BY MICHAEL REISIG –
Troy Lunsford was born and raised in Polk County. He grew up in the area fishing and hunting, like so many other young folks, graduating from Mena High School in 1990. But unlike many young people, who have to search for direction at that point, Lunsford knew what he wanted to do.
“I guess I can remember as a kid, going to Northside Food Center and watching the big guy in the meat department do what he did – I was fascinated with the butcher. I just knew then what I wanted to be,” Lunsford recalled. “I’ll admit I tried a couple of other things, but I just always had my eye on that butcher, and that’s what I wanted to be. Of course I grew up as a country boy, hunting deer and processing them, which just seemed natural to me.”
The idea of processing animals was a major calling to Lunsford, but he had another, more important calling – he will tell you that everything he has accomplished or received has come to him through the hand of God and Jesus Christ. In fact, his business name, “TNL” comes from the words, “Trust in The Lord.”
Lunsford met his wife at a church social when they were 18, and they were married in 1992. The Lunsfords have two children.
“My family is an important part of my life, and they are involved in my business as well, and there’s not a day I don’t get up and look forward to what I do,” he added. “I grew up in a loving home, and my family is part of, an extension of, this business. My Dad, (Terry) is the ‘outside man’, and my brother, Trent, also works with us. This will be our eighth season. We’re not just a deer processing company, we’re a full service custom processer, but we’re not a retailer. We simply have our customers bring us their animals – deer, hogs, bear, elk, and we custom process to their specs.”
Lunsford said they’re a little ways outside of town but it’s worth the drive (located off Highway 88 East on County Road 71).
“We’ve always believed it’s not where you’re located but how good you are at what you do,” He continued. “It’s a physical profession – if you notice, butchers are mostly big men. It’s the way of the business. That’s another reason it works for me.”
But God is important as well in Lunsford’s life, and he believes that it is Him who guides his way.
“God came into my life about 11 years ago,” he explained. “I always knew The Lord, and grew up in a Christian family, but I lacked that real personal relationship. I did youth ministry and worked with Brother Gene Stacks. I knew God but I hadn’t surrendered myself, and called Him my Lord.
“It was a personal thing, not related to any denomination necessarily,” Lunsford said. “I just took off the rose colored glasses and saw him without any prejudices. I took Him at His word, without adding or taking away. I discovered that I’m not a finished work, I’m a work in progress. I’m an elder at my church now – Koinonia (the Greek word for fellowship), and I’ve been an active part of this fellowship for 11 years, and an elder for eight years.
“I have lived away from Mena, but in that time I realized how much I love this place,” he continued. “It’s my home. I could make a lot more money living elsewhere, but it’s worth the sacrifice to live in Polk County. The people here are the salt of the earth, and this will be my temporary residing place until The Lord takes me home.”