PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. – In James Cameron’s 1997 record-shattering movie “Titanic,” the character “Rose” – played by Kate Winslet – was the primary reason the movie is still regarded today as one of the most romantic films ever produced. Titanic Museum Attraction’s own “Rose” will be making a special appearance in Pigeon Forge during Sweetheart Month.
Titanic Museum Attraction’s Rose is actually Randi Shetley of Fowler, Kan., who has a story as amazing as the character from the movie that she plays. The daughter of a minister and missionary, Shetley moved regularly throughout the Midwest while growing up and at an early age felt she too was meant to do missions work.
“My parents had been involved in international adoptions,” Shetley said. “My husband and I decided before we were even married that we wanted to adopt children, too.”
With two biological children of their own, Alexis and Zion, Shetley and her husband, Shane, proceeded to adopt 4-year old Tyson and 6-year old Megin in 2003 after traveling to Ethiopia. About four years later, after discovering that Megin had an older biological brother still in Ethiopia, the Shetley’s traveled back to adopt 11-year old Tem.
Today, Shetley and her husband (who is also a pastor) continue to support Visiting Orphans, a non-profit group based in Nashville, Tenn. and regularly take 10-day to two-week trips to foreign countries to spend time with, help and minister to orphaned children around the world. For details about the Visiting Orphans program, see www.visitingorphans.org.
If raising five children wasn’t enough, Shetley also serves as a substitute teacher and teaches drama at Barclay College in Kansas. While in junior high school, Shetley started a lifelong love for the performing arts, and eventually graduated from Friends University in Wichita, Kan. with a degree in theater.
“I simply love my life,” Shetley said. “I get to go to the wonderful Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge and play dress-up as ‘Rose’ and literally – immediately after I leave Pigeon Forge – catch a flight to Ethiopia where I will spend two weeks ministering to orphans. Who else gets to do that kind of thing?”
Shetley will appear as “Rose” at the Titanic Museum Attraction Thursday, Feb. 10 through Valentine’s Day, Monday, Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. daily.
Throughout the entire month of February, Titanic Museum Attraction celebrates and honors the love stories from the Titanic (twelve couples onboard the ship were on their honeymoon!) with special events and a “Retie the Knot” contest. To enter the contest, which is open now through Feb. 13, 2011, simply tell us your amazing love story and you could win a FREE two-night stay at Wilderness at the Smokies resort and a complete vow renewal ceremony on the Titanic Museum Attraction’s $1 million Grand Staircase. Find out more about “Retie the Knot” here.
Although it has been open less than a year, the Titanic Museum attraction already is recognized as one of the Great Smoky Mountain Region’s top attractions, and draws 100,000 visitors each and every month. The Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. is open daily at 9 a.m. Reservations are strongly suggested (many days sell out entirely). Or, passengers may purchase tickets online at www.titanicpigeonforge.com or by phone at 800-381-7670.