart.”

Aaron is a vocal advocate for Ascension Sacred Heart. He feels it important to frequently remind people that 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to help people in need, which is very rare. “Donors never pay for administrative costs to run the Foundation.” Aaron has published a number of personal videos online highlighting donor dollars at work — including the opening of the Studer Family Children’s Hospital. He describes his volunteer experiences with the foundation as an invaluable opportunity to learn first-hand from the “gold standard” of area philanthropic organizations. Looking to the future, Aaron hopes the foundation will “lean in” to even greater collaboration with causes throughout the community, saying, “We grow by helping others grow. There is no other group that has the contacts, resources and generous donor base that our Foundation has.”

When not building business, Aaron lives as closely as possible to the farming lifestyle of his heritage. He and his young family reside on a 15-acre pecan orchard and animal sanctuary in Molino, Florida that serves folks as an outdoor gathering space for weddings and private events. “Family Orchard Farms is becoming a restorative destination that welcomes people from all walks of life, especially during difficult times like these.”

 


This is an excerpt from Stories from the Heart. Click to read more.

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