Area family the focus of Homestead Rescue episode

Published 8:30 am Thursday, March 16, 2023

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Last fall, residents of Meherrin and the surrounding areas got a surprise, as Discovery Channel crews paid a visit. One local family was the spotlight for an episode of Homestead Rescue, which ran last week on tv. It’ll also be available soon on the Discovery+ app.

In light of the pandemic and everything that has followed, the idea of homesteading has become more popular as more people are interested in living independently. For one local family, their dream of homesteading became a reality.


Homestead Rescue is a television show on Discovery that follows Marty, Matt and Misty Raney as they help families across the country with their homestead. They go all across the country to look for homesteaders who have a dream of becoming more self-reliant and see if they can help make it a reality.

Marty Raney is an expert survivalist and craftsman. He works on the series with his son Matt and daughter Misty. The show follows the family traveling to Alaska, Wyoming, Tennessee, Vermont and more. This fall they made a trip to Virginia as a family in Meherrin received some needed help for their homestead. This episode focused on the Jones-Thompson family who was living in a bus until the homestead was complete. Lucretia Jones and Khalid Thompson had sent their son to live with his grandmother until they could get on their feet and the Raneys wanted to reunite the family.

According to Marty Raney, this is common for folks to start homesteading on their land in mobile homes while they save up money to build a better home and then their dream home while getting their land together. It’s a long and hard process which is why the Raneys want to help where they can.

“Often they get on the property with big dreams and then when the money runs out it takes a while,” Marty said. “Living paycheck to paycheck to get enough to build a cabin can take a while and then they can save to build the dream house, but it’s more important than a big house. Homesteading brings peace of mind, freedom and fresh air which are all common threads to a heart of a homesteader.”


Pictured, from left, Marty Raney and his daughter Misty were part of the Homestead Rescue crew helping a Meherrin family get back on their feet.

Many things on television, especially reality-based television, are not as it seems on the camera. However, when the Raneys meet the family on the show for the first time it is real. According to Marty, there was no communication before they pulled into the Jones-Thompson’s driveway. They get to know the family and walk the land all the same time. He noted that this was a special couple which is why they were happy to help.

According to Marty, he has done many episodes, but he will not forget this one. He said it wasn’t just the couple that made an impact. The community came together to help and, according to Marty, this project would have failed if it wasn’t for the help from neighbors and strangers.

“Without the help of these strangers, the episode would have tanked or we could have left them in worse shape than before,” Marty said. “I don’t know if it was a South or Virginia thing, but the neighbors, they made it happen.

The episode “Bus, Sweat, and Tears” aired at 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 7, on Discovery. It’ll soon be available through the Discovery+ app.