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February 5, 2014

Mountain Man makes surprise visits to Cohutta Baptist Church

John Bagley jokes that people can’t even usually find the small town of Cohutta on a map.

Bagley is the pastor of Cohutta Baptist Church, which has an average Sunday attendance of 80 to 100. He describes it as a “strong community church.” People who attend regularly know each other. People aren’t lost in a big crowd.

So a new face stands out — especially when that new face is covered in a big beard and recognized nationally.

Mountain Man, who is a semi-regular on the A&E show “Duck Dynasty” and a radio show host in Louisiana, attended a few worship services at Cohutta Baptist recently. Mountain Man is an air-conditioning repair man and radio host on KXKZ in Louisiana, who lives near the Robertsons, the family behind “Duck Dynasty.”

“He just showed up,” Bagley said. “He had been doing a promotion in Chattanooga.”

Mountain Man, whose real name is Tim Guraedy, asked people hosting him in Chattanooga for a church to attend, and someone recommended the small church in north Whitfield County, Bagley said.

“He’s a neat gentleman,” Bagley said. “He didn’t want the recognition of being a celebrity. He came in quietly and was well-received. He was thrilled he was out of the limelight and in the quiet.”

Mountain Man describes himself as a “country boy ... a redneck sticking to my roots,” on his website, mountainmansworld.com.

“I’ve never been a person to judge, or to hold grudges,” his website states. “I don’t hate anybody, and I don’t even have the ability to do so. I’ve always tried to treat others like I would like to be treated.”

Mountain Man slipped in quietly and acted like he was “one of us,” Bagley said. “One of our members got up the courage to ask him. ... Said you look a lot like Mountain Man on TV.”

Bagley’s 15-year-old daughter Haley said she had a conversation with Mountain Man about the Bible, “Duck Dynasty” and the Robertsons.

“He is really down to Earth,” she said. “Most people on TV, they don’t act like everybody else. They don’t really connect with people. He acted like everybody else. He didn’t make a big scene when he came in.”

Mountain Man slipped out of the church as quietly as he had slipped in, Bagley said. Then about three weeks later, members were pleased to see he had returned for another service.

“There is no question he has a very deep, settled faith,” Bagley said. “He’s an inspiration to the people around him. He’s a common individual. He’s not arrogant, not separated. ... I think he’s just like anyone else. He wants to grow in his faith, and he wants to be blessed and be a blessing to others.”

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