Hometown Brandon - Winter 2015

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volume 3 number 1<br />

<strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

Another Place at the Table<br />

______________________<br />

cookng up success<br />

______________________<br />

A Picture and a Thousand Words<br />

______________________<br />

Cultivating Potential

Call us to schedule<br />

your next visit.<br />

(601) 825-3368<br />

Sarah Langston, DMD<br />

14 Woodgate Drive<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi 39042<br />

2 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

118 service drive suite 5 | brandon ms<br />

woodgate crossing shopping center<br />

shop online at faithncandy.com<br />

601.825.8778<br />

Christmas Hours | Monday - Friday 10am-6:30pm | Saturday 10am-6pm | Sunday 1pm-5pm<br />

Christmas Open House Sip & Shop | December 4th 10am-8pm | December 5th 10am-6pm<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 3

4 • Summer 2014

Publisher & Editor<br />

Tahya Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />

editorial CONSULTANT<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Account Executives<br />

Alicia Adams<br />

Rachel Lombardo<br />

LeeAnn Evans<br />

Staff Photographer<br />

Othel Anding<br />

Contributing<br />

Photographers<br />

Charla Jordan<br />

Taylor Sims<br />

Layout Design & Production<br />

Daniel Thomas • 3dt<br />

Missy Donaldson • MAD Design<br />

Contributing Writers<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Johnny Beck<br />

Kyle Brown<br />

Charla Jordan<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

Melanie McMillan<br />

Bailey Poole<br />

Taylor Sims<br />

Kerri Walker<br />

www.facebook.com<br />

/hometownbrandonmagazine<br />

www.HTMags.com<br />

This special Christmas edition marks <strong>Hometown</strong><br />

Magazines’ second anniversary. As I celebrate our<br />

wonderful, exciting venture, I also reflect over the<br />

year’s happenings that have made up life for us in <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

There were wonderful things that happened<br />

along the way but it was also a year of great loss.<br />

We attended two funerals—my grandmother’s and<br />

father-in-law’s. Then, in October, we experienced the<br />

loss of our family pet, Thatcher. Maybe it was that it<br />

all happened within a relatively short period of time<br />

–but it felt like a lot to deal with and it was hard.<br />

However, sunshine always follows the storms,<br />

and the July sunshine was a big part of our oldest<br />

child’s wedding. Camea and Justin’s ceremony was<br />

a memorable highlight of <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

CandyLee, our youngest, added to the fanfare<br />

when she enrolled in summer school in order to<br />

graduate high school a year early. She completed<br />

her endeavor and is now a freshman at Hinds.<br />

And while we helped get her registered in early<br />

August, we packed Carson’s belongings to move him<br />

into an apartment in Oxford as a junior at Ole Miss.<br />

All those back-to-back highlights saved me a lot of<br />

tears because there was no time to cry!<br />

One of my favorite articles in this issue is the one<br />

on foster parenting. My own family cared for four<br />

brothers in the foster program for two years and saw,<br />

first-hand, the challenges and rewards. It changed<br />

our lives in such a profoundly positive way.<br />

In this season of giving, God may not ask you to<br />

become a foster parent, but He may touch your heart<br />

to encourage a foster parent you know. Perhaps you<br />

would consider a Christmas donation to an orphanage.<br />

Or, like the article suggests, be willing to help parents<br />

that foster by giving them a much needed break and<br />

offering an occasional hand.<br />

Christmas originated with the<br />

greatest Gift. In honor of Him,<br />

why not continue the giving spirit?<br />

Contact us at<br />

info@htmags.com<br />

601.706.4059<br />

26 Eastgate Drive, Suite F<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong>, MS 39042<br />

• • •<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> is published by <strong>Hometown</strong><br />

Magazines. All rights reserved. No portion of<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> may be reproduced<br />

without written permission from the publisher.<br />

The management of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> is not<br />

responsible for opinions expressed by its<br />

writers or editors. All communications sent to<br />

our editorial staff are subject to publication and<br />

the unrestricted right to be refused, or to be<br />

edited and/or editorially commented on. All<br />

advertisements are subject to approval by the<br />

publisher. The production of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

is funded by advertising.<br />

In this issue The Way We Were .....................6<br />

Another Place at the Table............ 1 0<br />

Cooking Up Success................. 16<br />

A Picture and A Thousand Words .. 30<br />

Cultivating Potential .......36<br />

Sister: Sister ........................ 28<br />

Everything's Coming Up Roses....... 64<br />

It's a Wonderful Life ................ 66<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> On The Move ............... 50<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 5

The<br />

way<br />

we<br />

were.<br />

Marianna & Dan<br />

Martin<br />

One of nine children, Dan Martin learned<br />

a lot about relationships during his childhood<br />

in Puckett. When his mother died after<br />

childbirth, leaving him and his siblings with<br />

one parent, Dan became an adult with adult<br />

responsibilities at the age of sixteen.<br />

That life-changing situation held the<br />

potential for an unfavorable future, but God<br />

had special plans for Dan. After a move to<br />

Alabama with his grieving family, his dad<br />

moved them back to Puckett for his senior<br />

year. That’s when Marianna McLain, a ninth<br />

grader, spotted Dan. She recalls how all the<br />

girls “fawned” over this good-looking young<br />

man, and she also remembers how he never<br />

gave her a second look.<br />

In 1958, Dan returned home after a three<br />

and a half year military stint in Germany.<br />

That’s when he spotted Marianna. He hadn’t<br />

seen her in almost four years, but his immediate<br />

response was, “Good gracious alive!” He had<br />

found a “doll!”<br />

He asked her for a date in December, and<br />

they were engaged the following Valentine’s<br />

Day. That next Christmas on December 27,<br />

1959, Dan gave his doll his last name.<br />

Marianna said their wedding day was<br />

marked with torrential rains. Dan laughs as he<br />

recalls getting lost on the way to the coast for<br />

their honeymoon. He believes the flooding<br />

had a lot to do with it.<br />

6 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

The description of their married life is<br />

filled with fond memories – a cute garage<br />

apartment in Jackson, law school at night for<br />

Dan and a daytime job of delivering mail from<br />

six to six o’clock to help make their living.<br />

Marianna graduated from Mississippi College<br />

and worked as a nutritionist at the University<br />

Medical Center.<br />

Even though the couple sat opposite each<br />

other during the interview, it was obvious that<br />

their hearts were side by side. When describing<br />

their marriage, Marianna said, “We just get<br />

along – we enjoy each other’s company!” She<br />

describes her mate as possessing a generous<br />

portion of thoughtfulness.<br />

Along with his years as an attorney, Dan has<br />

served in the senate, and Marianna is still a<br />

member of the Official Mississippi Women’s<br />

Club where she’s served as president. First<br />

Baptist Church <strong>Brandon</strong> has been their church<br />

anchor since 1960.<br />

The two have been active mixed-doubles<br />

tennis players, and Dan touts a thirty-year span<br />

of playing tennis every Sunday afternoon with<br />

Waymon Tigrett, Jack Root, and Jack Rhodes.<br />

The Martin’s two children, Dana Penick<br />

and husband Durell, and son Garron Martin<br />

and wife Wanda, live close by so enjoying their<br />

four grandsons and one granddaughter-in-law<br />

brings them added delight.<br />

When asked about clues to their happily<br />

married years, Dan spoke first, “Marianna has<br />

never contested any decisions I’ve ever made.”<br />

Marianna added, “He’s always discussed<br />

decisions with me, but it’s been his call. His<br />

decisions are usually wiser than mine.”<br />

After being with them briefly, it’s obvious<br />

that two of their wisest decisions were<br />

choosing each other. ■<br />

“We just get along –<br />

we enjoy each other’s<br />

company! ”<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 7

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8 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 9

Another Place at the Table<br />

Kerri Walker<br />

10 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Scott and April Selman found a new calling when they discovered<br />

the great needs of foster care in Mississippi.<br />

The Selmans have four adult biological children, three adopted<br />

children, and currently two foster children. Two of their children were<br />

adopted through foster care, and one was adopted internationally.<br />

When their four biological children began transitioning into<br />

adulthood, the Selmans began to wonder what was next.<br />

“We started hearing about the needs of foster care,” said April.<br />

“We listened to a sermon series by David Platt on the book of James.<br />

He talked about how his church in<br />

Alabama was basically emptying the<br />

foster care system. They were licensing<br />

families in their church to become foster<br />

families, and we started thinking that<br />

was something we could do. James 1:27<br />

calls us to care for orphans and widows.<br />

meal that day and they will have clothes to wear and they will be<br />

protected and safe. It’s a big change.”<br />

This healing brings joy into the Selmans’ hearts. April said,<br />

“We’ve had kids come through who really had no idea how to give or<br />

receive affection, and we see that slowly start to change. All kids crave<br />

love–they need it. It’s incredible. I never expected to be able to<br />

witness that. You get so much joy out of seeing that healing take place.”<br />

“The ultimate goal is for the kids to gain the ability to become<br />

functioning adults—to break the cycle and to have the ability to<br />

come to know about God’s love,”<br />

continued Selman. “A lot of kids come in<br />

and don’t know the first Bible story and<br />

have never set foot in a church, which is<br />

unfathomable with us living in the bible<br />

belt. It really happens, and it’s great to see<br />

them learn about the Bible and God’s<br />

We got started. It’s our next step.”<br />

love. They become different people.”<br />

The Selmans have cared for several<br />

“One day after supper, we had a child<br />

children placed in foster care throughout<br />

who asked, ‘How do y’all always have<br />

recent years. “Group homes are not the<br />

food?’ I asked, ‘What do you mean?’<br />

best solution in my opinion, and that’s<br />

“Once our eyes are open to the need,<br />

The child said, ‘Well at my house we don’t<br />

where a lot of kids end up,” said April. we are commanded to respond.” always have food, and we’re hungry. Y’all<br />

“I think that giving kids a chance to see a<br />

always have food,’” April recalls. “This<br />

–Scott Selman<br />

functioning, healthy family is way more<br />

child was trying to figure out how we<br />

preferable. It also brings you a lot of joy to see them heal and grow could make that happen, and it kills your heart when you hear a kid<br />

and start to flourish. There are kids every week that need a place to say that. Here in <strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi, there’s a kid who is hungry.<br />

sleep. We’re a very affluent society, and a lot of us have extra bedrooms. That seems crazy to us. There shouldn’t be a kid who is hungry when<br />

Why not meld kids who need a place with us who have extra space? we all have so much to give.”<br />

I think God calls the church to take care of vulnerable children and<br />

“It’s bittersweet when a child goes back to his or her family<br />

people. You just don’t get much more vulnerable than a kid in foster because you do get attached and learn to love them,” said April.<br />

care who doesn’t have the support of his or her biological family.”<br />

“In some cases, you can still have contact and in some cases you can’t.<br />

Becoming a foster parent is not without its challenges. “Kids who You just have to pray that you’ve done a little bit of good for them<br />

come from traumatic backgrounds have many different behaviors than while they were with you. That’s the number one thing that people<br />

our biological children did,” said April. “The biggest challenge is say to me: ‘Oh, I could never foster because I would get attached.’<br />

learning how trauma affects children and how to best help them heal.” You do get attached. But fostering isn’t supposed to be about the<br />

Despite the challenges, the Selmans have seen a lot of healing in adults. It’s about the kids. If everyone decided they couldn’t do it<br />

their home. “It really is amazing to see a child that comes into your because they would get attached, then we would just have group<br />

home withdrawn, introverted, closed off from building relationships, homes filled to the brims because kids have to have somewhere to<br />

and completely at a loss for how to function, go through a complete go and somebody to take care of them.”<br />

transformation—to laughing, telling jokes, smiling, and wanting hugs. “I think it’s good when you can step in and be a safety net for a<br />

To go from almost being expelled at school to being a great student family and give the parents time to stabilize so they can get their kids<br />

within a short period of time. The kids learn how to feel safe and back,” said April. “That’s good because kids should be with their<br />

how to count on people when they’ve never been able to count on families. That’s the ideal solution. It’s bittersweet because you miss<br />

someone before. They learn how to trust that they will have another them and think about them, but if their parents are able to get things<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 11

ight and have their kids returned, then that’s where the kids should<br />

be long-term. That is the goal of foster care—to help families fix what<br />

needs to be fixed and reunify. When a family is able to do that, it’s a<br />

good thing. And sadly, sometimes they’re not able.”<br />

“You don’t have any idea what you’re getting into if you haven’t<br />

been exposed to it,” said Scott. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of energy, a lot<br />

of sacrifice. But at the end of the day, you have to look at what you’re<br />

sacrificing for. We all take for granted the luxuries in our lives. There<br />

are so many people who don’t have those. If you educate yourself and<br />

get exposed to it, it’s hard to turn away. Once you’re aware, it takes a<br />

pretty hard heart to back away from it. I went into it thinking these<br />

must be some bad kids. I don’t know why I thought that. But once you<br />

get into it, you realize that these children have done nothing. They<br />

don’t deserve the hand they’ve been dealt in life. It breaks your heart<br />

because they didn’t ask to be born into these situations or handed<br />

disabilities, diseases, or whatever. But here they are, and a lot of times<br />

they just have no chance. I think we should all do something to help.”<br />

“At one point, we wrote down verses that jumped out at us,” said<br />

April. “We were filling up books with verses. If God puts something<br />

in the Bible over and over, clearly it’s very important to Him. Isaiah<br />

1:17 tells us to bring justice to the fatherless. Ephesians 5:1 says to be<br />

imitators of God. That’s so simple. If you’re going to imitate God and<br />

He’s commanding us over and over to care for children, then we ought<br />

to care for children.”<br />

“At some point, Christians abdicated compassion to the government.<br />

I think it is up to us as the church to pull it back,” said Scott. “The<br />

story from Biblical times is that if Romans had a child that they didn’t<br />

want, they would set that child beside the road or outside at night and<br />

it would die. It was the Christians that would pick these children up,<br />

care for them, and show value for them. I think that’s what we are<br />

called to do today. There are a lot of children that are being cast aside<br />

by society. It’s up to us to show compassion and take them in.”<br />

Jonathan Nason, the Next Generation pastor for Crossgates<br />

Baptist Church in <strong>Brandon</strong>, shares the view that the church should<br />

step up to the plate. Nason has two biological siblings and one<br />

adopted brother. His parents have been foster parents since before he<br />

was born. Some of Nason’s foster siblings were with his family for just<br />

a weekend, but most were with them for one to six months. Many of<br />

the children became like family, and a couple of sibling groups were<br />

with the Nasons for up to three years. By the time Nason moved out<br />

of the house as an adult, he had been a brother to 73 children who<br />

had been placed in his family through foster care. His parents<br />

continue to foster children to this day.<br />

“Foster care has been my family’s ministry for my whole life,” said<br />

Nason. My brother who was adopted is my best friend. I can’t imagine<br />

not having him as well as other foster brothers and sisters growing up.<br />

It’s highly affected my wife and me because we want to do the same<br />

thing. I don’t believe the church has done a very good job of taking<br />

care of orphans and widows in the state of Mississippi. My wife and<br />

I want to make a statement of taking care of orphans and widows.”<br />

Nason and his wife plan to become a foster family when they<br />

become fully eligible. “My wife and I haven’t spoken on foster care<br />

here because we haven’t led by example on that. We fully intend to do<br />

so, but you can’t ask people to do something that tangible that you<br />

haven’t done, yourselves. We see ourselves as advocates for orphans<br />

and widows, but in order to advocate for that as a pastor, we have to<br />

model that. We want our kids to have what I had—to see the nations<br />

in our home. It changed my life.”<br />

“Kids who are adopted or in foster care go through a season of<br />

realizing: ‘Yes, I was adopted, and I’m thankful for that, but in order<br />

to be adopted, I was rejected at one point by my parents.’ For kids to<br />

be in a gospel-centered home when they’re going through an identity<br />

crisis is extremely important. We can explain that we were all like that<br />

in our sin, but Christ adopted us. As the church, we should model the<br />

gospel of adoption. My wife and I are passionate about that.”<br />

“Christ gave his life so we could be adopted. We should be willing<br />

to give our lives, our time, our money, our energy, our complacency,<br />

whatever it may be, for the sake of adoption. It’s about taking one more<br />

that doesn’t have a home or family and giving them something that they<br />

could never earn or get on their own. People’s lives are at stake, and<br />

you have the opportunity to change someone’s future in an extremely<br />

tangible way. That’s pretty rewarding in and of itself,” said Nason.<br />

The Selmans cited a number of ways that we can help foster<br />

families. Clothing and school supplies donations are great when a<br />

new placement arrives. Meadow Grove Baptist Church in <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

accepts brand new clothing and hygiene items to have on hand for<br />

foster children. The church also accepts duffle bags to put the items<br />

in so children do not have to carry a trash bag or grocery bag. Families<br />

can also become licensed to provide respite, allowing foster families<br />

to have a safe home to temporarily keep the children when the foster<br />

parents, themselves, must go away overnight. Or just delivering<br />

meals, mowing the grass, and visiting the children. The possibilities<br />

for lending a hand are endless.<br />

“Not everyone is called to full time foster care, but we are<br />

commanded to care for orphans and widows,” said Scott. “There’s<br />

not more clarity than that.” n<br />

12 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 13

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14 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

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Mr. and Mrs. Michael Gene Sirmon of <strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi, announce the<br />

engagement of their daughter, Shelby Taylor, to Mr. Bradley Devon Thomas of<br />

Holly Springs, North Carolina. Bradley is the son of Mr. and Mrs. Randy Thomas<br />

of Noxapater, Mississippi and Ms. Barbara Novoa Walton of Tampa, Florida.<br />

The bride-elect is the granddaughter of Dr. and Mrs. Eugene F. Worthen of<br />

Monroe, Louisiana, and Mr. and Mrs. Gene A. Sirmon of <strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi.<br />

The prospective bridegroom is the grandson of Mr. and Mrs. Devon Thomas and<br />

Mrs. Blanca Soto.<br />

Miss Sirmon is a 2008 honor graduate of <strong>Brandon</strong> High School. She graduated<br />

summa cum laude from Mississippi State University in 2012 with a degree in<br />

psychology and was a member of Phi Mu Fraternity. She is also a 2014 graduate of<br />

University of Mississippi Medical Center, where she received a BSN as a registered<br />

nurse and served as president of the school of nursing. She is employed at Duke<br />

University Children’s Hospital in the bone marrow transplant unit.<br />

Mr. Thomas is a 2008 graduate of Winston Academy and attended Mississippi<br />

State University, where he was a member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. In 2007, he<br />

joined the Mississippi National Guard. He fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom from<br />

2009-2010 and Operation Enduring Freedom from 2012-2013. He is currently<br />

employed by the United States Army, where he is stationed at Fort Bragg.<br />

The couple will exchange vows December 19, <strong>2015</strong> at 5:00 p.m. at First United<br />

Methodist Church in <strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi, with the reception to follow at the<br />

Northpointe Red Barn in Jackson, Mississippi.<br />

​<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 15

Cooking Up<br />

Success<br />

WITHQuail Ridge Press<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

Quail Ridge Press has always been committed to producing<br />

the highest quality books and cookbooks—and now they<br />

celebrate 38 years of preserving America’s food heritage.<br />

Barney and Gwen McKee have figured out the recipe for<br />

success. As co-owners of Quail Ridge Press in <strong>Brandon</strong>, the<br />

couple has created a publishing powerhouse—one cookbook<br />

at a time. Barney and Gwen are both Louisiana natives.<br />

Barney ran the LSU Press in Baton Rouge, then was assistant<br />

director of the University Press in Hattiesburg for two years<br />

before moving the family to <strong>Brandon</strong> in 1973.<br />

Their company started in 1978, when Barney, production<br />

manager of University Press of Mississippi, brought home a<br />

cookbook manuscript that the University Press couldn’t publish.<br />

It was a little book called The Twelve Days of Christmas Cookbook.<br />

Gwen thought it was a clever book that would sell well, so<br />

the couple began Quail Ridge Press on the dining room table<br />

of their home, which was located on Quail Ridge Drive in<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong>. The company went full time in 1986 when Barney<br />

retired from University Press.<br />

The book was printed and when they arrived Gwen put<br />

them in the garage. “She has a background in journalism,”<br />

said Barney. “She knew writing, editing and recipe testing.<br />

But she had no experience in sales.” That didn’t deter Gwen,<br />

who said anyone can sell a product if they love it. “I knew that<br />

anyone who bought this book would love it, because it would<br />

make them happy.” The book sold out in three weeks.<br />

The company continued to publish cookbooks, and<br />

Gwen soon became known as “the cookbook lady.” Barney<br />

had an idea to include all the best recipes from the best<br />

cookbooks in the state. “That was way before computers and<br />

email,” recalled Gwen. “We had to contact each publisher and<br />

get permission to reprint recipes.” That was the beginning of<br />

a successful series of “best of” cookbooks by state.<br />

16 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 17

18 • Fall 2014

Their big break, however, came in 1997, when folks from<br />

the QVC network came to town. “They were traveling around<br />

to various states looking for products from those states to sell<br />

on TV,” said Gwen. She took the books for an audition, and<br />

they chose the Best of the Best from Mississippi, which soon got<br />

Gwen on live TV. “I had no idea what I was doing. There<br />

was a little band playing in between sales, and when it was<br />

my turn, I began to comment on how much I liked the band.<br />

I realized later that each second counts.”<br />

The folks at QVC liked what they saw—both the book<br />

and Gwen. She was invited to go to the QVC studios in<br />

West Chester, Pennsylvania. “We were lucky to sell 5000<br />

copies of a book in two years,” said Barney. “But on QVC,<br />

we sold out the 2000 books we had in two minutes. The<br />

QVC folks said it was one of their fastest sellouts ever. That<br />

destroyed all the metrics and changed our way of doing<br />

things. We now give QVC first look at our cookbooks to<br />

see if they would like to have it on air.” Gwen said that QVC<br />

knows that Quail Ridge Press cookbooks will always be of<br />

the highest quality. “We have a fantastic designer, Cindy<br />

Clark, and our cookbooks always look really nice and are<br />

easy to cook from.”<br />

Quail Ridge Press has since published several other state<br />

cookbooks, and Gwen has appeared on QVC many, many<br />

times selling her state cookbooks, and has since created<br />

cookbooks especially for them. “We still do about half of our<br />

sales through QVC.” She laughed when she recalled<br />

preparing the food for some of the early QVC segments.<br />

“We had a friend who lived in town, so we bought our own<br />

groceries and prepared the food in her kitchen. I didn’t know<br />

anything about food styling for television. We did it ourselves<br />

for a year or two before we discovered professional food<br />

stylists.”<br />

After their success with the Twelve Days of Christmas<br />

Cookbook, the same author wrote Seven Chocolate Sins and<br />

A Salad a Day. They then branched out with a Mississippi State/<br />

Ole Miss Joke Book, which was also a great seller.<br />

But it’s the “best of” cookbook series that have been the<br />

most successful. “After the success of the Best of the Best of<br />

Mississippi book, we went to Louisiana, and that book did<br />

fantastically well,” said Barney. “We then went to Texas<br />

where we did two books. By 2004, we had completed a<br />

cookbook for every state. In all, the company has published<br />

nearly 200 books, and 150 of them are still in print. “We<br />

just enjoy seeing a book professionally developed and<br />

produced,” said Barney. Our latest book is The Crown of<br />

Southern Cooking: Recipes from the Birthplace of the Blues. The<br />

book is by Evelyn Roughton, owner of the Crown Restaurant<br />

in Indianola for nearly forty years. “Evelyn had never<br />

published her own personal restaurant recipes,” said Gwen.<br />

“But it looks like it was written by a seasoned professional.”<br />

While the books have sold great on QVC, the “best of”<br />

series also sells well in Cracker Barrel restaurants and regular<br />

book outlets. “We sell a good many from our company<br />

website too,” said Barney. “We charge a flat fee of $5 for<br />

shipping, no matter how many books are ordered. We are<br />

focused on customer service.”<br />

While cookbooks are the mainstay of Quail Ridge Press,<br />

the company does publish other titles including A is for Angels:<br />

A Bible Alphabet and Cat Hymns, a beautifully illustrated book<br />

that comes with a musical CD. Beach Verses is a book of<br />

beautifully written Haiku verses by George Thacker<br />

describing the grandeur of life and nature of the Mississippi<br />

Gulf Coast.<br />

For more information on Quail Ridge Press, and to see their entire list of books, visit their website at www.quailridge.com<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 19

Southern Cooking at its BEST!<br />

OVER<br />

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Recipes<br />

EACH<br />

Deep South Dish<br />

Southern comfort food that is nothing<br />

short of homemade heaven<br />

The Crown of<br />

Southern Cooking<br />

Traditional southern cuisine<br />

with a taste of gourmet<br />

Quail Ridge PRess<br />

101 Brooks Drive, <strong>Brandon</strong> MS 39042 • 601-825-2063<br />

Part of the <strong>Brandon</strong> community since 1978<br />

South Your Mouth<br />

Irresistible recipes with<br />

Southern Sass<br />

Visit www.quailridge.com for book bargains<br />

starting at just $5 during our 5 &10 SALE<br />

through Dec. 31, <strong>2015</strong>.<br />

20 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 21

Mr.& Mrs.ThomasHarmonJackson<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Harmon<br />

Jackson of <strong>Brandon</strong>, Mississippi along<br />

with Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Flowers<br />

Dickson, Jr. of French Camp, Mississippi<br />

are pleased to announce the marriage<br />

of Mr. Tristen Harmon Jackson to<br />

Miss Jessica Lynne Dickson of Oxford,<br />

Mississippi. Tristen is the grandson of<br />

Mr. and Mrs. George Dudley Ward of<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong>, the late Ms. Martha Egger<br />

Jackson of Shreveport, Louisiana and the<br />

late Mr. and Mrs. William Hutchinson<br />

Jackson of Shreveport. Jessica is the<br />

granddaughter of the late Mr. and Mrs.<br />

Joseph Henry Nettles of <strong>Brandon</strong> and<br />

Mr. and Mrs. Tommie Flowers Dickson<br />

of Hendersonville, North Carolina.<br />

Miss Dickson graduated as the Class<br />

of 2008 salutatorian at Grace Christian<br />

School in Louisville, Mississippi. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in<br />

Chinese with a minor in biology from the University of Mississippi in<br />

2012. During undergraduate, she was a member of the Sally McDonnell<br />

Barksdale Honors College. Jessica was also a Luckyday Scholar and<br />

earned a Critical Scholar Scholarship, which allowed her to travel to<br />

China in pursuit of mastering the Chinese language. She then earned<br />

a Master of Science in Biology from the University of Mississippi<br />

Medical Center in Jackson in May <strong>2015</strong>. Jessica is currently employed<br />

by Innovative Construction Management in Oxford and plans to<br />

attend medical school.<br />

The bridegroom is a 2004 honors graduate of <strong>Brandon</strong> High School.<br />

In 2008, He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a<br />

bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences. During his undergraduate<br />

time at Ole Miss, he was a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale<br />

Honors College, and Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, elected campus<br />

favorite and Who’s Who Among College Students, and he was actively<br />

involved with the associated student<br />

body as pharmacy senator representative.<br />

Tristen spent time volunteering<br />

and serving for several organizations,<br />

including the American Heart<br />

Association Heart Walk, Campus<br />

Crusade for Christ, and was a worship<br />

leader at College Hill Presbyterian<br />

Church. He was the School of Pharmacy<br />

Honor Council representative, Ole<br />

Miss Ambassadors co-director of<br />

special events/ housing ambassador,<br />

and the CHEERS webpage chairman.<br />

Upon undergraduate graduation,<br />

Tristen attended pharmacy school<br />

where he received his Pharm.D. in<br />

May of 2010. He is currently working<br />

on his Ph.D. in pharmaceutical<br />

sciences with a concentration in<br />

pharmacy administration and has an expected completion date of<br />

May 2016. While in graduate school, Tristen has joined and is still<br />

a member of Rho Chi Pharmacy Honorary Society, Phi Kappa Phi<br />

Honorary Society, and Phi-Lambda Sigma Pharmacy Leadership<br />

Fraternity. He has also served on the Graduate Student Council as<br />

secretary and president.<br />

The couple exchanged vows at half past five o’clock in the evening<br />

on the thirty-first of October at College Hill Presbyterian Church,<br />

followed by a reception hosted by the bride’s parents. Dr. Curt Presley<br />

officiated the double ring ceremony. The bride wore a Lillian West<br />

ivory gown with a fitted bodice and modified sweetheart neckline,<br />

accented by an Alencon lace bolero featuring a bateau neckline, and a<br />

“V” shape in the back with satin covered buttons. The natural waist<br />

was accented by a pleated cummerbund just below the lace bolero,<br />

and then shaped into a silk satin ball gown with a chapel length train.<br />

A cathedral length illusion veil, adorned with matching lace, accented<br />

the dress.<br />

22 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

The father of the bride escorted her down the aisle as she carried a<br />

bouquet of white O’Hara garden roses, pale pink roses, peach roses,<br />

and pale pink dahlia’s. The roses and dahlias were accented with a collar<br />

of lamb’s ear, and the stems were partially wrapped in an ivory ribbon.<br />

Serving as her matron of honor was Natalie Rose Dickson Richardson<br />

and serving as bridesmaids were Anna Beth Baker, Tabitha Bandi, Sarah<br />

Joy Champine, Andrea Thomasson Foley, Emily Powell Ford, Kaylin<br />

Mittan Satterfield, and Mollie <strong>Winter</strong> Wright. Each attendant carried a<br />

bouquet of pink and ivory roses with a touch of lamb’s ear that elegantly<br />

complimented their pale blue, cap sleeved, long chiffon dresses.<br />

The groom and his groomsmen wore boutonnieres made of a small<br />

pink rose, a mini succulent, a touch of silver brunia berries and backed<br />

with a leaf of lamb’s ear. Serving as best man was Brenden Reynolds<br />

Jackson, and serving as groomsmen were Edwin Brad Batte, Robert<br />

Louis Carr, Craig Neal Daniel, James Kyle Duff, Joel David Duff,<br />

David Daniel Sibley, and Clifford Thomas Wiggins. Serving as ushers<br />

were Samuel Thomas Dickson, Mitchell Chandler Goddard and<br />

George Brooks Richardson. Katherine Elizabeth Gilliam, Violet Wren<br />

Nettles, and Eva Valentina Nettles all served as flower girls. Robert<br />

Payne Gatewood IV and Beren Julian Nettles served as program<br />

attendants. Violinist Sarah Brannan and pianist Andrew Panney<br />

performed ceremony music.<br />

At The Lyric Oxford, guests were greeted by the bride’s three-tier<br />

cake that was finished with textured buttercream icing. Joyce Hudspeth<br />

of Mantee, Mississippi crafted both the bride and groom’s cake. The<br />

groom’s cake was placed to the right of the bride’s cake as guests entered<br />

and was an Ole Miss number “38” jersey and football.<br />

After walking past the cakes, guests were treated with a large spread<br />

of hors d’oeuvres. Upon the main food table, in the center of the room,<br />

sat a large arrangement of pink and white roses, white gladiolas, various<br />

greeneries, and curly willow. Each guest table was perfectly decorated<br />

with arrangements that consisted of flowers in the pinks, ivories, and<br />

gray-blue hues. Specialty lighting was brought in to accent the decor<br />

and a stunning five crystal column chandelier was hung over the dance<br />

floor. Brother of the bride, Samuel Dickson, introduced the couple as<br />

they made their way to the dance floor for the first dance. They were<br />

surprised to have Mississippi artist Wyatt Waters live-painting the<br />

scene of their first dance—a wedding gift from the parents of the<br />

groom. Following the first dance, the couple each held a special dance<br />

with their parents and Meet the Press kept guests on the dance floor<br />

for the night until it was time for the sparkler exit.<br />

The night before the wedding ceremony, the parents of the groom<br />

hosted a cocktail hour followed by a three course seated dinner in honor<br />

of the couple at the Oxford University Club. The theme of an “old<br />

world club” was kept with dimmed lighting, navy blue linens, wood<br />

chargers, wood club chairs, live piano music, and flowers upon each<br />

tabletop of blue hydrangea’s, yellow roses and calla lilies, peach roses,<br />

and touches of green berries, seeded eucalyptus, and various greenery<br />

in hand gold leafed containers. Following a salad, guests were treated<br />

to an entree created as a collaboration between the mother of the<br />

groom and bride that was a flight of proteins, consisting of a beef filet<br />

medallion, crab stuffed grouper, and creole chicken, all complimented<br />

with a side of asparagus, carrots, and mashed potatoes. Guests were<br />

surprised by dessert with another flight of New York cheesecake,<br />

chocolate cake, and bread<br />

pudding, all served on the same<br />

plate with a chocolate “J+T”<br />

written in the center.<br />

On the day of the wedding,<br />

the groom’s family hosted a<br />

“Groom’s Gathering” lunch<br />

held at South Depot Taco Shop<br />

on the Oxford Square for his<br />

groomsmen, friends, and<br />

wedding guests in town for<br />

the wedding.<br />

Following a honeymoon to<br />

San Francisco, Napa Valley, and<br />

Carmel, California, the couple<br />

will make their home in<br />

Oxford, Mississippi.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 23

Believe<br />



www.fbcbrandon.com<br />

601-825-6768 • 175 Boyce Thompson Drive (Next to Rouse Elementary)<br />

24 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Teamed<br />

for Success<br />

Taylor Sims<br />

When the Crossgates Exchange<br />

Club sponsors an event, one<br />

can be certain that the end result<br />

will be changed lives. The active members<br />

who meet the 1st & 3rd Thursday of each<br />

month are always pursuing projects and<br />

plans to help with their list of sponsorships.<br />

For every project they sponsor, their focus is<br />

to support child abuse prevention centers<br />

and promote American patriotism.<br />

One such event was the “Healing Flag<br />

Field” in 2004. It was the largest in the U.S.,<br />

showcasing a total of 4,000 flags. This special<br />

tribute honored victims of the September<br />

11th terrorist attack and Enduring Freedom<br />

by dedicating a flag to every solider lost.<br />

Other sponsorships close to the hearts of<br />

the Crossgates Exchange Club are Baptist<br />

Children’s Home in Star, Miss., the Military<br />

Ball, B-Club, and the <strong>Brandon</strong> Barbeque<br />

Challenge. The Club also grants $1,000<br />

scholarships to two <strong>Brandon</strong> High School<br />

students who will continue education in a<br />

vocational field and funds several mission<br />

trips for First Baptist Church of <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

students who work the “Dark Zone”.<br />

The “Dark Zone”, which lasts for three<br />

weekends of October, is the Club’s most<br />

beloved project. The haunted house had over<br />

7,200 in attendance last year. People from<br />

all over the United States have visited and<br />

deemed it the best haunted house they have<br />

ever experienced–and this year’s event was<br />

another huge success! Mrs. Barbara Evans<br />

and Mr. Pat Pipitone of the organization<br />

take pride in the preparation that goes into<br />

this major event. Two members attended a<br />

haunted house exposition for the newest<br />

spooky ideas.<br />

Miller’s Pizza and The Back Porch catered<br />

delicious pizza and seafood while attendees<br />

were escorted to the haunted house in a<br />

hearse or trailer hayride. Upon arrival, the<br />

frightened spectators were introduced to<br />

the “spooks” designed by Pipitone and<br />

assembled by the students of FBC <strong>Brandon</strong>,<br />

the Mayor’s Youth Council and the Boy<br />

Scouts. This year’s proceeds will go to child<br />

abuse prevention centers in Vicksburg,<br />

Oxford and Gulfport. More details about<br />

this special October project can be found on<br />

the website www.thedarkzone.net.<br />

The Club’s compassion continues through<br />

December by aiding needy families in the<br />

community. If you are passionate about<br />

giving back to the community, the Exchange<br />

Club is currently seeking new members.<br />

Please contact Mrs. Louise Pipitone at<br />

601.825.7775 for information. Join this team<br />

that reflects a yearly winning record.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 25

26 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 27

Holiday Worship Events:<br />

Hanging of the Green - November 29<br />

Christmas Dinner Theater - December 9 - 11<br />

Vesper Service - December 13<br />

Mustard Seed “Bells of Faith” - December 16<br />

Church-wide Caroling - December 20<br />

Carols and Candlelight - December 24<br />

Sunday Worship Times:<br />

8:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.—Worship<br />

9:30 a.m.— Sunday School<br />

6:00 p.m.—Evening Worship<br />

28 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 29

30 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

A Picture and a T housand Words<br />

Bailey Poole<br />

I’m sure many of you would be<br />

surprised that I am actually an English<br />

major. I literally spend 99% of my time<br />

inside Shakespearean plays, and when<br />

I’m not reading, I’m usually writing–<br />

or I guess now, drawing.<br />

When I was first asked to write about<br />

my art, and what I draw inspiration from,<br />

I honestly have to say that my English<br />

background inspires me. Now, I’m sure<br />

that sounds absurd, so let me explain.<br />

A couple of summers ago, I started to<br />

draw pictures out of words–only words.<br />

I came to realize I spend so much of my<br />

time reading and finding the beauty in<br />

the written word, that I wanted to take<br />

various prose and combine them with<br />

art in a unique and<br />

interesting way.<br />

So, one of my first<br />

pieces was Shakespeare’s<br />

image centered<br />

in the outline of<br />

England, all drawn with<br />

the first act of Macbeth.<br />

Sticking with the classics,<br />

I then moved on to Margaret Mitchell’s<br />

Gone With the Wind. I drew Scarlett<br />

O’Hara out of the paragraphs in the<br />

book that describe her, and one of the<br />

Tara landscapes. I think drawing<br />

pictures in this medium adds a deeper<br />

element in some way to the text that is<br />

being read, and I really enjoy how<br />

different each piece looks.<br />

Drawing with words was really my<br />

springboard. It gave me the confidence<br />

to try new mediums–especially water<br />

coloring. Just as I found beauty in<br />

Shakespeare’s plays, and other novels,<br />

I started to look at what surrounded<br />

me for inspiration. The place that has<br />

surrounded me since day one is <strong>Brandon</strong>,<br />

Mississippi. Being raised in <strong>Brandon</strong> has<br />

given me unique experiences of growing<br />

up in a small town, and I have memories<br />

etched on every square foot of the city.<br />

There’s nowhere in <strong>Brandon</strong> that I go<br />

that doesn’t draw back something from<br />

my childhood.<br />

One of the first things I drew was the<br />

statue in the downtown square. It’s been<br />

there since 1907–over one hundred<br />

years. It’s simple, with the three flags<br />

behind it, and the courthouse beside it.<br />

That area of the square is one of the few<br />

places in <strong>Brandon</strong> that has remained<br />

exactly the same, and I wanted to capture<br />

that. I think it’s a painting<br />

that resonates with everyone<br />

because the town<br />

square symbolizes the<br />

place they grew up, and<br />

the place they call home.<br />

Another place I<br />

have fond memories of<br />

are all the Friday nights<br />

I spent at Louis Gene<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 31

Strickland Field. When I was a kid, you<br />

would have found me there in my “Eat<br />

Dirt PURL” homemade tee shirt with a<br />

Gatorade in one hand and a pack of sour<br />

straws in the other. In high school, not<br />

only did I cram in the student section on<br />

Friday nights with my friends, but I also<br />

played high school soccer and powder-puff<br />

football on that field. That stadium has<br />

almost too many memories to count,<br />

and I wanted to paint it. However, I<br />

decided to draw it the way I remembered<br />

it when I was in high school.<br />

The press box has “BRANDON”<br />

written across the top, and the Louis<br />

Gene Strickland Field sign is back in<br />

front of the bushes like it used to be.<br />

Selfishly, I moved the sign back because<br />

I had to fetch so many soccer balls from<br />

behind it when we missed the goal and<br />

kicked the ball in the bushes. I guess,<br />

subconsciously, I wanted to immortalize<br />

my struggle. So, for my teammates who<br />

climbed in the bushes as well, I know<br />

you’ll understand.<br />

I also wanted to paint the stadium<br />

because I know its days are numbered.<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> High School will soon be<br />

opening its stadium out at the new<br />

campus, and the days of Friday night<br />

football on the field where it’s been<br />

played for well over half a century will<br />

be no more. Like all things, change is<br />

inevitable, but I think the painting of<br />

the old football field will be a special<br />

keepsake for those who have grown up<br />

in <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

Finally, another significant place that<br />

has my heart is Oxford, Mississippi.<br />

Oxford is where I have spent the past<br />

six years of my life, and it’s where I’ve<br />

grown up and experienced the first<br />

pangs of adulthood. I’m about to wrap<br />

up my last year of graduate school at<br />

Ole Miss, and I couldn’t love Oxford<br />

any more if I tried. It’s a town filled with<br />

as much history as it is creativity, and it’s<br />

a haven for artists and writers alike.<br />

The famous Oxford square is in the<br />

middle of North Lamar and South<br />

Lamar, a street that is lined with<br />

Victorian era houses and antebellum<br />

homes. The trees lining the street have<br />

branches that lace over the road and in<br />

the fall, it’s one of the most beautiful<br />

places I’ve ever seen.<br />

32 • Fall 2014

Furthermore, there are so many<br />

interesting buildings around Oxford,<br />

and with each one I’ve painted, I’ve<br />

learned to look at in a new way. William<br />

Faulkner’s Rowan Oak is one of my<br />

favorite places. When you walk on the<br />

gravel towards the house, you can smell<br />

the cedar trees that line the path. I’m<br />

also attracted to Rowan Oak because so<br />

many people from all over the world<br />

come to see where William Faulkner<br />

wrote his tedious novels. One time when<br />

I was sitting in the grass sketching the<br />

house, a man walked up and started<br />

talking to me about what I was drawing.<br />

An interesting conversation started up,<br />

and I learned that he was from London,<br />

England, and was in Mississippi just to<br />

see Rowan Oak. Clearly he was<br />

Faulkner’s number one fan.<br />

But, it was interesting to talk to this<br />

man because his experiences were so<br />

different from mine. Now, how many<br />

places can you casually bump into<br />

someone from London? That’s what<br />

inspires me about Rowan Oak. Not<br />

only is it Faulkner’s home, but it’s a<br />

hidden gem in Oxford that attracts<br />

people from far and wide.<br />

Another neat place that I wanted to<br />

paint was Taylor Grocery in Taylor,<br />

Mississippi. It’s about twenty minutes<br />

from Oxford, and is home to some of the<br />

best catfish on the planet. The grocery<br />

is easily the town’s main attraction,<br />

because Taylor is a sleepy place that<br />

reminds you of days gone by. A church<br />

on each corner surrounds the grocery,<br />

along with a few houses where you wish<br />

the walls could talk. Just being there, you<br />

can tell it’s a special place, and I learned<br />

to appreciate every crooked board and<br />

every cracked brick when I painted it.<br />

It’s classically southern, and I love it.<br />

I see my art as a way to communicate<br />

with where I am, and as a way to capture<br />

what is special to me.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 33

34 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

H o m e t o w n L o v e<br />

brandon<br />

Johnny Beck<br />

Have you ever been asked a simple question<br />

that had such an obvious answer, only to realize<br />

how complex it could be to explain it? Someone<br />

once asked me what I love about <strong>Brandon</strong>. The<br />

answer as a child was, “everything”. After growing<br />

older in our beloved hometown, I later realized<br />

we have a few imperfections and that maybe that<br />

answer was no longer 100% accurate. But after<br />

compiling over 500 different aspects that keep<br />

me in love with <strong>Brandon</strong>, the answer became<br />

once again simple. It’s the people.<br />

This is the eternally true answer to thousands<br />

of people’s answers as to why we all love <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

Young and old, native or newcomer, married or<br />

single, with children or empty nesters, we can<br />

easily see the impact our fellow citizens, neighbors,<br />

families, friends, and co-workers have upon our<br />

community.<br />

Ever been to Shiloh Park on a Saturday during<br />

athletic tournaments? How about for the massive<br />

Easter Egg hunt? Try cooling off at the Splash Park<br />

on a sultry summer weekend. Have you ever<br />

driven around the downtown area neighborhoods<br />

to see the charming homes and the more recently<br />

newer developments? Did you ever get a haircut<br />

when Mr. Walters was downtown? Ever stood in<br />

downtown <strong>Brandon</strong> for a homecoming or<br />

Christmas parade?<br />

Have you ever seen your neighbor cleaning<br />

their yard? Ever seen someone picking up litter<br />

along the roadside? I know you’ve seen the<br />

countless organizations collecting money at the<br />

main downtown intersection on Saturdays. Ever<br />

seen someone else helping elderly ladies with<br />

their groceries? Or seen a sign that reads “Missing<br />

Dog” with a picture beneath it—only to see that<br />

sign replaced a few days later that reads “Found<br />

Mack, please call this number”? Who has<br />

participated in election campaigns, raised money<br />

for school equipment or donated blood at Kroger<br />

to help a young man earn his Eagle Scout rank?<br />

The list goes on and on.<br />

Now, as an aging young adult, the decision to<br />

return home to <strong>Brandon</strong>, rather than forge ahead<br />

to larger cities, has proven to be the wise option.<br />

There really was never a decision, to be honest.<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> has provided me the best life experience<br />

one could ask for. We were never in danger as<br />

children because of the local leaders and law<br />

enforcement, as well as the citizens who hold those<br />

leaders accountable. Running all over Crossgates<br />

(and I truly mean the entire development from<br />

Timbers II back to the Hills) and parents not<br />

having to worry what you were doing or where<br />

you were.<br />

We received the best educational experience<br />

possible. The athletic coaches at BHS in the ‘90s<br />

taught us how to be model citizens, leaders, and<br />

how to do the right thing—even when nobody<br />

was looking. We had a church on every corner.<br />

When asking Amber where she wanted to live<br />

after we married, she firmly replied, “<strong>Brandon</strong>.”<br />

She understood my roots were here, everyone<br />

seemed to attend church, and were engaged in<br />

their children’s lives. She now understands why<br />

many of us claim <strong>Brandon</strong> to be “the center of the<br />

universe”. Everything we know and are is traced<br />

back to our upbringing here in this unique<br />

community. Amber and I are excited to raise our<br />

newborn Madelyn Rose in that same nurturing<br />

and compassionate family community.<br />

Our <strong>Brandon</strong> is where people stand up for<br />

Christianity, even when facing the Supreme<br />

Court. It’s where we play for championships in all<br />

ages of athletics and where we help remove trees<br />

from a neighbor’s roof before our own. It’s where<br />

we help people in need even when our needs are<br />

greater and where there’s no room to stand on the<br />

road to welcome home our military from overseas<br />

deployments. <strong>Brandon</strong> is where the American<br />

flag flies on the back of pickups and where the<br />

crowd at Louis Gene Strickland Field sings “How<br />

Great Thou Art”. It’s where our word is still more<br />

important than a credit score, and our neighbors<br />

a called friends. It’s where the most of America<br />

longs to live—but doesn’t even realize such a<br />

place exists anymore.<br />

These are a few of the reasons I fell in love, and<br />

remain in love with my hometown of <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

It’s the best city, in the best county, in the best<br />

state, in the greatest country—anywhere!<br />

Eternally Grateful, Johnny Beck<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 35

36 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

ultivating<br />

Potential<br />

Melanie McMillan<br />

In 1918, Henry Adams wrote “A teacher affects eternity;<br />

he can never tell where his influence stops.” One way or another,<br />

teachers impact the lives of their students.<br />

Agriculture teacher Andy White<br />

is one of the many teachers at <strong>Brandon</strong> High School who is positively<br />

affecting students in the way that he leads, mentors, and inspires.<br />

Originally from Pelahatchie, Mr. White and his<br />

wife Margaret have been married for thirty years<br />

and have two children, Emily and Rebecca.<br />

He began his teaching career at Forrest County<br />

Agricultural High School in Brooklyn, Mississippi.<br />

He and another teacher lived in the dorm there<br />

and they, along with the students, managed a farm<br />

complete with cows, hay, an orchard, and a garden.<br />

He has fond memories of his time there, but one<br />

experience in particular stands out.<br />

Through a program called “Special Ag”, students<br />

with physical and mental challenges were able to<br />

participate in many hands-on activities and learn<br />

“Ag” related skills. They worked in the garden and<br />

learned how to drive a tractor. Mr. White recalls one<br />

of the students, whom they affectionately called<br />

Cotton, asking, “Mr. White, just one last time, can<br />

we drive the tractor?” The result of that request was<br />

one of White’s favorite memories. “We had three<br />

tractors and a trailer so we lined them up and had<br />

a little parade out in the pasture and around the<br />

school. They had a grand time,” he recalled.<br />

Upon leaving Forrest County, Mr. White took a<br />

position at the Vo-Tech Center at Hinds Community<br />

College, where he taught students from Warren<br />

Central and Vicksburg area high schools. There<br />

were nineteen different high school programs that<br />

students could participate in. At the time, it was one<br />

of the largest Ag programs in the state.<br />

Andy was happy there and was not looking to<br />

make a change when he received a call from Emmitt<br />

Williams, an Ag teacher at <strong>Brandon</strong> High School.<br />

Mr. Williams was considering retiring and asked<br />

Mr. White to consider coming to <strong>Brandon</strong> to lead<br />

the agriculture department. It was not until two<br />

years later that White left Hinds to teach Ag at<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> High School. That was in 2002.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 37

“For a long time I built things with wood and steel,<br />

Mr. White has seen the Ag program at <strong>Brandon</strong> continue to grow since<br />

he began, thirteen years ago. There were twenty-one students enrolled his<br />

first year and this year there are one hundred twenty-five. Students must<br />

first complete the Ag Science course before they can advance to Agriculture<br />

and Natural Resources I and II, both taught by Mr. White. Students in all<br />

Ag classes learn with multiple hands-on activities and lessons. The Ag<br />

Science students are primarily in charge of the greenhouse, while Ag I and<br />

II students work mainly in the shop and do welding.<br />

Students in Ag Science are chosen to advance to Ag I and II based<br />

on their attitude, attendance, and achievement. Mr. White says, “Students<br />

are driven and want to put out the effort to excel. I just try to provide<br />

opportunities every day, and I have high expectations. They know what<br />

I expect of them.”<br />

Not only do Mr. White’s students learn lifelong skills, there are many<br />

opportunities to interact with the community. Recently, Ag II students<br />

welded and constructed a shed for a group in Tupelo. Preliminary work<br />

was done at the high school and then completed in Tupelo. Not only do<br />

students gain construction skills, they also interact with people outside the<br />

school, and in this case, outside the city.<br />

The Ag department also sponsors an annual plant sale that is the<br />

result of the collaboration of Ag Science students and<br />

community members. The students and community<br />

members work together to care for plants year round<br />

and then offer them for sale in the spring. Those who<br />

know Mr. White will not be surprised to know that proceeds from the plant<br />

sale are shared with the special education program at BHS. Mr. White said,<br />

“Those kids [in Special Ed.] will never go without as long as I’m here.”<br />

When one thinks of school Ag programs, visions of livestock judging<br />

and plant care are most likely the first things that come to mind. However,<br />

Mr. White stresses that these are not the only skills that students learn.<br />

“There is so much about our program that enables kids to learn how to<br />

speak and stand up in front of a group, as well as how to work with their<br />

hands.” Students who serve as officers of the local chapter of Future<br />

Farmers of America (FFA) participate in a public speaking competition<br />

called “Opening and Closing”. There are also Creed Speaking, Prepared<br />

Public Speaking and Extemporaneous Public Speaking competitions.<br />

Welding, Tractor, Tool Identification, Livestock Judging, and Dairy Judging<br />

are FFA hands on competitions that students participate in as well.<br />

Bob Robinson, Ag teacher at Pelahatchie High School, taught at BHS<br />

for five years with Mr. White. Robinson and White grew up about two<br />

miles apart and have known each other their whole lives. “I was very<br />

blessed to have the opportunity to learn about FFA and teaching<br />

from Andy,” Robinson says, “but I learned so much more<br />

than that. We worked side by side very closely and even<br />

though we didn’t always agree, there was never a harsh<br />

word that passed between us. Everyday I saw a life lived<br />

in service to Jesus Christ, as evidenced by his love for<br />

everyone he comes in contact with.”<br />

38 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

and now I’m building men and women.”<br />

One of Mr. White’s former students, Kramer Sowell, is now his teaching<br />

partner and speaks of the influence that White has had on his life. “I have<br />

had the pleasure of seeing Mr. White in three different lights. I first saw<br />

him as a teacher. I saw how he cared for all of the students and his passion<br />

for his job and his coworkers. Seeing his loving actions is what inspired<br />

me to become an agriculture teacher. The next light I have seen him in is<br />

as a partner/mentor. He still has that same passion for his students and<br />

coworkers. I have gained a better appreciation for his knowledge base<br />

and his skill set and his eagerness to share it with me and others. The last<br />

and brightest light I have seen him in is as a friend. He has helped me<br />

through tough decisions, been right by my side during a terrible accident,<br />

and shares the love of our Lord with me everyday. He is the best teacher,<br />

partner and friend, and has the biggest, most beautiful heart.”<br />

Mr. White and the Ag program at BHS profoundly impacted Harrison<br />

Lang, a 2011 BHS graduate and senior Agricultural Information Science<br />

major at Mississippi State. Harrison was involved in FFA through BHS<br />

his entire high school career, participating in several contests including<br />

Opening and Closing, Prepared Public Speaking and Tool Identification.<br />

He served as Chapter Vice-President and Chapter President during his<br />

Junior and Senior years.<br />

“When I became involved in Mr. White’s program my freshman year,<br />

I was extremely shy and timid. As I progressed through the program I<br />

began to open up and develop as a person. I give full credit to Mr. White<br />

and Mr. Robinson for this. These men pushed me to do my best, many<br />

times more than what I thought I was capable of. Mr. White saw potential<br />

in me when I didn’t believe in myself and worked tirelessly to cultivate<br />

that potential.”<br />

Harrison went on to serve as the<br />

2011-2012 president of the FFA for the<br />

state of Mississippi, traveling across<br />

the country and promoting the FFA<br />

organization as well as agriculture in<br />

the state. He firmly believes that none<br />

of his success would have been possible<br />

without Mr. White’s support.<br />

“I say, without hesitation, that Mr.<br />

White has had as much of an impact on my life as my own parents. It is<br />

obvious that he is passionate about teaching and it’s much more than a<br />

job to him. He acts as an excellent example to all young people in how a<br />

Christian man should conduct himself and live his life. If I turn out to be<br />

half the man Mr. White is, I will consider my life a success.”<br />

The effect of a good, caring teacher is evident in the paths and<br />

accomplishments of Mr. White’s students. Not surprisingly, White credits<br />

his own Ag teacher, Johnny Carter of Pelahatchie, with influencing him<br />

to do what he does today. “He gave me so many opportunities to build my<br />

confidence. If I can help one person like he helped me, I’ll consider myself<br />

a success.”<br />

Mission accomplished Mr. White.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 39


1475 W. GOV. ST • (601) 825-2672 • brandonatcmrls.lib.ms.us<br />

Dec-Jan-Feb Events<br />

Displays for December and January<br />

Nutcrackers of Betty James<br />

Fashion Classic Dolls of Josie Moore<br />

Cup Collection of John B. Strickland Jr.<br />

Weekly Events<br />

Mondays - 10:30am Toddler Time<br />

Come join us for stories. Songs and finger plays for ages 0-2 years.<br />

Mondays - 6pm Dulcimer Group<br />

Bring your own dulcimer and let’s jam together.<br />

1st and 3rd Tuesdays - 4pm Kid Connection<br />

Grades K-5 afterschool story and craft hour.<br />

2nd and 4th Tuesdays - Chess Lessons for K-6.<br />

Wednesdays & Thursdays - 10:30am Preschool Story Time<br />

Songs, stories, and crafts for preschoolers aged 3-5.<br />

Thursdays - 1 pm Bring Your Own Project<br />

Weekly daytime crafting group.<br />

Thursdays - 6 pm Creative Crafters<br />

Join us as we learn and craft together.<br />

Monthly Events and Meetings<br />

First Monday of the Month<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Quilters<br />

Second Monday of the Month<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Book Club - 10:30am Stop by and discuss this month’s book.<br />

December 14 Christmas Letters by Debbie Macomber<br />

January 11 Six Years by Harlan Coben<br />

February 8 Roses by Leila Meacham<br />

Beading Class Please register.<br />

December 14 - 6pm<br />

Beading Class Christmas Party. Bring a munchie to share and ideas for<br />

next year.<br />

January 11 & February 8 - 4pm & 6 pm<br />

Beading Class - Call for details<br />

Second and Fourth Mondays of the month<br />

Extra-Ordinary Writers’ Club at 6pm<br />

Join other local writers as we get together, read each other’s work, and<br />

help each other improve. This group is open to teens and young adults.<br />

Second Tuesdays of the month<br />

Friends Meeting - 6pm<br />

Friends do not meet in December. They will meet January and February.<br />

Second & Fourth Tuesdays of the month<br />

December - Adult Chess Lessons - 6pm Please register<br />

January & February - Adult Chess Club Free play<br />

Second Wednesday of the month<br />

V.V.A. Meeting at 10:30am<br />

Join local veterans for their monthly meeting.<br />

First Thursday of the month<br />

Genealogy Club - 10:30am<br />

Genealogy topics and assistance are the topic of the day.<br />

Cancelled for December.<br />

Coin Club - 6pm<br />

Love old and new currency? Join the <strong>Brandon</strong> Coin Club for their<br />

monthly meeting.<br />

Third Saturday of the month<br />

Video Game Day<br />

(A new activity for teens and young adults) at noon<br />

Call the library for details.<br />

40 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

December Special Events<br />

Teen Movie Nught - Tuesday, December 1 - 5:30pm<br />

Enjoy cocoa while watching The Nightmare Before Christmas<br />

Gingerbread Houses - Saturday, December 5 - 2pm<br />

Come join Ms. Bebe and make your own gingerbread house. This is the<br />

last year we will make Gingerbread Houses with Ms. Bebe. She is<br />

moving to Texas. There is no cost for this family program. Please<br />

pre-register by calling the library at 601-825-2672. (Limit 75)<br />

Family Night with Santa - Thursday, December 10 - 6 pm<br />

Mississippi Young Singers will be performing. Santa will read the classic<br />

The Night Before Christmas and visit with each child. Mrs. Clause will be<br />

here too. Bring your camera to capture this special moment.<br />

Teen Game Night - Monday, December 14 - 5 pm Play Apples to<br />

Apples, Man Bites Dog and more! Join us for snacks, drinks, and fun!<br />

Polar Express Movie - Tuesday, December 17 - 2pm Come in your<br />

pajamas and drink hot cocoa as we watch The Polar Express together!<br />

Movie Marathon - Star Wars Trilogy<br />

Monday, December 28 - 2pm A New Hope<br />

Tuesday, December 29 - 2pm The Empire Strikes Back<br />

Wednesday, December 30 - 2pm Return of the Jedi<br />

January Special Events<br />

Let’s Get Moving - A Walk in the Park - Fridays in January - 10:30am<br />

Did you know our park has a walking trail? Walking is one of the best<br />

ways we can exercise. Join us for a walk around our park this morning.<br />

Game Day - Chess with Friends - Saturday, January 9 - 10:30am<br />

Free play for chess players of all ages.<br />

Third Thursday Book Club - Thursday, January 21 - 6:30pm<br />

Come join our new club for the millennial generation as we read and<br />

discuss books. This month’s read: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and<br />

Terry Pratchett.<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Historical & Genealogical Society - Tuesday, January 19 - 7pm<br />

Join us for history and fellowship. Refreshments provided. For further<br />

information contact brgen@cmrls.lib.ms.us.<br />

Sign Language Class - Saturday, January 23 - 10:30am<br />

Learn to speak with your hands. Free class. Pre-registration suggested.<br />

Teen Night - Monday, January 25 - 5pm<br />

See what you’re made of in the Marshmallow Olympics.<br />

Family Night - Thursday, January 28 - 6pm<br />

Come Zumba with us and our instructors Kathy King and Lisa Spurlock.<br />

TEENS: Library After Dark - Friday, January 29 - 5:30pm<br />

Come to the library after closing. We’ll have games, pizza, and a movie<br />

exclusively for teens. ALL PARTICIPANTS MUST HAVE A PARENT SIGN<br />


February Special Events - Library Lovers’ Month<br />

Social Security - Game Changer Deadline - Tuesday, February 2 - 6pm<br />

Social Security rules have changed due to the budget bill signed into law<br />

on November 2, <strong>2015</strong>. These rules come with some very important<br />

deadlines (April 30, 2016) for those nearing retirement age. All interested<br />

parties between the ages of 62-65 should attend.<br />

High School Homeschooling - Saturday, February 6 - 2pm<br />

There are special considerations for homeschooling a high school<br />

student. Laura Schlett has some ideas and suggestions for you.<br />

Third Thursday Book Club - Thursday, February 18 - 6:30pm<br />

This month’s read: The Martian by Andy Weir<br />

Sign Language Class - Saturday, February 20 - 10:30am<br />

Learn to speak with your hands. Free class. Pre-registration suggested.<br />

Family Night - Thursday, February 25 at 6pm<br />

Jennifer Hutchinson from Magee Public Library will present our program<br />

about the violin.<br />

Painting with Carla - Monday, February 29 - 6pm<br />

We will enjoy a seasonal painting with Carla Nations. $6 supply fee.<br />

Please register.<br />

The library will be closed:<br />

December 25 for Christmas<br />

January 1 for New Years Day<br />

Monday, January 18 for Martin Luther King Day<br />

Monday, February 15 for President’s Day<br />

______________________________________________________<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Public Library is part of the Central Mississippi Regional Library System, which serves<br />

Rankin, Scott, Simpson, and Smith Counties.

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 41

42 • Fall 2014<br />

42 • <strong>Winter</strong> 2013<br />

City of <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

Veterans Day<br />

Breakfast<br />

november 11, <strong>2015</strong> • <strong>Brandon</strong> Civic Center

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 43<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 43

44 • Fall 2014<br />

44 • <strong>Winter</strong> 2013<br />

44 • <strong>Winter</strong> 2013

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 45<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 45

serving our community<br />

Ben Warren<br />

brandon Fire Department<br />

Why did you decide to become a fireman?<br />

I wasn’t so much introduced to the fire service.<br />

Instead, I was completely immersed in it from birth.<br />

I watched my father enjoy a long career with the<br />

Mississippi State Fire Academy and even today see<br />

him continue serving his community as a volunteer<br />

fire fighter in Rankin County. I grew up around all the<br />

trappings of firefighting and learned from some of<br />

the best in the business even before my first day on<br />

the job. While other vocations may have caught my<br />

interest at some point, becoming a fire fighter proved<br />

to be what was really in my heart.<br />

How long have you been with the <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

fire department?<br />

While it seems like yesterday when I first started, I’m<br />

now approaching my thirtieth year in the fire service.<br />

After moving back to Mississippi, I joined <strong>Brandon</strong> as<br />

a reserve fire fighter in 2005. I was appointed to a<br />

full-time position within the department’s Division of<br />

Fire and Life Safety in 2014.<br />

What do you enjoy most about your typical<br />

day as a fireman?<br />

I’m blessed to share my days with a team of incredible<br />

firefighters that span all three of our 24-hour shifts.<br />

These dedicated crews help make every day enjoyable<br />

when we connect with our customers. A typical day<br />

may start with teaching a group of kindergarten<br />

children and end with a visit to a neighborhood<br />

association or church group. In between is usually<br />

a combination of research, planning, and program<br />

development. A really great day is one where we see<br />

how our work has paid off and a person is kept safe<br />

from fire or some other disaster.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have<br />

experienced as a fireman?<br />

Early in my career, I had a wise captain tell me that<br />

once I had kids of my own, seeing another child hurt<br />

would cause a “different” kind of pain within. He was<br />

right. While my desire to help didn’t change after<br />

becoming a parent, the feelings I experienced when<br />

a child was involved have left behind some rather<br />

difficult memories. Many of us have experienced<br />

things that can never be fully understood and we can<br />

really only share them in the context of someone<br />

who’s been there with us. Some days, this can be a<br />

really tough job.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I’ve been married for nearly twenty-five years to the<br />

love of my life and the girl who got me through college<br />

algebra. Elizabeth (a <strong>Brandon</strong> native) and I have lived<br />

in several other states but were fortunate to find our<br />

way back home to Mississippi. We have two children;<br />

Emily, our newest college student who has a heart<br />

the size of Texas for any stray animal and Braden, our<br />

7th grader who is looking for his own ways to save<br />

the world. My family has always been there for me<br />

and knows how to keep me focused on the things<br />

that are the most important in life.<br />

What do you consider your greatest<br />

achievement/accomplishment and why?<br />

It’s a humbling moment when considering this<br />

question. I can’t help but think of all those that helped<br />

me achieve so much. To cite just one event, it would<br />

have to be the day back in September 1986 when I<br />

graduated from basic firefighting school at Chanute<br />

Air Force Base in Rantoul, Illinois. Had it not been for<br />

that single accomplishment, I would have missed out<br />

on an incredible fire service career and wouldn’t have<br />

the job I enjoy today.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

There are 343 “someones” that I not only admire but<br />

also give my never-ending respect to. These are my<br />

fellow fire fighters that on September 11, 2001<br />

decided not to run from a catastrophe but instead,<br />

charged right into the heart of it to save as many lives<br />

a possible. They chose to give of themselves and set<br />

the ultimate example of what this job can require.<br />

There’s a reason they’re given the title New York’s<br />

bravest. They’ve earned it.<br />

What is your favorite holiday and why?<br />

My favorite holiday is Christmas. Even with all of the<br />

hustle and bustle, there comes a moment of stillness<br />

when I think about the birth of Jesus Christ and what<br />

that means in my life. For me, Christmas is a time of<br />

blessings and I always look forward to doing the<br />

things that seem to bring my friends and family closer.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

Before Mississippi built a fire academy, a small group<br />

of instructors traveled around the state with some<br />

basic equipment and taught classes in local fire<br />

stations. Summers were the best, as our family would<br />

accompany my father on trips to these fire schools<br />

and conferences. I’d say mile-for-mile, I was probably<br />

one of the most well-traveled kids in the state. My<br />

favorite childhood memory is simply the time I spent<br />

traveling with my family and getting to discover some<br />

of Mississippi’s hidden treasures.<br />

What is the biggest mistake you think<br />

young people make today?<br />

It seems that some young people never really<br />

consider the possible consequences of their actions.<br />

So many times, we see where this lack of forethought<br />

ends in tragedy. I can say that one of the biggest<br />

mistakes a youngster can make is living with the false<br />

belief that they are indestructible. Human life is too<br />

precious just to be wasted on a single bad decision.<br />

Continued on page 72<br />

46 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

BRANDon's finest<br />

Officer Mark Miller<br />

brandon police Department<br />

Why did you decide to be a policeman?<br />

I grew up in the town of Flowood before it was a<br />

city. My father was in law enforcement, so I was<br />

always surrounded by the environment of policemen<br />

and firemen. After graduating from William<br />

Carey University in 2001, I felt it was my calling to<br />

make a difference by helping people. Becoming a<br />

police officer allowed me to have that privilege.<br />

How long have you been with the <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

Police Department?<br />

Just shy of 12 years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I have been happily married for 8 years to Kristen<br />

Barnes Miller of Pearl. We have a son, Walker (3)<br />

who certainly keeps us on our toes!<br />

What is the toughest thing you have<br />

experienced in your job?<br />

I would have to say the toughest thing about my job<br />

is losing a fellow officer for senseless acts of violence<br />

beyond control. Whether you know the fallen<br />

officer(s) or not, we are all family where we stand<br />

as one on common ground.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in your<br />

spare time.<br />

I love sports and my 3-year-old loves sports about<br />

as much as I do, so we enjoy playing in the backyard,<br />

or in the house until mom catches us. I also enjoy<br />

golfing, hunting, fishing, and just being outdoors<br />

and thoroughly enjoy going to Mississippi State<br />

football games (HAIL STATE)!<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

First, I would like to go to Scotland to play golf at the<br />

old St. Andrews golf course with my father. Second,<br />

I would love for my family and me to go to Hawaii’s<br />

North Shore. Lastly, I would like to play a round of<br />

golf with Phil Mickelson (we’re both lefties).<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

I most admire my parents. No matter what life<br />

presented, my parents always used their faith to<br />

come out on top. They have always put their faith<br />

and trust in the Lord through the good and bad<br />

times. Their faith in me was indescribable and I have<br />

always been able to count on them. I would not be<br />

the person I am today without their guidance and<br />

leadership throughout my life.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years from<br />

now?<br />

In 10 years, I am hoping to be retired and enjoying<br />

rounds of golf. Lots of golf! I may want to run for<br />

public office one day.<br />

If you could give one piece of advice to a<br />

young person, what would it be?<br />

Life is a free gift full of blessings, but not always<br />

easy. Facing obstacles and overcoming the<br />

struggles help build character and appreciation for<br />

life. In all you do, work hard to earn it! Never stray<br />

from your faith.<br />

What is a favorite childhood memory?<br />

I enjoyed the days of being a kid, riding bikes, and<br />

playing baseball and football out in the yard with my<br />

friends. My all-time favorite childhood memory<br />

would have to be traveling every summer playing<br />

tournament baseball with my friends.<br />

What is the biggest mistake you think<br />

young people make today?<br />

Not using caution when posting anything on social<br />

media. What people post on social media not only<br />

affects you, but your family and friends as well.<br />

Don’t do or post anything to hurt your character or<br />

someone else’s. It’s simply a matter of respecting<br />

one another.<br />

What is your favorite thing about the City<br />

of <strong>Brandon</strong>?<br />

I love the small town atmosphere that <strong>Brandon</strong> has<br />

to offer. <strong>Brandon</strong> is a great place to raise a family,<br />

which is one of the reasons why our police<br />

department works diligently in keeping our city<br />

safe. Throughout my time being employed by the<br />

City of <strong>Brandon</strong>, I have watched our city grow and<br />

prosper with the continuation of developments<br />

each year. I honestly believe the best is yet to come.<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

Rankin County?<br />

No matter where you go or what you do, you know<br />

somebody in Rankin County. Whether it’s lending a<br />

helping hand or someone lending you hand, Rankin<br />

County always has a sense of togetherness. We live<br />

in one of the fastest growing counties in Mississippi.<br />

We have one of the best and safest counties in the<br />

state.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 47

Amber Briswell, Mindy Gilmore<br />

Wanda Holloway, Kim Page, Sloan Sanders, Allison Long<br />

Baylea Callicutt,<br />

Ellen Morgan<br />

Nancy MaGee, Joy Christopher<br />

Annual Tablescapes<br />

First Baptist Church <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

November 9, <strong>2015</strong><br />

Cindy Sephton, Leisa McCool<br />

Laura Wilson, Bo Maurer, Christy McIlwain, Michelle Simkins<br />

Mary Doyle, Melissa Doyle<br />

Christy Roberts, Leisa McCool, Carmen Dennis<br />

Ginger Sherman, Dawn Smith<br />

Sheila Varnell, Nancy Keisman, Jane Murphey, Wes Pharis<br />

Brenda Fannin, Frances Ratcliff, Melissa Smith<br />

Jane Lea, Anita Fortenberry<br />

Mary Ann Dale, Connie Gustavsen, Pam Hunt<br />

48 • Fall <strong>Winter</strong> 2014 <strong>2015</strong>

Holly Brantley, Claire Mutziger, Meagan Anthony,<br />

Charleigh Alford, Sloan Sanders<br />

Brenda Vernamonti, Margarett Baggett, Kay Basden, Debbie Edwards<br />

Camille Anding, Marni McKenzie<br />

Donis Simmons, Jean Milner<br />

Rachael Durr, Brittney Edwards<br />

Marianna Martin, Karen Clark<br />

Hannah Muffuletto, Nita Ferguson, Melissa Walters<br />

Marguerite Bennett, Mary Tucker, Dorothy Sessums<br />

Peggy Vanover, Brenda Stafer, Sandra McNair<br />

Liz McCearley, Charlotte Lafferty<br />

Diane Washington, Kathy Wilson, Sarah Bailey<br />

Marie Henson, Eva Williams, Mary Quinn<br />

Anita Fortenberry, Diane Shelton<br />

Rhonda Graham, Kristi Parker<br />

Sandy Palmer, Judy Williams<br />

Bettie Robertson, Annette Drennan,<br />

Dorothy Henderson<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 49

50 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong><br />

We Wish You<br />

a Merry<br />


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• Discount on four or more burial spaces •<br />

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 51

Sister:<br />

Sister<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> High School’s homecoming court<br />

was full of sisters this year–three sets, to be exact.<br />

We decided to ask them each a few questions to<br />

get to know them better and see what they thought<br />

about having a sibling share the spotlight.<br />

52 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 53

54 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Onsby&StellaVinson<br />

What’s the best part about having a<br />

sister in high school?<br />

Onsby I get to watch Stella experience the<br />

things I did.<br />

Stella Onsby is not only my sister but my best<br />

friend and I love how we get to ride to school<br />

together. I also love running into her during the<br />

school day and getting to speak to her at school.<br />

What’s a negative about having a sister<br />

in high school?<br />

Onsby I don’t like being late and Stella takes<br />

forever getting ready so we’re late a lot.<br />

Stella I enjoy getting to ride to school with her<br />

but the down side is that I take longer getting<br />

ready than she does and that makes Onsby mad.<br />

What did you think when you heard that<br />

your sister had made homecoming court?<br />

Onsby I wasn’t elected my freshman year so it<br />

was exciting to see that Stella did make it.<br />

Stella I was excited we were both on it.<br />

What do you think is your sister’s<br />

best quality?<br />

Onsby Stella is so carefree and doesn’t worry<br />

about a thing.<br />

Stella Onsby is always smiling.<br />

Is there any item of clothing or jewelry<br />

that’s off limits to your sister?<br />

Onsby I don’t like Stella wearing any of my<br />

boots or shoes. They aren’t even her size but she<br />

tries to fit in them anyway.<br />

Stella Yes! My True Grit jacket.<br />

What’s usually the cause of an<br />

argument?<br />

Onsby Definitely clothes!<br />

Stella The dumbest stuff—mainly clothes.<br />

If you could have any quality or trait<br />

of your sister, what would it be?<br />

Onsby Her fearlessness. She’s not afraid to<br />

do anything.<br />

Stella Her sweetness.<br />

What’s the best part about being<br />

the older or younger sister?<br />

Onsby I get to help her in things she’s going<br />

through that I already have already experienced.<br />

Stella Onsby has to drive me around everywhere.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 55

56 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Sydnee& GraceeWells<br />

What’s the best part about having a sister<br />

in high school?<br />

Sydnee This is our first year to be at the same school<br />

together. It’s cool to watch her go through her freshman<br />

year and observe our similarities and differences.<br />

Gracee I get to ride to school with Sydnee and I like<br />

seeing her in the hallway.<br />

What’s a negative about having a sister in<br />

high school?<br />

Sydnee I have to take her everywhere so we’re late<br />

everywhere we go.<br />

Gracee As a senior, she gets to leave early and doesn’t<br />

like coming back to get me because of the traffic.<br />

What did you think when you heard that<br />

your sister had made homecoming court?<br />

Sydnee I was in art class and heard her name called<br />

over the intercom as freshman maid. After they<br />

announced the freshman winners, the intercom in our<br />

room went out so I found out later that I was elected<br />

as well. I was also elected a freshman maid and had the<br />

blessing of experiencing that with my dad. In a way,<br />

Gracee and I share that bond even though my dad<br />

passed away in 2013.<br />

Gracee When they called out senior winners, there<br />

was a long pause right before her name and I couldn’t<br />

wait to hear if she made it. This will never happen<br />

again and we had fun dress shopping together.<br />

Is there any item of clothing or jewelry that’s<br />

off limits to your sister?<br />

Sydnee I don’t like sharing jewelry with her because<br />

she doesn’t value nice things like I do.<br />

Gracee My hair scrunchies.<br />

What do you think is your sister’s<br />

best quality?<br />

Sydnee Her heart and compassion.<br />

Gracee Thoughtful- Sydnee’s great with her words.<br />

What’s usually the cause of an argument?<br />

Sydnee We get tired of spending too much time<br />

together and it wears us out.<br />

Gracee Sometimes we just need a break from each<br />

other.<br />

If you could have any quality or trait<br />

of your sister, what would it be?<br />

Sydnee Gracee is very perceptive and sees people<br />

hurting more than I do and she takes action.<br />

Gracee Sydnee’s boldness. Sometimes that’s good<br />

and sometimes it’s not!<br />

What’s the best part about being the older<br />

or younger sister?<br />

Sydnee It’s cool to be the role model and know<br />

someone is watching your every move.<br />

Gracee I have Sydnee to look up to.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 57

58 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Meridith&CallieMinshew<br />

What’s the best part about having a sister<br />

in high school?<br />

Meridith We share friends because Callie has older<br />

friends and I have younger friends so a lot of times<br />

we’re all together.<br />

Callie Meredith knows what to do in situations that<br />

I’m going through because she’s already experienced it.<br />

What’s a negative about having a sister in<br />

high school?<br />

Meridith I always see Callie at home but then have<br />

to see her at school too.<br />

Callie Every time she sees me, she runs up and gives<br />

me a big hug making a big scene. It’s embarrassing.<br />

What did you think when you heard that<br />

your sister had made homecoming court?<br />

Meridith I was excited because I like picking out<br />

dresses. My first year to make homecoming court was<br />

my senior year and Callie’s first year was her freshman<br />

year. It’s very special.<br />

Callie It meant a lot because I didn’t get to share<br />

high school with my brother Gardner but I get to<br />

with Meredith.<br />

Is there any item of clothing or jewelry that’s<br />

off limits to your sister?<br />

Meridith Anything I buy with my own money.<br />

Callie There isn’t really anything of mine off limits<br />

because Meredith’s good at talking me into anything.<br />

What do you think is your sister’s<br />

best quality?<br />

Meridith Callie makes friends easily.<br />

Callie Meredith makes people laugh and cheers<br />

them up.<br />

What’s usually the cause of an<br />

argument?<br />

Meridith Both of us want to wear the same thing.<br />

We share most everything.<br />

Callie If we take something of each other’s without<br />

asking permission.<br />

If you could have any quality or trait<br />

of your sister, what would it be?<br />

Meridith Being able to walk in a room and talk to<br />

anyone–even strangers.<br />

Callie Her study habits!<br />

What’s the best part about being<br />

the older or younger sister?<br />

Meridith Being able to give advice if Callie wants to<br />

ask for it.<br />

Callie Having an older sister who has made good<br />

decisions causes people to have high expectations<br />

of me.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 59

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60 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 61

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www.theupsstorelocal.com/6197<br />

62 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Recalling Memories<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Three ladies representing a<br />

total of 271 years sat comfortably<br />

in a quiet hallway in Peach Tree<br />

Village, their assisted living home.<br />

Mary Gibbs, 95, Bessie Long, 94,<br />

and Mary Green, 82, were blessed<br />

with loving families and Christmas<br />

memories they enjoy sharing.<br />

Mary Green operated a florist out<br />

of her home in Morton, Mississippi. She<br />

remembers the long hours of work, especially<br />

when working with weddings and funerals. Mary said,<br />

“Flowers were always comforting to a grieving family and provided<br />

smiles for happy occasions.”<br />

Once, a customer requested a turkey-shaped floral arrangement.<br />

She challenged her creativity and cut out a turkey from a wooden<br />

board and then covered it with flowers. Mary stopped to laugh and<br />

said, “My family said it looked more like a duck!”<br />

Christmas in her 24/7 shop that was attached to her home was<br />

filled with poinsettia deliveries and glittering floral arrangements.<br />

She said that an in-house business was convenient but it also meant<br />

husbands ringing her doorbell at six in the morning, panicking over<br />

forgotten birthdays and anniversaries.<br />

Bessie Long whetted our appetites when she shared about her<br />

bakery in Westland Plaza in Jackson. Bessie and her husband, Joe,<br />

owned and operated Long’s Pastry Shop where they had a booming<br />

business with fourteen employees.<br />

Joe worked in the back, overseeing the baking while Bessie covered<br />

the front and decorated the cakes. She remembers decorating and<br />

selling 100 birthday cakes in one day. The work was strenuous and<br />

demanding. Often, customers would stand in line and be willing to<br />

wait for Bessie to perform her artistry on their cakes.<br />

During Christmas, there was a<br />

large demand for their ambrosia,<br />

rum, and candy cakes. She<br />

described the candy cake as a<br />

multiple, split loaf cake with a<br />

cooked chocolate filling. No, she<br />

wasn’t able to keep her recipes or<br />

formulas as her husband called them.<br />

Life is much more relaxed for Bessie<br />

at Peach Tree, but she still recalls the<br />

exhausting work in their bakery. “If the car hadn’t<br />

know the way home at night, I’d never have gotten there!”<br />

Mary Gibbs recalled wonderful, warm memories of her childhood<br />

Christmases. She and her eight siblings grew up on a farm with<br />

their parents. “We were poor but didn’t know it,” she said. There<br />

was no electricity or running water. The only kind of Christmas tree<br />

she can remember was a holly tree. Her dad would secure it in a<br />

bucket of sand, and the kids would string popcorn for decorations.<br />

After finding safe spots for candles to perch on the branches, the<br />

kids would light the candles and surround the tree to make sure it<br />

didn’t ignite. There were no accidents, but Mary remembers that<br />

glimmering, homemade joy.<br />

She still recalls her dad taking the wagon to town one rainy, cold<br />

Christmas Eve, not realizing that he was going to buy Christmas<br />

presents. On Christmas morning she was thrilled with her present<br />

– a green and white striped dress with a sash. She and her siblings also<br />

saw Santa’s boot tracks on the hearth and the empty cookie plate.<br />

The family would eat biscuits, sausage and syrup for breakfast and<br />

spend the rest of the day making popcorn balls and syrup candy. Then<br />

they would gather around the pump organ and sing Christmas carols.<br />

All three ladies agreed that times are far different now. Their<br />

Christmas memories have no resemblances to this generation’s<br />

celebrations, but they’re grateful for their treasured memories and a<br />

safe, happy environment where they can still reminiscence.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 63

It’s a<br />

Wonderful<br />

Life<br />


64 • Fall 2014

December 5th, 2016<br />

Historic Downtown <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

9am-1pm<br />

Tour of Homes<br />

RCHS Museum & Garage<br />

of Antique Cars<br />

Ticket required.<br />

$10 adults, 12 and under Free.<br />

Available at <strong>Brandon</strong> City Hall,<br />

Bay Window Books, CoBo’s Boutique,<br />

Faith N Candy Boutique, Miss Priss<br />

Boutique, O How Cute - <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

11am<br />

Presh Tots & Miss Priss<br />

Fashion Show<br />

Courtyard behind Busick Building<br />

1pm-3pm<br />

Mr. & Mrs. Clause<br />

Downtown Square - Bring your cameras!<br />

3:30pm-4pm<br />

XPress Dance Performance<br />

Black Rose Theater<br />

4:30pm<br />

Raffle Winners Announced<br />

Black Rose Theater Lobby<br />

5:30pm<br />

Black Rose Theater presents<br />

the radio version of<br />

“It’s a Wonderful Life”<br />

Black Rose Theater Lobby<br />

Free Admission<br />

Other Activities<br />

Play Bingo<br />

Visit the folowing merchants during the day<br />

and be entered into a raffle drawing:<br />

Bay Window Books, Black Rose Theater,<br />

CoBo’s, Faith N Candy, Merle Norman,<br />

Miss Priss, Presh Tots, Thortis Photography.<br />

Donate a New Toy<br />

Visit collection bins at various locations<br />

Entertainment<br />

In and around the Square<br />

Fire Truck & Vendors<br />

10am-4pm in the Square<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 65

66 • Fall 2014<br />

Debby & Talmadge Jones<br />

313 East <strong>Brandon</strong> Court

Shelley & Mack McLeod<br />

704 South College Street<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 67

68 • Fall 2014<br />

Kathy & Pete Lewis<br />

200 Pearl Street

COOL DEGREE #82<br />



www.deltastate.edu/admissions<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 69

<strong>Brandon</strong> on the move.<br />

Kyle Brown<br />

People often joke that “You can’t go anywhere in <strong>Brandon</strong> without running into<br />

construction” which means now is an incredible time for the city. The temporary<br />

construction will leave benefits for decades to come.<br />

Orange barrels and construction zones have become a constant reality for<br />

anyone traveling around <strong>Brandon</strong>. The Highway 471 expansion and Downtown<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> on-ramp have brought about an exciting, yet difficult, time. One of those<br />

difficult times involved the closure of Marquette Road while Eutaw Construction<br />

lifted 130-foot, 40-ton beams above the Kansas City Southern Railroad. Those<br />

closures have ended and people are beginning to see the new traffic signals with<br />

lighting installed. This complex project will add additional lanes of travel and<br />

enhanced turn lanes for those entering and exiting Interstate 20. The Mississippi<br />

Department of Transportation and Eutaw Construction are estimating this project<br />

will be completed by Spring 2016.<br />

If you have traveled north along Highway 471, one cannot miss the expansion<br />

of the highway. Joe Magee Construction has been incredibly busy adding three<br />

new lanes from the <strong>Brandon</strong> city limit to Luckney Road. While construction crews<br />

have been busy adding lanes on the north end of the project, others have been<br />

busy working on the new bridge over Interstate 20. This bridge has had concrete<br />

decking poured and concrete guardrails will be poured soon. The new bridge will<br />

accommodate traffic while the other bridge is removed and replaced. One phase<br />

of the project that may not be visible to many is the bridge over the railroad<br />

where concrete pillars are currently being poured. This new bridge will allow<br />

for smoother travel flow north and south along Highway 471. The construction<br />

of this project is just phase one of Highway 471 improvements with phase two<br />

adding additional lanes from <strong>Brandon</strong> city limits to Highway 25.<br />

The second phase of East Metro Parkway, which will take place on Jackson<br />

Municipal Airport Authority property, will soon be under construction. This phase<br />

includes a two-lane road to Old <strong>Brandon</strong> Road while extending the four-lane<br />

segment to El Dorado Road and bids have already been taken. The Mississippi<br />

State Legislature appropriated monies for the property acquisition and utility<br />

relocation along phase three of this process has already begun. The third phase<br />

will complete the four-lane road from Lakeland Drive in Flowood to West<br />

Government Street in <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

The road construction doesn’t end on major highways but has been extended<br />

into neighborhoods. The city has contracted two street resurfacing projects that<br />

involve digouts, milling, and paving. The projects span from Pecan Ridge to Glen<br />

Arbor and Overby Street to Remington Drive. All of these projects combined<br />

represent a nearly $100 million investment in transportation in <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

The city has been growing and applications received for residential home<br />

permits, commercial renovations, and new commercial construction are proof that<br />

people and businesses are choosing <strong>Brandon</strong>. The city realized over a year ago<br />

that growth was constant and more was on the way so we began the process of<br />

planning for that growth. The fruition of hundreds of survey responses, regional<br />

meetings, and interviews were unveiled on Monday, November 2. The <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

Board of Alderman approved the Plan <strong>Brandon</strong> 2035 Comprehensive Master Plan.<br />

The plan sets a vision for the next 20 years for the city and is based strongly<br />

around place making, quality design, connectivity, and balanced mobility. Over<br />

the next few months the plan will lead to a complete overhaul of the city’s zoning,<br />

development ordinance, and design guidelines. The plans sets forth a very<br />

aggressive set of implementation projects following the code overhaul that, if<br />

70 • Fall 2014

followed, will transform <strong>Brandon</strong> over the next twenty years into<br />

an even better and more complete community.<br />

Two years ago the citizens of <strong>Brandon</strong> passed a 2% food and<br />

beverage tax to enhance recreational opportunities across the<br />

city. After careful planning and feedback from citizens, the city<br />

produced a Parks Master Plan that laid out concrete plans for the<br />

future direction of recreation. The first construction project that<br />

went out for bid and is now under construction is the enhancement<br />

of City Park. The old restroom/concession stand facility has<br />

been removed, three new tennis courts have been poured, lighting<br />

has been installed, parking lot enhancements are underway,<br />

and the new restroom/concession stand is under construction.<br />

This enhancement is being done by Cal-Mar Construction and<br />

represents an over $1,000,000 investment in <strong>Brandon</strong>.<br />

Many have driven by or visited Shiloh Park and witnessed<br />

one of the largest construction projects. Many of the old light<br />

poles have been removed, old concession stands removed; parking<br />

lots torn up, and a construction trailer added. These changes,<br />

though inconvenient, will mean a much-improved Shiloh Park.<br />

Three new fütbol fields along Kennedy Farm Parkway have already<br />

been constructed and will be ready for matches during the<br />

upcoming spring season. McCarty King Construction has begun<br />

site preparation for the new concession stands. Fields 1-8 have<br />

had fence lines moved and new fencing added and will have new<br />

drainage systems installed along with new concession stands.<br />

Fields 1-4 will have covered seating. The Shiloh Park upgrades<br />

will be completed by Memorial Day, 2016.<br />

One major park addition occurred when the city of <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

purchased approximately 200 acres of land along Boyce Thompson<br />

Drive. The Boyce Thompson property will be home to the new<br />

Rankin Trails Park, which includes a major trail system, new<br />

baseball complex, and the <strong>Brandon</strong> Amphitheater.<br />

Initial construction at Rankin Trails Park has begun. The trail<br />

system along the north side of the property has begun to be<br />

cleared along with the site for the <strong>Brandon</strong> Amphitheater. An<br />

initial clearing for the baseball complex has been completed on<br />

the south side of Boyce Thompson Drive. The construction of this<br />

facility should begin February 2016.<br />

In October, the city announced a partnership with Red<br />

Mountain Entertainment, Neel-Schaffer Engineering, and<br />

Weir Boerner Allin Architecture to construct the <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

Amphitheater. The <strong>Brandon</strong> Amphitheater will be a premier<br />

outdoor entertainment venue, which will showcase some of<br />

music’s most exciting touring artists. The construction of the<br />

amphitheater within a dramatic natural setting is an incredible<br />

opportunity for <strong>Brandon</strong> that will have a cultural and economic<br />

impact for the city and region for generations to come. The<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Amphitheater is centrally located between Atlanta<br />

and Dallas, Memphis and New Orleans. Construction of the<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Amphitheater should begin February 2016 and will<br />

be open for the concert season in 2017.<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> is growing at a very healthy rate, which has given<br />

the city the opportunity to invest back into herself and provide<br />

better amenities for both current and future residents. The<br />

construction, once complete, translates to less time stuck in<br />

traffic, top notch recreational facilities for both children and<br />

adults, and the chance to enjoy a range of entertainment<br />

at a world class amphitheater. These amenities are a<br />

response to recent growth but in turn will promote<br />

future commercial and residential investment for the<br />

city, completing the circle and allowing to the city to<br />

continue improving day to day quality of life. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 71

Ben Warren<br />

Continued from page 48<br />

If you could give one piece<br />

of advice to a young person,<br />

what would it be?<br />

I was fortunate to have some great<br />

teachers and mentors along the way,<br />

so here’s what I would pass along.<br />

Beyond common courtesies and<br />

respect, I would encourage those<br />

younger than me to learn how to<br />

communicate effectively. Everyone<br />

has the potential to think up some<br />

great ideas, but they have to be<br />

shared in a way that others will<br />

understand. Learn how to write and<br />

speak well regardless of the path you<br />

choose through life.<br />

What is most rewarding<br />

about your job?<br />

One of the most heart wrenching<br />

sights a firefighter can experience is<br />

a displaced family standing outside<br />

their fire-damaged home. But, the<br />

fact that they made it out is a reward<br />

in itself. In my position, knowing that<br />

the family was prepared, they had a<br />

working smoke alarm, and knew<br />

how to escape quickly is the most<br />

rewarding part…especially if our<br />

team had a part in teaching them<br />

how to survive.<br />

Where do you see yourself<br />

ten years from now?<br />

I can only hope and pray that the Lord<br />

gives me another ten years filled with<br />

the same wonderful opportunities I’ve<br />

enjoyed for the first forty-eight. I can<br />

see myself nearing retirement, but<br />

never wanting to give up the joy of<br />

being a firefighter, husband, father,<br />

and maybe even a grandfather. Our<br />

time shouldn’t be measured in just<br />

years but more so in the memories<br />

we’ve been able to collect along<br />

the way.<br />

2016<br />



30 th Anniversary Charity Ball<br />

Saturday, February 27<br />

6:00 PM<br />

McClain Lodge<br />


Entertainment provided by MEET THE PRESS<br />

Silent Auction, themed packages and door prizes<br />

$100 per couple (tickets may be purchased at the door)<br />

Cocktail Attire<br />

All printing donated by Dallas Printing<br />



What are three things on<br />

your bucket list?<br />

I’ve never really considered having a<br />

bucket list. Having goals is fine, but<br />

life unfolds with the opportunities<br />

you’re blessed with each day. I’d much<br />

rather enjoy my experiences as they<br />

happen rather than check them off<br />

of a prepared list. If I did have a bucket<br />

list, it would probably just get lost<br />

under a pile of papers on my desk.<br />

Thanks to all our readers and<br />

advertisers for two great years!<br />

72 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

Growing to meet our community’s needs.<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> Nursing and Rehabilitation Center's new therapy gym<br />

is now open for inpatient and outpatient therapy.<br />

335 Crossgates Blvd • <strong>Brandon</strong> Ms<br />

601.825.3192 •Fax 601.825.6398<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 73

Patriot<br />

Parade<br />

September 11<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> High School<br />

74 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 75


Rouse Elementary school Somer Holloway<br />

Exciting Activities<br />

Rouse Elementary has done a lot of exciting things lately. In<br />

honor of Fire Safety Week, <strong>Brandon</strong> Fire Department came to<br />

visit and showed Rouse students all of the fire department’s<br />

equipment and vehicles. The central fire station put on a presentation<br />

about fire safety, where students learned to “Stop! Drop!<br />

And Roll!” and other important fire rules.<br />

Red Ribbon Week also put some delight in the air at Rouse.<br />

Each day during Red Ribbon Week, students dressed up in<br />

superhero gear, camo, neon, and favorite team clothing to show<br />

support for being drug free. Wearing Halloween costumes to just<br />

say “Boo to drugs” ended the week.<br />

The P.B.I.S. (Positive Behavior In School) store has put a<br />

good outlook on behavior at Rouse. Students spend bulldog<br />

bucks that are given out for good behavior in the P.B.I.S. store.<br />

Students can choose from a variety of toys and school supplies.<br />

The P.B.I.S. team of teachers held a Big Event day where students<br />

participated in an extra recess, karate demonstration, and had<br />

popsicles. Rouse Elementary will hold other Big Event days<br />

throughout the school year where students with good behavior<br />

can attend.<br />

In the upcoming months, Rouse Elementary staff and<br />

students will be involved in several events. Kindergarten students<br />

will participate in a Pow Wow day. Students will make tom-toms,<br />

vests, and rain-sticks while learning about Native American<br />

culture. Rouse Elementary kindergarteners and first graders will<br />

also hold a supply drive for Blair E. Batson where children will<br />

bring in band-aids, toothbrushes, and other hygiene items. ■<br />

76 • Fall <strong>Winter</strong> 2014 <strong>2015</strong>


<strong>Brandon</strong> Elementary school Lisa Hudson, Principal<br />

Patriotism<br />

“True patriotism springs from a belief in the dignity of the individual,<br />

freedom and equality—not only for Americans but for all people on earth,<br />

universal brotherhood and good will, and a constant and earnest striving<br />

toward the principles and ideals on which this country was founded.”<br />

~ Eleanor Roosevelt<br />

We have had a wonderful fall at <strong>Brandon</strong> Elementary with a<br />

strong focus on patriotism. Students are studying our nation’s<br />

history through reading, writing, social studies and music.<br />

During our reading and social studies lessons,<br />

we have discovered many new things about the lives<br />

of Native Americans. The students were able to<br />

research the interactions between the Native<br />

Americans and early explorers. They gained an<br />

understanding of the cause and effect relationships<br />

between the Native Americans and early explorers<br />

by writing about their bravery and heartache.<br />

Students then progressed into studying the contributions<br />

of George Washington, Patrick Henry,<br />

Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere. They were<br />

comparing and contrasting the loyalists and the<br />

patriots. We have seen that these men and others are the framers of<br />

our nation. Boys and girls have realized that substantial sacrifices<br />

were made to establish this influential country. Historical documents<br />

such as the Gettysburg Address, the Preamble, and The Constitution<br />

have come alive during class time.<br />

Students, wearing their red, white, and blue, were treated to a<br />

Veteran’s Day Ceremony. Our <strong>Brandon</strong> High School Color Guard<br />

presented the flags while the students were at attention. Candy Lee<br />

Dobbs sang the National Anthem, joined by all students. Our guest<br />

speaker was Sergeant First Class Les Stapp, a member of the 113th<br />

Military Police Company here in <strong>Brandon</strong>. He shared with the<br />

boys and girls what it was like to be a soldier during his three tours<br />

of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq. He spoke of bravery. He spoke of<br />

fear. He spoke of sacrifice. <strong>Brandon</strong> Elementary students whose<br />

parents are in the military were recognized and Sergeant Stapp<br />

told the group, “These students are the real heroes”. He and his<br />

wife live in <strong>Brandon</strong> with their two sons, Aaron and Justin, who<br />

are <strong>Brandon</strong> students.<br />

To add to the day’s events, our <strong>Brandon</strong> Elementary HALO<br />

group, a selected group of students who focus on service projects for<br />

our school, organized “Pennies for a Purpose”. Students dropped<br />

their change (and a few dollars) into a collection jug. All<br />

proceeds went to the organization, Wreaths Across America.<br />

With our donation, Wreaths Across America will purchase<br />

wreaths for Mississippi Veterans Memorial Cemetery in<br />

Newton, Mississippi.<br />

Our 4th grade music program, “Americana Showcase” was<br />

a delight. Students learned several famous patriotic tunes such<br />

as “The Star Spangled Banner”, “America, the Beautiful”, and<br />

a few new songs including “The Bells of Freedom”, “God Bless<br />

America”, and “This Is My Country”. The program included<br />

a recitation of the Gettysburg Address and audience singing<br />

participation in paying tribute to our country. With a large<br />

fourth grade class, the program was divided into four performances<br />

with close to 100 singers each performance. The<br />

cafeteria was packed for each performance with parents,<br />

grandparents, family, friends and community leaders. Seeing<br />

the audience clapping and singing along with pride in their<br />

child and in our nation validates that patriotism unites us.<br />

We love our school, community, state and nation. ■<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 77


<strong>Brandon</strong> high School Michaela Bankston, JROTC cadet<br />

Patriot Parade<br />

Friday, September 11, in place of a pre-game pep rally, students<br />

were lined down the hallways as all JROTC cadets, in full dress<br />

uniforms, marched through the school for the first ever Patriot<br />

Parade. Local veterans and Wounded Warrior Project members<br />

were invited to participate, weaving through the halls in front of<br />

fellow students and peers. We did this in hopes of bringing our<br />

soldiers, both past and present, to the forefront of the younger<br />

generation’s minds.<br />

Jake Mullins, cadet leader of the entire JROTC program and<br />

one of the collaborators behind the parade, was asked to give a few<br />

words on the parade. “This parade was solely about appreciating<br />

America’s veterans and the sacrifices they have made for this<br />

country. We also wanted to remember those who lost their lives<br />

on the September 11th attacks. This event will hopefully make<br />

students, as well as our whole community, more appreciative of<br />

what our soldiers go through and of the freedoms that the<br />

American people have.”<br />

This event was open to any parent/community member who<br />

wanted to join us. We loved seeing many people, not just students,<br />

come out to support the cadets and especially the veterans and<br />

Wounded Warriors who joined us on that historic day. We look<br />

forward to sharing much more patriotism with friends and family. ■<br />

78 • Fall <strong>Winter</strong> 2014 <strong>2015</strong>


stonebridge Elementary school<br />

Teacher<br />

Scavenger Hunt<br />

Ready, Set, Go! We are off to an exciting start at StoneBridge<br />

Elementary and ready to have a fun-filled, rigorous, learning experience.<br />

Summer may be over, but the fun will continue for the students<br />

through captivating books, multi-step math problems, and learning<br />

through cooperative groups. The students aren’t the only ones who<br />

have all the fun; our teachers were energized through a teambuilding<br />

scavenger hunt on their first day back to work. Each group of teachers<br />

had to safely drive around town and hunt for key <strong>Brandon</strong> locations.<br />

They posed at the College Street sign, Shiloh Park, and the<br />

<strong>Brandon</strong> High School Football field. By the time the last group of<br />

teachers jumped out to take pictures at the police station and fire<br />

house, the <strong>Brandon</strong> policemen and <strong>Brandon</strong> firemen knew they were<br />

coming and were ready for the picture. Once the teachers made it to<br />

these locations and many more, they were treated to a lunch provided<br />

by the StoneBridge PTO. We were able to eat, catch up on life, and<br />

gear up for a great school year. After lunch the top three teacher<br />

teams were rewarded with prizes only teachers would get excited<br />

about: external CD drives for their classroom computers, pencil<br />

sharpeners, or printer ink. The teachers were having a blast, so if<br />

you saw teachers in pink shirts running around town, jumping in<br />

and out of cars, and taking pictures, it was our dedicated staff<br />

gearing up for the <strong>2015</strong>-2016 school year.<br />

Our StoneBridge family knows how to have fun and work<br />

hard for our students. The teachers are thrilled to teach a<br />

brand new group of students and guide them down a successful<br />

path filled with love, support, and encouragement. Thanks to<br />

our community for jumping in our pictures, our PTO for a<br />

great lunch, and our StoneBridge family for making our jobs so<br />

much fun through all the hard work.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 79

Everything’s<br />

Coming Up<br />

Charla Jordan<br />

Blue Star Memorial<br />

Marker at <strong>Brandon</strong><br />

Public Library<br />

(installed in 2009)<br />

Lest We Forget<br />

Members of the <strong>Brandon</strong> Garden Club (BGC) agree that two commonly used<br />

phrases, “Lest we forget”* and “Freedom is not free,”** represent their Blue Star<br />

Memorial Marker Project. They also acknowledge that every man and woman<br />

who serves in the United States Armed Forces is necessary to sustain that freedom.<br />

On Veterans Day, November 11, <strong>2015</strong>, BGC and the Rankin County Board of<br />

Supervisors unveiled and dedicated a new Blue Star Memorial at the Rankin<br />

County Justice Center. The first Blue Star Marker dedicated on Veterans Day<br />

2009 is located at the <strong>Brandon</strong> Municipal Library and is co-sponsored by the<br />

City of <strong>Brandon</strong> and BGC. The Blue Star Memorial Marker program continues<br />

an American tradition begun in World War I with the display of a blue star<br />

banner for family members serving in the military.<br />

The Blue Star Memorial Marker program was adopted in 1945 by the National<br />

Garden Clubs, Inc. (NGC) to honor World War II veterans, and a uniform metal<br />

marker, similar to historical markers, was designed. Only garden clubs affiliated<br />

with NGC may purchase Blue Star Memorial Markers. The NGC Blue Star Memorial<br />

program now honors all men and women who are serving or have served in the<br />

United States Armed Forces. Today highway and by-way markers can be seen in<br />

cemeteries, parks, veterans’ facilities, community sites, and across thousands of<br />

miles of highways throughout the continental United States and Hawaii.<br />

For the <strong>Brandon</strong> Garden Club, no program or project is more important. This<br />

is shown by its willingness to accept the task of maintaining <strong>Brandon</strong>’s Blue Star<br />

Memorial Markers. The Club hopes that all veterans who view the markers will<br />

know that our community is grateful for their commitment and sacrifices, and<br />

they also hope that non-veterans will remember the debt of gratitude that we<br />

owe to our veterans. ■<br />

*Rudyard Kipling, “Recessional,” 1897, refrain<br />

**American idiom, coined by Retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Walter Hitchcock,<br />

New Mexico Military Institute<br />

1<br />

2<br />

80 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>

3<br />

4<br />

1<br />

Winston Parish, Vietnam<br />

Husband of Sandy Parish,<br />

BGC Public Relations/<br />

Photographer<br />

2<br />

Ronald Joseph Osborne, Sr.,<br />

Korea<br />

Father of Delena Hamel,<br />

BGC Co-Second<br />

Vice President<br />

3<br />

Andrew J. Hoffman,<br />

Active Military, Operation<br />

Noble Eagle, Operation<br />

Iraqi Freedom<br />

Son of Sharon Hoffman,<br />

BGC Member<br />

4<br />

Blue Star Memorial<br />

Marker at the Rankin<br />

County Justice Center<br />

5<br />

Dr. Charles Franklin Mitchell,<br />

WWII<br />

Father of Charla Mitchell<br />

Jordan, BGC President<br />

6<br />

Evelyn Barber Dickson and<br />

Jefferson Davis Dickson III,<br />

WWII<br />

Parents of Suzanne Dickson<br />

Ross, BGC Treasurer<br />

5 6<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Brandon</strong> • 81

Camille Anding<br />

The Time Coin<br />

It was with reluctance and a heavy dose<br />

of nostalgia that Maria turned the<br />

calendar page from December to<br />

January of a new year. She regretted leaving<br />

all the joys that spilled over the month of<br />

December. She wasn’t ready physically or<br />

mentally to leave the celebration and<br />

return to schedules and neat, uncluttered<br />

bedrooms – to meals that didn’t end in chocolate – to a pantry and<br />

cabinets void of grandchildren delights – to workdays that would<br />

replace lazy mornings of flannel pajamas and flavored coffees.<br />

Maria smiled as she remembered her pajama-clad family rushing<br />

into the frosty backyard to “ooh” and “aww” over the trophy buck<br />

draped over her grandson’s four-wheeler. She would want to remember<br />

the tastes of her mother’s ambrosia and grandmother’s tomato gravy<br />

brought to the table via their original recipes.<br />

Her December sound bank was packed with harmonious blending<br />

of grandchildren’s voices from the fireside carols and the squeals of<br />

grandchildren running down the hall Christmas morning. Reading<br />

books to her toddler grandchild still carried a warmth that blankets and<br />

thermostats couldn’t duplicate.<br />

Suddenly a regret from one of those December nights settled over<br />

Maria in a nostalgic cloud. The entire family had just finished another<br />

meal. The men had retreated to a lounging<br />

position near the den fire and the females were<br />

intent on making dessert and coffee last a few<br />

minutes longer. Virginia, her five-year-old<br />

grand, leaned into Maria’s ear and whispered,<br />

“Nana, let’s go snuggle in your bed and watch a<br />

Christmas movie.”<br />

Maria gave her a typical “just a minute”<br />

reply as the dirty dishes and clean-up took priority. In what seemed like<br />

a short time, Maria went to join her little bedfellow. She was under the<br />

covers but already in a deep sleep. Maria’s heart sank. She whispered her<br />

name, but Virginia’s childhood energy mode had switched to “recharge”<br />

and her day was ended.<br />

Maria had missed the special invitation and the calendar wouldn’t<br />

offer another like it in December. To most, it might appear a small thing<br />

among so many joys, but it continued to leave Maria with regret. Some<br />

joys, some invitations have expiration dates.<br />

The New Year begins with a new resolve for Maria. She’s acutely<br />

aware that the year will hold opportunities to respond immediately to<br />

life’s invitations and promptings. She could fall victim to busy-ness and<br />

forfeit blessings or indulge in treasured memory-making. It would be<br />

her choice. She had grown wiser. She knows from experience that regret<br />

is a heartless thief. ■<br />

82 • <strong>Winter</strong> <strong>2015</strong>


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