Marty Raney says he's seen the best of the American spirit while working on Discovery Channel's "Homestead Rescue."
The gritty reality TV star, whose show is currently in its second season, has traveled across the United States helping people who want to homestead.
Viewers see expert homesteader Raney and his children Misty and Matt instruct those who want to live off the grid how to survive in the wilderness.
And Raney told Fox News, "I'm a man of action. I'm a man that gets something done, right or wrong, nothing happens until someone starts moving -- so standing around talking doesn't do much for me."
Raney shows tough love with the homesteaders, saying he's "not necessarily [there] to give them a handout but to give them a hand up….everyone wants a handout and I'm sensitive to those people, and those people I don't visit…I'm more impressed by the doers and the workers than I am the talkers and the dreamers.
"What made America was the homesteader, the people who built their own homes. Those people built this country, hard workers, people not afraid to roll up their sleeves. That is a dying breed. I know because I'm one of them."
Raney, who has been married to wife Mollee for 40 years (she's chosen not to appear on the show along with the couple's other two grown kids), said each homestead has its respective needs such as how to get the basic fundamentals set up to live in the wild—water, shelter, and food. Raney and kids Misty and Matt teach the homesteaders how to tap into solar power, set up heating tanks, and build greenhouses.
Those who appear on "Homestead Rescue, are "starting to appreciate the power of nature and tapping into things [naturally] and….leaving the concrete jungle further and further behind," Raney noted.
The reality TV personality has practiced what he preaches—before doing the Discovery show, Raney said he'd never left Alaska in 43 years but now he has the opportunity to travel across the U.S. helping others live self-sufficiently.
But he noted, "The America that I'm seeing is rural; the America that I'm seeing is farmers, ranchers, homesteaders and those to choose to live off-the-grid and when you think about, it was that collective, that demographic, that built America, hands down, and they did it with hand tools."
Speaking to Fox News from one of his "Homestead Rescue" assignments in Missouri, Raney said he's visited "Little House on the Prairie" author Laura Ingalls Wilder's homestead that she built with her husband -- and reflected on the pioneer spirit that is drifting away in the U.S.
He said, "I'm on the road less traveled, literally. I'm on the backroads of America and that group of people are impressive, the people who carved out these farms in Missouri are all dying off. Some, and I would say a small amount, of family members keep these farms alive but it's dying off everywhere I go. This lifestyle is dying off because it takes hard work to live independently, off the grid, to have self-subsistence. I think that a hard-working man and woman that can make it living off the land, clearly, unhesitatingly, [are] on the endangered species list."
But Raney said it's still a lifestyle worth fighting for because many of the homesteaders he visits have walked away from a two-hour commute every day, big mortgages, car payments, and other stress-inducers.
Although Raney feels privileged to have seen America through his show, he got choked up when speaking with Fox News and said, "I've been working so hard on these homesteads…We started in September, so it's been a long time on the road…The fact that I get emotional is because…I'm sure people will never get how hard we work to help these people…I don't know of any honor higher than that, month after month after month of helping people…
"It's been a long ride. There's been a lot of danger involved, a lot of high risk that people will never know," he said.
Raney said of season two, "Grown men cry on this show virtually every episode -- and that includes me."
"Homestead Rescue" airs Wednesdays on Discovery.