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Doomsday prepper ready for the end—and his close-up


By Melissa Robinson
Contributing Editor 

  Tornado, hurricane, flood, or even zombie apocalypse—McDonough resident Mark Sanders is ready for whatever catastrophe should strike Henry County.

McDonough resident, Mark Sanders is shown in front of his survival gear. He is going to be featured on the National Geographic program Doomsday Preppers.

Photo by Mickie Jackson

  In his “day job,” Sanders is a firefighter/EMT in metro-Atlanta, but he spends a great deal of time preparing for the inevitable end of civilization. Sanders is what one would call a “doomsday prepper” and will be featured on National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Prepper show. Now in its third season, the show features people who go to great lengths to prepare for an impending disaster, often of biblical proportions. Past shows have featured fortified bunkers, underwater caches, and other extreme preparation activities. Sanders’ episode is set to air as the season finale and will feature some well-known locations in Henry County, including the McDonough Square.

  A fan of the show since it began, Sanders answered a casting call and sent a video of his prepping activities. Obviously, show producers liked what they saw and decided to cast Sanders in the current season. Crews came to McDonough in October to film the episode.

  Sanders also has a You Tube channel dedicated to a myriad of topics and reviews, including reviews on survival gear, how to make homemade soap and laundry detergent and even how to prepare the perfect cup of coffee at Waffle House. His most recent tutorial is giving advice to other men on the perfect pick-up line—the very one he used to snag his own bride.

  As far as prepping goes, Sanders contends that we are all preparing for something—just maybe not the end of the world as we know it.  He cites the fact that people have savings accounts or pack the car for a long trip—however, doomsday preppers seem to go to extreme lengths. For Sanders, his worst-case scenario involves an invasion on American soil, where he and his family will have to move to their remote rural bunker, located somewhere in Georgia, which is stocked with months worth of supplies, including food, water, medical equipment and weapons.

  In rationalizing his worst case scenario, he points to the 1984 cult hit movie, Red Dawn, in which a group of teenagers fight off Soviet invaders on American soil. The movie, starring Patrick Swayze, C. Thomas Howell and Charlie Sheen, has the teens camped out in the mountains of the mid-west defending their country against the foreign invaders.

  “If terrorists can fly planes into the World Trade Center, how easy would it be for them to parachute onto American soil,” Sanders asked rhetorically.

  He also cited the Bible as a source for impending doom and said it’s not a matter of “if” but of “when.”

  He is the featured prepper and the episode will also show two of his prepper buddies, Eric Wilkerson and Jared Cline, along with his children, Dean and Summer Sanders and Nichole and Joshua Castro. He said his wife, Haydee, chose not to be on camera.

  “I can’t give away too much, but there is a scene where I’m water boarded and it was horrible,” said Sanders.

  As far as the show making him look like a nut? Sanders said he isn’t worried. He is happy to show his survival skills and techniques and thinks everyone should have at least a basic plan in place for at least a natural disaster.

  As an avid hunter and outdoorsman, he said his family is the typical American family. They enjoy camping, raising chickens, growing vegetables and hunting for food. He said his favorite show to watch is Andy Griffith and the kids catch reruns of the Brady Bunch. He said he feels most television shows are too violent and sexual, and video games have helped to de-sensitize society.

  "I think everybody should know how to grow a garden and truthfully, we are all preparing. Whether it’s saving money or stocking up on items when there is a good sale, you’re planning for something."  

  Although he has been a fireman since he was 19 years old, he said if the opportunity arose for a career in television, he’s ready for his close-up.

  He said his experience with the National Geographic Channel was awesome and he would do it again in a minute. He wouldn’t disclose whether or not he was paid for his efforts, but said he would be open to a future opportunity to have a camping show, emergency preparedness or something similar. His affinity for the camera is evident from his series of reviews and shorts on You Tube under the name Mark Sanders Blackout 33.

  “Doing the show was a great experience and everybody was super. What was supposed to be a three-day shoot turned into five days and I’m excited to see the episode air.”

  Sanders said he wished that his brother, a doctor in Kentucky, could have been part of the shoot. He said his brother is also a doomsday prepper but couldn’t get away from work to participate.

  He said although his penchant for prepping amped up after 9/11, he has always been a hunter and fisherman, killing and raising his own food, and grew up with parents who always had a garden and canned and stored their own food.

  “I think everyone should know how to grow and hunt for food and be able to take care of themselves in the event of an emergency.

  He said that everyone should have at least a supply of food and water because whether it’s a natural disaster or worse yet, Armageddon, when it happens, there will be chaos.

  National Geographic’s Doomsday Preppers airs on Tuesday nights at 9 p.m.



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