COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Airman First Class Jamie Teachenor always heard the call, but it took him years to answer it.
“From a very genuine old-fashioned point of view, I just wanted to serve,” he said.
He felt that way ever since he was a teenager, but life had other plans.
Teachenor and his high school sweetheart, Jen, moved to Nashville after college so he could pursue a career in music.
It paid off.
He’s had multiple top 10 songs as a solo artist.
He’s done backup vocals for Blake Shelton, and he’s written for the likes of Luke Bryan, Trace Atkins, Trisha Yearwood, and Vince Gill.
“It was burning up every station it seemed like 1 million times a day,” said Teachenor of his first big hit, “How Do You Get That Lonely.”
“I couldn’t turn the station on without hearing it,” he said.
The story behind Teachenor’s biggest hit so far comes from a dark place, the true story of a teenager’s suicide.
Blaine Larsen recorded “How Do You Get That Lonely,” the song Teachnor wrote with Rory Feek.
It went platinum.
“I’ll never forget that moment. We sat there and we were like ‘We’ve done it. We’ve arrived.”
But here’s what means more to Teachenor than all the awards in the world.
“This young girl walked into her father’s bedroom and went to his nightstand because he kept a pistol there. She pressed that pistol to her temple. And then the song came on.”
That teenage girl listened to every word, and she made a different choice.
“She took the gun and gave it to her mother and told her what she was going to do, and said I heard this song and it made me think nobody knew that I was lonely.”
After tears and hugs, her mother called the radio station and that story got back to Teachenor.
That’s when he fully realized the power of music.
You might say that’s what led him to Peterson Air Force Base, where he’s now the lead singer of Wild Blue Country.
“I saw there was a chance to be a commercial country singer for the Air Force!” he said.
Jen quickly got on board.
“We both had family members who have served, so it was always important to us, but I think there was a little bit of a disconnect for our children,” she said.
Charlie and Lily, a little hesitant at first, soon followed their mother’s lead.
“I was like ‘Yay, we get to go somewhere and have an adventure’ and I was like ‘Man I’m going to miss my friends,'” Charlie said.
They’re the biggest reasons Jamie went down this path, trading his cowboy boots for camo.
Jen and Jamie are thrilled with the changes they’ve seen in their family since they moved to Colorado Springs and call this the best decision they’ve ever made.
“At 5 o’clock, when the day is over, they play the anthem,” said Jen. “When you’re outside, you’re supposed to turn and face the music. For them, if they’re inside they run outside and put their hands on their heart. They love the anthem.”
Jamie hopes his music inspires the next generation of service members, just as it has certainly inspired the next generation of Teachenors.