Hometown Clinton - Fall 2016

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Volume 3, Issue 3<br />

aug/sept/oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

The Coach's Wife<br />

_______________________<br />

The Dot Shop<br />

_______________________<br />

Bringing Eden Home<br />

_______________________<br />

Principal Q&A

McRaven Rd.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong><br />

Raymond Rd.<br />

I-20<br />

Lindsey Creek<br />

Springridge Rd.<br />

College St.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Blvd.<br />

Hwy. 80W<br />

A market leader for over four decades...<br />

because we know (and love) our market.<br />

Just ask <strong>Clinton</strong> homeowners about Century 21 David<br />

Stevens, Inc. They’ll tell you we know <strong>Clinton</strong> and we know<br />

homes. In fact, David Stevens has been helping families like<br />

yours find their dream home in <strong>Clinton</strong> since 1973.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> has great schools, great neighborhoods,<br />

great shopping and dining areas and great entertainment<br />

and recreation options. We know this town.<br />

We love this town. And we’re ready to help you<br />

feel right at home here!<br />

Give one of our Century 21 David<br />

Stevens, Inc. hometown real estate<br />

professionals a call. We’re all about<br />

finding homes, selling homes and<br />

making dreams come true.<br />

David W. Stevens, CRB, CRS, GRI<br />

Broker/Owner<br />

Cell: (601) 951-9100<br />

C21DSTEVEN@aol.com<br />

century21davidstevens.com<br />

701 Highway 80 West, <strong>Clinton</strong>, MS 39056<br />

(601) 924-7552 • 1-855-875-0879<br />

FAX (601) 924-7591<br />

Scan to view our<br />

entire inventory.<br />

Kelly Womack<br />

Cell: 601-502-5411<br />

Kelly.womack@century21.com<br />

Metro smart.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> friendly.<br />

Laci Pittman<br />

Cell: (601) 573-4748<br />

lpittman@usa.net<br />

Leah Sandidge<br />

Cell: (601) 540-6086<br />

leahsandidge@gmail.com<br />

Tronnie Lacy<br />

Cell: (601) 672-2496<br />

tntlacy@bellsouth.net<br />

Jackie Barksdale<br />

Cell: (601) 918-2914<br />

jackie.barksdale@comcast.net<br />

Charla Conlee, GRI<br />

Cell: (601) 954-4565<br />

cconlee@comcast.net<br />

David Stevens II<br />

Cell: (601) 540-1219<br />

david090977@aol.com<br />

Steve Rives<br />

Cell: (601) 951-1457<br />

srives3@gmail.com<br />

Sissy Wagner<br />

Cell: (601) 954-2405<br />

sissy_wagner@bellsouth.net<br />

Shelly Withers<br />

Cell: 601-988-7070<br />

Shellywithers1229@gmail.com<br />

Old Vicksburg R<br />

Cindy Robertson<br />

Cell: (601) 331-5599<br />

CindyWRobertson@comcast.net<br />

Debbie Thomas<br />

Cell: (601) 941-7361<br />

DTHOMAS3333@aol.com<br />

Estelle Sherer<br />

Cell: (601) 940-5955<br />

esherer@bellsouth.net<br />

E Northside Dr.<br />

W Northside Dr.<br />

Pinehaven Dr.<br />

Doris Lepard<br />

Cell: 601-259-5134<br />

doris.lepard@century21.com<br />

Erin Baxter<br />

Cell: (601) 410-3793<br />

estanley084@yahoo.com<br />

Jared Fleming<br />

Cell: (601) 906-8609<br />

jflemingms@gmail.com<br />

Jackie Dalton<br />

Cell: (601) 594-5344<br />

jackied21@att.net<br />

Ellen Horton<br />

Cell: (601) 291-6922<br />

efhorton@bellsouth.net<br />

Cliff Coleman<br />

Cell: 601-955-1950<br />

jccoleman.isproperties@aol.com<br />



mobile ordering, treats and so much more<br />

© <strong>2016</strong> CFA Properties, Inc. All trademarks shown are the property of their respective owners. Aug. ’16 • CB-122<br />


Come experience New Orleans at:<br />


Tahya A. Dobbs<br />

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Kevin W. Dobbs<br />

Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />


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Follow us on Facebook<br />

facebook.com/NawlinsGrill<strong>Clinton</strong>MS<br />

“Home of the free lunch plate”<br />

Drawing for free lunch everyday @ 1<br />

Fresh fish • Poboys • Gumbo • Steaks • Pasta • Homemade desserts<br />

New Menu coming<br />

September 1st with<br />

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favorites like:<br />

• Jambalaya Pasta<br />

• Crawfish Etouffee<br />

• Nawlins Cobb Salad<br />

• Shrimp Creole<br />

Two for $22 Tuesdays and<br />

All you Can Eat Catfish Thursdays<br />

Uniformed police officers eat for FREE!<br />

601.924.7305 • 228 <strong>Clinton</strong> Boulevard • <strong>Clinton</strong>, Mississippi<br />

Hours : Monday-Thursday 11-2 and 5-9, Friday 11-2 and 5-10, Saturday 11a-10p<br />


Rachel Lombardo<br />

Drew Pegues<br />


Camille Anding<br />

Elizabeth Bennett<br />

Andy Kanengiser<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

Kerri Puckett<br />

Abbie Walker<br />


Othel Anding<br />


Robby Followell Photography<br />

Elise Sears<br />


Daniel Thomas - 3dt<br />

Missy Donaldson - MADdesign<br />


Alisha Floyd<br />

Brenda McCall<br />

• • •<br />

www.facebook.com/<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong>-<strong>Clinton</strong>-Magazine<br />

Anyone ever heard of a wishing jar where<br />

you can write down your wishes, deposit them<br />

in a jar and retrieve them later to find they each<br />

came true? I haven’t either, but I have a few<br />

wishes I would include:<br />

1. I’d wish for all returning school teachers<br />

to have a year’s supply of patience,<br />

energy and students anxious to learn.<br />

2. I’d wish for the August heat to break<br />

records in low temps instead of highs.<br />

3. I’d wish for the upcoming election to<br />

bring out the best in our nation and<br />

not the worst.<br />

4. I’d wish for an easy transition for all<br />

kindergarten students—and hope<br />

for us mothers having to deliver our<br />

babies to college.<br />

5. I’d wish for one more mini-weekend<br />

vacation before the summer ends.<br />

6. I’d wish for blessings and continued<br />

safety in our peaceful hometown.<br />

And while I know wishes don’t always<br />

come true, positive thoughts can certainly<br />

enhance any environment. We at <strong>Hometown</strong><br />

Magazines work hard to make our publications<br />

a positive addition to our town and are continually<br />

grateful for the support of both our readers<br />

and our advertisers. My wish for you would be<br />

for healthy families, robust business and continued<br />

favor from the One that holds us all.<br />

You are loved<br />

and welcome!<br />

We will save a<br />

seat for you. . .<br />


100 Mt. Salus Drive <strong>Clinton</strong>, Mississippi 39056<br />

601.924.6671 fumcclinton.org<br />

For subscription information<br />

visit www.htmags.com<br />

Contact us at info@HTMags.com<br />

601.706.4059<br />

26 Eastgate Drive, Suite F<br />

Brandon MS 39042<br />

• • •<br />

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

<strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines.<br />

All rights reserved.<br />

No portion of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

may be reproduced without written<br />

permission from the publisher.<br />

The management of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

is not responsible for opinions expressed<br />

by its writers or editors.<br />

All communications sent to our<br />

editorial staff are subject to publication<br />

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

or to be edited and/or editorially<br />

commented on.<br />

All advertisements are subject<br />

to approval by the publisher.<br />

The production of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

is funded by advertising.<br />

Pictured on cover: The Lewis Family<br />

In this issue High Flying Businessman . . . . . . 14<br />

The Coach's Wife . . . . . . . . . 17<br />

Great News. . . . . . . . . . . . 28<br />

Bringing Eden Home . . . .34<br />

The Dot Shop 42<br />

MOPS. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 52<br />

Principal Q&A. 60<br />

4 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 5<br />

4 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

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Andrew Jones saw no reason to leave his hometown in<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> when the freshman could receive a superb education<br />

at Mississippi College.<br />

An 18-year-old <strong>Clinton</strong> High graduate, Andrew says he<br />

couldn’t pass up the opportunity to study history under firstclass<br />

MC professors like Otis Pickett.<br />

Bigger institutions across the state were on his radar<br />

screen, too. But in the end, Andrew chose to put down roots<br />

at America’s second oldest Baptist college.<br />

As MC celebrated its 190th anniversary in <strong>2016</strong>, a<br />

new academic season unfolds for nearly 5,200 students in<br />

late August.<br />

Andrew Jones can skip the guided campus tour. The<br />

son of MC graduates Mark and Kelly Jones easily navigates<br />

his way around – from the Quad to Robinson-Hale Stadium<br />

and Nelson Hall. If he needs any advice from a classmate,<br />

Jones can turn to Jacob Cruse, a fellow <strong>Clinton</strong> High grad. The<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Arrows will be Hederman Hall roommates this fall.<br />

Jacob could have gone a few hours away to the University<br />

of Alabama and cheered for the Crimson Tide. But he chose<br />

to become an MC Choctaw because of the university’s topnotch<br />

communication department. The possibility of working<br />

at Christian radio station STAR 93.5 added to the appeal.<br />

From Move-In Day on August 20 for hundreds of<br />

freshmen entering residence halls to the annual Back to the<br />

Bricks fun showcasing <strong>Clinton</strong> businesses on August 25, there<br />

will be numerous events on the Mississippi College calendar<br />

in <strong>2016</strong>-17.<br />

Other <strong>Clinton</strong>ians are eager to become part of the “Blue<br />

& Gold” experience.<br />

The group includes William Nabholz, 19, son of<br />

Mississippi College Singers conductor Mark Nabholz. A<br />

presidential scholar, William is a pre-med major with music in<br />

his DNA. His mom, Fran, is a voice instructor.<br />

During another steamy summer down South, Shelby<br />

Roberts, 18, of Madison can’t wait to begin her nursing studies.<br />

Why Mississippi College for the Madison Central High<br />

graduate? “MC is not far from home, she likes the community<br />

and is always very strong in her faith,” says her mom, Christy<br />

Roberts, a 1994 MC graduate.<br />

MC offers more than 80 areas of study, 16 graduate<br />

programs, a law school in Jackson and much more. 21st<br />

Century facilities, from new residence halls to modern<br />

classrooms, impress students and parents alike. “The cadaver<br />

lab is amazing,” Christy Roberts says.<br />

Mississippi College is the next stop for <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> High<br />

grad Shreve Bland. If her name sounds familiar it’s because<br />

she’s the daughter of Choctaw’s head football coach John<br />

Bland and his wife, Candis. It will be a busy few months for<br />

the whole family. MC opens the home season against Point<br />

University on September 3. Another big game is MC’s <strong>2016</strong><br />

homecoming contest on October 15 against Valdosta State.<br />

Want to learn more about Mississippi College?<br />

Prospective students and parents are invited to <strong>Fall</strong> Preview<br />

Days September 24 and November 12 to find out. Attend a<br />

class, meet President Lee Royce, enjoy food on the Quad,<br />

and make new friends. It’s time to size up life as an MC<br />

Choctaw! The MC admissions office can be reached for more<br />

information at 601-925-3800.<br />

8 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 9

“I chose Hinds<br />

because it was close to home and<br />

offered so many opportunities. I was able<br />

to play soccer, receive great scholarships, and<br />

gain life-long friends. I loved my time at Hinds and<br />

would highly recommend coming here. I wish it was<br />

a four-year school so I could have stayed longer!”<br />

- Cara Harrison<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong>, MS<br />

1.800.HINDSCC • www.hindscc.edu<br />

In compliance with the following: Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 of the Higher Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other applicable Federal and State Acts, Hinds Community<br />

College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. The following persons have been designated to handle inquiries regarding<br />

the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Debra Mays-Jackson, Vice President for Administrative Services, 34175 Hwy. 18, Utica, MS 39175, 601.885.7002. Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Associate Vice President for Student Services & Title IX Coordinator, Box 1100 Raymond Campus (Denton Hall 221), Raymond,<br />

MS 39154, 601.857.3232, titleIX@hindscc.edu<br />

We have added to our certifications that now<br />

include 18 vehicle makers; Honda, Acura, Ford,<br />

Lincoln, Nissan, Infiniti, Chrysler, Dodge, Fiat,<br />

Jeep, Ram, Mopar, SRT, Hyundai, Chevrolet,<br />

Buick, GMC, and Cadillac.<br />





If you’re involved in an accident, choose<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop or <strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop of<br />

Richland for your repairs. We have committed<br />

to putting your vehicle back to pre-loss condition<br />

safely and properly by investing in the training,<br />

tools and facilities set by your vehicle maker.<br />


CLINTON LOCATION: 1115 Monroe St. • 601.924.2159<br />

RICHLAND LOCATION: 710 Highway 49S • 601.932.0459<br />

clintonbodyshop.com<br />

10 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 11

We believe that marketing<br />

& selling homes is done<br />

“one story at a time.”<br />

Danny Ivy<br />

601-953-2644<br />

Karen Godfrey<br />

601-672-0829<br />

Debbie Ivy<br />

601-927-3159<br />

Brittany McHann<br />

601-506-5686<br />

Christine Whitton<br />

601-278-4230<br />

Jena McNeece<br />

601-613-2979<br />

theobranch.com<br />

449 Hwy 80 E, <strong>Clinton</strong>, MS<br />

601.924.7684<br />


Cindy Roberson<br />

601-415-5880<br />

Lee Irwin<br />

601-259-5544<br />

Lonnie Rushing<br />

601-906-2222<br />

Mark McNeece<br />

601-214-1949<br />

Sheri Shramek<br />

601-613-4699<br />

Bracey Godfrey<br />

601-832-3971<br />

Kevin Upchurch<br />

601-750-8328<br />

www.godfreyandivy.com<br />

Brad McHann<br />

601-259-0269<br />

Serving Clients in Hinds, Madison, Rankin, Warren Counties & Vicksburg/Eagle Lake<br />



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©<strong>2016</strong> JEA<br />

12 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 13

Camille Anding & Susan Marquez<br />

Businessman John Mosley has planted<br />

roots deep in <strong>Clinton</strong>, but has his eye on<br />

the sky as a pilot of vintage airplanes. Most<br />

folks in <strong>Clinton</strong> know Mosely as the owner<br />

of <strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop. His father, a former<br />

Marine, worked in a body shop when Mosley<br />

was a child. Following in his dad’s footsteps,<br />

Mosley worked in another body shop before<br />

the duo combined their talents into their<br />

own business.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop opened its doors in<br />

February 1980 and within a couple of years<br />

Mosley made the move from southwest<br />

Jackson where he was raised to a piece of<br />

property he purchased in the <strong>Clinton</strong> area.<br />

He’s lived there ever since. Mosley was<br />

blessed to work alongside his father for<br />

twenty years until his dad’s death in 2000.<br />

Mosley took his first nine hours of pilot<br />

lessons in 1972, and all was going well until<br />

he had a motorcycle accident. Hit by three<br />

cars, he suffered a broken leg and that put<br />

his pilot school on hold. In the following<br />

months, he married his wife Carolyn, and<br />

the couple began their family. Children<br />

Patty and Daniel were born, and with all the<br />

expenses and obligations that come with<br />

marriage and children there was no time or<br />

money to pursue his flying dreams.<br />

As the children got older and Mosley<br />

had more free time on his hands, the lure of<br />

the sky returned. “I was driving my daughter<br />

and wife to the airport,” recalled Mosley.<br />

“Patty was going on the annual <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

High School senior trip to Europe, and<br />

Carolyn was going along as a chaperone.”<br />

Hank Beasley was in the car with the<br />

Mosley family on the way to the airport and<br />

commented on Mosley’s accelerator foot.<br />

“He said if I liked going that fast, I should<br />

learn to fly!” That one comment triggered<br />

something in him. Before his wife and<br />

daughter boarded the plane, Mosley has<br />

arranged for a flight lesson at Hawkins Field.<br />

Mosley earned his pilot’s license<br />

in 1992, and later his son, Daniel, also<br />

earned his pilot’s license. Now their four<br />

grandchildren are interested in aviation as<br />

well. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been all smooth<br />

flying for the senior pilot. In 2007 he crashed<br />

a vintage biplane. “It was my fault. I was in a<br />

hurry and ignored one of the cardinal rules<br />

for flying that particular plane.” As a result,<br />

the plane stalled while climbing on takeoff.<br />

Mosely realized what was about to happen<br />

and made a split-second decision. He pulled<br />

the power, resulting in the plane descending<br />

at a 45% angle to the ground which served<br />

to lessen the impact and keep the wreckage<br />

on Mosley’s property.<br />

Daniel watched it happen and rushed<br />

to his dad’s aid, extinguishing flames and<br />

helping Mosley to safety. With both legs and<br />

ankles broken, Mosley spent time in the<br />

hospital then in a wheelchair. As he healed,<br />

he and Daniel worked alongside a brother<br />

and brother-in-law who helped him repair<br />

and repaint the plane to mint condition.<br />

That plane is housed in a hangar at Mosley’s<br />

14 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

1928 Travel Air biplane. It is the oldest flying airplane in Mississippi.<br />

1928 Chevrolet 4 dr. sedan.<br />

1943 North American SNJ5. It was stationed at several Naval bases<br />

during WW2. This is the aircraft a pilot had to master before they<br />

could move up to the higher performance fighters.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 15

OACHES<br />

Wife<br />

property along with the family’s WW2<br />

vintage planes they have restored over the<br />

last two decades.<br />

“People ask me why I still fly after<br />

being in a plane crash. I tell them I work on<br />

crashed cars all day long and have towed<br />

in many which resulted in someone’s<br />

death. Life goes on. We must all learn from<br />

our mistakes and be careful. Flying is not<br />

inherently dangerous, but it is unforgiving<br />

when you make mistakes. I just don’t want to<br />

make more mistakes.”<br />

Mistakes aren’t an option at <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

Body Shop. The business recently received<br />

recognition for having the ICAR Institute<br />

twenty five year Gold Class certification.<br />

“No one else in Mississippi has that<br />

distinction,” said Mosely. “And we are one of<br />

only 13 body shops in all of North America<br />

to have been ICAR Gold Class for 25 years<br />

straight.” <strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop was one of<br />

the first shops in the state to offer limited<br />

lifetime warranties on the work done there.<br />

“We work hard to maintain our ICAR Gold<br />

Class certification by maintaining Gold<br />

Class training with our employees on a<br />

regular basis.”<br />

The company’s slogan is, “We take<br />

pride in perfection.” The company also<br />

takes pride in being a good member of the<br />

community. <strong>Clinton</strong> Body Shop is a heavy<br />

supporter of youth sports programs and<br />

area churches. Recently the business was<br />

approached by the new principal from<br />

Sumner Hill School about sponsoring a new<br />

trophy case. Mosley had a case custom built<br />

for the school and now it’s a great source of<br />

pride for the students and faculty.<br />

On a personal level, Mosley uses his<br />

love of flying to bring joy and to show<br />

respect by offering free flights for veterans<br />

at air shows, and flying the Missing Man<br />

formation at pilot and veteran funerals. He<br />

also enjoys doing flyovers at football games,<br />

including over the stadiums of <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

Schools and Mississippi State University.<br />

Mosley remembers the flight he offered<br />

to a veteran of Afghanistan and his young<br />

son. The boy was in awe during the flight<br />

and thanked John profusely. “I’ve never felt<br />

so free,” said the boy. “Now I know how birds<br />

feel.” Because Mosley has had the same<br />

fascination with flight since he was a young<br />

boy, he knew just how the veteran’s son felt.<br />

He made a prediction that the boy would<br />

someday be a pilot, too.<br />

It has been said that behind every great man<br />

is a great woman. To that, we’d add that behind<br />

every coach, there’s an even greater woman.<br />

Consider what these ladies deal with on a daily basis—their husband’s 16-hour<br />

workdays during football season, being left to take care of the household<br />

duties and raise the kids by themselves—all while still being “Team Mom.”<br />

But as crazy as it sounds, these women wouldn’t have it any other way.<br />

They absolutely love it and consider themselves every bit<br />

as much part of the team as the coach they married.<br />

16 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 17

Candis Bland<br />

On game day, all eyes are on our<br />

teams and their game day routines.<br />

What’s your usual game day routine?<br />

Almost every home game, we have family or<br />

friends from different states visit—so first I take<br />

care of them. Between making sure I have<br />

enough tickets and meals, I pace, watch college<br />

football and get focused on the Choctaws. It is<br />

never “just a game.” Saturday is the busiest day of<br />

the week!<br />

What’s been the greatest reward of<br />

being a coach’s wife?<br />

I love to go to practice, to the football office, to<br />

cook for players and to be as involved as John<br />

will allow. So getting to know the players and<br />

their families can be very rewarding, especially<br />

ones that stay all 4-5 yrs. They are our extended<br />

family. I have football sons living in Florida,<br />

Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Canada,<br />

Texas, etc.—and getting a Happy Mother’s Day<br />

text from one of them is so rewarding!<br />

What’s the most difficult part of it?<br />

Well I hate to be cliché but relocating is the<br />

hardest. Selling a house, finding a new one,<br />

searching for new doctors and dentists, finding<br />

a church, making new friends, locating schools<br />

for the children and so much more make<br />

moving very hard. I am fortunate that we<br />

have not made as many moves as some of our<br />

other coaching friends. But with all our moves,<br />

we have friends in 5 different states, football<br />

sons and families all over, our children have<br />

been exposed to everything from a big city of<br />

4-million to a town of 5,000 residents. Every<br />

move has positives and negatives. But as a<br />

family we know God has a reason and a plan<br />

for each move and so we do our best to make the<br />

most of it.<br />

What has been your favorite “perk”<br />

of being the head coach’s wife?<br />

I grew up watching football, cheering on the<br />

Razorbacks and Dallas Cowboys. I do not<br />

remember a time that football has not been in<br />

my life in one way or another so my favorite<br />

perk is that John allows me to be on the sideline.<br />

Of course there is a condition—I cannot yell at<br />

him or at the refs!<br />

How do you deal with vocal fans<br />

who get down on the coaches?<br />

It depends if I feel the same way… just kidding.<br />

To some extent I am used to it. Fans come with<br />

all sports and you just have to somewhat tune it<br />

out. But if I hear someone who is bad mouthing<br />

a player, coach, or the school, I will stand up to<br />

them. I like to introduce myself and see if I can<br />

shed a better light on their comment. For the<br />

most part it is best to ignore it and being on the<br />

sideline I get to avoid a lot of that and I am<br />

grateful.<br />

Do you have any superstitions you<br />

tend to adhere to on game day?<br />

Absolutely! If we lose in the outfit I have worn<br />

that day, I will not wear it again. In the past two<br />

seasons, the transition from D3 to D2 has not<br />

been easy and I have had to throw out a lot of<br />

clothes. But that is soon to change and John will<br />

be happy when I am not shopping as much!<br />

Describe your favorite meal you<br />

like to prepare when the whole<br />

family can eat together.<br />

Homemade spaghetti, Italian dipping bread, and<br />

salad is the most requested. With our busy<br />

schedules I make an effort to at least sit down<br />

twice a week for a family meal. Every-one loves<br />

breakfast food, tacos, and fried fish!<br />

Tell us a bit about how you and<br />

your husband met and what<br />

attracted you to him.<br />

We met in Fayetteville at the University of<br />

Arkansas. He was a football player and I was a<br />

member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. We<br />

were introduced by some friends. We hit it off<br />

and went out the next evening but he was<br />

graduating in 2 days and I had 2 years left. We<br />

got together several times over the summer and<br />

dated over the next two years while he lived in<br />

Auburn, Alabama. He was getting his master’s as<br />

a graduate assistant for Auburn football and I<br />

was finishing my bachelor’s at Arkansas. It was<br />

like pre-game for becoming a football coaches’<br />

wife and here we are 24 years later!<br />

What would you like the fans<br />

to know about your husband as a<br />

coach that they might not know?<br />

John is a very good builder and artist. He has<br />

built several of our decks as we’ve moved. He has<br />

helped build a locker room, built picnic tables<br />

and dining tables. He is very handy around the<br />

house—except maybe with electricity. Also, he is<br />

a good singer; he loves to karaoke.<br />

What’s been your greatest<br />

challenge as a parent?<br />

We have three children. Shreve, 18, will be a<br />

freshman at MC this fall. Jade, 15, will be a<br />

sophomore at CHS in the fall. And Bo, 12, will<br />

be a 6th grader. The greatest challenge for me is<br />

making most of the decisions by myself and<br />

making sure they are involved in what their dad<br />

does. From mid-July to the end of spring ball in<br />

April, I am a single parent for the most part.<br />

Since they were babies I have taken them to<br />

practice and had the players and coaches over for<br />

dinner. I wanted them to be a part of his<br />

football family. If their dad couldn’t be home,<br />

then we came to him—even if it was just to<br />

watch him coach and get a hug afterwards!<br />

When we retire from coaching, I<br />

would like to ________?<br />

Oh goodness. We don’t really discuss it. I am<br />

not sure we would know what to do without<br />

football. We both love it and he makes me feel<br />

very much a part of what he does. But if that<br />

time comes, then travel is what I would like for<br />

us to do more.<br />

What are some things your family<br />

enjoys doing together?<br />

We love sporting events, going to the beach, and<br />

visiting family and friends. But we have a good<br />

time just sitting down to dinner, too.<br />

How does your family celebrate<br />

after a big win?<br />

Aside from hugging everyone and celebrating on<br />

the field, we thank God with our team then we<br />

go home and watch whatever game is on and<br />

discuss the win, the calls, and the plays, etc.<br />

Usually John has to field several calls and then it<br />

is time for bed and get ready for the next<br />

opponent. Win or lose, it’s a long exhausting day.<br />

But we sure do sleep better after a win! n<br />

18 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 19<br />

18 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

Dot Murphy<br />

On game day, all eyes are on our<br />

teams and their game day routines.<br />

What’s your usual game day routine?<br />

As a coach myself, game day is slow. We eat a<br />

pre-game meal with the team and wait for<br />

game time.<br />

What’s been the greatest reward of<br />

being a coach’s wife?<br />

Seeing the positive life changing impact he has<br />

made in the lives of young men.<br />

What’s the most difficult part of it?<br />

Feeling like a single parent 4 months out of<br />

the year.<br />

What has been your favorite “perk”<br />

of being the head coach’s wife?<br />

Being a second mom to so many great guys.<br />

How do you deal with vocal fans<br />

who get down on the coaches?<br />

I don’t sit in the stands!!<br />

We understand that you are the<br />

kicking coach for the football<br />

team. Have you always wanted to be<br />

a kicking coach?<br />

No. I never even dreamed about it.<br />

Do you have any superstitions you<br />

tend to adhere to on game day?<br />

No.<br />

Describe your favorite meal you<br />

like to prepare when the whole<br />

family can eat together.<br />

Steak, baked potatoes, salad and sweet tea. It’s<br />

easy and everyone likes it.<br />

Tell us a bit about how you and<br />

your husband met and what<br />

attracted you to him.<br />

We met in grad school at Mississippi State<br />

University. He was easy to talk to and very<br />

good looking. When he shared with me that<br />

he was a Christian and he wanted to make<br />

positive impacts in the lives of young people, I<br />

knew then that we had the same goals in life.<br />

He did not just talk about it—he lived it.<br />

What would you like the fans to<br />

know about your husband as a<br />

coach that they might not know?<br />

He is very sensitive and he loves his players<br />

like they are his sons.<br />

What’s been your greatest<br />

challenge as a parent?<br />

Letting them go. Children are a gift from<br />

God. We have them for such a short time.<br />

When we retire from coaching, I<br />

would like to______?<br />

Travel.<br />

What are some things your family<br />

enjoys doing together?<br />

Going to the beach and hunting.<br />

How does your family celebrate<br />

after a big win?<br />

We are usually so tired we just go to bed when<br />

we get home. We laugh and relive happenings<br />

in the game, but there is the next game to get<br />

ready for. n<br />

20 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 21<br />

20 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

Jill Freeze<br />

On game day, all eyes are on our<br />

teams and their game day routine.<br />

What’s your game day routine?<br />

Once I get on the Ole Miss campus, the first<br />

place I’ll head to is The Grove. There is no<br />

better tailgating spot in the country. And<br />

after I visit with family and friends, Ragan,<br />

Jordan, Madison and I will head to meet<br />

Hugh at the end of the “Walk of<br />

Champions.” He takes the girls with him to<br />

the stadium and often they get to meet the<br />

opposing team’s coach. I like to be in my seat<br />

in the stands an hour before kickoff. You’ll<br />

find me decked out in my Ole Miss colors.<br />

What’s been the greatest reward<br />

of being a coach’s wife?<br />

I share my love of football with Hugh.<br />

It is an adventure and nothing tops the<br />

excitement of game day. I consider it a great<br />

opportunity to get to pray for every person<br />

involved in our football program<br />

and seeing how the Lord uses Hugh and<br />

the coaches in the lives of these young men<br />

is a sweet reward. I have a front row seat to<br />

watch players in Haiti building a well, playing<br />

with kids, and serving the poor. Some have<br />

been the first in their families to receive a<br />

diploma; others have been drafted into the<br />

NFL and literally changed the trajectory of<br />

their families’ lives. Players who seemed lost<br />

and insecure find their worth in Jesus Christ<br />

and rewrite their story. It is a blessing to be a<br />

part of such life-change.<br />

What’s the most difficult part?<br />

Time with each other is difficult to come<br />

by once recruiting starts. Last year Hugh<br />

decided to designate Wednesday night as<br />

“our” family night. If you polled each of us<br />

separately, you would find that it’s our<br />

favorite night of the week!<br />

What has been your favorite “perk”<br />

of being the head coach’s wife?<br />

I am blessed with a platform to love, serve, and<br />

engage with others. Building relationships<br />

with everyone involved in our football<br />

program is very important to me. I facilitate<br />

a weekly Bible study for the wives and<br />

together we write notes of encouragement<br />

for each player and put them in the position<br />

rooms before a game. I also have had the<br />

opportunity to be a part of our spring break<br />

mission trips to Haiti. We have been able to<br />

bring clean water to Camp Marie and are<br />

working to help them learn to farm the land<br />

so that they will have food to eat and possibly<br />

a source of income. The players and coaching<br />

families that have gone and served have had<br />

such an amazing opportunity to not only<br />

help others, but to also realize how blessed<br />

we all are.<br />

How do you deal with vocal fans<br />

who get down on the coaches?<br />

I just accept it as part of what comes with<br />

this job. I don’t let it steal my joy, and I just<br />

trust God to work all things out for our good<br />

in the end.<br />

Do you have any superstitions you<br />

tend to adhere to on game day?<br />

I have a tradition of wearing the same hat as<br />

long as we are winning. If we lose, I will<br />

change into a different hat.<br />

Describe your favorite meal you<br />

like to prepare when the whole<br />

family can eat together.<br />

As I mentioned earlier, Wednesday night is<br />

“our” night. All three girls said something<br />

different but we all finally agreed that grilled<br />

burgers with fries is a family favorite!<br />

Tell us a bit about how you and<br />

your husband met and what<br />

attracted you to him.<br />

Hugh and I met in a math class while attending<br />

the University of Southern Mississippi. His<br />

heart for the Lord attracted me to him but<br />

those green eyes didn’t hurt either.<br />

What’s been your greatest<br />

challenge as a parent?<br />

Wow! This is the easiest question thus far.<br />

Social media. The girls get to see the good<br />

things posted about their dad but they also<br />

get to see the bad. They love their daddy<br />

so when it gets ugly, it hurts them.<br />

What would you like fans to<br />

know about your husband as a<br />

coach that they might not know?<br />

Hugh is intentional with relationships.<br />

He has an open door policy for anyone<br />

involved in the Ole Miss football program.<br />

He is always willing to talk football, but it<br />

would not be abnormal to find him on the<br />

sofa in his office talking about life with a<br />

player or coach.<br />

When we retire from coaching,<br />

I would like to ________________?<br />

When we retire, Hugh and I would enjoy<br />

getting to play more golf together. We will<br />

love having even more time to spend with<br />

our family. Also, the Freeze Foundation<br />

(www.freezefoundation.org), is our heart’s<br />

mission and we will continue to seek to<br />

express God’s love by improving the quality<br />

of life for orphans and needy children<br />

around the world.<br />

What are some things your family<br />

enjoys doing together?<br />

We love being at home together, playing<br />

cards, watching our favorite TV shows and<br />

movies, and there is always singing<br />

involved. We also enjoy sneaking away to the<br />

beach or the lake in the off-season.<br />

How does your family celebrate<br />

after a big win?<br />

After a big win we all head home to re-watch<br />

the game. I will grab all the leftovers from<br />

The Grove and we will meet on the sofa in<br />

the living room. The girls love asking Hugh<br />

his thoughts behind each play call. There are<br />

lots of smiles, cheers, and laughter on these<br />

nights! n<br />

22 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

22 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 23

Michelle Hopson<br />

On game day, all eyes are on our<br />

teams and their game day routine.<br />

What’s your game day routine?<br />

Over the years my game day routine has<br />

changed. When we were first married and<br />

when our children were young, tailgating two<br />

hours before the game was my usual routine.<br />

But these days, with my daughters’ crosscountry<br />

meets, soccer and tennis tournaments,<br />

or piano guilds, there are some Saturdays<br />

when I roll in just in time for kick-off!<br />

What’s been the greatest reward<br />

of being a coach’s wife?<br />

This has been such an interesting journey.<br />

One of the greatest rewards has been all the<br />

places we’ve been–all the towns and schools.<br />

There have been so many amazing people that<br />

have come into our lives because of football.<br />

Jay and I both grew up in Vicksburg. When<br />

we got married and I left Vicksburg, I thought<br />

there would be no town as wonderful. But<br />

somewhere along the way, I realized that every<br />

place has great things about it and great<br />

people. You have to make an effort, though.<br />

You can ask our daughters what our family<br />

motto is and they will tell you, “Bloom where<br />

God plants you.” I have always told them that<br />

God put us here in this place at this time for<br />

a reason. Let’s make a difference.<br />

What’s the most difficult part?<br />

There are many. For example, it’s hard<br />

watching your husband deal with the pressure<br />

to win or having his job stability rest on wins<br />

and losses. However, for me, the very toughest<br />

part is being a single parent–making all the<br />

decisions and handling all the issues your<br />

children have. Basically, doing everything<br />

and praying I am not messing up.<br />

What has been your favorite “perk”<br />

of being the head coach’s wife?<br />

Being a coach’s wife means always having a<br />

group to belong to. We have an amazing group<br />

of coaches who all married well! I’m very<br />

fortunate to be a part of this group of women.<br />

I look forward to going through this journey<br />

with them doing what we can for our husbands,<br />

families, and players, as well as supporting each<br />

other.<br />

How do you deal with vocal fans<br />

who get down on the coaches?<br />

Football fans are one of the main reasons<br />

college football is such a thrilling game.<br />

Everyone is entitled to their opinion. I usually<br />

try to have thick skin and understand it’s an<br />

emotionally charged game. I get emotional<br />

about it too!<br />

Do you have any superstitions you<br />

tend to adhere to on game day?<br />

I am not terribly superstitious. However, if I<br />

am wearing a particular piece of jewelry or an<br />

article of clothing and we win, I usually wear<br />

that “lucky” item until we lose a game.<br />

Tell us a bit about how you and<br />

your husband met and what<br />

attracted you to him.<br />

He first said hello to me in the hallway of<br />

Warren Central High School. I was 15 and<br />

he was 16. I knew he was the handsome<br />

quarterback, but he had just noticed me! Soon<br />

after, he asked me to wear his football jersey<br />

the Friday before a game. Our first official date<br />

was the homecoming dance in 1985. I was first<br />

attracted to him because of his good looks but<br />

soon found a great sense of humor and a good<br />

heart. We dated for 12 years before marrying.<br />

We were together through his high school and<br />

college days as a player, his early days as a<br />

graduate assistant and early days as a young<br />

position coach. I learned a lot about the game<br />

and the lifestyle before we were married, so I<br />

can’t say I didn’t know what I was getting in to.<br />

What would you like fans to<br />

know about your husband as a<br />

coach that they might not know?<br />

I’d want you to know that he is solid, strong,<br />

honest, brave, generous, tough, and kind–I<br />

could go on and on, of course. I think it is also<br />

important for you to know that he’s not just a<br />

football coach–he’s a life coach. He is very<br />

competitive and wants to win but he also cares<br />

so much about teaching his players how to be<br />

successful in the game of life. It is very important<br />

to him that they learn how to be Godly men<br />

and that they leave him knowing how to face<br />

adversity and lead productive lives.<br />

What’s your greatest<br />

challenge as a parent?<br />

Without a doubt, the greatest challenge has<br />

been the moving. Jay and I grew up in the same<br />

town our whole lives. We still have friends that<br />

we went to kindergarten with. Our daughters<br />

will never have that. With each move we ask<br />

our girls to leave behind the life they knew and<br />

all their friends only to “bloom” in a new town<br />

and start all over again. I can recall so many<br />

instances of driving out of a town or into a<br />

new one with our girls in tears. Hyde and<br />

Hannah are two of the bravest, most amazing<br />

people I know. They have faced each challenge<br />

our life has placed before them with grace and<br />

strength.<br />

When we retire from coaching,<br />

I would like to ___________?<br />

Travel!<br />

What are some things your family<br />

enjoys doing together?<br />

On those rare occasions when we are all<br />

together, we cherish the simple things that<br />

most families take for granted–going to church<br />

together, family meals, just hanging out at<br />

home, and vacation time.<br />

How does your family celebrate<br />

after a big win?<br />

We have a large extended family that usually<br />

attends our games—parents, brothers, sisters,<br />

nephews, and nieces. After a win, our favorite<br />

thing is to go home with all that family, share a<br />

meal, talk about the game, and watch more<br />

football!<br />

Describe your favorite meal you<br />

like to prepare when the whole<br />

family can eat together.<br />

As you know, coaches work long hours. I<br />

learned early on that if I wanted certain things<br />

done I needed to learn how to do them myself.<br />

Therefore, I taught myself to cook on the grill.<br />

When we are all together we enjoy anything on<br />

the grill. Jay and I especially like to grill fish and<br />

shrimp together. n<br />

24 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 25

Megan Mullen<br />

On game day, all eyes are on our<br />

teams and their game day routines.<br />

What’s your usual game day routine?<br />

Typically we have anywhere between 10-20<br />

guests staying in our house for games. We<br />

just hang out until about an hour before the<br />

Dawg Walk. That’s when we start heading<br />

over to the stadium. We go right to the Dawg<br />

Walk, visit some friends, have fun for an hour<br />

and a half, and then we hunker down for the<br />

next 3.5 hours of life and say some prayers.<br />

What’s been the greatest reward<br />

of being a coach’s wife?<br />

Changing young men’s lives and making a<br />

difference. We’ve known our players since we<br />

recruited them at 16 or 17 years old and to see<br />

them become young, respectful men is very<br />

rewarding. I got a call one day from one who<br />

was wanting to propose to his girlfriend and<br />

he was asking me how to do it. Knowing that<br />

you are impacting a young man’s life is very<br />

special. These players really are my children.<br />

I consider them as much mine and my team<br />

as they are Dan’s.<br />

What’s the most difficult part?<br />

It’s hard seeing anybody get criticized or<br />

spoken unfairly about. The reality of it is that<br />

fans probably only know about 20% of what<br />

really goes on in the football program. People<br />

forget that these are 18-20 year-olds trying to<br />

navigate their way through life. And on top of<br />

all the football pressure, they go through other<br />

things, too–sickness or the death of a family<br />

member or friend, and having to study and<br />

write papers. It’s an unbelievable amount of<br />

responsibility they carry on their shoulders–<br />

and they’re still babies. Our players try their<br />

best, which is all Dan wants from them. He<br />

always asks, “Were you your best today?” All<br />

you can ask anyone to do is their best–so to<br />

hear anyone of them get criticized kind of<br />

bums me out a bit.<br />

What has been your favorite “perk”<br />

of being the head coach’s wife?<br />

Probably the police escorts to and from the<br />

games.<br />

How do you deal with vocal fans<br />

who get down on the coaches?<br />

I don’t listen to them. I have no social media–<br />

no Facebook, no Twitter, no Instagram–so<br />

I don’t see it, which is probably best. But,<br />

overall, I really do believe people know that<br />

what we’ve done at Mississippi State is pretty<br />

special.<br />

Do you have any superstitions you<br />

tend to adhere to on game day?<br />

I’m definitely a big fan of chocolate croissants<br />

from Williams-Sonoma on home game days.<br />

And as for friends watching the game with<br />

me, they know that if I don’t like how the<br />

quarter is going, everyone has to switch up<br />

seats. They’ve known me long enough now<br />

that they just automatically move. And if by<br />

any chance the game doesn’t go the way it<br />

should, they know they’re in jeopardy of an<br />

invite back next year.<br />

Describe your favorite meal you<br />

like to prepare when the whole<br />

family can eat together.<br />

Dinners together during the season are hard<br />

to come by. So on our one bye week during<br />

the season, we always cook a big turkey and<br />

call it Thanksgiving. We lock ourselves in our<br />

house, spend the day in pajamas, eat nonstop,<br />

and watch every game we can find on our TV.<br />

On a normal night, I have a shrimp and rice<br />

dish that Dan likes a lot with either steak or<br />

fish. My emergency quick meal is Chicken<br />

Merengo that’s served over rice. For the team,<br />

you will always find Mamma Mullen’s Buffalo<br />

Chicken Dip served in a football shaped<br />

crockpot on the counter; and if it’s not there,<br />

I’ll hear about it.<br />

Tell us a bit about how you and<br />

your husband met and what<br />

attracted you to him.<br />

Dan was the quarterback coach at Bowling<br />

Green State University under Urban Meyer<br />

and I was the weekend sports anchor for the<br />

NBC affiliate in Toledo, Ohio, so I covered<br />

the team. Dan emailed the TV station for a<br />

date with me. A week later he emailed the<br />

station again. The news director came out and<br />

read me the email. He told me that I needed<br />

to go out with this guy, so I agreed. I left the<br />

set that night and got to the place before Dan<br />

did and when I turned around and saw him,<br />

he took my breath away.<br />

What would you like<br />

the fans to know about<br />

your husband as a coach that<br />

they might not know?<br />

I believe my husband is the best coach out<br />

there. He was honored as the Maxwell<br />

National Coach of the Year for the 2014<br />

season. No one ever expected our Bulldogs<br />

to be #1 in the nation–and we did it. Dan<br />

and our staff have the extraordinary ability<br />

to make players the absolute best they can<br />

be. Most importantly, Dan is committed to<br />

making these boys champions in life and he<br />

takes great care in preparing them to be the<br />

best husbands, fathers, and workers. I respect<br />

Dan more than anyone I’ve ever met in my<br />

entire life. There’s no cutting corners.<br />

There’s no taking the easy way. He just does<br />

everything the right way.<br />

What’s been your greatest<br />

challenge as a parent?<br />

I don’t get the simple, “Yes, mommy,” answers<br />

quite as much anymore. I get challenged by<br />

my little peeps. I just want them to stay my<br />

babies and they’re growing up way too fast.<br />

I would love to keep them off all the iPads,<br />

phones, YouTube, and video games, too.<br />

When we retire from coaching,<br />

I would like to ____________?<br />

I’d like to have dinner with Dan every night<br />

and I probably would like to be sitting<br />

somewhere on a lake with him because<br />

I think that is where he is happiest.<br />

What are some things your family<br />

enjoys doing together?<br />

We have a lake house in Georgia, so we love<br />

being on the lake. Our new favorite thing to<br />

do is surfing. Anything that involves water or<br />

boating, we just love because it is kind of our<br />

safe haven. It takes us away from everything<br />

and I think the water is really therapeutic.<br />

How does your family celebrate<br />

after a big win?<br />

By racing home, getting into our pajamas as<br />

soon as possible, regardless of what time of<br />

day it is, and sitting on the couch with a cold<br />

beverage and snacks, watching all the rest of<br />

the games. Or watching all the other teams<br />

suffer because we’ve won. n<br />

26 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 27<br />

26 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

AND<br />

FUN<br />



We are thrilled to announce Today’s Teen recipient honoring teens in our<br />

city that have exhibited exemplary leadership skills and serve as excellent<br />

role models. Ashley Thompson, an upcoming senior at <strong>Clinton</strong> High School,<br />

was awarded this distinction by CEO of Merit Health Central, Jon Paul<br />

Croom. Congratulations Ashley and a big “Thank You” to Merit Health<br />

for investing in our leaders of the future.<br />




449 E. NORTHSIDE DRIVE • CLINTON, MS 39056 • 601-924-2325<br />












There’s Merit in the future.<br />


FIND OUT AT:<br />

www.mc.edu/whyMC<br />

admissions@mc.edu | 601/925-3800 | <strong>Clinton</strong>, MS 39058<br />

28 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 29

Good News Travels Fast<br />

Great News<br />

Travels Faster...<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

School had not started yet and we were constantly<br />

looking for ways to stay entertained. I’m sure there are<br />

plenty of parents that can relate. So when my husband<br />

announced that his company was doing a promotion in<br />

Dallas, the location of which just happened to be the<br />

AT&T Stadium, and that my son and I could go if we<br />

wanted, we jumped on it. We could just drive out to<br />

meet him since he would already be there. He works<br />

for one of the big national mattress companies and<br />

travels all over the country.<br />

We really didn’t know what all the trip would<br />

entail, but on a Thursday afternoon, my 13-year old<br />

and I headed from Jackson to Dallas–by ourselves.<br />

It was six hours of non-stop talking and laughing–<br />

and if we didn’t do anything else, the trip was worth it<br />

for that reason, alone.<br />

We stopped at Buc-ee’s, the Texas-owned Disney<br />

World of “travel centers”, and bought drinks and snacks.<br />

We had already checked to make sure it would be on<br />

our route. It’s a 60,000 square-foot roadside-refuge<br />

that’s as much a tourist attraction as anything else.<br />

There are 84 gas pumps, mega-aisles of various snack<br />

mixes and candies, Texas-themed home accessories,<br />

Buc-ee’s clothing, and an entire wall of beverage<br />

fountains. They’re probably best known for their<br />

bathrooms–the cleanest in the industry, they claim.<br />

We took the obligatory photo with the big bronze beaver<br />

mascot out front, popped it up on Facebook with the<br />

caption, “Because Texas….”, and headed on our way.<br />

The next day, after killing several hours around the<br />

Dallas area, we headed to the stadium. I’ve never been<br />

on an NFL football field and was in awe of the massive<br />

venue the Dallas Cowboys call home. There’s a jumbotron<br />

hanging overhead that’s wider than most houses. It’s<br />

actually the 24th largest hi-definition video screen in<br />

the world and spans from one 20-yard line to the other.<br />

Upon entering the field, we were given our<br />

volunteer t-shirts and ushered to where 100 twin beds<br />

were set up–complete with Dallas Cowboy bed linens,<br />

pillows, teddy bears, footballs, and promotional swag.<br />

We were told that 100 kids and their parents or<br />

guardians were already in the building getting a tour.<br />

The field would be their last stop and would soon<br />

become home for one great big sleepover. Ranging in<br />

ages from 5 to 12, these children, through a monthslong<br />

application and vetting process, were found to be<br />

in-need–and particularly in need of beds.<br />

I started taking pictures with my phone. I got<br />

close-ups of the teddy bears holding footballs and of<br />

the beds, themselves, lined up like soldiers on the field.<br />

I could hear the drumline playing outside of the locker<br />

room and knew that it was getting close to time for the<br />

kids to enter the arena.<br />

I scrolled through my photos, created a quick<br />

collage, and decided to post it to Facebook before the<br />

kiddos got there. The caption read, “. . . 100 kids will be<br />

coming to AT&T Stadium for a giant sleepover. Little do<br />

they know they get to keep their beds. These kids don’t<br />

have beds of their own . . . and now they will. I’ll be the<br />

one standing off to the side, bawling.” I posted it and<br />

took my position as they headed our way.<br />

Everyone was wide-eyed and cheering as those<br />

kids ran full-steam onto the field, led by one of the<br />

football players, along with Rowdy, the team mascot.<br />

Each was rushed to their own bed awaiting them with<br />

their name on it.<br />

I started taking more pictures; pictures of kids<br />

hugging their new teddy bears, pictures of kids throwing<br />

their new footballs, wearing their new hats with big<br />

blue Cowboy stars on them, and bouncing on their new<br />

beds–and I quickly added them to Facebook, too.<br />

There’s no way those kids could have realized how their<br />

lives were about to change. They had just been given<br />

the gift of a good night’s sleep–if not that night, then<br />

certainly for nights soon to come.<br />

After a couple of hours of dancing with cheerleaders,<br />

lots of running and throwing, hula-hoop wars and pizza<br />

eating, it was time for the movie to start–to be shown<br />

on the enormous screen above. The kids made their<br />

way into the stands with their popcorn–some carrying<br />

their new teddy<br />

bears and others<br />

dragging their<br />

Cowboy blankets<br />

behind them. The<br />

lights dimmed and<br />

Finding Nemo began<br />

to play–one of my<br />

all-time favorites.<br />

It was already late by then. I hated to leave<br />

knowing that I was in the midst of something so<br />

special, especially with the movie just starting. But I<br />

wasn’t particularly interested in sleeping on the field<br />

in a sleeping bag either, so we loaded up and headed<br />

back to the hotel. It was around 11 p.m., and I checked<br />

Facebook for the first time since making my posts.<br />

One post had been shared almost 400 times. The<br />

other related posts were picking up steam, too. I stayed<br />

up a couple of hours longer that night just watching all<br />

the shares and likes grow.<br />

Shares were at 2,500 the next<br />

morning and over 5,000 by the<br />

time I got out of the shower, just<br />

thirty-minutes later. They had grown<br />

to 15,000 by lunch and were at 30,000 by mid-day.<br />

I had never seen anything like it–especially from such<br />

close proximity.<br />

By Sunday, shares were nearing 90,000 and it was<br />

clear that it wasn’t slowing. It had gone viral–and all I<br />

could do was watch.<br />

One post has been shared over 150,000 times on<br />

my Facebook page alone–and is still growing! It’s been<br />

shared another several-hundred thousand times on other<br />

pages and been featured on countless news sites<br />

including The Houston Chronicle, AOL.com, Fox News<br />

and The Huffington Post. It’s been on Love What Matters,<br />

Good News Network, Little Things, Do Something.org,<br />

and Reddit. The promotion was talked about on K-Love<br />

and Fox Sports along with numerous radio and<br />

television outlets and, by any estimation, has easily<br />

touched millions of people.<br />

I have to admit, I’ve had an incredible time watching<br />

this phenomenon unfold. It’s been surreal, to say the<br />

least. Ironically, I’ve spent my entire adult-life in the<br />

marketing and media industry but could never have<br />

predicted this. And truth be known, there’s no way to<br />

predict how people will react anyway–especially in the<br />

realm of social media. But I can tell you this; people like<br />

good news! And beyond that, it all boils down to good<br />

timing–and good old-fashioned luck. Lightening in a<br />

bottle, as they say.<br />

The Dallas Cowboys Organization, Tempur+Sealy<br />

International and Ashley Furniture HomeStore DFW<br />

gave those kids an ultimate sleepover and the experience<br />

of a lifetime. One little girl said it was the best night of<br />

her life. She also went on to say she had never had her<br />

own bed before–or a teddy bear. God bless her.<br />

The program is called Hope to Dream and they<br />

have donated over 40,000 beds to children across the<br />

nation and around the world. And now, because of the<br />

generosity of these companies, another hundred kids in<br />

Dallas can sleep a little better, too. Amen to that. ✭<br />

30 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 31




AUDITORIUM | JUNE 18, 6 PM<br />

32 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 33

Eden<br />



Jessica Followell stared into the eyes of a little orphan girl from<br />

India on a two inch photograph. After months of paperwork and<br />

prayer, Jessica and her husband Robby finally received a referral of a<br />

girl available for adoption.<br />

Robby and Jessica Followell, owners of followell fotography in<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong>, became passionate about adopting a young girl from India<br />

when they came across a documentary called “It’s a Girl” that brought<br />

to light the horrific truth that families in some rural areas of India do<br />

not want little girls. “The documentary was about some parts of India<br />

and China where they kill their little girls just because they are girls,”<br />

said Jessica.<br />

Robby and Jessica’s biological daughter, Meg, was only fivemonths<br />

old when they saw the documentary. “We have this little<br />

girl [Meg] who we think is a princess, and we prize her. It’s a whole<br />

different perspective in parts of the Indian culture where girls’ lives<br />

are not worth living,” said Jessica.<br />

Robby and Jessica connected with Children of the World, an<br />

adoption agency in Fairhope, Alabama, to begin the lengthy<br />

process of international adoption. “It is a journey of intensive<br />

fundraising, paperwork, and applications,” said Robby. “I made the<br />

joke that everyone should have to go through an adoption just to<br />

get your life in order. You have to have wills, your net worth has to<br />

be determined, and all these financial details that you would never<br />

otherwise care to dig into. You have to have fingerprints for every<br />

possible agency, and it’s extremely thorough.”<br />


HOME<br />

“Children of the World was very helpful about stepping us<br />

through the process of what was required and what was due when. All<br />

these big sums that you hear of adoption costs were broken down into<br />

intermittent payments over the course of several years. It felt very<br />

doable not to see these big dollar sign amounts, but more so broken<br />

down payments due at different points,” added Robby.<br />

Robby and Jessica took their time with the process because Meg<br />

had to be one year old before they could adopt from India. During this<br />

process, they decided to name their future daughter Eden.<br />

“Part of that paperwork process was choosing not only gender<br />

but also your special needs profile. You choose ‘yes, no, or maybe’<br />

to pages worth of special needs categories. All sorts of ailments,<br />

conditions, diseases, and physical abnormalities that you have to<br />

insightfully decipher what you would accept. It almost felt futile from<br />

the perspective of a parent. You have no idea what you can handle,<br />

so it’s almost haphazard,” said Robby. The Followells’ special needs<br />

profile summary was a fairly healthy young girl up to two years old;<br />

any abnormalities that could be surgically corrected was within their<br />

preference.<br />

“Then you work yourself to the front of the line to be chosen as<br />

the next eligible parents for a referral to a specific child,” said Robby.<br />

The Followells were on that list for a year after the paperwork finished<br />

before they were matched with a little girl.<br />

On February 7, 2014, Robby and Jessica received a call from Pat,<br />

their adoption agent. “Followells, I have exciting news. I do have a<br />

little girl that I want you to look at, but I need to say that she’s outside<br />

of your preference parameters of your special needs profile. But I just<br />

feel like you need to look at her,” said Pat.<br />

At the time, the little girl’s name was Kaveri, which is a river that<br />

runs through India. She was born around March 16, 2013, and a few<br />

days after her birth, she was abandoned at a train station just outside<br />

34 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 35<br />

34 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>







Calcutta. A police officer found her, and she was transported to<br />

a hospital for care because her hands and feet were malformed.<br />

She lived in the hospital for two months and was then placed in<br />

an orphanage.<br />

“Pat gave us the girl’s medical documentation first and a photo<br />

of her, a single two inch portrait of her face. It didn’t show her hands<br />

and feet, but we had a lot of medical records explaining her condition,<br />

which is called amniotic band syndrome. She had some periphery<br />

complications like clubbed foot, which is a result of amniotic bands,”<br />

said Robby. “She had had two surgeries at that time and a third would<br />

be done in India before we ever got her.”<br />

“They were very unsure of her future, if she would be able to<br />

walk or not. That, for me, was the sticking point or the determining<br />

factor. All of these doubts and reservations came into play. We only<br />

had about a week to make the decision as to whether or not we would<br />

accept the referral,” said Robby.<br />

“I could really see her in our family, but I had always said this<br />

was a joint decision. I wasn’t going to bulldoze through if Robby was<br />

hesitant because this is our child,” said Jessica.<br />

The Followells had the medical documentation evaluated by<br />

physicians to give them some insight into whether or not she would<br />

be able to walk, what kind of surgeries would be needed, and what<br />

kind of doctors they would need to see. Robby and Jessica only told a<br />

few people about the referral and did not share information about the<br />

girl’s special needs with anyone other than doctors because they did<br />

not want to be influenced by others’ opinions in their decision.<br />

“Two days after that call, we found ourselves at Pinelake Church.<br />

As a Christian believer might expect, at the forefront of our minds<br />

was this decision, and we felt that at the forefront of God’s mind was<br />

revealing His will and future for us,” said Robby. “I remember super<br />

clearly in that message that this wasn’t so much about what we can<br />

handle, as far as a handicapped child was concerned. It was strictly a<br />

matter of obedience. In that moment, it was very sealed for me. God’s<br />

choice for us was to accept this girl, and to do anything else would be<br />

a disobedient move on our part.”<br />

“We did share with our pastor’s wife that we had a referral, but<br />

again not mentioning any of her condition, and we asked that she<br />

pray with us that we would have insight, clarity, and affirmation,” said<br />

Robby. “The following morning, we had a text message from her. She<br />

indicated that God had kept her up most of the night praying for us<br />

that we would have clarity and discernment. She attached a YouTube<br />

link to a video that God had led her to. She said, ‘I know you know this<br />

song; I feel silly for sending you this song. But it’s the song Oceans, and<br />

for whatever reason I have been praying lyrics of that song over you<br />

and this girl.”<br />

“I clicked on the link, and it was a video that included the lyrics<br />

of the song. I saw it playing on my phone: ‘You call me out upon the<br />

water, the great unknown where feet may fail.’ We knew, of course,<br />

that Eden’s feet were her primary physical issue, and we knew they<br />

would probably fail her in some way in life. But it was so clear as that<br />

song continued that there should be no boundary to our obedience.<br />

We were giving our ‘yes,’ and we needed to push hard after that and<br />

follow through. The bridge lyric is, ‘Spirit lead me where my trust<br />

is without borders.’ So we would not put borders around our trust.<br />

We would believe that we can handle this. At that point, it was very<br />

cemented for us, so we reached back out to Pat and confirmed the<br />

referral, which initiated another round of processes.”<br />

“It was a number of months before everyone approved<br />

everything. A judge had to deem her our child, which happened<br />

in our absence. We signed a power of attorney in the U.S., and she<br />

became our daughter according to the Indian government. And we<br />

had yet to meet her,” said Robby. “That took place in September; then<br />

you have to wait for the paperwork to come out of the court system<br />

so there’s the proof and documentation needed. Once that paperwork<br />

came out, we were free to travel to go get her. Every country is<br />

different, but for us, travel was just one trip to India to retrieve her<br />

and bring her home. The legal and technical hurdles in-country are all<br />

really for the U.S. - an embassy appointment, a medical appointment,<br />

plus a few days on the front end getting to know her and spending<br />

time in her orphanage to understand her environment.”<br />

Robby and Jessica set out to bring Eden home with two<br />

photographers and a videographer, all personal friends who<br />

documented the story of Eden’s homeward-bound journey. The<br />

group almost missed their last flight, and their luggage was lost.<br />

Nonetheless, the group pulled up to the orphanage a couple hours<br />

after arriving in Calcutta.<br />

“In front of the orphanage, we saw this box where people drop<br />

off babies. It was just a little wood box that someone would place a<br />

human baby in,” said Jessica. “We go in, and we sit down in this office.<br />

They brought her around the corner, and she was so tiny. She was<br />

18-months old. She immediately started crying when she saw us. We<br />

tried to hold her, and she was scream-crying at us. They brought us<br />

chocolate cake to try to feed her. Nothing was working. We went to<br />

Eden’s room where she lived with twelve other kids. There was a U of<br />

cribs, and in between were mats with sheets and toys. They showed<br />

us where she slept. The kids were playing, and she’s kind of stunned<br />

the whole time. She was sucking her thumb and staring straight. We<br />

laid down and rubbed her back. She’d let me touch her a little bit,<br />

but she wouldn’t let Robby touch her much. She wouldn’t look at<br />

me, just totally ignoring us, sweating profusely through her clothes.<br />

We finally left; it was bedtime for her. We knew we would see her the<br />

next day.”<br />

“I sobbed in the car,” said Jessica. “I found myself being really<br />

sad at the whole situation - at how happy I was that we had her, but<br />

it wasn’t a happy moment. It was a really sad moment that I was her<br />

mom now, but I couldn’t comfort her. Not only could I not comfort<br />

her, but I was actually causing her stress. Also, the fact that I was her<br />

36 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 37

mom meant that she had to not have a mom first. It all bombarded my<br />

mind and heart, and I was exhausted. It was a really sad night.”<br />

“We were realigning our perspective,” said Robby. “It wasn’t going<br />

to be a seamless transition; we just needed to gear up. This was going<br />

to be an adjustment. We saw her the next day very briefly, and the<br />

third day we were going to take her from the orphanage to our hotel.<br />

That was the ceremonial checking out of the orphanage and into our<br />

care. It was really moving to see the orphanage workers, who had<br />

known her since she arrived, being very sad to see her go but hopeful<br />

that this would be better. Eden was very safe and comfortable in her<br />

environment there, which meant she felt protected and cared for.”<br />

“It was neat for us to see the network of people that had<br />

preserved her life and carried her life before she was entrusted to our<br />

care,” added Robby. “The orphanage sourced funds for her through<br />

grants from a Canadian orphan support/medical support agency that<br />

financed surgeries done in India, which unquestionably saved her<br />

legs. Particularly on her left foot, the severity was such that they could<br />

have easily decided to amputate, but instead they found the funds to<br />

reconstruct the foot. It is, to this day, her strongest foot.”<br />

After the ceremonial exit from the orphanage, the Followells<br />

spent a couple of days in Calcutta with Eden. “Those days were crazy<br />

and filled with tears,” said Robby.<br />

“She cried herself to sleep, sweated through all her clothes,<br />

screamed like we were hurting her when we tried to brush her teeth or<br />

just give her a quick rinse off,” said Jessica.<br />

“Everything felt very foreign to her: us, her daily encounters, the<br />

food she was eating. Everything was so different than all<br />

she had known, so everything was a huge hurdle. Even meal time<br />

became quite an ordeal,” said Robby.<br />

“I was terrified that she wasn’t going to let us feed her, and she<br />

wouldn’t at first,” said Jessica. “Finally, I got out a chocolate chip<br />

granola bar to feed myself, and she looked at me and held out her<br />

hand. She ate granola bars for a whole day.”<br />

“We left Calcutta and made it to Delhi for a few days,” said Robby.<br />

“That was one of the hardest days, traveling with her to get her to the<br />

country’s capital for all of the official process meetings that had to<br />

happen. After a few days there, we began the trip back home. We made<br />

it back to Jackson after a total of 10 days away. Of course, Meg wasn’t<br />

with us, so we were very anxious to get back home, for the girls to meet,<br />

and for us to all be together for the first time. We got back on December<br />

12, 2014, and we felt great.”<br />

“Meg was and has been the most accepting and most patient<br />

with the whole Eden encounter. During the entire transition, Meg has<br />

demonstrated the most grace,” added Robby.<br />

“Eden felt the most comfortable with her at first because they’re<br />

both kids,” said Jessica. “They speak their own language of playing<br />

and goldfish and things like that. Meg has transitioned so well and still<br />

handles Eden better than we do. So many things happen such as Meg<br />

introducing her little sister into her play group. She’ll say, ‘This is Eden.<br />

She is brown and has funny fingers. Let’s play!’ She just lays it out there,<br />

and we don’t have to teach her that people are different. She lives with<br />

a sister that is different, and it is sweet that it gets to be a normal part of<br />

her life that she embraces. They’re inseparable. They pull each other’s<br />

hair and stuff, too, because they’re sisters, but that has been one of the<br />

biggest joys—to be able to watch them become sisters.”<br />

“That was a transition too, though. I would say the first two<br />

months were probably the hardest,” added Jessica.<br />

“It got increasingly easier, but it would not exactly qualify<br />

as a smooth transition,” said Robby. “With a child as spirited and<br />

opinionated as Eden, there was so much to break in her—the fear,<br />

the distrust, and the fact that she couldn’t speak our language even<br />

though she should have been able to communicate verbally. There<br />

was incredible frustration on her part to be able to convey what she<br />

wanted. It was a slow but definite progression to her being at a place<br />

of trust and comfort.”<br />

“She has had three surgeries since we have been home, but<br />

probably the least difficult part of the transition was the thing we<br />

were most concerned about when we were bringing her home, which<br />

was her physical conditions and her special needs,” said Robby. “We<br />

have found lots of resources available to us to facilitate a lot of that<br />

care she has needed. We have had positive experiences with several<br />

medical institutions. That has felt incredibly smooth. She is not just<br />

walking but is running. She is very active, and there is very little<br />

concern as to her long-term abilities, such as writing. Even now, she is<br />

able to write with just three fingers on her left hand and one finger on<br />

her right. She doesn’t have toes really, but she has very capable feet.<br />

More surgeries in the future will continue to improve her function<br />

and ability.”<br />

“It was difficult with a lot of emotional challenges and stress,<br />

but, no question, our family is so much better off because of her<br />

inclusion,” added Robby. “The three years before bringing her home<br />

changed our faith and deepened our perspective on God’s plan<br />

in huge ways. The dependence we have needed to walk with her<br />

and grow in love for her over these last two years has been hugely<br />

influential in who we are. We think about her future. She came from<br />

India, in a culture where physical disabilities and an orphaned<br />

state would have forever marked her and challenged her, to a place<br />

of belonging with parents who are fully for her and a culture that<br />

is much more accepting of physical differences and will give her<br />

opportunities that she wouldn’t have had elsewhere in a place like<br />

America in Mississippi. We are so grateful to be able to facilitate in<br />

that future for her.”<br />

“I don’t think we rescued her,” said Jessica. “I think the policeman<br />

that picked her up and took her to the hospital and the nurses who<br />

took care of her and the surgeon that worked on her foot and the<br />

people in Canada that sent money and the people in the orphanage:<br />

those were her rescuers. But the part that we get to play is so neat<br />

because we got to deliver her into a family. We are so thankful to the<br />













38 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 39







people who swooped in and found her worthy, and now we get to<br />

carry her on through being in a family.”<br />

“We get the more permanent blessing out of the experience<br />

because she is here to stay, and there are unlimited examples of God’s<br />

faithfulness that we get to watch firsthand,” said Robby. “People ask,<br />

‘Why adoption?’ We want to be honest about the experience and not<br />

glaze over it. We want to be faithful to communicate the challenges,<br />

but by and large, the grace and blessing that exists in having her in<br />

our family so far outweighs those challenging days. What’s the point<br />

of life but to understand more how to be Christ to this world? If this<br />

experience shaped us to be more like Him, why wouldn’t you choose<br />

to understand the Gospel better by embracing an orphan child in a<br />

way that we have been embraced in our lost state before salvation?”<br />

“The reality is that there are still millions of children without<br />

families, and having had a child biologically and adopting a child—<br />

there are such rich blessings from both experiences,” said Robby.<br />

“They’re extremely different. But why, when looking at a world with<br />

so many children without a family, and thinking of the no-brainer<br />

benefit that having a family provides to an orphan child, why wouldn’t<br />

you accept one if at all possible? Knowing that everyone who adopts<br />

speaks of the incredible transformation that happens in your life<br />

because of it, there is very little risk. The money is one of the biggest<br />

hurdles that people don’t know if they want to overcome, but it is<br />

overwhelming how supportive people<br />

were to us. Pinelake Church provides a<br />

scholarship to families that choose to<br />

adopt domestically and internationally.<br />

The government gives incredible tax<br />

breaks for adoptions.”<br />

“We had a random person or group of<br />

people put $4,600 in cash in our mailbox.<br />

We still don’t know who those people are,”<br />

said Jessica. “This isn’t something that<br />

by any means we went through alone. I<br />

would say to bust wide open the door and<br />

to ask people to donate and give because<br />

I felt like when we brought Eden home,<br />

we didn’t just bring her to our home. We<br />

brought her to a whole community that<br />

was ready to love her and embrace her.<br />

It’s not just beneficial to you; it helps the<br />

child know they are loved by a lot<br />

of different people.”<br />

Robby and Jessica have been open<br />

about sharing their adoption journey on<br />

social media to whoever is interested.<br />

“We have been so overwhelmed by support<br />

and engagement with the story and with<br />

many people beginning the adoption<br />

process because of what they have seen<br />

unfold through Eden’s story. So praise<br />

God for that,” said Robby. “That’s why we<br />

brought a husband and wife photography<br />

team and a videographer with us to India.<br />

We felt it was important for Eden—to show<br />

her in a decade or so when she can really<br />

grasp her beginnings and to be able to give<br />

her some kind of visual context of what<br />

her life was like in those early days. But it’s<br />

also important for the many thousands of<br />

people who have watched and supported<br />

us—to give them some insight into what<br />

this process looks like. It has been very<br />

rewarding and worth it.”<br />

Robby and Jessica posted a YouTube<br />

video called “Love Has Come—An<br />

Adoption Story” that tells the story of<br />

bringing Eden home. The Followells hope<br />

this video will inspire potential adoptive<br />

families to take the next step.<br />

40 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 41

THE DOT<br />

SHOP<br />

Abigail Walker<br />

Hallie Darphin knows the<br />

value of a good education.<br />

Since its start in 2014, her<br />

school supply company, Dot,<br />

has helped fund over 4,000<br />

days of school for children<br />

in developing countries. Now<br />

the 25-year-old entrepreneur<br />

is opening the doors of The<br />

Dot Shop to better spread<br />

her education mission and<br />

encourage others to change<br />

the world.<br />

42 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

42 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 43

THE DOT SHOP • 205 W. LEAKE STREET • CLINTON, MS 39056 • 228-257-6871<br />

It began when<br />

Darphin took a semester<br />

off from Mississippi College<br />

to work at a children’s home in Uganda<br />

in 2011. There she saw the effects a lack<br />

of education had on an impoverished<br />

community. When she returned to MC,<br />

she added a business minor and was<br />

challenged in an entrepreneurship class<br />

to take a problem she was passionate<br />

about and solve it using business.<br />

Fueled by the children she met in<br />

Uganda, Darphin created the idea for<br />

Dot school supplies.<br />

Dot, named after Darphin’s<br />

grandmother, has come to stand for “Do<br />

One Thing.” Every product funds half<br />

a day of education for a child in Haiti,<br />

Mexico, Tanzania, or the Congo. Darphin<br />

says they aim to fund all aspects of<br />

education, including teacher salaries,<br />

supplies, and uniforms.<br />

Dot started as an online store, but<br />

after the urging from MC students,<br />

Darphin began looking for a new<br />

business headquarters. The Dot Shop,<br />

located at 205 West Leake Street in<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong>, opened at the end of May this<br />

year. Set in a sunny yellow house on<br />

the brick streets, The Dot Shop allows<br />

visitors to learn more about what Dot is<br />

doing around the world, meet Darphin<br />

and the Dot crew, and purchase<br />

products that directly aid children in<br />

other countries.<br />

Available Dot school supplies<br />

include binders, journals, pencils,<br />

colored pencils, and coloring books.<br />

Unique, hand-painted binders and<br />

journals have recently been added to the<br />

collection. The Dot shop also sells items<br />

made by locals and MC students, as well<br />

as products from other give-back causes<br />

around the world.<br />

This summer, Darphin and several<br />

others on the Dot team traveled to Haiti<br />

with But God Ministries. They served<br />

in schools and helped with the student<br />

sponsorship program and were able<br />

to see how Dot is directly benefitting<br />

children and their families.<br />

Darphin says economic<br />

development is also a huge component<br />

of Dot. They have been working with<br />

local artisans in Haiti to develop new<br />

products, such as a pencil pouch made<br />

from rice bags and the gingham that<br />

matches the students’ uniforms. “Our<br />

goal is to have at least fifty percent of<br />

the products made in the countries we<br />

help,” Darphin says, adding that providing<br />

jobs to parents is just as important as<br />

funding their children’s education.<br />

Other projects in the works are<br />

school supply bundles, like the ones<br />

at Christ Covenant School that have<br />

helped supply weeks of school for<br />

children in Haiti and Mexico. Darphin<br />

hopes to expand this program with<br />

other schools and maybe incorporate a<br />

pen-pal program so that students can<br />

connect internationally.<br />

To see Dot making a global impact<br />

has meant the world to Darphin. “It’s<br />

overwhelming and extraordinarily<br />

empowering,” she says. She adds that<br />

empowering others is what Dot’s all<br />

about. She looks forward to seeing the<br />

kids that are being funded, graduate.<br />

But Darphin also has a desire to invest<br />

on a local scale. She says that opening<br />

up a store in <strong>Clinton</strong> is a way to teach<br />

people that small decisions can make a<br />

big difference.<br />

She credits the relationships and<br />

support from the <strong>Clinton</strong> community<br />

and from Mississippi College for Dot’s<br />

success. “<strong>Clinton</strong> is a fun place to be,<br />

and I love seeing this place grow,”<br />

she says. “I want to give the <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

community an opportunity to give back<br />

and be involved in what we’re doing<br />

around the world.”<br />

Darphin is excited to be a part<br />

of what’s happening on the brick<br />

streets and hopes that The Dot Shop<br />

will become an event space or a place<br />

where students can simply congregate<br />

on the patio. “I want it to be a place<br />

where people can come and hang out<br />

and learn about the impact of small<br />

changes,” she says.<br />

Even the new space is a series of<br />

small things come together. Darphin<br />

says that God has grown Dot into<br />

something she never would have<br />

imagined and that he continues to<br />

send new ideas through people.<br />

She’s been able to hire a part-time<br />

operations assistant, take on interns, and<br />

collaborate with student artists.<br />

“I trust God 1000% more because<br />

I’ve seen him show up,” she says. “I’m<br />

more willing to do the impossible<br />

because I’ve seen the impossible be<br />

done over and over again.”<br />

Darphin says she’s still learning, but<br />

that she knows she’s doing exactly what<br />

she needs to do. “If there’s something<br />

that God’s calling you to do, he will<br />

equip you.”<br />

The Dot Shop is opened Tuesday-<br />

Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can find out<br />

more about Dot and purchase school<br />

supplies at www.dotproducts.org.<br />

44 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

44 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 45



Fire Marshal Richard Hanks<br />


Police Chief Ford Hayman<br />


Why did you decide to be a fireman?<br />

I was drawn to the fire service for many<br />

reasons. If I had to pick one reason, it would<br />

be the satisfaction it gives me to be part of a<br />

team that helps others. Being a fireman allows<br />

an individual the opportunity to be part of a<br />

team that lives and trains together. The sole<br />

purpose is to help others. It’s a lot like being in<br />

the service.<br />

How long have you been with the<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Fire Department?<br />

I have been with the <strong>Clinton</strong> Fire Department<br />

for 16 years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am recently divorced and have a 15 year-old<br />

son named Lee. He attends St. Aloysius High<br />

School in Vicksburg where he is on the honor<br />

roll and excels in soccer. We spend a lot of<br />

time outdoors hunting and fishing.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have<br />

experienced in your job?<br />

The many times that, despite our best efforts<br />

and medical interventions, a patient does not<br />

respond to the treatment and dies. These are<br />

the most difficult calls especially when the<br />

patient is a child.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in<br />

your spare time.<br />

I enjoy hunting with my son, shooting,<br />

archery, running, and home improvement.<br />

What are three things on your<br />

bucket list?<br />

An Alaskan cruise, travel to Europe, and travel<br />

to Australia and dive the Great Barrier Reef.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

My parents Richard and Sharon Hanks. They<br />

made me who I am today and I am blessed to<br />

still have them in my life.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

About 7 years into my next career and in<br />

something safety related. I’m not sure what I<br />

want to be when I grow up but I’m figuring<br />

that out.<br />

If you could give one piece of advice<br />

to a young person, what would it be?<br />

Figure out what it is that gives you great<br />

satisfaction in life and pursue a career in a field<br />

that allows you to achieve that.<br />

What is a favorite childhood memory?<br />

Hunting and fishing with my father, particularly<br />

running trot lines in the backwaters of the<br />

Mississippi river.<br />

What is the biggest mistake you think<br />

young people make today?<br />

I see a lot of young people’s lives altered<br />

dramatically by the use of street drugs and<br />

misuse of prescription drugs. Street and<br />

prescription drugs are extremely addictive and<br />

dangerous. All it takes is one bad decision to<br />

alter a person’s life forever.<br />

What is your favorite thing about the<br />

City of <strong>Clinton</strong>?<br />

My favorite thing about <strong>Clinton</strong> is the people.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> has more than its fair share of<br />

exceptionally good people. This was evident<br />

after the tornado came through. There was a<br />

huge showing of people, local and abroad,<br />

who were there to help other people in their<br />

time of need.<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

Hinds County?<br />

My favorite thing about Hinds County is that<br />

it is loaded with great places to hunt and fish.<br />

My son and I are in a camp near Utica that<br />

has excellent hunting and fishing. We really<br />

enjoy that.<br />

Why did you decide to be a<br />

police officer?<br />

I have always been interested in police<br />

work. Each day brings a new set of circumstances<br />

and situations that differ from the<br />

previous day. The chance to help someone<br />

always exists.<br />

How long have you been with the<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Police Department?<br />

I joined the <strong>Clinton</strong> Police Department on<br />

May 1st.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My family means everything to me. I am very<br />

blessed to be married to my wife, Sandi. We<br />

have two great boys, Connor and Cole. We<br />

are constantly on the move without any dull<br />

moments. The boys love fishing, hunting,<br />

swimming, and sports. My family is my outlet<br />

away from work.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have<br />

experienced in your job?<br />

The senseless violence that people inflict<br />

upon each other.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in<br />

your spare time.<br />

Spare time…what is spare time? In all seriousness,<br />

spending time with my wife and the<br />

boys is relaxing and enjoyable.<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

Overseas travel, saving enough to retire one<br />

day, and good health for years to come.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

I admire any officer who chooses law<br />

enforcement as a career. Dedication to a<br />

career of service to others is a challenging<br />

calling. The men and women of law enforcement<br />

willingly accept this challenge and work<br />

diligently to make the community safer for all.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

I plan to be here at the <strong>Clinton</strong> Police<br />

Department. Our boys are young and my<br />

plan is to work until they graduate college.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> is my home and we love this city.<br />

If you could give one piece of advice<br />

to a young person, what would it be?<br />

Think about the decisions that you make.<br />

Poor decisions often have lasting consequences.<br />

What is a favorite childhood memory?<br />

Childhood was growing up on Kitchings<br />

Drive in <strong>Clinton</strong>. There were several of us (you<br />

know who you are) that grew up together<br />

and we always had something going on. The<br />

standing rule was when the street lights<br />

came on it was time to at least check in with<br />

the parents. Many great childhood memories<br />

originated on Kitchings Dr. Another favorite<br />

childhood memory was attending Ole Miss<br />

football games.<br />

What is the biggest mistake you think<br />

young people make today?<br />

Young children today spend too much time<br />

utilizing social media and video games. I think<br />

the social skills of children can be diminished<br />

in some capacity. Kids today need time away<br />

from social media and iPhones. They should<br />

be able to get outside and socialize with<br />

other children and adults in real-time rather<br />

than through text messages.<br />

What is your favorite thing about the<br />

City of <strong>Clinton</strong>?<br />

My favorite thing about <strong>Clinton</strong> is the people<br />

and the strong sense of community. I have<br />

watched <strong>Clinton</strong> grow over the years and I<br />

am excited to come home to <strong>Clinton</strong> to serve<br />

our city.<br />

46 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 47

Elizabeth Bennett<br />


601-925-0009<br />

131 Woodchase Park Dr. ~ <strong>Clinton</strong>, MS ~ woodchase@heritageproperties.com<br />

We are pledged to the letter and spirit of U.S. policy for the achievement of equal housing opportunity throughout the Nation.<br />

We encourage and support an affirmative advertising and marketing program in which there are no barriers to obtaining housing<br />

because of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.<br />

Need Not Be Built. For Marketing Purposes Only. All renderings, floor plans, features and photography are artist’s depictions only.<br />

Features, pricing and dimensions shown herein are subject to change without notice. All dimensions are approximate. Developer<br />

reserves the right to modify or adjust prices and/or specifications without notice. Special offers are subject to change without<br />

notification. All move in discounts and specials are not for existing residents.<br />




<strong>2016</strong> ARROWS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE<br />

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OPEN<br />

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<strong>2016</strong> WARRIORS FOOTBALL SCHEDULE<br />

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August 19 7:00 pm Away Hillcrest Christian<br />

August 26 7:00 pm Home Prentiss Christian<br />

September 2 7:00 pm Home Wilkinson County<br />

Christian<br />

September 9 7:00 pm Away Union Academy<br />

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Academy<br />

October 7 7:00 pm Home Canton Academy<br />

October 14 7:00 pm Away Greenville Christian<br />

October 21 7:00 pm Home Central Holmes<br />

A<br />

young family with Korean and Filipino roots has lived in<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> for the past couple of years. Their hearts are filled<br />

with joy and the light of God’s love. Jane and Jake Johnston<br />

are this special couple and they have four delightful children.<br />

Together, they have quite a diverse cultural background.<br />

Jane Johnston is originally from Hongcheon, South Korea. Her<br />

Korean name is Mi-ryeonh Kim. Jake Johnston is from Saipan, Northern<br />

Mariana Islands. Jake and Jane met in Saipan when they were<br />

students at Eucon International School in 2002. Jane was in 12 th grade<br />

and Jake was in 11 th grade.<br />

Jake’s dad, who is from Joplin, Missouri, moved to Saipan to teach<br />

at the international school and that is what brought his family to<br />

Saipan initially. Jake was born in Saipan but moved many times back<br />

and forth since. When he was about 2 years old, his family moved<br />

back to Missouri, then to Saipan again, then back to Missouri. Then,<br />

Jake and his family moved to Pensacola so his dad could go to graduate<br />

school. Then, they moved back to Saipan where Jake graduated<br />

from high school in 2004.<br />

After high school, Jake moved to Pensacola to attend Pensacola<br />

Christian College, which is where Jane was attending. Jane decided<br />

to attend Pensacola Christian College because it seemed like a good<br />

Christian school and the price was affordable.<br />

Jane first set her feet on U.S. soil in 2002. Her first impressions<br />

of the United States of America were in Greenville, South Carolina,<br />

where she was visiting her high school teacher and their family.<br />

“Everything was very nice,” said Jane. She had a hard time getting<br />

used to the food, though, and learning the language. “In college, everybody<br />

had macaroni and cheese. I tell everybody, Chick-fil-A saved<br />

my life. I always thought, Chick-fil-A, I can do this. It gave me hope. I<br />

had a very good impression of Chick-fil-A,” said Jane. “I had bad memories<br />

of macaroni and cheese in college. I gained a lot of weight. I lived<br />

in the dorm and did not have a car,” said Jane.<br />

Something else that really stood out to Jane about America was<br />

the patriotism and the great love and pride that many people had<br />

in America. “Watching baseball was amazing. There was so much<br />

patriotism. Everybody had so much love for their country,” said Jane.<br />

48 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 49

She enjoyed hearing everyone sing<br />

“Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and<br />

the National Anthem.<br />

Jane and Jake attended<br />

Pensacola Christian College their<br />

first two years of college and then transferred to Missouri Southern<br />

State University. They both enjoyed attending the Springfield Cardinals<br />

minor league baseball games in Missouri.<br />

The Johnstons had a short engagement. Jake proposed at the<br />

airport in Korea before their Korean wedding. They both knew each<br />

other was the one because they couldn’t imagine marrying anyone else<br />

and it just felt natural to each other.<br />

To include their different cultural roots, they had four weddings<br />

over a nine-month period between November 18, 2006 and July 7, 2007.<br />

They had two in Korea and two in the United States of America. In<br />

Korea they had a small church ceremony. The following weekend, they<br />

had a traditional Korean wedding. Their Korean wedding reception<br />

was very large because Jane’s parents “knew the whole town.” The<br />

wedding was only Jake’s second time to be in Korea.<br />

Their third wedding was in Joplin, Missouri. It was their legal<br />

ceremony where they had a pastor and witnesses. Their fourth and<br />

final wedding was with Jake’s side of the family in Missouri and had<br />

family members from New York and Chicago attend. Their reception<br />

at this wedding was a mix of both Jake’s cultures. They feasted on an<br />

American barbeque and Filipino food such as lumpia and fried rice. “It<br />

was a good mix,” said Jake.<br />

Because of the many moves of Jake’s family, he grew up<br />

accustomed to a mixture of foods. He grew up eating Japanese, Korean<br />

and Filipino food. “I ate a lot of spam,” said Jake. “My mom would make<br />

me spam, eggs and rice for lunch while we lived in Missouri. I stuck out<br />

because other kids in elementary school didn’t have that for lunch.<br />

You could really smell the spam,” said Jake. In the States, Jake is seen<br />

as Asian, but in Saipan, he is seen as American. He really has a mix of<br />

both worlds in him.<br />

The Johnstons moved to <strong>Clinton</strong> in 2014 so Jake could attend<br />

Mississippi College. He took courses to prepare for medical school. In<br />

December 2015, he received his Master of Science in Medical Sciences.<br />

Although the Johnstons had never been to <strong>Clinton</strong> before, they<br />

had traveled through Jackson several times when traveling from<br />

Missouri to Florida. “We felt God was leading us here,” said Jake.<br />

“What helped us the most was getting plugged into the church.” The<br />

Johnstons sent an e-mail to Morrison Heights Baptist Church, telling<br />

them of their upcoming move and that they were a family of five. Mary<br />

Sanders responded and was very helpful. She drew out a map which<br />

described locations of places to live<br />

in <strong>Clinton</strong>.<br />

Now, Jake works as a<br />

researcher at University Medical<br />

Center and he is applying for<br />

medical school. Jane homeschools their 3 children: Noah (8), Raine (5)<br />

and Samuel (4). They also have a newborn baby, Benjamin, who was<br />

just born.<br />

There are students from all over such as New York, California<br />

and Oregon, that move to <strong>Clinton</strong> to enter the medical program that<br />

Jake did. The students in this program go on to attend various schools<br />

such as physical therapy, dental school, medical school and physician<br />

assistant school. There are also many Koreans and the Johnstons<br />

enjoyed having a Korean barbeque with several of the students in the<br />

program. “We had sliced pork belly, uncured bacon and barbeque,”<br />

said Jake.<br />

Jake and Jane had good first impressions of <strong>Clinton</strong>. Mary Sanders<br />

at Morrison Heights Baptist Church was very helpful and their landlord<br />

was very friendly. “We felt welcomed,” said Jane.<br />

“There is a big homeschooling community going on. This is a great<br />

community for families,” said Jane. “We don’t have any family members<br />

around, but we feel like we do with this community. We have so much<br />

support,” said Jane. “Our families are so far away. Raising four children,<br />

we feel like we have family through our community. Our church family<br />

is worth us staying here. Family values are so strong here,” said Jane.<br />

“We have grown so much through leadership in our church. We have<br />

grown more in our walk with Christ as a family. School has become<br />

secondary to our growing as a family. We practically lived in the<br />

church the first summer we were here,” said Jake.<br />

The Johnstons have really plugged into the community. They<br />

teach four year olds on Sunday mornings in the children’s ministry<br />

and Jane is a greeter at the welcome desk. Jane is also a member of<br />

the <strong>Clinton</strong> Home Educators Connection. In addition to Jake being a<br />

researcher, he also tutors a <strong>Clinton</strong> High School student. He teaches<br />

him math and biology and helps him prepare for the ACT. He is also<br />

pursuing the option of teaching at Belhaven as an adjunct professor.<br />

“The opportunities here have been more than I expected and<br />

I enjoy teaching,” said Jake. Jake would like to be a pediatrician or<br />

something involving kids. His experience, being a father of four, will<br />

help him in the future when working with children and parents.<br />

Jane and Jake Johnston are a melting pot of cultures and bring<br />

their cultural diversity to <strong>Clinton</strong> with excitement and zest. They<br />

are thankful for all that God has brought their way and to live in the<br />

family-friendly community that <strong>Clinton</strong> offers.<br />

50 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong><br />

50 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 51

52 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 53

54 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 55

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56 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 57

clinton<br />

We moved back and lived in <strong>Clinton</strong> from 1992-2008.<br />

feeling, but I have to give credit to long-time president,<br />

During that timeframe, I left education and began<br />

Dr. Clyde Muse, for building a positive culture. He is<br />

working in healthcare marketing. We bought a house,<br />

dedicated to serving people. He applies that principle to<br />

Renee<br />

Cotton<br />

had two children, bought some land and built our second<br />

house, and spent countless hours on the baseball field<br />

(and a number of other activities) watching our two<br />

growing boys.<br />

In 2008 we moved to Madison with mixed emotions;<br />

every student, faculty member, staff member or visitor of<br />

the college. His impact on education and the<br />

contributions he’s made to help improve lives in this<br />

state are far-reaching and I am proud to have been<br />

chosen to serve on this team. Although I won’t be in the<br />

however, it didn’t take long to realize that Madison had<br />

classroom, it is personally rewarding to be in the<br />

Near the front door of my childhood home, a framed<br />

needlepoint hangs that reads, “No Matter Where You<br />

May Roam, The Best Part is Coming Home”. I didn’t<br />

realize how true this statement would be to me, but I<br />

have recognized the importance of “home” in various<br />

ways and at many points throughout my adult life.<br />

My life growing up in <strong>Clinton</strong> was idyllic. My<br />

childhood days were filled playing with the kids in the<br />

neighborhood—from sun-up to sundown. We made up<br />

games, rode bikes, played “school” and chased lightning<br />

bugs until the last minute. We’d always run home just in<br />

fabulous to move away to a big city! Obviously, my<br />

parents were reluctant to let me go; however, they agreed<br />

to my going if I would attend Hinds Community College<br />

for at least one year. I enrolled at Hinds and found my<br />

niche in the marketing technology program.<br />

After earning my associate’s degree, I transferred to<br />

Mississippi State University and earned a bachelor’s<br />

degree in education. There, I also met my husband (of<br />

nearly 30 years), Dennis. Mary Swoope (a <strong>Clinton</strong> native)<br />

supervised my practice teaching. She was a great<br />

mentor and influenced my decision to teach in a<br />

many of the qualities that I loved about <strong>Clinton</strong>. It, too, is<br />

a great place to raise a family, has a strong sense of<br />

community and excellent schools. The people make it a<br />

special place. I feel truly blessed that my sons, Chance<br />

(20) and Connor (18) were fortunate to have the<br />

experiences of growing up in <strong>Clinton</strong> and Madison.<br />

More recently, I experienced a homecoming of a<br />

different sort. After nearly 25 years in healthcare, I<br />

joined Hinds Community College as District Director of<br />

Marketing and Community Relations. In just a short<br />

time, I feel at home. Being an alumnus contributes to that<br />

educational environment.<br />

This year, Dennis and I are also anticipating another<br />

big change. We are facing the “empty nest” as both boys<br />

will be in college this August. When I think of their<br />

futures, I am hopeful that they will recall all the people<br />

and places that have influenced them and they will<br />

remember the “good ole days”. Hopefully they will never<br />

be far from home either and will recall a quote that I have<br />

displayed on a wooden plaque in our own home. It reads,<br />

“Home is where your story begins”.<br />

time to avoid getting in trouble for staying out past dark.<br />

marketing program upon graduation.<br />

Not everyone appreciates their school experience,<br />

My first teaching job was in Philadelphia,<br />

but I loved school. I enjoyed everything about it—meeting<br />

Mississippi. About half way through that school year, my<br />

new teachers, buying new pencils and notebooks,<br />

husband received a great job offer. We moved to Orlando<br />

shopping for school clothes, completing a new calendar,<br />

that summer and I was fortunate to quickly find a<br />

organizing binders and, of course, all of the social and<br />

teaching position at one of the newest and largest high<br />

extra-curricular activities.<br />

schools in Orange County. I had finally made it to the big<br />

While in high school, I worked at Treasury Drug<br />

city! It was a fun place to live and we both enjoyed the<br />

Store (which was owned by JC Penney). During my<br />

experience, but after a few years we began to long for<br />

senior year, they offered me an opportunity to move to<br />

some of the qualities of home. Having both grown up in<br />

Atlanta and participate in their cosmetics buyer’s<br />

Mississippi, we missed our family and friends and the<br />

training program. Like many teens, I thought it would be<br />

sense of community we were familiar with.<br />

58 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 59






I guess what I<br />

remember most<br />

about school when<br />

I was a kid was<br />

the anticipation<br />

and excitement of<br />

getting to see all of my friends again. You go<br />

all summer only seeing your closest buddies<br />

but when school started back it was like the<br />

whole “band” was back together again. Even<br />

to this day, the thing I look forward to most<br />

with the beginning of school is the opportunity<br />

to interact with the students, parents,<br />

and teachers.<br />



The first day of<br />

elementary school,<br />

to me, has been<br />

the same as all first<br />

days of school. The<br />

excitement and nervousness<br />

of a new chapter in life. Anxious<br />

of going to the next grade, meeting new<br />

teachers, seeing friends you have been apart<br />

from all summer. The excitement of the day,<br />

a new beginning.<br />



I remember the<br />

excitement of the<br />

first day of school<br />

growing up the<br />

most. I attended<br />

school before the<br />

times of cell phones and social media, so<br />

being able to reunite with my peers was really<br />

a big thing. I also remember wondering<br />

what my new teacher for the school year<br />

would be like.<br />



I remember feeling<br />

very welcomed in<br />

my teacher’s room.<br />

Her name was Mrs.<br />

Reese. She was<br />

definitely a gifted<br />

teacher who created a thirst for learning for<br />

her students.<br />




I was always so<br />

excited about the<br />

first day of school.<br />

The anticipation of<br />

meeting my new<br />

teachers and discovering who would be in<br />

my class was first on my mind. I could not<br />

wait to wear my new school clothes and<br />

use my new crayons and markers! Any<br />

nervousness I felt would disappear, as I<br />

was greeted with a smile and reassuring<br />

word from my teacher.<br />



I remember everything<br />

feeling so<br />

big and there<br />

being so many<br />

children in my<br />

class. I went to<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> Park and had Mrs. VanLoo. She was<br />

a sweet teacher. My best friend that year<br />

was Lawanda Washington (I wonder what<br />

happened to her). Mrs. VanLoo had this<br />

awesome reading loft in her room where<br />

we loved to go to read.<br />



After a long summer<br />

of playing outside,<br />

reading books,<br />

and watching<br />

Saturday morning<br />

cartoons, I was not<br />

ready to go back to school for my 5 th grade<br />

year at Eastside Elementary. I remember<br />

my mother going to McRae’s and Gayfers<br />

to buy school clothes. I was perfectly happy<br />

with my dingy, worn-out summer shorts<br />

and t-shirts, but for Mom, that was simply<br />

unacceptable. I was able to pick out a few<br />

items that I considered “cool” and would not<br />

earn the derision of my friends. Shoes were<br />

a big deal as well. My feet can be described<br />

as more round than narrow, meaning I had<br />

a small selection to choose from, and finding<br />

socially acceptable shoes was a challenge.<br />

Going to buy school supplies was also an adventure.<br />

Mom would take me to the <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

TG&Y, where we would purchase the glue,<br />

pencils, pencil pouches, and Trapper-keepers<br />

(hopefully the ones that portrayed an<br />

emblazoned dragon on the cover). If I was<br />

really lucky I would get the 16-count Crayola<br />

crayon pack and not just the 8-count. By the<br />

time the first day of school arrived, I had<br />

grown past the back-to-school blues. I was<br />

excited to see my friends and find out which<br />

teachers I was assigned. I remember my<br />

teachers being so welcoming and inviting<br />

towards me. Showing off my new backpack<br />

and cool school shoes was a highlight of the<br />

first day back.<br />




The thing that I<br />

remember most<br />

about my first day<br />

of elementary<br />

school is walking<br />

into my classroom and being in awe of<br />

its size. The sound of excited and scared<br />

students and parents was humming throughout<br />

the hallway and filling the classroom. I<br />

remember feeling very anxious; I wasn’t sure<br />

what to expect. After a few moments I built<br />

up enough courage to take my eyes off of<br />

the floor. Once I looked up, the first thing that<br />

I saw was the smiling face of my teacher.<br />

She walked over to me, took my hand, led<br />

me to another little girl in the classroom<br />

and said that she thought that we would<br />

be great friends. She was right, that little<br />

girl ended up being my best friend for the<br />

remainder of my school-aged years. The<br />

kindness and compassion that my teacher<br />

expressed in those first few moments is<br />

what initiated my journey to becoming an<br />

educator. I wanted to be the one that made<br />

a little girl or boy feel safe and cared for on<br />

their first day in a new place. At that young<br />

age I realized that making a student feel<br />

cared for is the first step in helping them to<br />

become successful.<br />



On my first day<br />

of 1st grade I<br />

remember thinking<br />

how cool it was to<br />

have “real” desks,<br />

do “real” reading,<br />

writing, and math, and to be a “big” kid<br />

compared to the kindergarteners. As<br />

compared to what my daughter has just<br />

learned and accomplished this past year<br />

at <strong>Clinton</strong> Park in the 1st grade, I’m very<br />

excited and proud to see what our students<br />

are learning now as opposed to nearly<br />

30 years ago.<br />



PHILLIP H.<br />

BROOME<br />

The year was<br />

1966. The most<br />

memorable event<br />

about the first day<br />

of school was seeing a picture of a clown on<br />

the wall and that I didn’t like school and if I<br />

could make it through that day-I was never<br />

going back. But, of course I did.<br />

MT. SALUS<br />



Seeing new faces,<br />

names on desks,<br />

rooms newly<br />

decorated and the<br />

excitement of the<br />

teachers. I wish the best to all parents and<br />

guardians at our school as well as all the<br />

other schools in the area. I hope they have<br />

a safe and blessed year.<br />

60 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

The<br />

way<br />

we<br />

were<br />

Carol and David Durham<br />

Elizabeth Bennett<br />

music department part-time at Mississippi College<br />

for the past 25 years. For the past 10 years she<br />

has taught organ at Belhaven University and<br />

Millsaps College.<br />

At Morrison Heights Baptist Church, she has<br />

held a variety of roles including organist, children’s<br />

choir director and ladies ensemble. Carol is a<br />

member of the American Guild of Organists and has<br />

been the dean of the Jackson chapter. She is<br />

currently the president of the Mississippi Music<br />

Teachers Association and for 12 years she was the<br />

chairman of the Bach Festival in Mississippi.<br />

David and Carol go together like two peas in a<br />

pod. “What I like best about David is that he supports<br />

what I do. He makes the punch when I have recital<br />

receptions,” said Carol. “We are both classical music<br />

people and belong to the symphony,” said David.<br />

“Carol is really smart. I can’t believe how smart she<br />

is,” gushed David.<br />

David and Carol have three children and six<br />

grandchildren. Rachel was born in 1973, Davy was<br />

born in 1977 and Elizabeth was born in 1980. They<br />

are thankful to have five grandchildren in <strong>Clinton</strong>,<br />

too. When they reflect on having an empty nest, they<br />

have a lot to say. “Your kids are always your kids,<br />

no matter how old they are,” said David. “I never<br />

got too sad about having an empty nest because I<br />

was always glad to see them develop their wings<br />

and interests and use the talents God gave them,”<br />

said Carol.<br />

“When our children were young, we stayed<br />

close to home. Now that they are grown, we enjoy<br />

traveling more. Some places the Durhams have<br />

enjoyed traveling to are Niagara <strong>Fall</strong>s, Toronto,<br />

England, Scotland, Italy, Vienna, Switzerland and<br />

Alaska. Carol’s favorite vacation was when they<br />

traveled to Vienna to visit their daughter. They<br />

went to Salzburg, the home of Mozart and Zermatt,<br />

Switzerland.<br />

The Durhams have had a long and prosperous<br />

marriage and have some good advice for newlyweds.<br />

“Forgive one another,” says David. “When you’re<br />

dating, the person looks perfect. When you’re<br />

married, reality sets in. Don’t go to bed angry,” he<br />

says. “Communicate. Don’t bottle things up. Go into<br />

marriage with the idea that it is permanent no matter<br />

what,” said Carol. “When you say, ‘Until death do us<br />

part’, mean it,” said David. Those are certainly words<br />

of wisdom from a couple that has been in it for the<br />

long haul.<br />

These <strong>Clinton</strong>ians like to reflect on <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

back then and now. According to David, many<br />

things have changed, but the most significant<br />

changes are the size of the town and the number<br />

of places to eat. Both increased significantly.<br />

“The only places to go eat in 1970 were the<br />

Mississippi College cafeteria, the Bill Will Motel<br />

restaurant, and a drive-in,” said David. The Durhams<br />

watched the <strong>Clinton</strong> Parkway being built. “That has<br />

been a very good change for <strong>Clinton</strong>,” said Carol.<br />

David enjoys woodworking in his spare time<br />

and has built things such as bookshelves, cabinets<br />

and Carol’s harpsichord.<br />

David and Carol Durham have enjoyed making<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> their home for 41 years. Although David still<br />

misses the Great Smoky Mountains being practically<br />

in his backyard during his childhood, he is grateful<br />

for his home here, living with the love of his life in<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong>, Mississippi.<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong> is home to a multi-talented couple who<br />

has been married 48 years. David and Carol Durham<br />

have a long history that is filled with music and<br />

numbers. Most of their marriage has been spent<br />

living in <strong>Clinton</strong>.<br />

The Durhams were graduate school students at<br />

the University of Tennessee when they first met at<br />

First Baptist Church, Knoxville. Carol’s roommate,<br />

Jessie, introduced the two. Carol was interested in<br />

David but he was dating someone else at the time.<br />

That someone else is a distant memory in David’s<br />

mind now as he reflects on being married to the love<br />

of his life for the past 48 years.<br />

David was born in Nashville and grew up in<br />

Maryville, Tennessee. He graduated in 1957 from<br />

high school and then went to Georgia Tech where<br />

he studied physics. Next, he moved to Knoxville,<br />

Tennessee, where he attended graduate school at<br />

the University of Tennessee. He received his Ph.D<br />

in Physics.<br />

Carol was born and raised in <strong>Clinton</strong>. She<br />

graduated from <strong>Clinton</strong> High School and Mississippi<br />

College. She grew up attending First Baptist Church<br />

of <strong>Clinton</strong>. After college, she moved to Knoxville to<br />

begin graduate school at the University of Tennessee.<br />

Carol’s graduate school degree is in Organ.<br />

Their love story began at First Baptist Church,<br />

Knoxville. They were in the choir together. Carol first<br />

caught David’s ear as she played the most beautiful<br />

piano music in opening assembly on Sunday<br />

morning. While they were dating, they enjoyed going<br />

hiking in the Smoky Mountains. They also enjoyed<br />

eating strawberry pie or hot fudge cake at Shoney’s.<br />

David and Carol’s first date was on April 1, 1968,<br />

and their wedding date was not long after that on<br />

September 7, 1968. The Durhams were married at<br />

Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Mississippi. David<br />

was 29 and Carol was 23. “I cared more about the<br />

details of the music than the dress and flowers. We<br />

had my organ professor from Tennessee to come to<br />

play all Bach for the wedding,” said Carol. The<br />

Durhams enjoyed the majestic, refreshing mountainous<br />

views of Asheville, North Carolina, and the<br />

Biltmore Estate for their honeymoon.<br />

After David finished graduate school, he taught<br />

in Auburn, Alabama, and in 1970, the Durhams<br />

moved back to Carol’s old stomping grounds in<br />

Mississippi. David began working as division chair of<br />

math and sciences at Hinds Community College in<br />

1970. He worked there in a few different positions<br />

until his retirement in 2015. He is currently an<br />

adjunct professor at Mississippi College.<br />

When the Durhams moved to Raymond in 1970,<br />

they were the first to live in faculty housing at Hinds<br />

Community College. The rent for their three<br />

bedroom, two bath duplex was $75 a month. They<br />

had their first baby while living in Raymond and<br />

decided they wanted a more permanent residence so<br />

they built a house in <strong>Clinton</strong> in 1975. They drew the<br />

plans themselves and it was custom built. They made<br />

their home in Countrywood when it was brand new<br />

and barely developed.<br />

Carol’s career has been a long and expansive<br />

one. Carol played the organ at First Baptist Church,<br />

Auburn while they lived in Alabama. When the<br />

Durhams first moved to Mississippi, Carol played the<br />

organ for four years at Raymond Methodist Church.<br />

For the past 40 years, she has been the organist<br />

at Morrison Heights Baptist Church. “When I started<br />

as organist in 1976, we had a toddler. We subsequently<br />

had two more babies. They grew up in that church<br />

and now I’m a grandmother. I’m grateful God has<br />

given me the opportunity to live out my calling in a<br />

church that attempts, in so many ways, to honor<br />

Christ,” said Carol. She has also taught piano lessons<br />

in her home since 1985, and still does.<br />

In 1990, she became the staff accompanist at<br />

Mississippi College. She has taught piano in the<br />

“Forgive one another,” says<br />

David. “When you’re dating, the<br />

person looks perfect. When you’re<br />

married, reality sets in. Don’t go to<br />

bed angry,” he says.<br />

“Communicate. Don’t bottle things<br />

up. Go into marriage with the idea<br />

that it is permanent no matter<br />

what,” said Carol. “When you<br />

say, ‘Until death do us part’,<br />

mean it,” said David.<br />

62 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong> <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong> • 63

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

READER<br />


Pat Bell<br />

Why did you decide to make <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

your home?<br />

Randy and I were looking for a nice town to raise<br />

our family and build a new home. We were<br />

impressed with the <strong>Clinton</strong> Public Schools and<br />

the community.<br />

How long have you lived in <strong>Clinton</strong>?<br />

We have lived in <strong>Clinton</strong> for twenty-nine years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I grew up in the small town of Vernon, Alabama.<br />

My mom and dad were good parents and provided<br />

for my brother and me in a good way. Our little<br />

town reminds me a lot of <strong>Clinton</strong>. Everyone knew<br />

everyone and was always there to provide support<br />

as needed. Everything seems to rotate around the<br />

home, church and school.<br />

I have been married to Randy Bell, the love of my<br />

life, for forty-two years. We have two grown<br />

children, Nathan Bell and Nicole Taylor. Nathan is<br />

the training officer for Ridgeland Fire Department.<br />

He is also a paramedic. He and his wife have two<br />

children Logan, 13, and Hallie, 10. Nicole is a Tools<br />

for Life Behavior Interventionist for the Jackson<br />

Public Schools. She has three children, Tyler Elias,<br />

20, Carter Elias, 17, and Lauryn Taylor, 7.<br />

What is your favorite memory of living<br />

in <strong>Clinton</strong>?<br />

My favorite memory of living in <strong>Clinton</strong> is from<br />

my career as principal at Northside Elementary<br />

when we would celebrate our community firemen<br />

and policemen, and our veterans. I loved seeing all<br />

our students dressed in red, white, and blue as they<br />

sang and waved the United States flag in honor of<br />

our veterans. Patriotism is so very important.<br />

Where are your three favorite places to eat<br />

in <strong>Clinton</strong>?<br />

Oh my. I have so many favorites. I guess that I<br />

would say that Lillies, Butler’s Place and Applebee’s<br />

are some of my favorites. But <strong>Clinton</strong> has many<br />

places with delicious food.<br />

What are some fun things to do in <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

on the weekends?<br />

I love the movie night downtown on Fridays. It is<br />

so much fun to carry our lawn chairs and the<br />

grandchildren. It brings back special memories of<br />

once popular drive-in movies.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in your<br />

spare time.<br />

My family is number one. I love to spend time with<br />

them. Randy and I are fortunate that both of our<br />

children live in <strong>Clinton</strong>. We also enjoy following<br />

the MSU Bulldog teams.<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

Randy and I have discussed special trips. We would<br />

like to take an Alaskan cruise and a train trip across<br />

Canada. The third thing on my list is to implement<br />

Tools for Life throughout the south. This is a<br />

relationship-building program that helps children<br />

recognize emotions, of their own and of others,<br />

learn how to control their emotions and give them<br />

tools to be successful communicators. <strong>Clinton</strong><br />

Public Schools was the first school system to<br />

implement TFL in the United States. I will work<br />

during the next two years to implement it in all<br />

schools K-8 in the Jackson Public School District.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

There have been many people in my life that<br />

I have admired. But the ones who stand out now<br />

are William and Joy Tyner. Their faith is so much<br />

stronger than mine. They have suffered through<br />

the loss of one daughter and the health issues<br />

with their second daughter. I admire that they’ve<br />

placed Molly first. But at the same time, they<br />

witness through their faith and their strength.<br />

They continue to follow God’s will and to<br />

serve him.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

Well, now that I am sixty-five, I have just begun<br />

to start taking advantage of new opportunities. I<br />

see myself winding down my consulting business<br />

and turning it over to our children to run. I see<br />

Randy and me continuing to travel. But, we will<br />

always have our home ready to welcome the kids<br />

and grandkids.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

I was fortunate to have a wonderful family and<br />

to grow up in a small town. One of my favorite<br />

memories was when I would go to my<br />

grandparents’ home in the country. My granddaddy<br />

drove the school bus. He always made me feel<br />

special. I loved the smell and warmth of the fire,<br />

the heavy covers with irons at the foot of the<br />

bed and the aroma of bacon cooking early in<br />

the morning.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging quote,<br />

what would it be?<br />

I have two: “Life is not measured by the number of<br />

breaths we take, but by the moments that take our<br />

breath away.” And, “God grant me the serenity to<br />

accept the things I cannot change, courage to<br />

change those things I can, and the wisdom to know<br />

the difference.”<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines?<br />

I absolutely love the emphasis on our people and<br />

our businesses. The articles are always great.<br />

3000 Hampstead Blvd. • morrisonheights.org • 601-925-6479<br />


Worship service | 5 pm<br />

Preschool – Building Blocks | 5 pm<br />

Children – GAs/RAs | 5 pm<br />

Children – Bible Buddies &<br />

Bible Drill | 6 pm<br />

Youth Bible Study | 5 pm<br />

Youth Choir | 6 pm<br />

JOIN US<br />



9 AM, 10:45 AM AND 5 PM<br />


For all your insurance needs,<br />

see Cindy Ringler.<br />


Midweek Worship Service | 6 pm<br />

Preschool & Children’s Choir | 6 pm<br />

Ignite – Youth Worship | 6:20 pm<br />

College Worship | 7 pm<br />

Adult Choir | 7 pm<br />

For more information on our<br />

services and programs, visit our<br />

website morrisonheights.org<br />

601-924-9446<br />

101-A Woodchase Park Dr<br />

<strong>Clinton</strong>, MS<br />

cindy.ringler.cod9@statefarm.com<br />

64 • Aug/Sept/Oct <strong>2016</strong>

HHear ye! Hear ye! That address<br />

would probably turn every<br />

child’s head, and I would have<br />

their full attention. Then I would take my<br />

summer flute and “pipe” them to follow me.<br />

Put away your cell phones and any<br />

man-made device so you have hands, ears,<br />

and eyes to experience God-made joys. The summer nights of<br />

Mississippi are most often muggy, but the sun has reclined and an<br />

occasional breeze will add refreshment to the evening. Grab a container<br />

with a lid. To qualify as authentic, make it a fruit jar with punched<br />

holes in a Mason lid. Then wait and watch.<br />

Camille Anding<br />

The Time Coin<br />

Insects with tiny built-in lights will begin to rise from their hiding<br />

places and turn the night into a light show. The only sounds will be the<br />

base of the bull frogs, tenor from the tree frogs and a blend of cicada,<br />

crickets, and katydids rubbing body parts together. Amazing! That’s<br />

what you’ll say when the summer night sounds of nature are given<br />

audience that’s free of man-made music.<br />

Then run across the dew-drenched grass, preferably in bare feet,<br />

and scoop the tiny insects gently from their hovering positons and<br />

rake them into the jar. Hold it nose-close and watch the tiny blinkers,<br />

crawling in their glass prison searching for an<br />

exit and be awed by their Son-powered lights.<br />

When it’s time for bed, release the<br />

fireflies and wash off the day’s dust and<br />

stickies in a warm tub of water. Crawl into<br />

bed and listen to the Creator’s sound<br />

machine. It will turn off automatically.<br />

As your young minds slowly unwind and the sandman lulls you to<br />

sleep, I would whisper a prayer that your days of summer vacation<br />

would be spared the artificial entertainment of TV and the addictive<br />

time-robbing video games...that your minds would grow to match your<br />

physical growth spurts of summer...that chores, yes, work, would be a<br />

productive part of your free time...that reading a classic with a hard<br />

cover and pages would richly fill part of your break...that God would<br />

open your eyes to the joys of childhood so you, even in adolescence,<br />

would learn that time is one of your greatest treasures and should never<br />

be wasted.<br />

Now sleep soundly to the dreamy serenade of a summer night<br />

in Mississippi while the fireflies continue their mystical night show.<br />

Soon, so soon, childhood will be just a memory. May they be<br />

wonderful ones. n<br />

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68 • Spring 2015

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