The Heel

By Fred Johnson
Executive Vice President and General Manager

Fred Johnson 2015 When people contact me about this column, it means a lot to me. Unless, of course, they are critical. In that case I simply conclude they don’t know what they are talking about. Just kidding! Frankly, it is fascinating to see what kinds of columns elicit the most response. The current reigning champion is the column from May 2014, entitled “Lessons from a Shoeshine.” Therefore, in an effort to wring more juice from the proverbial turnip, I have decided to expand upon it a bit. Proper credit must go to a distinguished gentleman from Birmingham, Alabama, by the name of William Benton who delivered a speech I heard about 30 years ago. His topic centered around this example. It made an impression. I am quite sure he expected to pop up again in such a magazine as this. The fact he pointed out — a fact I alluded to in my previous article — and the key point today is simply this: Never stop short of finishing a project.

In a shoeshine context, it is easy to comprehend how unsatisfactory it would be to do a great job everywhere else on the shoe but then neglect to finish the heel. That doesn’t mean it is necessarily an easy task. After all, the heel takes a beating. In my case, a really bad one. Consequently, for me that is usually the part that takes the most time to finish. Many of you will relate. It is quite often the last few steps of any difficult task that are the hardest to finish. It’s a legendary theme. Coaches consistently admonish their athletes to “finish the game.” Phrases like, “We’ve got to finish what we started” ring clearly in countless settings. We must never let the triteness of these admonitions obscure the importance of understanding what we should all know. Anything worth doing is worth doing right and worth finishing well.

FTC is about to polish one of our heels. We will finally complete our optical fiber upgrade by the end of this year. We will succeed in extending these world-class facilities to about 88 percent of our traditional cooperative membership. As I’ve pointed out several times, that is an increase of about 16 percent from the original 2007 projections. Sure, it took longer than we wanted, but we succeeded in getting to that point with the same dollars we had to work with when we originally started out. The extra time was certainly worth it.
By the way, we haven’t forgotten the other 12 percent. There are plans to make sure they have world-class broadband, too. After all, that’s another task we do not intend to leave undone. I encourage you to check past issues of Connected and our Annual Report (all available online) for a more full discussion of those plans. In all of this there is a great sense of satisfaction in knowing we made the right call for our members and are finishing the task well.

And now, we return to the shoe. I am sure most of you will agree with the simple importance of finishing what we start. After all, you are intelligent readers. However, just in case you need a little added boost, I would like to appeal to your vanity. Imagine a brilliantly polished and shiny shoe … walking away from you. What is the last thing you are going to see? The heel, right? Wouldn’t it be sad to do a masterful job on a wonderful and worthy task only to have the last thing people remember seeing be a scuffed-up mess?
So, my friends, let us all go check out those heels!

Shop safe

Hand holding mobile

Protect your money, and identity, with a few simple tips

With the holiday bustle, who doesn’t want to find the easiest way to fill the space beneath the Christmas tree? It’s the season when stores offer up some of the best deals of the year. And broadband Internet can make shopping a breeze.

But shopping online is not without risk. Follow a few simple guidelines to make shopping, whether online or in person, during the busy holiday season a hassle-free experience.

Avoid paying with debit cards

Credit card companies generally have policies in place to protect you from paying for something you didn’t buy. However, a debit card linked directly to a checking account can make it more difficult to get your money back. So, consider using a credit card as the better payment option. Also, be sure to check your account balance often.

Purchase from retailers you know and trust

While there are countless retailers on the Web, the safest bet is to buy from companies with which you are already familiar or already do business. Most well-known major online stores are safe, but be sure you are on an official website.

Use a separate email account for online shopping

Consider setting up a separate email address just for signing up to websites or when shopping online. That way, your work and personal inboxes won’t fill up nearly as fast with ads, coupons and offers.

Use caution when accessing free Wi-Fi in public

Hackers and identity thieves sometimes target connections in airports, malls and coffee shops. Please understand, it’s fine to choose public Wi-Fi for casual use, but avoid making transactions or logging into personal accounts on this type of connection.

Yes, shopping online has its risks — but so does shopping in a crowded mall. Regardless of how you prepare for the holidays, know the risks, limit your exposure and monitor your accounts.

Giving time is the best gift

By Melissa Smith

Giving back to your community is one of the best ways to utilize free time, and it helps teach the power of helping others. There are many organizations that encourage volunteer involvement. Consider the benefits of getting involved in your community and giving your time to these deserving organizations.

Bread of Life

Bread of Life Community Ministries was founded in 2009 when a group of churches of several denominations in and around Fort Payne and DeKalb County met to discuss the goal of creating a stable source of food for those in need. The economy had taken a hit, and the recession was taking a toll on many in the region. The ministry was seen as a way to provide a nutritious hot meal to hungry folks and to provide a sense of community and encouragement during hard times.

Now, located in the old elementary cafeteria at Fort Payne City Hall, the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen serves a hot meal from 11:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. To learn more contact Peggy Bledsoe at 256-997-6990.

Children’s Advocacy Center

The DeKalb County Children’s Advocacy Center’s mission is to “provide hope and healing for abused and at-risk children.” The center provides therapy and forensic interviews, as well as parent education and family violence prevention.

The CAC sponsors many community events throughout the year, such as the Singing with the Stars competition, co-sponsored with Teddy Gentry of famed country band Alabama. There is also a golf tournament, along with the Holiday Market. The annual Dinner Theatre requires many volunteers to help serve food to attendees. The program runs for seven nights, and local groups and individuals are encouraged to participate. Call 256-997-9700 for more information about how to get involved.

Optimist Club

“The mission of the Fort Payne Optimist Club is to bring out the best in local youth, the best in our communities, and the best in ourselves,” says Brian Baine, president of the Fort Payne Optimist Club. The club promotes patriotism, encourages respect for the law and tries to instill optimism in youth. It offers many chances for members to serve in the community: giving out hot chocolate at the Fort Payne Christmas Parade and donating to make the splash pad in the Alabama Walking Park possible. But, the biggest event is Race to Embrace, which is in April. Race to Embrace is a day of fun for special needs citizens of the community, and there are games and prizes. “We are always looking for more volunteers to help with Race to Embrace,” Baine says. The club is currently looking to increase membership and get more participation from the community. “I really want to highlight the youth,” Baine says. Anyone under the age of 30 can join for just $30 their first year. For more information about how to volunteer or get involved, call Baine at 256-996-4101.

United Givers Fund

The United Givers Fund of DeKalb County was incorporated in 1958. The UGF currently works with 10 agencies that serve DeKalb County residents: DeKalb County American Red Cross, The ARC of DeKalb County, Boy Scouts of America — Greater Alabama Chapter, CASA of DeKalb County/ CASA — Helping Hands, Fort Payne — DeKalb Child Development Center, Girl Scouts of North Central Alabama, Kelley’s Rainbow, Partnership for a Drug Free DeKalb, Salvation Army and United Service Organization. Fundraising for the organizations is carried out by volunteers. For more information about how to become a volunteer, call 256-845-4006.

Habitat for Humanity

Habitat for Humanity has worked to better the lives of individuals, our families and the community for 27 years. Anyone over 16 years old may volunteer at construction sites. Volunteers under the age of 18 need a parent or guardian to sign a waiver. Volunteers don’t necessarily have to have any skills or experience in home construction, and all tools are provided. Most of the building work in DeKalb and Jackson Counties is scheduled on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For further information please send questions to

DeKalb Interfaith Medical Clinic

Open on Thursdays from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. No children under the age of 13 are eligible. A maximum of 15 patients can be seen, and it is a first come, first serve basis. Patients must be residents of DeKalb County and have no insurance. If patients do not speak English, please bring a translator of the same sex who is at least 18 years old. The clinic is at 917 Godfrey Ave. SE, Fort Payne. For more information, call 256-845-7955. The clinic is always looking for volunteers to help with paperwork, provide food and counsel patients. No medical experience is necessary. If you are interested in volunteering, please call Dr. Mike or Tammy Story at 256-845-3121 or Diane Smalley at 256-601-3191.


The mission of the ARC of DeKalb County is to protect the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes. There are several ways to support the local chapter of the ARC. Donations of items such as clothing or furniture are always welcome, as well as memorial gifts or monthly gifts. Contact Christy Wood for more information and how to volunteer at 256-845-0171.

Be Bryson Strong

By Melissa Smith

Bryson Richey, 13, invited friends over for a back-to-school sleepover. An ATV accident turned the August party into a tragedy.

Richey, along with his friends, were riding an ATV when the vehicle tipped over. Richey was trapped underneath. His three friends tried to find help.

Richey’s leg was severely injured, and he could not support any weight. Once emergency responders arrived, they flew the teenager by helicopter to Huntsville Hospital, where Richey underwent surgery to repair fractures and clean wounds.

A couple of days later, the doctors determined blood was not flowing to Richey’s leg from the calf and below, and it was amputated.

About 50 people were at the hospital during the surgery in support of Richey. Many coaches from DeKalb County, as well as athletes, visited the hospital. “It was amazing,” Bryson’s mother, Danielle, says. A special visitor who came was Brandon Williams. He is a 12-year-old boy who is also an amputee. He really encouraged Bryson.

Another amputee, Josh Dean, also visited Bryson. “He bought him a shower chair and lent us a wheelchair,” says Danielle.

Richey also received phone calls of encouragement from University of Alabama head football coach Nick Saban and Auburn University head football coach Gus Malzahn.

The calls and cards keep coming, and several churches and individuals have helped with medical expenses. “We stand amazed at the love people have for Bryson and how much they want to help him,” Danielle says.

Richey, an athletic boy who plays football, basketball and baseball at Plainview High School, is determined to get back on the field. In honor of his tenacity and spirit, the Bryson Strong 5K, Fitness Walk and Fun Run will be Nov. 8 at 2 p.m. at the Rainsville Civic Center. Bryson’s dad, Brian, has been a part of the FTC team for several years. His teammates have already taken several steps to support the family, and will take many more during the event. All proceeds from the run will go to the Bryson Richey Fund.

Richey had hopes of being able to run the race with a prosthetic, but he has a severe soft tissue injury that will take more time to heal. Now, Richey goes daily to the Marshall Medical Wound Healing Center for hyperbaric oxygen chamber treatments and wound care.

“I know God put us here for a reason — so we would have the support and love of so many kind people,” Danielle says.

For more information about how to register, check out the Bryson Strong 5K Facebook page.

A fundraiser will be held for 13-year-old Bryson Richey, who recently had part of his leg amputated after an ATV accident. (Photo by KC Photography.)

A fundraiser will be held for 13-year-old Bryson Richey, who recently had part of his leg amputated after an ATV accident.
(Photo by KC Photography.)

Deck your halls with security

Protecting what you love most is important year-round, but especially during the holidays. The last thing you need to worry about is whether or not your home and valuables are safe when you have celebrating to do, and FTC is here to help. FTC offers a full line of security devices to deter burglars and fire detection alarms for a peaceful sleep. Ring in the new year without worries! Call FTC today to set up an appointment to learn more.
In the meantime, test your knowledge with this security quiz.

  1. The total number of burglaries in Alabama in 2014 was:
    A) 17,498
    B) 29,248
    C) 34,592
    D) 40,183
  2. What is the most deadly month for house fires?
    A) September
    B) July
    C) January
    D) November
  3. Rank the most common times for a burglary to occur:
    A) 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
    B) Midnight to 3 a.m.
    C) Noon to 3 p.m.
    D) 6 a.m. to 9 a.m.
  4. In 2012, what percentage of burglars used forcible entry to get into a target home?
    A) 15 percent
    B) 28 percent
    C) 47 percent
    D) 64 percent
  5. The average dollar loss among homes where a burglary occurred in 2011 was:
    A) $330
    B) $884
    C) $1,493
    D) $2,120
  6. What age range had the highest amount of deaths from structure fires in Alabama during 2013?
    A) 60 to 69 years of age
    B) 50 to 59 years of age
    C) 40 to 49 years of age
    D) 10 to 19 years of age
  7. On average, how many house fires occur in the U.S. each year?
    A) 45,644
    B) 79,467
    C) 198,776
    D) 366,600
  8. What percentage of convicted burglars say they would attempt to see if their target had an alarm system?
    A) 12 percent
    B) 38 percent
    C) 45 percent
    D) 83 percent
  9. How long does a typical burglar take to break into a home?
    A) Less than 60 seconds
    B) Two minutes
    C) Four minutes
    D) More than 5 minutes
  10. What percentage of unsuccessful burglaries can be attributed to alarm systems?
    A) 18 percent
    B) 29 percent
    C) 51 percent
    D) 74 percent

Answers: 1:D, 2:C, 3:C,A,D,B, 4:D, 5:D, 6:A, 7:D, 8:D, 9:A, 10:D

Don’t let your family become a statistic!

FTC’s affordable security solutions offer 24/7 monitoring. Home automation features let you control things like the thermostat, lighting and door locks from your smartphone. Adding cameras will help you to keep an eye on your kids and pets, screen visitors at your door and monitor activity occurring around the interior or exterior of your home whenever and wherever you want. FTC has a security system for every lifestyle, budget and need. Schedule a consultation today! 256-638-2144

Sources: National Fire Protection Association, Alabama Criminal Justice Information Center, 2013 Crime Statistics, FBI “Crime in the United States”.

Broadband may be the greatest health care innovation for rural America


By Shirley Bloomfield, CEO
NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association

When we talk about the impact of broadband Internet access, we often focus on its importance to economic development, business growth and such. While it is absolutely an economic driver, broadband may also be just what the doctor ordered for rural America.

You will sometimes hear it referred to as telemedicine; other times, telehealth. Whatever you call it, the use of broadband technology is changing the way health care is delivered. And I believe we are only seeing the beginning.

For example, electronic medical records are allowing doctors to streamline care, especially for patients in rural areas. A patient who normally visits a rural clinic can be confident that their health information is accurate and up-to-date when they visit a regional hospital.

I wrote in the previous issue of this magazine about aging in place, noting that technologies such as videoconferencing, remote health monitoring and X-ray transmission are helping rural seniors stay at home longer. But the aging population is just one segment that can benefit from broadband-enabled applications.

Recently, I attended a technology showcase that focused on the interconnection between technology providers, health care providers and innovation in telemedicine. It was a fascinating conference that left my mind spinning with the possibilities for rural health care delivery.

We heard from a rural telecommunications provider who said small telcos are often too small to get the main contracts from the base hospitals, but that they have an important role in providing the local infrastructure and having the construction team on the ground. This has helped build the case for having a role in the large clinic and university hospital contracts in the future.

Hugh Cathey of the innovative company HealthSpot provided a real glimpse into what broadband can mean to all segments of society. His company has kiosks in several Rite Aid drug stores in Ohio where patients can walk in and be face-to-face with a healthcare professional via a video screen. These stations come outfitted with everything you need to receive a wide variety of remote treatments. The HealthSpot network has seen thousands of patients since May, for ailments such as allergies, cold and flu, bronchitis, cough, rashes, sore throat and fever.

With applications such as these, it’s easy to get excited about what the future holds for telemedicine. And with the great work being done by your telco and others like it who are building world-class broadband networks, we can know that rural America will not be left behind in this evolution.

Easy steps to help stop telemarketing calls!

If you are like most consumers, you are tired of being disturbed by telemarketing calls. There is help.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) have established a National Do Not Call Registry. Joining this registry can drastically reduce the number of telemarketing calls you receive.

Here are some important facts about the list:

  • Once registered, telemarketers have 31 days to stop calling your number.
  • You can register up to three non-business telephone numbers. You can register cell phone numbers; there is not a separate registry for cell phones.
  • Your number will remain on the list permanently unless you disconnect the number or you choose to remove it.
  • Some businesses are exempt from the Do Not Call Registry and may still be able to call your number. These include political organizations, charities, telephone surveyors and businesses that you already have a relationship with.

Strict Federal Trade Commission rules for telemarketers make it illegal to do any of the following regardless of whether or not your number is listed on the National Do Not Call Registry:

  • Call before 8 a.m.
  • Call after 9 p.m.
  • Misrepresent what is being offered
  • Threaten, intimidate or harass you
  • Call again after you’ve asked them
    not to

Adding your number to the Do Not Call Registry is easy!
Register online at or call 888-382-1222
For TTY, call 866-290-4236
You must call from the telephone number you wish to register.

Attention local business owners: You can be penalized for not following these FCC rules

When people think of telemarketing phone calls, they usually imagine them coming from distant call centers. But local businesses that make phone calls to customers or potential customers should be aware that the same National Do Not Call Registry rules and regulations apply to them.
The Do Not Call initiative, regulated by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC), requires telephone service providers to notify customers of the National Do Not Call rules and regulations.

If you are a company, individual or organization that places telemarketing calls, it is very important that you familiarize yourself with the operations of the National Do Not Call Registry. Unless you fall under one of the established exceptions, such as telemarketing by charitable organizations or for prior business relationships, you may not make telemarketing calls to numbers included in the National Do Not Call Registry.

For information regarding National Do Not Call regulations, visit the National Do Not Call registry at You can find the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission rules governing telemarketing and telephone solicitation at 47 C.F.R. § 64.1200 and 16 C.F.R. Part 310, respectively.

Beware of sales calls disguised as surveys

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) says they have received numerous complaints from individuals who report receiving deceptive sales calls. The callers identify themselves with Political Opinions of America and ask you to participate in a brief survey, usually consisting of about three questions. After answering the questions, the individual is transferred to someone offering them a bonus for participating in the survey — usually a sales pitch for a time-share disguised as a “free vacation.”

The FTC warns that if the purpose of the call is to try to sell something — even if it includes a survey — it is telemarketing and all Do Not Call Registry rules apply.

If you believe a call violates the FTC rules against telemarketing, you can file a complaint by calling 888-382-1222 or go to

Bowled Over

There’s more to bowl-game trips than football

As football season fades into history, host cities gear up for events that really score. Get ready for kickoff with a tour of the 2015 bowl games in cities across the South — which are great places to visit anytime.

December 23

GoDaddy Bowl; Mobile, Alabama; Ladd-Peebles Stadium

Let’s start your tour with the week leading up to the bowl game in Mobile. The focus is on the bowl’s eve and its Mardi Gras-style parade. Marching bands and cheerleaders from each bowl team will help pump up team spirit. The parade culminates in a giant pep rally on the waterfront at Mobile Bay. So don’t sit on the sidelines. Get into the action.

Other sights to see:

USS Alabama in Mobile Bay

USS Alabama
(Photo courtesy of USS Alabama Battleship Memorial Park)

The USS Alabama arrived in Mobile Bay in 1964 and opened for public tours a year later. Bill Tunnell, executive director of the USS Alabama Memorial Park, says bowl week is always a lot of fun for players and fans.

One of the best places to view Mobile’s historic past is at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception. The cathedral’s stained-glass windows date to 1890, so bring your camera. And this would be a good place to say a prayer for a successful Hail Mary near game’s end. The church is at 2 S. Claiborne St.

Where to eat: Regina’s Kitchen, 2056 Government St., a mile from the stadium. Best bet: muffuletta with a side of potato salad.

December 26

Camping World Independence Bowl; Shreveport, Louisiana; Independence Stadium

On our next stop, the days leading up to the bowl game see a marked change in the city of Shreveport. Fans sporting team colors are out in full force enjoying the many cool, old places to eat, drink and socialize along the riverfront. There will be a pep rally, which consistently draws big crowds. And there’s always been a free event for families: Fan Fest — a fun time with face painting, jump houses and more.

If you feel the need to shop, there’s no better place to go than Louisiana Boardwalk Outlets, home to 60-plus stores. “It’s probably the most-popular destination for football fans,” says Chris Jay, with the Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau.

Kids will enjoy spending time at Sci-Port: Louisiana’s Science Center. It’s always ranked in the top 10 of children’s science museums in the country.

Where to eat: Sam’s Southern Eatery, 3500 Jewella Ave., 0.7 miles from the stadium. One of the best spots in town for fried seafood. Favorite dish? It’s a coin toss between the 3N3 — three shrimp and three fish fillets — or the shrimp with red beans and rice.

December 30

Birmingham Bowl; Birmingham, Alabama; Legion Field

The journey continues as the year winds down. It’s one of the smaller bowl games, but don’t be blindsided by the fact that there will be as much play-by-play action off the field as on.
Bowl eve begins with the Monday Morning Quarterback Club Team Luncheon. The public is welcome, but tickets are required. Then, at 2 p.m., the Uptown Street Fest and Pep Rally kicks off a huge celebration with team bands, cheerleaders, players and live music.

And if you have time, make a drive to the Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum with its collection of almost 750 vintage and modern motorcycles and race cars.

Where to eat: Niki’s West Steak and Seafood, 233 Finley Ave. W, 2.7 miles from the stadium. Some of the best soul food in Alabama. Fried green tomatoes, turnip greens, stewed okra and white beans are favorite sides to daily entree choices.

December 30

Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl; Nashville, Tennessee; Nissan Stadium

Hot Chicken Eating World Championship (Photo courtesy of Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)

Hot Chicken Eating World Championship
(Photo courtesy of Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl)

The home of country music earns a stop on the itinerary. Last year’s Music City Bowl was one of the highest-attended in its 17-year history, and organizers are hopeful to repeat that success this year. To kick things off, there’s a battle off the field on game eve: MusicFest and Battle of the Bands. It begins with the Hot Chicken Eating World Championships, followed by a free concert at Riverfront Park. The evening ends with the two team bands “duking it out” on the streets.

While in town, be sure to make time for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, where the history of country music comes alive.

Where to eat: Manny’s House of Pizza, 15 Arcade Alley, 0.8 miles from the stadium. Creative pies are the trademark of this pizzeria, as well as great spaghetti and calzones. A local favorite.

December 31

Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl; Atlanta, Georgia; Georgia Dome

Don’t forget to plan a New Year’s Eve stop. When traveling to a city the size of Atlanta, deciding what venues to visit is difficult. And during bowl week, they’re often crowded. The Peach Bowl draws one of the largest of all bowl crowds. Visitors enjoy the restaurants, sights and sounds of The Big Peach, including the Peach Bowl Parade. Dozens of bands and floats pass through the streets.

To narrow down the playing field of other sights to see, there are two places near the Georgia Dome. The College Football Hall of Fame is a touchdown for football fans with its interactive exhibits and helmet and jersey collections. And for fishy folks, there’s the Georgia Aquarium and the inhabitants of its 10 million gallons of fresh and salt water.

Where to eat: Jamal’s Buffalo Wings, 10 Northside Drive NW, 0.7 miles from the stadium. Scramble over to Jamal’s for a football tradition: wings. It’s a hole-in-the-wall, but don’t let that stop you.

January 2

AutoZone Liberty Bowl; Memphis, Tennessee; Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium

Bash on Beale Pep Rally (Photo courtesy of AutoZone Liberty Bowl)

Bash on Beale Pep Rally
(Photo courtesy of AutoZone Liberty Bowl)

There’s nothing sad about ending a bowl season journey at the home of the blues. As if Beale Street wasn’t busy on any given day or night, it scores big with an undercurrent of excitement that builds as the Liberty Bowl teams come to town, exploding at the Bash on Beale Pep Rally. The area comes alive beginning at 3 p.m. with a parade featuring local bands, team bands, cheerleaders and more. When the parade ends, the pep rally begins. And this year, it all happens on Jan. 1, the day before the game.
And if there’s time in your schedule, don’t forget a tour of Graceland, as well as Sun Studios where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison and more sang the blues.

Where to eat: Soul Fish, 862 S. Cooper St., 1.4 miles from the stadium. The best catfish, Cuban sandwiches and fish tacos in Memphis, but the place scores an extra point for its oyster po’ boys.

Tech-Savvy Traveler:

As if the holidays didn’t provide enough excitement, it’s nearly time for an unending blitz of college bowl games. There are a few apps to help get us even further into the game. Team Stream is a popular sports news app by Bleacher Report. Want the latest scores and highlights? The ESPN app alerts you when your team scores. Searching for a social media society of sports fans? FanCred’s app could help visiting fans survive a trip into hostile territory.