By Mike Steely

If you are a fan, like I am, of the TV reality show “Survivor” you may want to tune in on Wednesday, September 25 at 8 p.m. to catch the new season of the popular series begin. I’m been a fan for many years. Often my sister, a long time California resident, and I talk on the phone about the show. I relay to her my thoughts and vice-versa. My wife and I have followed the show since it began and rooted for Knoxville’s Tina Wesson and “Coach” Benjamin Wade.

This year Survivor carries me way back to my childhood with memories of an old friend.

Woodbine and Rocksholds, Kentucky are small rural communities off the main road on state Highway 26 without any real claims to fame. Maybe a strong-willed woman is what it will take to put both of them on the map, so to say.

Elaine Stott from Whitley County, Kentucky, will be making her debut on Survivor this week.

Elaine Stott’s biography on the CBS Survivor website indicates she is 41, from Woodbine and lives on a farm in Rockholds, just north of Williamsburg. She’s a farm manager, a factory worker, and she’s a relative of my old friend from Williamsburg City School, James David (Jim) Stott.

Now, the Stott name isn’t one of the largest families from that area so when I saw that name, it caught my attention. I knew she and Jim must be related. I’ve stayed in touch with Jim by Facebook and I messaged him about Elaine. He said he’d got some calls about her when he replied to me.

“Will wonders never cease. She’s my first cousin, granddaughter of Uncle Paul,” he replied.

Jim went on to say that Elaine has three brothers and Jim’s cousin, Rosemary, helped raise her.

“She has a college degree in Physiology and lives on a farm. She is the caregiver of my Uncle Paul’s farm,” he noted.

Jim  was a good friend through my 10 years of school there before my family moved to Florida. He went on to college, married, taught school, was a superintendent, and retired. But to me the tall teenage boy will always be a high school basketball player and magician. He’s still a magician, does shows, and has his own magic company.

His cousin, Elaine, likes four wheeling, fishing and taking her boat to the lake. She said in a Survivor interview she is independent, stubborn and kind.

Asked what her accomplishments are she said, “Stepping up and taking care of my loved ones when they needed me.”

When she was asked what past Survivor contestant she was the most like Elaine said, “I think I am most like Rupert, rough and raw on the outside and a big marshmallow on the inside. He seemed to be a very nice person just like me.”

Anyone on Survivor from my home area, especially from Woodbine and Rockholds, Ky., with the great family name of Stott, is reason enough to tune in WVLT on Wednesdays evenings. Plus, this year, former winners Boston Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine are going to give some inspiration and sneaky strategy tips to the contestants.