Hometown Rankin- February 2018

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volume 5 number 1<br />

<strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

5<br />



2 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 3

publisher & Editor<br />

Tahya A. Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin W. Dobbs<br />

Consulting Editor<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Account Executives<br />

Dacia Durr Amis<br />

Karla Johnson<br />

Contributing Writers<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Dani Edmonson<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Angela McInnis<br />

Ruth Whitley<br />

staff Photographer<br />

Othel Anding<br />

Administrative Assistant<br />

Alisha Floyd<br />

Special Projects Manager<br />

Brenda McCall<br />

Project Assistant<br />

Carrie Truhett<br />

Layout Design<br />

Daniel Thomas - 3dt<br />

• • •<br />

An anniversary that celebrates great people and success in a great county<br />

is a noteworthy observance. That anniversary just happens to belong to<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> as we celebrate our 5th year anniversary issue.<br />

For these past five years, I’ve experienced a dream come true thanks<br />

to our talented staff, advertisers, and our hometown neighbors sharing<br />

their stories. If I were to list all the people who have helped make these<br />

past years of publications a success, it would call for another publication!<br />

I believe the best means of celebrating is to continue to spotlight groups<br />

and individuals that make our county an exemplary hometown. In this<br />

special issue, check out just a sample of our area’s young professional<br />

singles. <strong>Rankin</strong> County’s future continues to look promising.<br />

The 2nd Annual <strong>Rankin</strong>’s Red Carpet Best of the Best Gala was<br />

held January 18th and was another huge success. Check out the list of<br />

nominees and winners as well as lots of pictures from the event.<br />

We at <strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines wish you a blissful Valentine’s Day and<br />

hope you enjoy this very special 5th anniversary issue.<br />

5<br />



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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 />

All rights reserved. No portion of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

may be reproduced without written permission from<br />

the publisher. The management of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

is not responsible for opinions expressed by its<br />

writers or editors. <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> maintains the<br />

unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted<br />

material. All advertisements are subject to approval by<br />

the publisher. The production of <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

is funded by advertising.<br />

In this issue Always & Forever . . . . . . . . . . 12<br />

Batman’s Beat . . . . . . . . . . 20<br />

Valentine’s Week . . . . . . . . 24<br />

Hearts & Arrows Single Mingle . . . 33<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong>’s Red Carpet . . 49<br />

Two Gun Tactical . . . . . . . . . 62<br />

Live Like You’re Dying . . . . . . . 69<br />

Big- Hearted Radio Man . . . . . . . 73<br />

The Sole Healer . . . . . . . . . . 80<br />

2017<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 7

8 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Come visit Marcus at our new full service branch in<br />

Flowood and ask him how we can help you. We offer great<br />

checking accounts, even better rewards, and<br />

state-of-the-art banking technology to make managing<br />

your accounts a breeze. We are PriorityOne Bank, and we<br />

are here to make managing your finances easier than it has<br />

ever been before.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 9

<strong>Rankin</strong> First<br />

25th Anniversary<br />

November 28, 2017<br />

The vault Venue<br />

10 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 11

12 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Angela McInnis<br />

Always & Forever<br />

Angela & John McInnis<br />

Some would call it fate. Some would call it luck.<br />

John and I call our life as a couple, God’s divine providence from the first “hello.”<br />

Our first meeting was at a friend’s home<br />

in Greenwood on Mother’s Day weekend<br />

in 1977. We were briefly introduced. We said<br />

our hellos and goodbyes and, as my friends<br />

and I pulled out of the driveway, I said, “I’m<br />

going to marry him.” Their reply was laughter.<br />

When my friends would call, their first<br />

question was always, “Has he proposed yet?”<br />

My answer was, “No, but as soon as we<br />

begin dating, he will.”<br />

Later that summer, he called, and our<br />

dating began. When I answered the door for<br />

our first date, his opening sentence to me<br />

was, “I guess you know the king is dead.”<br />

(I had no idea who the king was or why it<br />

was so important to him, except he was a<br />

history major.) Then I realized he was talking<br />

about Elvis Presley. For a fleeting moment<br />

I re-evaluated the marriage thing but<br />

decided to “soldier on,” as a friend put it.<br />

We spent the evening at a movie. I found<br />

out that his grandfather, a Cumberland<br />

Presbyterian minister, was thirteen days<br />

older than his grandmother, just as John<br />

was thirteen days older than me. At the<br />

end of the date, I was more positive about<br />

this match.<br />

He proposed (as I knew he would) at the<br />

Liberty Bowl in Memphis. The theme was a<br />

tribute to Elvis. At half-time when they shot<br />

fireworks in the shape of Elvis and his guitar,<br />

John just lost his mind and asked me to<br />

marry him. My Christmas present from him<br />

was my engagement ring. We married in<br />

March of 1978, and my wedding gift to him<br />

was a framed, limited-edition watercolor of<br />

Graceland.<br />

After marrying, we lived in Grenada. He<br />

commuted to Pillow Academy in Greenwood<br />

to fulfill his dream of teaching and coaching.<br />

We moved to Brandon in 1979 where we<br />

both taught at Brandon Academy for three<br />

years. He coached and taught, while my<br />

assignment was teaching kindergarten and<br />

an all-male home economics class.<br />

John’s career in education and coaching<br />

spanned forty-two years, and I taught<br />

thirty-one years. He moved on to coaching<br />

and teaching at Jackson Preparatory School<br />

for fifteen years. Sometimes we taught at<br />

the same school, sometimes we were<br />

miles apart. I taught at East <strong>Rankin</strong>, Hillcrest<br />

Christian and Brandon Middle school during<br />

our miles-apart years. We were both at<br />

Northwest <strong>Rankin</strong> and Brandon High.<br />

Retirement came from Brandon High School<br />

fourteen years later for me and sixteen<br />

years later for him.<br />

We were fortunate to view education<br />

from both public and private school<br />

perspectives. Each type has pluses and<br />

minuses. We stayed focused on our purpose<br />

rather than on any given situation–and that<br />

purpose was the same, no matter where we<br />

were. We wanted to teach others’ children<br />

as we’d want our own to be taught. We<br />

wanted to give tools and skills that students<br />

would use to positively contribute to their<br />

family, church, community and nation. It was<br />

important to impart that there was always<br />

hope if they faithfully carried out their<br />

responsibilities and did what was honorable<br />

and right.<br />

Our personalities have meshed well.<br />

He’s the long fuse, I am the firecracker.<br />

He’s the thinker and planner. I am a talker.<br />

He does everything on time and simply.<br />

I am a procrastinator. I over-do. Once I<br />

asked him to tell me everything he didn’t<br />

like about me. After several hours of<br />

thought he said (and I quote), “I wish you<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 13

didn’t leave clothes hangers on the door<br />

knobs.” I must say that I was stunned.<br />

Personally, I thought he was overly<br />

cautious, but I decided not to ask again.<br />

However, I never left another hanger on<br />

a doorknob.<br />

Our lives were sometimes filled with<br />

“perfect storms.” What seemed to be the<br />

perfect storm at the time, later proved to<br />

the unfolding of God’s perfect will.<br />

Sometimes the unfolding took years.<br />

Because we do not believe in luck, we<br />

found that His plans were far better than<br />

anything we would have imagined.<br />

We’re a team, and we try to behave as<br />

such. As in all marriages, we’ve had our<br />

difficulties, but we’ve weathered them as<br />

a team. Early in our marriage, I was mad<br />

about something trivial and told him I was<br />

going to my mother’s. His reply was typical.<br />

“Ok, I’ll be right here when you get back.<br />

I’m not going anywhere.” And he hasn’t.<br />

We both stayed. We are both deeply<br />

committed to each other. We are convinced<br />

that this match was made and blessed in<br />

Heaven. This belief stands with us today in<br />

our present life chapter.<br />

In September we received a health<br />

diagnosis that blindsided us. John has<br />

stage IV inoperable pancreatic cancer.<br />

(He was still running the hurdles at his<br />

retirement. Fifty-five pushups a day was<br />

nothing.) To sit together and watch this<br />

situation unfold is a daunting task, but<br />

together we have elected to “soldier on.”<br />

We’ve already learned much from this<br />

event. We are profoundly grateful for the<br />

love and kindness shown to us by family,<br />

our church Brandon Presbyterian, friends,<br />

and even strangers. It has been a humbling<br />

experience. To say, thank you, does not<br />

approach our truest feelings.<br />

It is our hope that this present storm<br />

will be meaningful and a help to others.<br />

We are all only sojourners on this earth.<br />

We don’t always have the luxury of choices<br />

in situations or our manner of leaving this<br />

earth. However, we do get a choice in<br />

how we react.<br />

Many athletes will remember this Coach<br />

Mac motivational quote, “Our ox is in the<br />

ditch.” Ours really is, and it’s no game. In<br />

looking back on our years together, we<br />

realize we have been given much more<br />

than we deserved. We have made it forty<br />

years, hand in hand, as a team. A faithful<br />

and all-knowing God has been there<br />

walking with us from that first day. And<br />

because of our love for each other and<br />

Christ’s perfect love for us, we know we<br />

will live happily ever after. n<br />

14 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 15

16 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

SMILE<br />

www.drsarahlangston.com<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 17

18 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 19

20 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Batman’s<br />

Beat<br />

Camille Anding

Batman has superhero talents - one of which is the uncanny ability to detect evil and seek<br />

to eradicate it. The result is a safer and happier society for enjoying life. Sometimes we wish<br />

for a real superhero to address some of the issues and challenges we face in a society that’s<br />

often plagued with evil. Citizens in Richland may not know it, but one of their own emulates<br />

several of Batman’s qualities.<br />

Jeffrey Grace grew up in Clarksdale, Mississippi,<br />

attending high school there and playing basketball and<br />

running track. He remembers his childhood with fondness<br />

even though his dad passed away when he was three.<br />

Grace listened as his older brother warned him about<br />

running with the wrong crowd and avoiding<br />

any gang involvements.<br />

Grace continued his education at Coahoma Community<br />

College and Bethel University where he earned a basketball<br />

scholarship. After college, Grace had a desire to be a civil<br />

servant and first thought that a fireman’s vocation would be<br />

his choice. Isaac Morris, Grace’s uncle, thought otherwise<br />

because he had always wanted Grace to be a policeman.<br />

Grace followed his uncle’s wishes.<br />

For five and a half years, Grace served as a policeman<br />

in Florence where he started out on patrol. Part of his<br />

assignment was serving as crossing guard for the schools.<br />

On one of those times prior to Halloween, Grace told his<br />

police chief that he was going to dress up as Batman,<br />

(Grace’s favorite superhero), at the school crossing.<br />

For a man who’s been an athlete all his life and who<br />

chooses workouts as one of his hobbies, a Batman costume<br />

didn’t come in his size! No problem. Grace added a Batman<br />

mask, shirt and cape to his policeman’s uniform and got<br />

the attention of every school child that passed his crossing.<br />

Batman had arrived in Florence!<br />

While serving in Florence, Grace began teaching the<br />

DARE program—Drug Abuse Resistance Education. He<br />

looks for the Richland Police Department to implement<br />

this program where he hopes to continue teaching. Grace<br />

believes it to be a wonderful program and very rewarding<br />

as a teacher. He recalls fifth graders coming to him after<br />

teaching sessions and saying, “I’m not going to be like my dad.”<br />

“If I can just reach one, it’s worth all of my time,” Grace<br />

says about teaching the DARE program. In his job, he sees<br />

the danger of drugs on a daily basis and their ease in<br />

procuring as a reason for their growing threat. He also said,<br />

“The dealers are another huge problem; so many people<br />

have their hands in the drug industry.”<br />

It doesn’t take long to sense Grace’s interest and<br />

concern for the future generation. He’s coached Upward<br />

Basketball for two years as his schedule has allowed, and<br />

finds his greatest joy in putting smiles on the faces of<br />

young children. “I want to help kids appreciate policemen<br />

and their work,” he says.<br />

Residents of Richland may not see Grace in a Batman<br />

costume, but if he bares his bulletproof vest, they will see his<br />

Batman logo. It’s close to his heart and a daily reminder of<br />

his desire for a safer and happier place for Richland kids. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 21

22 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 23

Valentine<br />

Week<br />

Camille Anding<br />

While skimming through<br />

the internet, it was no<br />

surprise to discover<br />

something new.<br />

There’s an entire<br />

Valentine Week–<br />

not just the one<br />

special day observed<br />

on the fourteenth.<br />

According to the source,<br />

the seven days leading up<br />

to the celebrated<br />

flowers/candy day<br />

of the year have<br />

special meaning, too.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 7<br />

is Rose Day.<br />

Who could argue with a flower<br />

day celebration—especially if it’s a rose?<br />

Their familiar blooms come in so many colors, but yellow is my favorite. Even though<br />

I’ve been blessed to receive more than my share of roses, none have been more special<br />

than the yellow rose buds in the corsage that my valentine gave me on the night of our<br />

wedding rehearsal. Perhaps it’s because my entire world was warmed with a golden glow<br />

on the eve of our wedding day, but the beauty and fragrance of that date-marking corsage<br />

made permanent imprints on my heart. Rose Day gets my vote!<br />

<strong>February</strong> 8 is<br />

Propose Day.<br />

Surely the source is not suggesting<br />

that day is prime time for popping the big question. I think its significance lies in<br />

recalling that special day for married couples and a day to dream on for those hoping<br />

for that momentous day.<br />

If I observe Propose Day I will recall my valentine pulling off a rural road in Shelby,<br />

Mississippi to present me with an engagement ring. It was a late, dusty afternoon in the<br />

Delta–a place where love had been planted in my heart and every care was far removed<br />

from our college days. Even though I was sure that this valentine was my<br />

knight in shining armor, I was shocked when he opened the tiny,<br />

black velvet box. The ring was a fit for life!<br />

<strong>February</strong> 9 is<br />

Chocolate Day.<br />

Ummm...where do I begin? I recall the<br />

thin financial days in our first years of<br />

marriage. There was never a surplus but<br />

always enough, and that’s what mattered to me.<br />

My valentine dreamed while working hard for more, but a small box of chocolate-covered<br />

turtles on Valentine’s Day, along with an “I Love You” note, spoke love and caloric joy to<br />

me. Chocolate is and will always be a universal language for lovers.<br />

24 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>February</strong> 10<br />

is Teddy Day.<br />

Baby dolls, not teddy bears,<br />

were my childhood love.<br />

When God gave us two real<br />

baby dolls as our own offspring,<br />

new joys visited us and stayed.<br />

Our son was just a toddler when an elderly, petite lady from our church<br />

presented him with a small, inexpensive teddy bear. The teddy soon lost<br />

most of his hair, and his button nose had to be re-attached more than<br />

once, but the teddy became an inseparable partner with our son.<br />

When I cleaned out the childhood toy box, Teddy never had a worry.<br />

He knew he was a keeper and still is. He’s preserved behind glass in a<br />

shadow box. It’s amazing what value love can place on objects. Certainly<br />

teddy bears have earned a day of remembrance on our calendars.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 12<br />

is Hug Day.<br />

I think the best huggers<br />

learn from examples.<br />

My parents were huggers,<br />

and I grew up associating<br />

a happy marriage with lots<br />

of happy hugs. If you think<br />

about it, people don’t do much<br />

hugging when they’re angry.<br />

But a warm, happy hug can transmit<br />

a bundle of forgiveness as well as affection.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 11<br />

is Promise Day.<br />

Valentines make lots of promises,<br />

and not all are kept—but hearing them<br />

makes life sweeter. Too bad promises<br />

aren’t as binding today as they were<br />

in earlier times. A day set aside to make<br />

promises to valentines or ponder<br />

some that haven’t been reviewed<br />

in a while could make <strong>February</strong> 11<br />

a memorable day.<br />

<strong>February</strong> 13 is Kiss Day.<br />

“Valentining” grows a bit more serious if observing this day. Whether it’s<br />

a kiss on the cheek, or forehead of a child, or a lip-smacking kiss between lovers,<br />

the kiss is an intimate expression of love. I read a neat quote recently: “The best<br />

things in life can never be kept. They must be given away–a smile, a kiss, and love.”<br />

May your valentine be generous in all three.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 25

26 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 27

<strong>Hometown</strong><br />

goodness<br />

Chicken Tamale Pie<br />

• 3 cups diced cooked chicken<br />

(about 12 ounces)<br />

• 1-1/2 cups prepared salsa<br />

• One 15-ounce can black beans,<br />

drained and rinsed<br />

• 1-1/2 cups chicken broth<br />

• 1 tablespoon chili powder<br />

• 2 scallions (white and green parts),<br />

sliced<br />

• 3/4 cup cornmeal<br />

• 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar<br />

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter<br />

• Kosher salt and freshly ground<br />

black pepper<br />

• Sour cream, for serving<br />

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat<br />

chicken, salsa, beans, 1/2 cup of<br />

broth and chili powder in a 10-inch<br />

cast- iron skillet over medium heat,<br />

stirring, until simmering. Stir in<br />

scallions and remove from the heat.<br />

Meanwhile, combine cornmeal<br />

with the remaining 1 cup broth and<br />

1 cup water in a medium pan. Bring<br />

to a simmer over medium heat,<br />

stirring, until very thick, 5 to 7<br />

minutes. Remove from the heat and<br />

stir in the cheese and butter. Season<br />

with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4<br />

teaspoon pepper.<br />

Spread the cornmeal mixture over<br />

the filling and bake until cooked<br />

through, about 30 minutes. Let stand<br />

for 15 minutes. Serve with sour cream.<br />

Pizza Pot Pies<br />

Tomato sauce<br />

• 1 tablespoon olive oil<br />

• 2 cloves garlic, minced<br />

• 1 teaspoon fresh minced rosemary<br />

• 2 ounces diced pancetta<br />

• 1 can crushed tomatoes<br />

(28-ounce)<br />

• 1/4 teaspoon salt<br />

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground<br />

black pepper<br />

Pies<br />

• 3 cups tomato sauce<br />

• 2 cups diced roasted chicken<br />

• 2 cups broccoli cut into small,<br />

bite-sized pieces<br />

• 1-1/2 cups diced mozzarella<br />

• 1/2 teaspoon salt<br />

• 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground<br />

black pepper<br />

• 1-1/2 pounds pizza dough<br />

• 1/3 cup olive oil<br />

• 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan<br />

Special equipment:<br />

6, 10-ounce ramekins<br />

For the tomato sauce: Warm the<br />

olive oil in a small saucepan over<br />

medium heat. Add garlic, rosemary,<br />

and pancetta. Sauté until crisp and<br />

golden, about 5 minutes. Add the<br />

tomatoes, stir to combine, simmer<br />

over very low heat for 15 minutes.<br />

Add salt and pepper. Set aside.<br />

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.<br />

In a large bowl combine tomato<br />

sauce, chicken, broccoli, mozzarella,<br />

salt, and pepper. Stir to combine.<br />

Divide chicken mixture evenly<br />

between the ramekins. Roll out the<br />

pizza dough and cut circles with a<br />

paring knife that are 1-inch wider in<br />

diameter than the ramekins. Place<br />

the circles of dough over the filled<br />

ramekins and press down to seal,<br />

making sure to pull the dough over<br />

the edge of the ramekin. Brush the<br />

top of the dough with olive oil and<br />

sprinkle with parmesan cheese.<br />

Cut a small slit in the top of the<br />

dough with a paring knife. Bake until<br />

crust is golden, about 25 minutes.<br />

Remove from oven and let cool<br />

slightly before serving.<br />

Pork Chops<br />

with Wine & Garlic<br />

• 2 tablespoons olive oil<br />

• 3 tablespoons butter<br />

• Kosher salt and freshly ground<br />

black pepper<br />

• 4 bone-in T-bone pork chops,<br />

1 inch thick<br />

• 16 cloves garlic, peeled<br />

• 1-1/2 cups red wine<br />

• 1 bay leaf<br />

• 1/2 cup beef broth, plus more<br />

if needed<br />

• 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar<br />

Heat the oil and 2 tablespoons of<br />

the butter in a heavy skillet over high<br />

heat. Salt and pepper both sides of<br />

the pork chops and sear until golden,<br />

about 2 minutes per side. (No need<br />

to completely cook the chops at this<br />

point.) Remove from skillet and set<br />

aside.<br />

Reduce heat to medium high,<br />

throw in the whole cloves of garlic.<br />

Stir and cook until golden brown,<br />

Add red wine, then bay leaf. Stir and<br />

cook, raising the heat inecessary,<br />

until the sauce is reduced and thick,<br />

several minutes.<br />

Stir in beef broth (add more if it<br />

needs the liquid) and add the chops<br />

back to the skillet, arranging them<br />

so they’re swimming in the sauce.<br />

Cook chops in the sauce for a few<br />

minutes, then add the balsamic.<br />

Shake the skillet to distribute, then<br />

cook for a couple more minutes, or<br />

until the chops are done.<br />

Remove chops from the skillet,<br />

let the sauce reduce a little more if<br />

needed, until it’s very thick and rich<br />

and the garlic is soft. Swirl in the<br />

remaining tablespoon of butter and<br />

sprinkle in a little salt and pepper.<br />

Arrange the pork chops on a<br />

platter, then pour the whole skillet<br />

of sauce (including the garlic) over<br />

the top.<br />

28 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Spicy Turkey &<br />

Green Bean Stir-Fry<br />

Slow-Cooker<br />

Pulled Pork Sandwiches<br />

Cheesy Gnocchi Casserole<br />

with Ham & Peas<br />

• 1-1/2 cups basmati rice<br />

• 1-1/2 pounds green beans,<br />

trimmed<br />

• 3 tablespoons vegetable oil<br />

• 1/2 teaspoon sugar<br />

• 3/4 pound 99 percent lean<br />

ground turkey<br />

• 1 clove garlic, minced<br />

• 1 small half-sour pickle,<br />

finely chopped<br />

• 2 teaspoons Asian chili paste,<br />

such as sambal oelek<br />

• 1 cup fat-free low-sodium<br />

chicken broth<br />

• 2 tablespoons low-sodium<br />

soy sauce<br />

• 1 tablespoon dry sherry or rice<br />

vinegar (not seasoned)<br />

• 2 teaspoons cornstarch<br />

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.<br />

Stir in the rice, cover and boil until<br />

tender, about 18 minutes; drain well<br />

and keep warm.<br />

Meanwhile, preheat the broiler.<br />

Toss the green beans, 1-1/2<br />

tablespoons vegetable oil and sugar<br />

on a rimmed baking sheet. Broil,<br />

stirring once, until the beans are<br />

tender and charred, about 8 minutes.<br />

Heat the remaining 1-1/2<br />

tablespoons vegetable oil in a large<br />

skillet over high heat. Add the turkey<br />

and cook, breaking it up with a<br />

wooden spoon, until browned,<br />

3 minutes. Add the garlic, pickle and<br />

chili paste and cook until the garlic is<br />

slightly golden, about 3 minutes.<br />

Whisk the chicken broth, soy sauce,<br />

sherry and cornstarch in a bowl. Add<br />

the green beans to the skillet with the<br />

turkey mixture and cook, stirring,<br />

1 minute. Add the soy sauce mixture<br />

and cook, stirring occasionally, until<br />

the sauce thickens slightly, about<br />

3 minutes. Serve with the rice.<br />

• 3 tablespoons light brown sugar<br />

• 2 teaspoons hot paprika<br />

• 1 teaspoon mustard powder<br />

• 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin<br />

• Kosher salt and freshly ground<br />

pepper<br />

• 1 3-to-4-pound boneless pork<br />

shoulder, trimmed of excess fat<br />

• 2 teaspoons vegetable oil<br />

• 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar,<br />

plus more to taste<br />

• 3 tablespoons tomato paste<br />

• 6 potato buns<br />

• Barbecue sauce and prepared<br />

coleslaw, for serving<br />

Combine 1 tablespoon brown<br />

sugar, paprika, mustard powder,<br />

cumin, 2 teaspoons salt and 1/2<br />

teaspoon pepper in a small bowl. Rub<br />

the spice mixture over the pork.<br />

Heat oil in a large skillet; add pork<br />

and cook, turning, until browned on<br />

all sides, 5 minutes. Remove the pork<br />

and transfer to a plate; whisk 3/4 cup<br />

water into the drippings in the skillet.<br />

Transfer the liquid to a 5-to-6-quart<br />

slow cooker.<br />

Add vinegar, tomato paste,<br />

remaining 2 tablespoons brown<br />

sugar and 2 cups water and whisk<br />

to combine. Add pork, cover and<br />

cook on low, 8 hours.<br />

Remove the pork and transfer to<br />

a cutting board. Strain the liquid into<br />

a saucepan, bring to a boil and cook<br />

until reduced by half, about 10<br />

minutes. Season with salt. Roughly<br />

chop the pork and mix in a bowl with<br />

1 cup of the reduced cooking liquid,<br />

and salt and vinegar to taste. Serve<br />

on buns with barbecue sauce and<br />

coleslaw.<br />

• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter<br />

• 1 onion, chopped<br />

• One 8-ounce piece deli ham, diced<br />

• 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme<br />

• 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth<br />

• One 17.5-ounce package potato<br />

gnocchi<br />

• 1 cup frozen peas, thawed<br />

• 1/4 cup heavy cream<br />

• Kosher salt and freshly ground<br />

black pepper<br />

• 1 cup shredded Swiss or Gruyere<br />

cheese<br />

Preheat the broiler to high heat.<br />

Melt the butter in a large ovenproof<br />

skillet over medium heat. Add onions<br />

and cook until softened, about 3<br />

minutes. Add ham and thyme and<br />

continue to cook until ham is lightly<br />

browned.<br />

Add chicken broth and 3/4 cup<br />

water and bring to a simmer. Add<br />

gnocchi, stir well, cover and cook<br />

until gnocchi is slightly tender, about<br />

5 minutes. Remove from heat.<br />

Uncover and stir in peas, cream, 1/4<br />

teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon<br />

pepper. Sprinkle cheese over the top<br />

and broil until golden and bubbly,<br />

about 3 minutes.<br />

Barbecue Mac & Cheese<br />

• Kosher salt<br />

• 1 pound large shell pasta noodles<br />

• 4 cups stemmed and chopped<br />

collard greens (about 1 large<br />

bunch)<br />

• 5 ounces beer<br />

• 5 ounces half-and-half<br />

• 2/3 cup your favorite spicy<br />

barbecue sauce<br />

• 6 ounces American cheese,<br />

chopped or shredded<br />

• 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar,<br />

shredded (about 1 cup)<br />

• 4 ounces Havarti, shredded<br />

(about 1 cup)<br />

• Freshly ground black pepper<br />

Bring a large pot of salted water to a<br />

boil. Cook the pasta and collards until<br />

the pasta is al dente, according to<br />

package directions. Drain and reserve.<br />

Combine the beer, half-and-half<br />

and barbecue sauce in a large<br />

saucepan over medium-low heat and<br />

cook, whisking, until it simmers.<br />

Stir in the cheddar and Havarti and<br />

cook over low heat, stirring, until all<br />

the cheese is melted. Add the pasta<br />

and collards and toss to combine.<br />

Season with salt and pepper. Serve<br />

immediately!<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 29

30 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 31

32 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Valentine’s Day isn’t just about couples, you know.<br />

This month we’ve decided to shine a heart-shaped<br />

light on twenty professional singles and gather<br />

for a “meet and mingle” at the<br />

Hearts &<br />

Arrows<br />

Singles<br />

Mingle<br />

presented by <strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> Magazine & Georgia Blue<br />

<strong>February</strong> 14, <strong>2018</strong> / 7-10 pm<br />

The Vault Venue<br />

202 North College Street<br />

Brandon, MS<br />

Please join us as we<br />

celebrate our fabulous<br />

“availableness” with<br />

cocktails and company.<br />

There will be a fun drink<br />

special, door prizes and<br />

lots of great music!<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 33

Brittany Farrar<br />

Height 5’6”<br />

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

Hobbies Time with family and friends.<br />

Being outside when it’s warm.<br />

Occupation Jackson Healthcare for Women,<br />

Billing Office<br />

Pets One dog, Gunner<br />

My ultimate date Having the night all as a surprise<br />

of his choice<br />

Person I most admire My mother<br />

Favorite Food Pasta<br />

Favorite vacation spot Beach<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong><strong>Rankin</strong>_Valentines_QuarterAd_FINAL.pdf 1 1/17/<strong>2018</strong> 10:19:05 AM<br />

Andrew Kemp<br />

Height 5’11”<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Jackson, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Sports – specifically golf, football,<br />

basketball, and baseball. Reading,<br />

watching movies, and spending time<br />

with friends and family.<br />

Occupation Blue Cross Blue Shield<br />

My ultimate date Start with a round of golf, have a<br />

casual dinner, then see a movie.<br />

Person I most admire My grandfather<br />

Favorite vacation spot Any tropical destination<br />

Favorite Food Filet<br />

C<br />

M<br />

Y<br />

CM<br />

MY<br />

CY<br />

CMY<br />

K<br />

34 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Katee Brown<br />

Height 5’4’’<br />

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

Hobbies Running, reading, hiking, camping<br />

– I love being outdoors!<br />

Occupation Elementary education major at<br />

Mississippi College<br />

Pets A dog named Lucy<br />

My ultimate date A low key picnic and stroll – it always<br />

makes for great conversation.<br />

Person I most admire My mother – the strongest woman I know!<br />

Favorite vacation spot The Grand Canyon<br />

Favorite Food Frozen blueberries<br />

AJ Gezunterman<br />

Height 6’8’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Chicago, Illinois<br />

Hobbies Going to the gym, traveling,<br />

volunteering at my church<br />

Occupation Automation sales engineer at Irby<br />

My ultimate date Watching the Cubs play at Wrigley Field<br />

Person I most admire My father<br />

Favorite vacation spot Anywhere there is a beach<br />

Favorite Food Steak<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 35

Catherine Covey<br />

Height 5’6<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Richland, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Traveling, Krav Maga, and knitting<br />

Occupation Case manager at the Center for<br />

Violence Prevention<br />

Pets Two cats, Otis and Winnie<br />

My Ultimate Date Good food, good company, and tons<br />

of laughs<br />

Person I most admire My mom<br />

Favorite food Indian<br />

Favorite vacation spot Bali, Indonesia<br />

James Strickland<br />

Height 6’3’’<br />

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

Hobbies Running, traveling, sporting events<br />

Occupation Licensed professional counselor<br />

and professor at Mississippi College<br />

My ultimate date The location is not as important to me<br />

We could go to a nice restaurant or a<br />

casual place. As long as we are both<br />

having fun and laughing<br />

Person I most admire My parents are my inspiration and<br />

how I hope to live my life<br />

Favorite vacation spot The beach and hiking in the mountains<br />

Favorite Food Locally grown / fresh foods<br />

36 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Courtney Cockroft<br />

Height 5’1<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Richland, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Shopping<br />

Occupation Clerical staffing recruiter at Tempstaff<br />

Pets Pomeranian named Poncho<br />

My ultimate date Something simple, dinner and a movie<br />

Person I most admire My mom<br />

Favorite Food Chicken spaghetti<br />

Favorite vacation spot Disney World & Universal Studios<br />

Kristian Gautier<br />

Height 5’11’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Ridgeland, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Mississippi State, cooking, drawing/art,<br />

singing (Pinelake worship team/duo band,<br />

“The Lowly Heirs,” tennis<br />

Occupation Credit analyst at Community Bank<br />

Pets Golden Retriever named Bella<br />

My ultimate date Grab some really good food and then<br />

a fun concert. But, I want to make sure<br />

I really get to know someone.<br />

Person I most admire My dad<br />

Favorite vacation spot The mountains/ cabin<br />

Favorite Food Sushi and Chinese<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 37

Davis Watts<br />

Height 6 ft.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Pearl, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Playing the piano, cooking, volunteering<br />

with Alzheimer’s MS, serving on the Riggs<br />

Manor Retirement Community board,<br />

working with preschoolers at FBC<br />

Occupation CPA at Haddox Reid Eubank Betts PLLC<br />

My ultimate date Mississippi State basketball game<br />

Person I most admire Dad<br />

Favorite vacation spot Beach<br />

Favorite Food Pepper steak. Generally, I just about<br />

eat any dessert with coffee.<br />

Brigit Nelson<br />

Height 5’5<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Quitman, Mississippi<br />

Occupation Professional school counselor in Pearl<br />

Pets A Pekingese named Kizzy<br />

My ultimate date A guy greeting me at the door with<br />

flowers, a charming smile, and an<br />

interactive date – where we would<br />

learn things about each another<br />

Person I most admire My mom<br />

Favorite food Birthday cake<br />

Favorite vacation spot Every vacation I’ve ever taken.<br />

It’s the fun with friends and family<br />

that makes a vacation great!<br />

38 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Chandler Rives<br />

Height 5’10’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Madison, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Hunting, biking, running, and music<br />

Occupation Will graduate with a doctorate in physical<br />

therapy from the University of Mississippi<br />

Medical Center in May of <strong>2018</strong><br />

My ultimate date Laid back meal, great conversation,<br />

or anything outdoors<br />

Person I most admire My dad – he taught me that with hard<br />

work, faith and determination I could<br />

achieve anything<br />

Favorite vacation spot The beach or the mountains<br />

Favorite Food Southern cooking and good coffee<br />

Amy Wright<br />

Height 5’2’’<br />

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

Hobbies Spending time with my family and<br />

friends, country concerts, traveling<br />

Occupation Pediatric nurse<br />

My ultimate date Dinner and a country concert<br />

Person I most admire My sister<br />

Favorite vacation spot The beach<br />

Favorite Food Chocolate<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 39

Whitney Sasser<br />

Height 5’2’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Byram, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Dancing, spending time with family<br />

and friends, and anything outdoors!<br />

Occupation Teacher and studio owner<br />

Pets A Maltipoo named Beau<br />

My ultimate date Something untraditional.<br />

I’m open minded to anything fun!<br />

Person I most admire My mother<br />

Favorite vacation spot Anywhere with a beach<br />

Favorite Food I love anything but Italian<br />

TJ Carter<br />

Height 6’0<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Flowood, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Riding motorcycles, playing tennis,<br />

and playing board games with friends<br />

Occupation Assistant tennis coach and adjunct<br />

professor at Hinds CC<br />

Pets Malti-Poo named Reese<br />

My ultimate date Going to New Orleans for a Saints game,<br />

eating at Deanies and exploring the town<br />

Person I most admire My dad, Tim Carter<br />

Favorite food Filet Mignon with broccoli and a loaded<br />

potato on the side<br />

Favorite vacation spot Any beach with white and clear water<br />

40 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Victoria Gilreath<br />

Height 5’9’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Gulfport, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Crafting, cooking, and drinking coffee<br />

Occupation 2nd grade gifted teacher at<br />

StoneBridge Elementary<br />

Pets 1 Yorkie named Ozzy<br />

My ultimate date Somewhere fancy for dinner, adventure.<br />

I love low key too!<br />

Person I most admire Annie F. Downs. (blogger, podcaster)<br />

Favorite vacation spot Anywhere beach or NYC<br />

Favorite Food Mexican Food<br />

Derek Havard<br />

Height 5’11’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Pearl, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Working on renovation projects for my<br />

investment properties and spending<br />

time with friends and family<br />

Occupation Real estate agent<br />

Pets Dog named Lucy<br />

My ultimate date Taking a random road trip not knowing<br />

the exact destination<br />

Person I most admire My mom<br />

Favorite vacation spot Cozumel, Mexico<br />

Favorite Food Steak<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 41

Marcus Stewart<br />

Height 6’0<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Tchula, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Writing<br />

Occupation Assistant principal at Brandon High<br />

Pets None<br />

My ultimate date A quiet starlit walk before a nice meal<br />

Person I most admire Dr. Tom Burnham<br />

Favorite vacation spot Anywhere with a beach<br />

Favorite Food Filet mignon<br />

Lacey Ainsworth<br />

Height 5’7’’<br />

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

Hobbies Hiking, kayaking, working out<br />

Occupation Occupational therapy school at UMMC<br />

Pets None at the moment, but I love dogs<br />

My ultimate date I’d love to go hiking, but since we don’t<br />

have that nearby, I’d love a good meal<br />

and a George Strait concert.<br />

Person I most admire My mom<br />

Favorite vacation spot Montana or Lake Tahoe<br />

Favorite Food I love Mexican food<br />

42 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Kalen Brantley<br />

Height 6’0<br />

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

Hobbies Working out, hunting, reading, traveling<br />

Occupation Planning technician at Central MS<br />

Planning and Development<br />

Pets None<br />

My ultimate date Something laid back and fun,<br />

where you can enjoy your time.<br />

Person I most admire My dad<br />

Favorite vacation spot Mountains<br />

Favorite Food Steak<br />

Lacy Lane<br />

Height 5’4’’<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Grenada, Mississippi<br />

Hobbies Reading, working at church, spending<br />

time with family and friends, traveling<br />

Occupation English teacher at Brandon High School<br />

Pets Two dogs FiFi and Gus<br />

My ultimate date Going up in a hot air balloon<br />

Person I most admire My mother, Carolyn Carlisle<br />

Favorite vacation spot London, England<br />

Favorite Food Cereal and potatoes<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 43

©2014 Ergon, Inc. All rights reserved.<br />

ergon.com<br />

44 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>



Did you know that Hartfield enrolls<br />

grades K3-12th?<br />

Do you have a student who would be<br />

interested in seeing a day in the life<br />

of Hartfield? We schedule<br />

shadow days with students<br />

so they can experience<br />

Hartfield first-hand.<br />

Schedule a tour for<br />

any grade to get<br />

an inside look<br />

at the school.<br />

Schedule A Tour<br />

ENROLLMENT BEGINS FEB. 1, <strong>2018</strong>.<br />


601.992.5333 | HARTFIELD.ORG<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 45

46 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Thanks for voting us Best Children’s Boutique.<br />

Boutique and Gifts<br />


WE have something for everyone.<br />

2990 Hwy 49 South | Suite A | Florence, MS 39073 (Located in DeeRFIELD Plaza on Highway 49)<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 47

Patient comfort close to home.<br />

• Dental Implants<br />

• Wisdom Teeth<br />

• Sedation<br />

• Facial Trauma<br />

• Jaw Surgery<br />

• Oral Pathology<br />

American Association of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgeons<br />

American Dental Association<br />

American Medical Association<br />

Accepting All Major Medical<br />

& Dental Insurances<br />

Chad Van Meter, DMD, MD<br />


601-825-0021 • www.vanmeteroralsurgery.com<br />

300 Maxey Drive<br />

Brandon, MS 39042<br />

48 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

2017<br />

W<br />

ith a collaborative desire to promote<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County businesses, <strong>Hometown</strong><br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> Magazine and the <strong>Rankin</strong> County Chamber<br />

of Commerce partnered to create a red carpet<br />

event that would celebrate the outstanding<br />

business community in which we live and work.<br />

Fifty-nine categories were established. We asked<br />

for submissions from the public for favorites in each<br />

category and voting was conducted online. Over<br />

65,000 votes were cast as people voiced their<br />

top choices in each group.<br />

Thank you for not only supporting this event but<br />

for supporting each other as we all strive to make<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County the very best it can be.<br />

&<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 49

50 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 51

52 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 53

54 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 55

Nominees & Winners<br />

Dining Out<br />

Best Asian/Sushi<br />

Asahi Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar<br />

Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi Grill - Winner<br />

Fuji Japanese & Sushi Grill<br />

Osaka Japanese Express Restaurant<br />

OEC, Richland<br />

56 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Best Barbeque<br />

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit<br />

Little Willies BBQ - Winner<br />

Smokehouse of Florence<br />

Sonny’s BBQ<br />

T-Rays BBQ<br />

Best Dessert<br />

Amerigo Italian Restaurant<br />

Bop’s Frozen Custard, Brandon - Winner<br />

Nothing Bundt Cakes<br />

Primos Café<br />

Table 100<br />

Best Fried Chicken<br />

Fannin Mart Restaurant<br />

Georgia Blue - Winner<br />

Olde Towne Grill<br />

Table 100<br />

Mama’s Kitchen<br />

Best Hamburger<br />

Five Guys<br />

Laid Back Burger Shack<br />

Mugshots Grill & Bar - Winner<br />

Taste of Detroit<br />

The Feathered Cow<br />

Best Italian<br />

Amerigo Italian Restaurant - Winner<br />

Cerami’s Italian Restaurant<br />

Lost Pizza Co., Brandon<br />

Mazzio’s Italian Eatery, Richland<br />

Pizza Inn, Pearl<br />

Best Mexican<br />

El Cabrito Mexican Restaurant,<br />

Florence - Winner<br />

El Potrillo Mexican Restaurant & Grill,<br />

Brandon<br />

Fernandos, Pearl<br />

Papito’s Mexican Restaurant<br />

Sombra Mexican Kitchen<br />

Best Pizza<br />

Lost Pizza Co., Brandon - Winner<br />

Mellow Mushroom<br />

Miller’s Grill & Pizzeria<br />

Papa John’s, Florence<br />

Soulshine Pizza Factory<br />

Best Steak<br />

Amerigo Italian Restaurant<br />

Duke’s Steak House<br />

& Restaurant - Winner<br />

Longhorn Steakhouse<br />

Outback Steakhouse<br />

Table 100<br />

Best Breakfast<br />

Cracker Barrel<br />

Heart & Soul - Winner<br />

Jo’s Diner<br />

Primos Café<br />

The Donut Shop Café<br />

Best Dinner<br />

Amerigo Italian Restaurant<br />

Georgia Blue<br />

Half Shell Oyster House - Winner<br />

Jo’s Diner<br />

Table 100<br />

Best Lunch<br />

Café Crave - Winner<br />

Fannin Mart Restaurant<br />

Georgia Blue<br />

Mama’s Kitchen<br />

Newk’s Eatery, Brandon<br />

Best Caterer<br />

Catered Occasions,<br />

Rebecca Dodd - Winner<br />

Fresh Cut Catering & Floral,<br />

Wendy Putt<br />

Georgia Blue<br />

Newk’s<br />

Table 100<br />

Best Chef<br />

Danny Eslava, Eslava’s Grille<br />

Darwell Yeager, Darwell’s Too-Go - Winner<br />

Grant Nooe, Grant’s Kitchen and Grill<br />

Gray Townsend, Doe’s Eat Place<br />

Peyton Warren, Table 100<br />

Best Coffee Shop<br />

Café Crave - Winner<br />

Cups at Crossgates<br />

Dunkin Donuts<br />

East Brandon Coffee Factory<br />

Mocha Mugs<br />

Best Deli/Sandwich<br />

Café Crave<br />

Frisco Deli<br />

Jimmy John’s<br />

McAlister’s Deli, Brandon - Winner<br />

Newk’s Eatery, Brandon<br />

Best Sports Bar<br />

Alumni House Sports Bar & Grill - Winner<br />

Buffalo Wild Wings<br />

Mississippi Legends Grill<br />

Mugshots Grill & Bar<br />

The Feathered Cow<br />

Best Sweet Shop/Bakery<br />

Café Crave - Winner<br />

Donut Factory<br />

Gigi’s Cupcakes<br />

Nothing Bundt Cakes<br />

Sugar Magnolia Takery

Health & Wellness<br />

Best Chiropractor<br />

Brown Chiropractic Clinic<br />

Fowler ProChiropractic and Wellness Center<br />

Kennedy Chiropractic Clinic - Winner<br />

Reservoir Chiropractic, Inc.<br />

(fka Barnes Chiropractic)<br />

Rhodes Chiropractic Clinic<br />

Best Dentist<br />

Dr. Hillary Craddock, Richland Dental<br />

Florence Dental Clinic,<br />

Dr. Adam Byrd - Winner<br />

Mayatte Family Dentistry<br />

Pelahatchie Dental Clinic,<br />

Dr. Bradley E. Williams<br />

Wren & Bryant Pediatric Dentistry<br />

Best Family Doctor<br />

Dr. Carrie Nash,<br />

Baptist Medical, Brandon<br />

Dr. Scott A. Davis,<br />

Baptist Medical Clinic, Richland<br />

Dr. Todd Perkins,<br />

Merit Health Medical Group,<br />

Lakeland- Winner<br />

Dr. Marc C. Hellrung,<br />

St. Dominic Family Medicine, Brandon<br />

Dr. Ken Morris,<br />

Baptist Medical, Greenfield Road<br />

Best Pediatrician<br />

Dr. W. Craig Flowers,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong>’s Children’s Group, PLLC<br />

Dr. Dennis W. Rowlen,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> Children’s Group, PLLC<br />

- Winner<br />

Dr. Joe Edwards,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> Children’s Group, PLLC<br />

Dr. Michael Rogers,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> Children’s Group, PLLC<br />

Dr. Sam J. Denney,<br />

The Children’s Clinic, PLLC<br />

Dr. Tony Smith,<br />

The Children’s Clinic, PLLC<br />

Best Optometrist<br />

Dr. Anna Taylor,<br />

Taylor Eyecare Family Optometry<br />

Dr. Mark Allen,<br />

The Optical Shoppe<br />

Dr. Jennifer H. York,<br />

The Optical Shoppe - Winner<br />

Dr. J. Minor Pace,<br />

20/20 Vision<br />

Dr. Richard W. Pharr,<br />

Precision Optical Family Eye Care<br />

Best Medical Clinic<br />

Baptist Medical Clinic, Reservior<br />

Corner Clinic Urgent Care, Flowood<br />

Florence Family Clinic, PLLC - Winner<br />

Merit Health Medical Group, Lakeland<br />

TrustCare Express Medical Clinic, Brandon<br />

Best Nurse Practitioner<br />

Candice Ashley, NP,<br />

Florence Family Clinic - Winner<br />

Heather Kuriger, NP,<br />

Baptist Medical Clinic, Reservoir<br />

Karen Seago, NP,<br />

Merit Health Medical Group, Pearl<br />

Leslie H. Houston, NP,<br />

Corner Clinic Urgent Care, Flowood<br />

William D. Johnson, NP,<br />

Region 8<br />

Best Fitness Center<br />

Anytime Fitness, Richland<br />

Focus Fit - Winner<br />

Get Fit with Misti<br />

The Club at Crossgates<br />

Three Lions Crossfit<br />

Best Personal Trainer<br />

April Cosgrave, Three Lions Crossfit<br />

Misti Garner, Get Fit with Misti<br />

RJ Barrett, Fast Twitch Sports Performance<br />

Tierney Quick,<br />

Beyond FIT Studio - Winner<br />

Tom Cosgrave, Three Lions Crossfit<br />

Best Massage Therapist<br />

Ashley Evans, Massage Envy - Winner<br />

Carrie Forrest, Karing Handz Massage<br />

Kysha Lawson, Healing the Mind<br />

Connection, LLC<br />

Lacey Clark, The Wellness Spa<br />

Lisa Buchanan, The Skin District<br />

Best Physical Therapist<br />

Candace M. Smith,<br />

NewSouth Neurospine<br />

Dr. Angela M. Hoover,<br />

Florence Rehabilitation Center, Inc.<br />

- Winner<br />

Hamp Gaston,<br />

Elite Physical Therapy, Brandon<br />

Jeremy Harvey,<br />

Medicomp Physical Therapy, Brandon<br />

Lee Newman,<br />

Elite Physical Therapy, Richland<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 57

Nominees & Winners<br />

Retail & Personal<br />

Services<br />

Best Car Dealership<br />

Bob Boyte Honda<br />

Fowler Buick GMC<br />

Gray Daniels Auto Family<br />

Noel Daniels Premiere Motor Company<br />

Rogers Dabbs Chevrolet - Winner<br />

Best Children’s Boutique<br />

Bella Couture - Winner<br />

Bows N Arrows<br />

Southern Raised<br />

Traditions Children’s Resale & Boutique<br />

Lil Miss Sew & Sew<br />

Best Florist<br />

Bouquets of Pearl<br />

Chapman’s Florist - Winner<br />

Flowers by Mary<br />

Green Floral<br />

Willow Blu<br />

Best Furniture Store<br />

CasaBella Interiors - Winner<br />

D Noblin Furniture<br />

Miskelly Furniture<br />

Ross Furniture<br />

T & D Furniture<br />

Best Gift Shop<br />

AllyOops Boutique<br />

Apple Annie’s Gift Shop - Winner<br />

O! How Cute Boutique & Gifts<br />

OhhMy! Gifts & Things<br />

Mockingbird Marketplace<br />

Best Hair Salon<br />

Lacru Salon<br />

Liv the Salon<br />

Shear Shack Salon<br />

Sola Salon<br />

The Glossary Salon - Winner<br />

Best Hair Stylist<br />

Ashley Deckard, Shear Shack<br />

Hannah McKay,<br />

The Glossary Salon - Winner<br />

Jamie Windham, Shear Shack Salon<br />

Jennifer Miley, Hello Beautiful<br />

Tracy Branch, The Glossary Salon<br />

Best Jewelry Store<br />

Courtyard Manufacturing Jewelers, LLC<br />

Crossgates Jewelers, Inc.<br />

Crown Jewelers of MS<br />

Jackson Jewelers - Winner<br />

Kay Jewelers Outlet<br />

Best Nail Salon<br />

Guitar Nails Bar & Queen Spa<br />

Infinity Nails & Spa<br />

Tammy’s Nails & Salon<br />

Tranquility Salon & Spa<br />

ZaZa Nails & Spa - Winner<br />

Best Pharmacy<br />

Brandon Discount Drugs<br />

Olde Towne Drugs<br />

Polk’s Drugs, Crossgates<br />

Polk’s Drugs, Florence - Winner<br />

Rhodes & Robby Rexall Drug<br />

Best Promotional Items<br />

Hallet Group Marketing<br />

& Promotional Products<br />

LogoStore USA<br />

One Way Promotional Products - Winner<br />

Pollchaps Screen Printing & Embroidery<br />

SignMark, Inc.<br />

Best Resale/Consignment<br />

Forget Me Nots of Brandon<br />

Traditions Children’s Resale & Boutique<br />

Samaritan’s Heart Resale Shop - Winner<br />

WEAR It’s At! Consignment Boutique<br />

2nd Chance Store<br />

Best Women’s Boutique<br />

Bella Couture<br />

CoBo’s Boutique<br />

Linda Lou’s Boutique and Gifts<br />

Red Wagon Boutique - Winner<br />

Flawless Boutique<br />

Professionals<br />

Best Attorney<br />

Amanda Spencer, Lingold & Spencer, PLLC<br />

Craig Slay, Palmer & Slay, PLLC<br />

Joe Deaton, Deaton & Berry, P.A.<br />

Keri T. Haralson, Attorney at Law - Winner<br />

Shannon Elliott, Elliott Law Firm<br />

Best Financial Institution<br />

BancorpSouth, Richland<br />

BankPlus, Pearl<br />

Community Bank, Brandon<br />

Priority One, Brandon<br />

Trustmark National Bank, Florence - Winner<br />

Best Heating & Cooling<br />

Central Heating & Cooling of MS, Inc.<br />

Climate Masters, Inc.<br />

Crowder Refrigeration - Winner<br />

Jamie Weeks Heating & Cooling<br />

Pure Air Consultants<br />

Best Insurance Company/<br />

Agent<br />

Clancy Walker,<br />

Insurance Protection Specialists<br />

Eddie Grimes, Allstate<br />

Justin Ashley, Alfa Insurance - Winner<br />

Gene Newman,<br />

Newman Insurance Agency, Inc.<br />

Steven Wallace,<br />

Insurance Associates of <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

58 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Best Landscaper<br />

Ambiance Landscape, LLC - Winner<br />

Barry Landscape, Inc.<br />

Doug Craft Landscaping<br />

Murphy’s Lawn & Landscape, Inc.<br />

The Ground Guys of Brandon<br />

Best New Home<br />

Construction/Builder<br />

AWB Construction<br />

Burrell Properties, Inc.<br />

Lyles Signature Homes - Winner<br />

S & S Home Builders<br />

Southern Pines Home Builders<br />

Best Photographer<br />

Alana Donovan Photography<br />

Destiny Tillery Photography<br />

Jamie K. Morris Photography<br />

Renee Churchill<br />

Photography & Design - Winner<br />

Vicki Ross Photography<br />

Best Realtor<br />

Mandy Castle, McKee Realty, Inc. - Winner<br />

The Whit-Wells Team (Christina Wells &<br />

Rebekah Whittington), Hopper Properties<br />

Edwayne F. Hutton<br />

Marlys Myers, Hopper Properties<br />

Kim Fortner, Hopper Properties<br />

Best Veterinarian<br />

Brandon Veterinary Clinic<br />

Crooked Creek Animal Hospital<br />

Crossgates Veterinary Clinic<br />

Florence Animal Clinic - Winner<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Veterinary Services<br />

Entertainment<br />

Best Birthday Party Location<br />

High Heaven<br />

Launch Trampoline Park - Winner<br />

Party Safari<br />

Pump it Up<br />

Winners Circle Park<br />

Best Golf Course<br />

Castlewoods Golf & Country Club<br />

Bay Pointe Resort & Golf Club<br />

Patrick Farms Golf<br />

The Refuge Golf Course - Winner<br />

Pearl Municipal Golf Course<br />

Best Local Band<br />

Burnham Road<br />

Chasin Dixie - Winner<br />

Stace & Cassie Shook<br />

Jason Miller Band<br />

Jason Stogner Band<br />

Miscellaneous<br />

Best Place to Work<br />

Small Business (1-50 Employees)<br />

Corner Clinic Urgent Care<br />

Discovery Christian School<br />

Front Gate Realty, Brandon - Winner<br />

Insurance Protection Specialists<br />

Synergy Myofascial Release and Rehab<br />

Medium Business (50-100 Employees)<br />

Community Bank, Brandon<br />

Georgia Blue<br />

Precision Spine - Winner<br />

Scott’s Miracle Gro<br />

Table 100<br />

Large Business (100 + Employees)<br />

Hinds Community College, <strong>Rankin</strong> Campus<br />

KLLM Transport Services<br />

Merit Health, <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County School District - Winner<br />

Steel Service<br />

Friendliest Public Official<br />

Sheriff Bryan Bailey<br />

Larry Swales, Chancery Clerk<br />

Mayor Pat Sullivan, Richland<br />

Mayor Billy Bob Morris, Florence<br />

Chancery Court Judge<br />

John S. Grant, III - Winner<br />

best Non-Profit Organization<br />

Hands Up Outreach<br />

Junior Auxiliary of <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

Mississippi Blood Services<br />

The Mustard Seed<br />

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi - Winner<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 59

When you need a perfect day,<br />

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<br />

60 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 61

Dani Edmonson<br />

Personal gun ownership is an all-time high<br />

–with women currently being the largest group<br />

of first-time gun owners. The 2017 Pew Research Center<br />

recently reported that 42% of American households currently own<br />

a gun, and 22% of women personally own a firearm.<br />

The South’s Only Guntry Club<br />

Since gun ownership has been historically<br />

affiliated with the male demographic, it is of<br />

major interest to the new Flowood firearm<br />

range, Two Gun Tactical, to ensure that the<br />

women owning guns are not only selecting<br />

the best firearms but are fully understanding<br />

how to use them.<br />

Anyone who knows the story of Annie<br />

Oakley and other female sharp-shooters<br />

understands that being gun savvy is not gender<br />

specific. However, all first-time gun owners<br />

should invest the time required to become<br />

responsible gun owners. That is what Two Gun<br />

Tactical co-owner John White stressed. “We want<br />

our customers to leave having made a welleducated<br />

decision so they will be happy with<br />

the extended service they receive,” he said.<br />

“Instilling safety [at many levels] is one of my<br />

favorite parts of our business,” he added. “We<br />

teach our customers the right way to handle a<br />

gun, and to be confident and competent in all<br />

situations. They can takes those lessons with<br />

them the rest of their lives.”<br />

John White served 33 years in the military<br />

and has worked 21 years with Boy Scout Troop<br />

85 in Florence, and since 2010, on the Jackson<br />

Council shooting sports committee. He has<br />

lived his adult life learning, and subsequently<br />

teaching others how to properly handle (or<br />

choose when not to handle) a firearm. He and<br />

his partner, Dr. Steven Zachow (also a long-time<br />

scout instructor), want to ensure this largest<br />

growing gun owner population, women, are<br />

fully informed and demonstrate competency<br />

in the huge responsibility of gun ownership.<br />

Angie Sumrall, the new leader of the<br />

newest chapter of “The Well Armed Woman,”<br />

(TWAW) was contacted by White because he<br />

wanted to be the host site for women to learn<br />

and practice shooting. According to a TWAW<br />

press release regarding the chapter launch on<br />

<strong>February</strong> 13, “For ladies new to shooting, the<br />

very male-driven industry can be intimidating<br />

and condescending.” To overcome these<br />

obstacles, White offered his business as the<br />

chapter’s host range. “These guys are wonderful<br />

supporters of the organization,” Sumrall said.<br />

“Without them, the chapter could not have<br />

happened.”<br />

The subject of a well-armed woman is dear<br />

to White’s heart for a much more profound<br />

reason. While retiring from the military,<br />

continuing to provide marksmanship training<br />

to scouts, and getting Two Gun Tactical off and<br />

running, his wife Penny discovered she had an<br />

aggressive form of cancer. She explains they<br />

were well armed with God’s love, which pulled<br />

them through this most challenging of times.<br />

“I have, too, worked with the Boy Scouts of<br />

America since 2013,” Penny explained. When<br />

John was facing retirement and wondering<br />

what his next step would be, Penny suggested<br />

he ask Dr. Zachow where a good place to open<br />

a business would be. “He was an established<br />

professional who knew what he was doing,”<br />

she said. The idea of opening a range was a<br />

natural since both men were avid shooters.<br />

John spoke up and stated that within days the<br />

deal was done. “Dr. Zachow and I went shooting<br />

on a Thursday. By the following Tuesday we<br />

were working with an architect,” White said.<br />

Penny, under treatment for life but<br />

thankfully in recovery reiterated, “God has<br />

just put one step in front of the other for us.<br />

The timing of all of our life events has been in<br />

His hands.”<br />

Ironically, Sumrall is also a cancer survivor,<br />

giving the group the feel of extended family<br />

who truly care about each other. An enhanced<br />

concealed carry trainer, Sumrall sums up the<br />

common goal. “It’s all about having a safe<br />

environment to learn how to protect yourself,”<br />

she said. White added that with a rise in<br />

single-mother households, many women just<br />

62 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Co-owner John White<br />

Long-time customer, Steven Haik,<br />

of Vicksburg, makes the drive to<br />

Two Gun Tactical once every week<br />

because he said it is the safest and<br />

most state-of-the-art facility in our<br />

state. “It is a safe, professional place<br />

that is filled with knowledgeable<br />

people who are not pushy when it<br />

comes to buying from them,” he said.<br />

“John White is a highly decorated<br />

retired military man. Coming here is<br />

one way I can give back to him for<br />

sacrificing for his state and country,”<br />

Haik added. “The quality of this<br />

facility will help give our second<br />

amendment rights great publicity.”<br />

feel the need to step up the protection of their<br />

families. “Single mothers that lead their<br />

households want to protect their children,<br />

themselves, and their property,” he said.<br />

Sumrall said that the partnership between<br />

Two Gun and TWAW is truly a match made in<br />

heaven. “With Two Gun Tactical being our<br />

host range, TWAW members can rent a gun<br />

before they buy it, try it out at the range and<br />

ensure it feels right to them,” she said. “In<br />

addition to the monthly events our chapter will<br />

hold, Two Gun also offers classes to provide<br />

personal training to provide comfort in using a<br />

gun.” This newest TWAW chapter promises to<br />

provide a “woman friendly opportunity to<br />

practice and learn safe gun handling skills, and<br />

the platform to train together in a fun way.”<br />

The range’s name sounds a bit technical,<br />

but owes its moniker to the 1993 Hollywood<br />

western and White’s favorite movie, Tombstone.<br />

The scene that stands out for White is<br />

where the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday are<br />

facing “The Cowboys.” Billy Clanton tells Doc,<br />

“You’re so drunk, you’re probably seeing double,”<br />

in which Doc replies, “I have two guns, one for<br />

each of ya.” White says that the “Two Gun”<br />

name was just fitting.<br />

Flowood Mayor Gary Rhoads said the<br />

addition of this business is yet another<br />

blessing to the growth occurring in Flowood.<br />

“As the City of Flowood has been blessed with<br />

tremendous commercial growth, Two Gun<br />

Tactical has brought a state-of-the-art and<br />

unique family-friendly facility to our area,”<br />

he said. “Their willingness to assist in today’s<br />

society of ‘not-so-safe areas’ has boosted and<br />

increased a number of female participants in<br />

an effort to strengthen and educate themselves<br />

on gun safety and marksmanship.”<br />

The range offers top of the line facilities, 10<br />

shooting bays, an extensive rental selection,<br />

meeting room venues, one-on-one customer<br />

care, and an interest in making sure each<br />

person leaving the facility feels valued and<br />

confident. There are individual, family, and<br />

premium memberships, while TWAW<br />

members will enjoy additional custom benefits.<br />

For a unique Valentine’s Day experience,<br />

Two Gun Tactical is hosting a Date Night on<br />

<strong>February</strong> 14, from 6 to 9pm. The cost is $150<br />

per couple and includes everything needed for<br />

a night at the range including a range rental<br />

and ammo, plus dinner. Reservations can be<br />

made in person or over the phone.<br />

White said with their investment in the<br />

expensive prime property in Flowood, they<br />

could have built a lavish country club! But due<br />

to the owner’s shared passion of responsible<br />

gun ownership and the desire to have every<br />

man and woman who wishes to become<br />

well-armed, they decided to open a range<br />

instead; “The South’s Only Guntry Club.”<br />

______________________________________<br />

The range can be reached by calling 601-790-2486<br />

or emailing at info@2guntactical.com.<br />

For more information on joining TWAW, contact<br />

Angie Sumrall at angie.sumrall@mycanopy.org.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 63

64 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 65

66 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 67

Live like you<br />

were dying...<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

68 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

You know–as in the song?<br />

I mean, why would anyone in their right mind want<br />

to go “2.7 seconds on a bull named Fumanchu?” Doesn’t<br />

Tim McGraw know you can get hurt doing that kind<br />

of stuff?<br />

It makes me wonder, however, does anyone truly live<br />

their life like they’re dying? Or are they busy running<br />

carpools and businesses and doing laundry and rushing<br />

to get home before Jeopardy comes on? Skydiving and<br />

rocky-mountain climbing is the stuff songs are made<br />

of—not real life.<br />

Or aren’t they?<br />

We’ve heard it a jillion times. Life is short. I’ve<br />

become more aware of it lately as the AARP mailers<br />

continue to litter my mailbox and email. I need an<br />

“unsubscribe” button for those things. They give me<br />

anxiety.<br />

I recently read an article that revealed the top five<br />

regrets people make on their deathbed. (Yep. Happy<br />

New Year!) But it did give me pause to evaluate my own<br />

current state of affairs.<br />

The top regrets were as follows:<br />

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to<br />

myself, not the life others expected of me.<br />

2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.<br />

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.<br />

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.<br />

5. I wish I had let myself be happier.<br />

I can relate to some of these more than others—<br />

particularly the one about letting myself be happier.<br />

And it’s not because my life lacks happiness, at all. It’s<br />

more because of my irrational fear of losing what makes<br />

me happy. I live in fear of losing what I love. Maybe<br />

that’s just a mom thing. I’ll google it.<br />

It brings me back to the question, though, what would<br />

I do differently if there was no tomorrow? How would I<br />

live my life? What changes would we make in our daily<br />

lives if we truly grasped the fact that we might not get<br />

another day?<br />

I suspect we would be a lot quicker to forgive–if for<br />

no other reason than in order to be forgiven.<br />

Maybe we would be more intentional about<br />

considering the needs of others around us.<br />

In my case, I would talk less and listen more. I would<br />

say “I love you” even more often and prioritize people<br />

over things and duties.<br />

And what’s sobering in the case of those polled about<br />

regrets is that these people came to realize only at the<br />

end of their lives that they should have done things<br />

differently.<br />

So what if we found at least one way to address each<br />

of those five points mentioned earlier and did them<br />

today? To the answers above, in order, I propose:<br />

1. When you’re true to yourself you’re also true to<br />

other people. Live your truth. And learn to say no.<br />

It’s all about personal boundaries and the more you do<br />

it, the easier it becomes.<br />

2. Don’t work so hard making a living that you<br />

forget to make a life. You will never feel truly satisfied<br />

by labor until you are satisfied by life. So make sure<br />

they’re in the right order.<br />

3. Many people suppress their feelings in order to<br />

keep peace with others. Don’t do that. Learn to<br />

communicate with clarity, empathy, and compassion.<br />

Express yourself in the most positive manner you can.<br />

But be polite–good or bad.<br />

4. With technology and social media there’s<br />

absolutely no reason in the universe not to be connected<br />

with friends. And if you’re able, getting together faceto<br />

-face is even better. Make it an event. Schedule it.<br />

Nothing is better for the soul than true friendship and<br />

authentic positive and personal connection.<br />

5. Happiness isn’t an inborn temperament.<br />

It’s more of an achievement—where effort is required.<br />

Be mindful of your thoughts and choose them wisely.<br />

Look for the positive in all your experiences and<br />

cultivate optimism and gratitude.<br />

But above all else, be kind to yourself. While we can’t<br />

go back and re-create our beginnings–anyone can start<br />

today and make a new ending. Love, accept, forgive,<br />

and be good to yourself. We are all a work in progress–<br />

and we’ll get there a little at a time.<br />

Which brings me back to Tim McGraw. He goes on<br />

to say, “(Live) like tomorrow was a gift. And you’ve got<br />

eternity to think about. What would you do with it?<br />

What could you do with it? What did I do with it?<br />

What would I do with it?”<br />

Well, you know the rest of the song . . . .<br />

This year, let’s all live to be happy—not with regrets,<br />

but with soaring and generous love in our hearts! After<br />

all, the tragedy of life is not death, but what we let die<br />

inside of us while we’re living.<br />

“Someday I hope you get the chance to live like you<br />

were dying.”<br />

Live Like You Were Dying–written by Tim Nichols and Craig Wiseman (2004)<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 69

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70 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 71

72 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Camille Anding

veryone’s familiar with the sports signs in yards, designating high school athletes’<br />

homes. If there were signs for 1950’s music enthusiasts, a colossal sign would be<br />

planted in Jackie and Marsha Thompson’s yard. Jackie not only loves that era of<br />

music, the music lives and vibrates in him as if it’s initiating his every heartbeat.<br />

A testimony to Jackie’s love for the “old” music is walled in a room of memorabilia in<br />

the Pearl home where he and wife, Marsha, live. In fact, Jackie has collected so many posters,<br />

records, juke boxes (there are three), guitars, etc., that the collectibles have spilled into every<br />

room of their home. A Christmas tree designated for Elvis ornaments brings so much joy to<br />

Jackie that the tree sits in a year-round spot in the den.<br />

“The Lord’s been SO good to me,” Thompson says as he shares about his humble beginnings.<br />

“My dad was a sharecropper with a cotton patch and a tin-roof home in Pelahatchie.” His mom<br />

died from tuberculosis when he was four years old. Granny Prine, his precious surrogate mom,<br />

helped raise him and his siblings. Jackie remembers her praying by his bedside at night.<br />

The Western Auto of Pelahatchie was an early employer during Jackie’s<br />

teenage years. His boss soon realized how much Jackie loved music and offered<br />

him a corner of the business where he could sell records. Jackie was thrilled and<br />

came up with his new business slogan: “All you cats that dig the bop; Go to<br />

Jackie’s Record Shop.”<br />

While still a teenager, Jackie got to meet his all-time favorite artist, Elvis Presley.<br />

Elvis had stopped at a Jackson “filling station” on the way to a performance and<br />

bought a Coke. After chatting and drinking his Coke, he left the now famous bottle–<br />

which was broken so more fans could have a piece of it. Jackie got his piece!<br />

The Pelahatchie movie theater’s stage was Jackie’s next outlet for his music<br />

affair. It was put to use for benefit shows hosted by The Rocking Satellites, a trio<br />

of Jackie and two friends who pantomimed famous artists of their day. Jackie<br />

would black his face, dress in appropriate gear and emerge as Little Richard.<br />

Jackie smiled as he remembered one performance where he was introduced as<br />

Fats Domino. “I heard my daddy yell from the audience, ‘That’s MY boy!’” Jackie<br />

knew he had made his daddy proud.<br />

This music man claims no talent for singing, but he excelled in a talent for pantomime,<br />

rhythm and dance. He and his Rocking Satellites earned a lot of families’ financial support<br />

while Jackie’s reward was one more opportunity to be immersed in his music.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 73

His real livelihood was in real estate which he began in 1965. Jackie<br />

operated his successful Peal business, Eastland Plaza Homes, until 2000<br />

when he suffered a massive stroke. His many patrons probably remember<br />

his original slogan: “Whether you rent or whether you buy—you pay for<br />

the house you occupy.”<br />

The doctor told the family that if Jackie survived the stroke, he would<br />

have very little functionality. Jackie was later able to tell his doctor that he<br />

wasn’t God, and he didn’t know about miracles!<br />

Jackie’s music was never silenced. From 1972 to 2017, he hosted a<br />

popular radio show, “The Hour of the ‘50s.” From 1974 to 2000 that<br />

same show was moved to Channel 12 on television. Music and dance<br />

lovers flocked to the show to be a part of the televised “jam session.”<br />

It was the longest running local show in the area.<br />

This music man not only lived in songs, his philanthropic heart made<br />

so many other hearts sing. For fifty years he spent the Saturday after<br />

Thanksgiving leading a Santa parade with his truck pulling a homemade<br />

sleigh and a live Santa who threw candy to children living on every street<br />

in Pearl. If Jackie knew of any sick children, he would escort Santa into<br />

their homes for a personal visit.<br />

Toys for Tots was not original for Jackie. He had his own toy delivery<br />

for multiple years, leaving toys for underprivileged kids in the parents’<br />

garages. Jackie also gave the land for the Pearl Park and the Boys Club.<br />

During the interview, Marsha retrieved VHS recorded tapes from<br />

some of Jackie’s early TV shows. Jackie recalled the names of regular<br />

visitors to the shows, and with every song, Jackie would sing along –<br />

recalling the words and the artists’ names.<br />

Jackie will be eighty years old in March, and his present challenge is<br />

Parkinson’s disease. His cane, not his microphone stand, is his standby.<br />

But not even Parkinson’s has diminished his love for music.<br />

An Elvis song came on the VHS player, and Jackie closed<br />

his eyes, retreated into his music paradise and began singing<br />

along. He paused and said, “I couldn’t make it without<br />

music.” After another brief pause, he added, “I couldn’t<br />

ask for my life to be any better.” n<br />

74 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 77

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78 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 79

Eliana Salinas<br />

The Sole Healer<br />

Dani Edmonson<br />

Many outfits are complete only when<br />

there is a special pair of socks thrown into<br />

the look. For most of us, the idea of buying<br />

socks when we need them is natural, and the<br />

cost is minimal. But for others, money is an<br />

issue because they lack enough of it to buy<br />

the most basic clothing needs.<br />

So a benevolent nine-year old, Eliana<br />

Salinas, is providing comfort to people’s<br />

“soles” by way of sock donations. Her charity<br />

is called Sole-Healer. Besides the catchy name,<br />

her family discovered that of all the worthwhile<br />

charities, donation centers cannot take<br />

used socks due to hygiene reasons.<br />

To spread the word about this new<br />

venture, mom Jennifer Johnson said, “Eliana<br />

had to step out of her comfort zone and<br />

begin sharing her desire to provide socks to<br />

people in need. She was going to be the<br />

spokesperson of her charity and take the<br />

leading role.” In fact, despite the charity<br />

intruding on her play time, Eliana has done<br />

the lion’s share of the work. Johnson did set<br />

up the Go Fund Me page because, “...most<br />

of our family and friends are out of state.”<br />

Go Fund Me is an online fundraising<br />

website that invites people to join the millions<br />

who have raised billions for their causes.<br />

The website, gofundme.com, makes the often<br />

complicated task of raising money not so<br />

daunting. The site explains, Step One: Create<br />

Your Fundraising Campaign; Step Two: Share<br />

with Family and Friends; Step Three: Easily<br />

Accept Donations (checks and bank transfers);<br />

Step Four: Enjoy the Results. Eliana states<br />

on her page, “It is starting to get cold and<br />

people need socks to keep their feet warm!”<br />

Eliana says the decision to do charitable<br />

work was a spiritual one. “I have always felt<br />

that there was a way that I can help people<br />

and wanted to find a way to do it,” she said.<br />

Eliana’s mother explained how pure and<br />

simple it all came about. “In November of<br />

2016, Eliana found six pennies on the ground<br />

and told me that she wanted to start a charity<br />

with it,” Johnson said. “As a mom, you want<br />

to encourage your children to serve others,<br />

but I knew six pennies wasn’t going to go<br />

very far.” Eliana clung to her faith and said,<br />

“When I found those six pennies on the<br />

ground, I felt God speaking to my heart and<br />

telling me to start a charity,” Eliana said.<br />

After a serious discussion about responsibility,<br />

stewarding finances, and finding a unique<br />

need in the community, the often overlooked<br />

need to keep warm from head to toe led<br />

Eliana to get some feet tended to.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 81

82 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Within a couple of weeks, Eliana and<br />

her family were able to donate 465 pairs of<br />

socks to the men, women, and children at<br />

the Wingard Home in Jackson. “On the way<br />

home, she told me how good it felt to give<br />

and that she wanted to do it again,” Johnson<br />

said. That led to a donation of 144 “fun and<br />

fuzzy” socks to children at Blair E. Batson<br />

Children’s Hospital. The next project was<br />

one that delivered socks to men and women<br />

who risked their lives to deliver our safety–<br />

veterans.<br />

Retired veteran, Charles Boykin, who<br />

served our country for 23 years as an air<br />

medical squadron nurse for the Mississippi<br />

Air Guard, knew Eliana’s mother due to a<br />

mutual affection for Florida State. “I was out<br />

walking my two rescue dogs and happened<br />

to be wearing a Florida State jacket,” Boykin<br />

recalled. Florida State is Johnson’s alma mater,<br />

which led to an inevitable friendship. Boykin<br />

is involved with the Florida State Alumni<br />

Association that seeks out charitable causes to<br />

support. It was a logical fit to help Sole-Healer<br />

donate more than 132 pairs of socks to the<br />

patients of the Mississippi Veterans Home,”<br />

Boykin said. Despite efforts by the state to<br />

keep these facilities fully funded, there is still<br />

a need to supply each patient’s personal<br />

needs, and everyone needs socks. “The joy I<br />

experienced that a simple pair of socks could<br />

bring a smile and tears to the veterans is hard<br />

to describe,” Boykin said. “Some of them<br />

have no one to visit them, so on that day last<br />

April, the residents, men and women, hugged<br />

on Eliana out of appreciation that they had<br />

not been forgotten.”<br />

When hurricane Harvey hit Texas in<br />

October, that provided the next opportunity<br />

for Sole-Healer to shine. “Eliana was aware<br />

of how many families just lost everything<br />

that they own. She reached out to Dr. Shirley<br />

Williamson Elementary, which is a Title 1<br />

school in Houston. They have 650 students<br />

and we knew that we needed one pair of<br />

socks for each student,” she said. Sole-Healer<br />

was determined to make this work, but<br />

knew they needed more manpower, so they<br />

recruited the assistance of students from<br />

Northshore and Puckett Elementary schools<br />

for help. “These students wrote a note to<br />

the student receiving the socks. Eliana, her<br />

brother David, and her stepfather Wayne<br />

and I individually wrapped each pair in a gift<br />

bag with the note.” A monumental task in<br />

and of itself!<br />

In January, Sole-Healer is sending over<br />

80 pairs of socks and Girl Scout cookies to<br />

U.S. soldiers serving in Kuwait. “We thought<br />

about these soldiers because I once read that<br />

socks are a requested item for those serving in<br />

the desert. I asked people in the community<br />

if they had a loved one serving in the Middle<br />

East, and the wife of a soldier wrote back,”<br />

Johnson said.<br />

A former teacher of Eliana’s is not the<br />

least bit surprised at what she has accomplished<br />

at such a young age. “I could truly talk<br />

about my Eliana all day! I had the blessing of<br />

teaching her in first grade at Northshore.<br />

She was a very creative, intuitive child. She<br />

always wanted to know why and how things<br />

work,” said Nichole Chandler. “As you can<br />

tell by her charity, Sole-Healer, she has a huge<br />

heart! Eliana was a friend to everyone. If<br />

someone was by themselves at recess, you<br />

can bet it didn’t take long to see my girl<br />

inviting them into her bubble. I am so proud<br />

of the work she has done with Sole-Healer.<br />

She even included my kindergarten babies by<br />

allowing us to make cards to send with the<br />

packages. The sky is the limit with this girl<br />

and those that know her learn a little more<br />

about kindness each and every day.”<br />

Kindness comes with endless rewards,<br />

but it does not always come cheap. Johnson<br />

admits that raising money is difficult when<br />

people do not know who you are or what<br />

service you provide. Eliana stays energized<br />

because the need is greater than most people<br />

know. “What keeps me going is that there<br />

are so many people in the world who do not<br />

have socks because disasters happen every<br />

day. I feel like my charity is making a<br />

difference,” she said. And the Go Fund Me<br />

site offers much-needed relief.<br />

In fact, Go Fund Me recognized Eliana’s<br />

hard work this past December when they<br />

selected her as a #kidhero. This honor was<br />

given to only 100 kids’ charities throughout<br />

the United States.<br />

Although every undertaking is meaningful<br />

to Eliana, she recalls one particular<br />

donation that touched her deeply. “The<br />

most generous offer that we have received<br />

was not in an amount, but from a lady whose<br />

house had just burned down. She sent me<br />

money knowing that other people were also<br />

in need. It was a very selfless act,” she said.<br />

All this hard work for a pair of socks. It hardly<br />

seems worth it until you hear these words of<br />

wisdom from the nine-year-old benefactor.<br />

“I feel like my charity is making a difference<br />

and is able to help many people,” Eliana said.<br />

“When I give, I feel like there is a garden of<br />

happiness growing in my heart.”<br />

____________________________________<br />

To support Sole-Healer, visit Eliana’s Go Fund Me<br />

page at www.gofundme.com/sole-healer,<br />

or email at solehealer@yahoo.com.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 83

84 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

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<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 85

What is the best Valentines<br />

Sarah Dickerson<br />

Brandon<br />

My favorite was probably one in college.<br />

I had a long day full of tests, work, and<br />

studying. My boyfriend showed up at my<br />

dorm with flowers, chocolate, and the promise<br />

of dinner. After a long day, that was such a<br />

welcomed sight. It was also a reminder that<br />

sometimes it’s the little things–like dinner<br />

at Cane’s–that can really make your day.<br />

Chris Hornberger<br />

Brandon<br />

My girlfriend surprised me with a trip to<br />

New Orleans! We stayed in a hotel downtown,<br />

and enjoyed a night out without the kids.<br />

Monica Baldwin<br />

Brandon<br />

I experience Valentine’s Day daily<br />

with my husband of 45 years. He has<br />

always treated me like a queen!<br />

Kelly Collins<br />

Brandon<br />

My husband and I got the little ones<br />

dressed up and we had a wonderful meal<br />

at Corner Bakery. It’s one of the sweetest<br />

memories I’ll never forget.<br />

Zach Harlan<br />

Pearl<br />

The best Valentines I have ever received<br />

was a special sweater that I still wear today.<br />

Bill Harvey<br />

Jackson<br />

I will never forget Bunny Cowan,<br />

my second grade sweetheart. She gave me<br />

a Valentines and a kiss on the cheek.<br />

Steffan Todd<br />

Brandon<br />

I received two Dallas Cowboys playoff tickets<br />

from my girlfriend.<br />

86 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

gift you have ever received?<br />

Justin Jones<br />

Brandon<br />

Never will I forget when my girlfriend<br />

took me to Lee Michaels and let me pick out<br />

my very first David Yurman bracelet.<br />

Kailee Stennett<br />

Richland<br />

My boyfriend won’t be here for<br />

Valentine’s Day, so he has already<br />

surprised me with a romantic picnic.<br />

Lawrence Walker<br />

Brandon<br />

It was knowing that someone thought<br />

about me. I’m a simple guy–so no matter the gift,<br />

my heart is fulfilled knowing that someone took<br />

the time to get me something special.<br />

Catey Stegmann<br />

Florence<br />

I had a candlelit dinner. Afterwards,<br />

there were rose petals scattered everywhere<br />

in my room. My favorite was the candies<br />

and roses shaped into a heart.<br />

Tristen Lewis<br />

Florence<br />

I was surprised with a trip to the mountains!<br />

Nhung Nguyen<br />

Pearl<br />

One year on Valentine’s Day, my husband<br />

surprised me with a beautiful ring and some<br />

chocolate. It is such a sweet memory.<br />

Callie Winkelman<br />

Clinton<br />

I received a Starbucks gift card from my parents.<br />

I love them so much!<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 87

88 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 89

90 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

How to Identify<br />

Healthy & Unhealthy<br />

Relationships<br />

Ruth Whitley,<br />

Crossroads Counseling<br />

When you think of all the healthy relationships in<br />

your life, what examples do you think of? Is it your best<br />

friend that you’ve had since kindergarten? Is it your<br />

relationship with your family, or is it that person you’ve<br />

been dating for a few years? What qualities are present<br />

in those relationships? How do you make is last? What<br />

do you think draws you to these particular people? Is<br />

it interest-based–like your book club, running clubs,<br />

workout groups, or fellow golfers? If you think on it,<br />

you will be able to identify several of the same<br />

characteristics in all of these relationships.<br />

According to research by Hall Health Center, two<br />

people develop a connection based on the following<br />

traits: cooperation, trust, honesty, safety, support,<br />

accountability, and fairness.<br />

All healthy relationships should be based on<br />

the aforementioned healthy building blocks. When<br />

beginning a new relationship, ask yourself this: Do you<br />

feel safe, happy, content, relaxed, able to be yourself,<br />

and can you trust this person? If you already have a<br />

relationship, you can ask yourself the same question,<br />

examine the answers, and modify the relationship to<br />

where both parties reach a mutual goal.<br />

Friendships and relationships often begin in the<br />

most innocent of ways, especially when we are young.<br />

I remember as a teen hearing a sermon on friendship.<br />

He stated that a person who has five true friends in<br />

their lifetime is a very fortunate person. At the time,<br />

surrounded by my group of friends, I felt very fortunate.<br />

He went on to discuss all of the positive healthy<br />

qualities that those friendships should have, loyalty<br />

and trust being among the top five. As we age, we<br />

hopefully realize that the quality of our friendships/<br />

relationships are more important than the quantity.<br />

It is better to have one positive friendship/relationship<br />

than many negative ones.<br />

As we move from friendships into spousal<br />

relationships, the need to identify healthy qualities in<br />

a person becomes more important. It’s not always<br />

about who you have the most fun with. You need to<br />

be able to connect with someone on spiritual and<br />

emotional level. Healthy romantic relationships allow<br />

both people to feel supported and connected while<br />

maintaining their individuality. Each person should<br />

have a strong sense of self-worth that is not dependent<br />

on the status of their relationship. Respecting one<br />

another’s likes and dislikes, but agreeing to find<br />

common ground on disagreements with no fear of<br />

violence or retribution, is key in a nurturing and<br />

supportive relationship.<br />

How do we identify when we are in an unhealthy<br />

relationship? Abuse, in general, means to mistreat,<br />

hurt, or injure. While abusive acts can be carried out<br />

by men and women, most victims of abuse are women.<br />

Most abusive relationships don’t necessarily begin with<br />

violent acts, but instead with a slow assertion of control<br />

and alienation from friends and family. One example<br />

would be, “He screams at me from the background<br />

while I am on the phone with a friend inviting us to<br />

dinner.” Eventually this friend will quit calling fearing<br />

they are making things worse. The more isolated she<br />

becomes the more control he can assert. She begins<br />

to feel she has no where to turn, she may even begin<br />

to feel embarrassed to tell anyone of her situation<br />

fearing no one will believe her because, to the public,<br />

he will often appear successful and charming.<br />

There are many forms of abuse:<br />

Verbal abuse use words or the tone of words to<br />

control and hurt another person. Verbal abuse in a<br />

marriage destroys intimacy and respect. Some examples<br />

include; intimidating with threats, accusations,<br />

degrading with private or public put-downs, confuse<br />

with mind games or twisting what is said. In scripture<br />

we find an example of verbal abuse from Psalm 10:7<br />

“His mouth is full of curses and lies and threats:<br />

trouble and evil are under his tongue.”<br />

Emotional abuse can be passive or aggressive.<br />

For example: withholding emotional support,<br />

withholding important information, not allowing<br />

access to money or finances, giving her an allowance,<br />

making her feel guilty about the children, or threatens<br />

to take the children away.<br />

Physical abuse can include: pushing/shoving,<br />

confining/trapping in a room by standing in the<br />

doorway, scratching, pinching, spitting, hitting walls,<br />

breaking objects, harming a pet or child, pulling hair, etc.<br />

Sexual abuse happens in both married and<br />

unmarried couples. Women often experience sexual<br />

abuse without realizing it. Some examples include:<br />

adultery, forced sexual acts, withholding romance<br />

and intimacy, sexually degrading remarks, and<br />

guilt-tripping into sex.<br />

If you find yourself in an abusive relationship,<br />

get help immediately. Many areas offer domestic<br />

violence shelters. One way to access help is through<br />

local law enforcement. Most importantly, tell someone<br />

and get the support you need in order to get to a<br />

safe place.<br />

In closing, keep in mind that all relationships<br />

experience conflict, but open communications is<br />

important, as are healthy boundaries. Seek professional<br />

intervention to assist you and your spouse in order to<br />

have the healthiest relationship possible. n<br />

_______________________<br />

Ruth Whitley<br />

- Licensed Professional Counselor<br />

- Licensed Marriage and<br />

Family Therapist<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 91

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92 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

Reader<br />


Marilyn<br />

Hughes<br />

Why did you decide to make <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

your home?<br />

I was born here. My parents, Gordon and Olive<br />

Moore, built their home on East Sunset Drive in<br />

Brandon in 1954. It was the 2nd house to be built<br />

on that street.<br />

How long have you lived in <strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

60 years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am married to Pete Hughes, formerly from<br />

Greenville, Mississippi. We have two daughters.<br />

Our oldest daughter, Lauren Smith, is married<br />

to Jack Smith (also a <strong>Rankin</strong> County native)<br />

and they have one daughter named Mary Olive.<br />

They reside in Brandon. Our youngest daughter,<br />

Landon Merrill, is married to Mark Merrill. They<br />

reside in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee, and<br />

have one son, Grayson.<br />

What is your favorite memory of living in<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

There are way too many to list but I can truly say<br />

that <strong>Rankin</strong> County has the finest people who<br />

have contributed to so many memories that are<br />

special to me.<br />

Where are your three favorite places to<br />

eat in <strong>Rankin</strong> County?<br />

Fernando’s, Amerigo, and Berry’s Fish House.<br />

And Fannin Mart!<br />

What are some fun things to do in <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County on the weekends?<br />

My husband and I like to try new restaurants.<br />

We also like to attend any arts and crafts shows<br />

in the area along with riding around looking at<br />

all the new development.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in your<br />

spare time.<br />

Spending time with my family, especially my<br />

grandchildren. Family is everything to me. I have<br />

also been busy working on my genealogy through<br />

Ancestry.com. And of course attending my alma<br />

mater, Ole Miss, athletic events.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

After living in <strong>Rankin</strong> County for 60 years, there<br />

are so many people who I admire. Many of them<br />

are not with us now, but I still feel their presence<br />

and how they impacted my life. A <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

resident who has always been special to me and is<br />

still impacting my life is Murphy Adkins. I have<br />

known Murphy and his family all my life. I<br />

remember Murphy all the way back to his<br />

pharmacy with the greatest soda fountain ever in<br />

the 1960s. It was located where the <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County Courthouse Annex is now—which<br />

ironically, is where the <strong>Rankin</strong> County Chancery<br />

Clerk’s office is. A job that Murphy held for many<br />

years. Murphy is a man of great integrity. He is<br />

honest, hardworking and willing to help anyone.<br />

Not only is he a dear friend but we are members<br />

of the same church family.<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

Travel to all fifty states, take my grandchildren to<br />

as many amusement parks that I can, and to<br />

simply enjoy retirement.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

Right here in <strong>Rankin</strong> County, retired and happy!<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

I have so many but a few are growing up in the<br />

“little” town of Brandon (population 2500),<br />

going to school in the historic antebellum home,<br />

Wisteria Hall, watching the Reservoir being<br />

created and my first initial ride to Jackson on<br />

I-20 when it opened in Brandon.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging quote,<br />

what would it be?<br />

And we know that all things work together for<br />

good to them that love God, to them who are the<br />

called according to his purpose - Romans 8:28<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> Magazines?<br />

Everything! Even the wonderful, colorful<br />

advertisements! We are so fortunate to have this<br />

magazine right here in <strong>Rankin</strong> County! Thank<br />

you to its wonderful staff and their hard work. n<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 93

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DESIGN<br />


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www.hederman.com<br />

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Bully<br />

Prevention<br />

Awareness<br />

For the past two years, the <strong>Rankin</strong> County<br />

School District has hosted a Bully Prevention<br />

Awareness poster contest. Students from<br />

grades Pre-K to 12th are encouraged to<br />

submit original artwork addressing positive<br />

friendships, peer pressure, peer conflict, as<br />

well as physical bullying, emotional bullying,<br />

social bullying, and cyber-bullying.<br />

Walker Williams<br />

10TH GRADE<br />


“This contest, along with other programs<br />

and initiatives, serves our students by<br />

allowing them to think outside the box and<br />

visually present problems that they or other<br />

students may face, and offers a way for<br />

them to be a part of the solution,”<br />

said Dr. Sue Townsend.<br />

The winning posters in each category<br />

(Pre-K – second grade, third – fifth grade,<br />

sixth – eighth grade, and high school) are<br />

placed in all 28 of the schools in the <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County School District.<br />

“We feel that when our students are striving<br />

for positivity and reaching out to one another<br />

through projects like this contest, they are<br />

providing their peers with a message of<br />

support and unity,” said Charlotte Christian,<br />

RCSD Director of Counseling.<br />

Drew Winter<br />

10TH GRADE<br />


Posters were submitted for judging at the<br />

school level and each school submitted<br />

three posters to go on to the district level<br />

competition. Each of the four categories had<br />

district level first, second, and third place<br />

winners. <strong>Rankin</strong> County School District had<br />

the twelve winning posters reproduced to<br />

display in district schools and offices.<br />

The Foundation for <strong>Rankin</strong> County Public<br />

Schools has provided checks to each first<br />

place winner for $100, second place<br />

winners, $50 and third place winners, $25.<br />

Keniah Sanders<br />

8TH GRADE<br />


96 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Logan Miller<br />

7TH GRADE<br />


Jacie Harrell<br />

Wyatt Ladner<br />

9TH GRADE<br />


5TH GRADE<br />


Payton Sanders<br />

6TH GRADE<br />


Bethany Tucker<br />

2ND GRADE<br />


<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 97

Pratik Kumar<br />

Karley Grantham<br />

2ND GRADE<br />


5TH GRADE<br />


Harlow Bennett<br />

1ST GRADE<br />


Hannah Nikole Smith<br />

4TH GRADE<br />


Bully<br />

Prevention<br />

Awareness<br />

98 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Affordable tuition,<br />

financial aid and<br />

payment plans<br />

Flexible schedules<br />

to fit your life: day,<br />

evening, four-day<br />

week, Friday only,<br />

and online classes<br />

Scholarly<br />

Organizations like<br />

Honors Institute,<br />

Phi Theta Kappa<br />

Small class sizes<br />

where teachers<br />

know your name<br />

100 Reasons to Choose<br />

Summer classes begin May 29 | www.hindscc.edu | 1.800.HINDSCC<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 College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national<br />

origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. The following person has been designated to handle inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Dr. Tyrone Jackson, Vice President for Utica Campus and Administrative Services and District Dean of Student Services & Title IX Coordinator Box 1003, Utica, MS 39175 . Phone: 601.885.7002 or Email: titleIX@hindscc.edu<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 99

Annual<br />

Award Meeting<br />

January 25, <strong>2018</strong><br />

100 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 101

102 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong><br />

Mary Ann Kirby

alentine’s Day. My earliest<br />

thoughts of the beloved celebration<br />

date back to the third grade and are<br />

of tiny die-cut cards stating such simple<br />

messages like, “Some-bunny loves you”<br />

and, “Will you be mine?” I can remember<br />

the importance of finding just the right<br />

cards to give out, too. No way did I want<br />

anything too mushy or anything. Picking<br />

out the card was serious business.<br />

They would eventually be placed in<br />

individually decorated brown paper<br />

sacks that were taped to the back of<br />

everyone’s little-person sized desk.<br />

Love was so easy.<br />

Years later, flowers and gigantic<br />

helium balloons were the must-have<br />

order of the day, often delivered to the<br />

workplace. I was never the recipient of<br />

such over-the-top deliveries and was<br />

even admittedly a bit jealous of those<br />

who were. I mean, had they somehow<br />

figured out a secret code to love that I<br />

hadn’t? And how were you supposed to<br />

get those big ol’ things home anyway?<br />

I eventually married in my early<br />

thirties. Prior to that time, while I managed<br />

a couple of fairly decent relationships,<br />

I was mostly single–a lot. I mean, there<br />

were easier things in life than trying to<br />

find a nice guy, you know. Like nailing<br />

jelly to a tree. But it was worth the wait.<br />

I would eventually find my perfect<br />

match and we will celebrate 19 years<br />

of marriage this year. Yay!<br />

So as I look through the thousands<br />

of cards at the store and contemplate<br />

the message I want to convey, I’m<br />

struck by a simple yet powerful thought.<br />

I love us.<br />

In reality, the card I’m looking for<br />

should say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.<br />

Who, in a million years, would have<br />

ever thought that I’d be standing here<br />

for the umteenth time looking through<br />

this sea of red and pink hearts? But,<br />

despite the fact that I get grumpy and<br />

have unpredictable mood swings, you<br />

keep coming home–and I thank you<br />

for that. And even though you’ve yet<br />

to develop the ability to read my mind,<br />

I continue to love you anyway. We’ve<br />

made a pretty darn fabulous kid that,<br />

with any luck, will think marriage is a<br />

good thing after watching us. So, there’s<br />

that. Happy Valentine’s Day! I love us.”<br />

There need to be cards with those<br />

types of “real” messages. Someone<br />

could make a fortune.<br />

Relationships are hard. All relationships.<br />

And they take work. Anything worth<br />

having, does. And while my husband<br />

and I have certainly made a good run so<br />

far, we’ve definitely had our moments–<br />

but we always manage to work through<br />

them. Eventually, we even laugh it off.<br />

Laughter is about connection, and<br />

laughter and love go hand-in-hand.<br />

So while I might not be one of those<br />

that gets $100 worth of helium delivered<br />

to the front door, I will get a funny card<br />

from my fella. It will likely still be in the<br />

store bag from which it was bought<br />

along with one of my favorite Hollywood<br />

gossip-type magazines and a box of<br />

little white powdered donuts. He knows<br />

they’re my favorite and that means the<br />

world to me.<br />

The truth is that love isn’t always<br />

perfect. It isn’t a fairytale or a storybook<br />

and it doesn’t always come easy. Love is<br />

overcoming obstacles, facing challenges,<br />

fighting to be together, holding on, and<br />

never letting go.<br />

It’s a short word that’s easy to spell,<br />

difficult to define, and impossible to live<br />

without. Love is work, but most of all, love<br />

is realizing that every hour, and every<br />

minute, and every second of it was<br />

worth it–because you did it together.<br />

Maybe more marriages would<br />

survive if people knew that sometimes<br />

the “better” comes after the “worse.”<br />

And that’s ok. A successful marriage<br />

requires falling in love many times,<br />

over and over, with the same person.<br />

I’m thankful for my person. I really do<br />

love us. ♥<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 103

104 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 105


rankin county Schools<br />

Highland Bluff<br />

Who knew it was a teacher’s job to train students in the art of<br />

argument? Further, some parents would be surprised to know<br />

that pre-teens need help in developing this skill. Truth is, argumentative<br />

writing, sometimes known as opinion writing, is one<br />

of the three main types that we teach our students.<br />

Our students are taught to research information about a topic<br />

from multiple sources and make an argument for or against it by<br />

referencing claims within the text sources. To this end, HBE<br />

librarian, Mrs. Kim Hubbard, has reached out to the Morgan and<br />

Morgan Law Firm for support in starting a HBE Debate Club for<br />

our 6th grade students. Mrs. Hubbard’s goal is to show students<br />

that what they are learning is meaningful and relevant by promoting<br />

career readiness skills as she embeds seeds of interest for law<br />

related careers.<br />

The HBE Debate Club is one of many co-curricular options<br />

students at Highland Bluff Elementary may elect to join. The Jr.<br />

Beta Club, Student Council, Yoga, STEM, Art, Ukulele lessons,<br />

Piano lessons, Hand Bells, Choir, Spanish, Archery, Cougars 4<br />

Kindness Club, Tutoring, Academic Boost, and now HBE’s<br />

Debate Club are options offered to HBE students for pursuing<br />

their passions and Bringing Out the Best! (our school motto) in<br />

themselves.<br />

As with all programs at HBE, adult guests and experts are<br />

sought to share their stories; these adults have valuable life<br />

experiences or careers that have given them a platform to share<br />

real world connections and application of skills with students.<br />

When students are able to connect their learning to living, their<br />

engagement level in the classroom is strengthened. Partnering<br />

with and capitalizing on our community resources is one way<br />

students at HBE are truly living out the journey of <strong>Rankin</strong><br />

County School District moving from Great to Best!<br />

Steen’s Creek<br />

Steen’s Creek Elementary School is a strong supporter of music<br />

education. Our music classes, under the direction of Juanaree<br />

Solop, provide numerous opportunities for students to develop a<br />

love of music and an understanding of the musical creative process.<br />

Whether singing or playing instruments or dancing to the beat,<br />

Mrs. Solop strives to teach our students how to appreciate different<br />

styles of music and understand the elements involved in the process<br />

of making music. In each grade level students are taught music<br />

concepts appropriate for that age. These concepts are reinforced<br />

through use of technology, as well as hands-on activities.<br />

Connections to other subject areas occur frequently. Our<br />

second grade classes will perform a patriotic program in <strong>February</strong>.<br />

In preparation for the program, the students will engage in<br />

discussions about American history. As they sing American<br />

patriotic songs and portray important characters in our history,<br />

American history comes alive for them. Our military is honored<br />

during our patriotic program as well. The local community becomes<br />

involved when families of second grade students are asked to invite<br />

family members who are veterans to attend the program and be<br />

recognized during the performance. If there is a loved one who is<br />

deceased or unable to attend, families are encouraged to submit a<br />

picture of that family member wearing their uniform to be included<br />

in a slideshow during the performance. The local community<br />

really enjoys our patriotic program.<br />

Mrs. Solop has also created a second grade choir with 42<br />

members. These students meet twice a week to learn new songs<br />

for concert performances. Each semester they travel to a local<br />

church, nursing home or the Veterans Hospital to perform for the<br />

residents. In the words of one our choir members, “Choir is the<br />

best thing I’ve ever had.”<br />

106 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

McLaurin<br />

“All in. Every student. Every day.<br />

Whatever it takes.”<br />

These words continue to reign over McLaurin High School.<br />

Principal, Tammy Crosetti began the school year with these<br />

words and continues to stress them every single day at MHS.<br />

As a new semester begins, teachers and students are working<br />

diligently in the classrooms, on the athletic fields and in<br />

extra-curricular activities rising to be the best!<br />

First-year educator, Lindsay Marter, who teaches Art I,<br />

Photography I & II, and middle school art has been working<br />

on some extraordinary projects with her students. The<br />

photography students are practicing with different homemade<br />

lighting techniques. One student colored clear plastic to create<br />

colored filters, one student was reflecting a flashlight onto a CD<br />

to project a rainbow reflection onto their subject, and one<br />

student was holding a light on a reflective paper to light their<br />

subjects.<br />

The art students are working on textile productions from<br />

different countries such as Molas from Panama, Huichol yarn<br />

paintings from Mexico, and weavings from Native Americans.<br />

The students are excited to be learning through hands-on and<br />

multi-cultural experiences.<br />

DECA Sponsor, Tammie Brewer, who is new to McLaurin<br />

High School this year, has taken the DECA students on several<br />

field-trips to showcase their talents in the business world and to<br />

encourage learning through real world experiences.<br />

Through classroom and real-world instruction, McLaurin<br />

students and teachers are rising to the challenge that Principal,<br />

Tammy Crosetti presented at the beginning of the year... “All in.<br />

Every student. Every day. Whatever it takes.”<br />

Discovery Christian<br />

Congratulations to the fishing team, Addison Yates, DCS<br />

Senior, and Garret McWilliams, DCS Junior, on a first place<br />

win at the FLW Open at Columbus Lake.<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 107


rankin county Schools<br />

Florence<br />

Florence Middle School would like to recognize our professional<br />

school counselors. In November, Angela Errington was awarded<br />

the “New Counselor of the Year” award at the 67th Annual<br />

Conference of Mississippi Counseling Association. Mrs. Errington<br />

was a classroom teacher for 9 years at Steen’s Creek Elementary<br />

and Florence Elementary. She is a graduate of Mississippi State<br />

University, majoring in elementary education. She obtained her<br />

masters in school counseling from the University of Southern<br />

Mississippi.<br />

Mrs. Errington is in her second year as counselor to all female<br />

students at FMS. Jessica Hodges, principal at Florence Middle<br />

School states, “From day one, Mrs. Errington has been a tremendous<br />

asset to our faculty. As a first year counselor, we often expect a<br />

mediocre job as they are learning the ropes of the position. Not with<br />

Mrs. Errington. She jumped in with both feet and hasn’t stopped<br />

since.” Mrs. Errington is a member of Mississippi Counseling<br />

Association and American School Counselor Association.<br />

In late October, Doug Copeland was recognized by Mississippi<br />

College as the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year, department of<br />

psychology and counseling, at the annual alumni awards dinner.<br />

Mr. Copeland obtained his undergraduate, masters, and education<br />

specialist degrees from Mississippi College. He is a National Board<br />

Certified Counselor and National Board Certified School<br />

Counselor. He has been employed at Florence Middle School for<br />

26 years. Prior to coming to FMS, he taught at Clinton High School<br />

for 4 years. Copeland is currently serving as president-elect of<br />

Mississippi Counseling Association and will assume the duties of<br />

president in July of <strong>2018</strong>. He is also a member of American School<br />

Counselor Association and the American Counseling Association.<br />

Richland<br />

On January 13th, Richland Upper Elementary was chosen<br />

by instructors at CODE.org to host a training workshop for<br />

teachers. Code.org® is a non-profit dedicated to expanding<br />

access to computer science and increasing participation by<br />

women and underrepresented minorities. Their vision is that<br />

every student in every school should have the opportunity to<br />

learn computer science, just like biology, chemistry or algebra.<br />

Teachers from our school, district, and state attended the<br />

day long workshop. We had coaches, Pre-K teachers, elementary<br />

teachers, and instructional coaches join us. They learned<br />

practical strategies they could take back to their classes and use<br />

to engage their students.<br />

At Richland Upper we strive to be a place where kids want<br />

to be and teachers want to teach. Finding new ways to engage<br />

our students and providing opportunities for teachers to learn<br />

are some of the ways we will make that happen. Teachers who<br />

attended learned hands-on activities that they can start using<br />

with their students in their classes. They also received materials<br />

they can use and share with their colleagues. Some teachers<br />

even received awesome door prizes.<br />

We at Richland Upper were proud to host this event and<br />

look forward to doing it again soon.<br />

108 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Pisgah<br />

Pisgah Elementary began the 2017-<strong>2018</strong> school year with a bang,<br />

excitedly welcoming new students and teachers to the Dragon family.<br />

Many amazing things have taken place this year.<br />

Throughout the football season, our kindergarten through sixth<br />

grade students participated in weekly walk-throughs, celebrating the<br />

high school football players, cheerleaders, dance team, and drumline as<br />

they paraded through the halls each Friday prior to a football game.<br />

Our students also benefitted from a mentor program started by the<br />

high school. The relationships built between our elementary students<br />

and high school students have set a precedent of achievement in our<br />

community.<br />

We are so proud of our fifth grade students who completed a<br />

program in drug and alcohol prevention with <strong>Rankin</strong> County Sherriff<br />

Department’s D.A.R.E officer, Nancy Watts. We had four essay winners<br />

that were recognized at our D.A.R.E graduation program!<br />

Our kindergarten students suited up in train boxes to complete a<br />

Polar Express parade through the school after a study of the book.<br />

The students enjoyed taking part in the magic of the holiday season<br />

and spreading joy to others within the school.<br />

Additionally, we are pleased to announce our teacher of the year,<br />

Jane Clare Edwards, who has set an example of compassion and<br />

excellence for our students and community.<br />

Brandon<br />

At Brandon High School, we are<br />

continuing to shape the minds of young<br />

students. One of our newly acquired<br />

mottos is “Moving the Needle” in<br />

relation to our focus of continuously<br />

improving the school’s academic<br />

standards and accountability ratings.<br />

Indeed, we are “Moving the Needle”<br />

with our academic and athletic programs.<br />

At the heart of this movement, you will find that our teachers and<br />

students continue to redefine and elevate academic and athletic<br />

expectations while striving for academic excellence. The efforts of<br />

Brandon High School are evident in our “A” rated school designation,<br />

as well as an impressive school ranking of #16 in the state, according<br />

the Mississippi Department of Education. The vision statement<br />

summarizes the intent for all our staff and students: Discover talents,<br />

develop gifts, and ultimately depart to serve!<br />

In the environment of Brandon High, all teachers are<br />

encouraged to be involved and actively participate in every<br />

student’s education, thus contributing to a better educational<br />

experience for our students. We currently have 32 students<br />

with ACT scores above 30. We have one of only two students<br />

in the state of Mississippi who have been awarded the<br />

prestigious Legion of Valor honor. Two of our senior students<br />

have been recognized as merit semi-finalists.<br />

The BHS volleyball team, BHS varsity cheer squad, and<br />

the all-girls BHS cheer squad are 6A state champions. The<br />

thespians have earned honors and have received state recognition.<br />

The Bulldog football team had a successful 2017 season<br />

qualifying for the payoffs. BHS cross-country and BHS<br />

swim team produced state qualifiers in their respective sports.<br />

These accomplishments are examples of the continuous<br />

Brandon High School goal of “Moving the Needle” in addition<br />

of the district’s goal of moving the <strong>Rankin</strong> County School<br />

District from “Great to Best.”<br />

At Brandon High School, we Develop Our Gifts to Serve.<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 109


rankin county Schools<br />

Puckett<br />

Puckett Elementary faculty and staff take extra measures to<br />

provide their students with real life opportunities beyond their<br />

daily instruction. For example, a group of dedicated teachers<br />

worked together to establish the school’s faculty senate. One of<br />

the first projects of the senate was to recognize all students third<br />

through sixth grade who achieved all A’s as well as A and B honor<br />

roll. The Elementary Student Council members put together<br />

goody bags and certificates for the honor roll award recipients.<br />

This was a great way to for students to celebrate the successes of<br />

their peers. We are so proud of all of the hard working students<br />

at Puckett Elementary!<br />

During the first semester, Puckett Elementary held its annual<br />

Reading Fair. Although this competition is optional to families,<br />

over sixty students volunteered to participate through reading<br />

a book and creating a one-of-a-kind storyboard to encourage<br />

others to want to read the book. The quality of these boards was<br />

better than ever. Our judges had a very hard time choosing<br />

winners for each category this year. Puckett Elementary faculty<br />

and staff take pride in the fact that so many students spent time<br />

outside of school to create their story boards. We are so proud<br />

of the outstanding support of our families who encourage their<br />

children to participate each year. What a great way to encourage<br />

a love for reading at home!<br />

Another great opportunity to learn was seen in Mrs. Pennington’s<br />

kindergarten class. Students created a life size drawing of a person<br />

to practice labeling. These labels included winter clothing such<br />

as hats, scarves, and boots. The real-life application of this activity<br />

engaged students in the learning process.<br />

Perhaps the most real-world experiences this semester<br />

happened in Ms. Jennifer Parker’s classroom. Twenty-one<br />

4th-6th grade students participated in National Novel Writing<br />

Month Young Writers Program (nanowrimo) This group of<br />

young authors met after school to develop original story ideas<br />

and begin writing. Students had fun with their creative writing<br />

projects and learned that writing is a process.<br />

Indeed, the environment the teachers have created at Puckett<br />

Elementary School is one in which students feel free to push<br />

themselves beyond the limits of their classrooms. It is this journey<br />

that keeps education vital and exciting in Puckett!<br />

110 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Pelahatchie<br />

In the fall of 2013, Pelahatchie Elementary School enrolled its<br />

first class of four year old pre-kindergarten-age students. PES is one<br />

of three schools in the <strong>Rankin</strong> County School District that offers a<br />

pre-K class. Pre-kindergarten classes such as this help to fill a gap in<br />

rural communities where there are limited options for early<br />

childhood education.<br />

The pre-K students attend a regular school day with transportation<br />

to and from school on the bus. Each morning begins with breakfast<br />

together. This is a time for conversations with friends, trying new<br />

foods, and gaining self-confidence as students learn how to be more<br />

independent. A typical day consists of learning centers, singing songs,<br />

painting at the easel, dramatic play, building with blocks and many<br />

other fun activities. Students are taught with a balanced literacy<br />

approach to learning and hands-on math activities, and have many<br />

opportunities throughout the day to explore and be engaged with<br />

books as well as listening to books read to them by Mrs. Sirmon.<br />

Children learn to work together through problem solving, sharing,<br />

and cooperative play. They also learn how to manage their emotions,<br />

show empathy to others, and make friends.<br />

The intake process for the upcoming school year begins in March<br />

of the current year. Students who attend pre-kindergarten must be<br />

four years old on or before September 1, live in the Pelahatchie School<br />

zone, and be able to provide the other necessary documents for school<br />

registration. For more information about the <strong>2018</strong>-2019 school year<br />

intake dates contact Pelahatchie Elementary at 601-854-8060.<br />

Tedra Sirmon has 20 years teaching experience, and has been the<br />

pre-K teacher at PES since its inception in 2013. Mrs. Sirmon has<br />

been the PES Teacher of the Year, worked with the Mississippi Early<br />

Childhood Association Executive Board, and is associated with Life<br />

is Good Playmakers, an organization that helps children cope with<br />

childhood trauma.<br />

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 111


pearl public Schools<br />

Pearl<br />

Pearl Public School District held MAAP Mania! on November 29,<br />

2017, at the Muse Center on the <strong>Rankin</strong> Campus of Hinds<br />

Community College. This event, held annually since 2010,<br />

celebrates the achievement of students on the state assessments<br />

given each spring. Dr. Raymond Morgigno, Superintendent of<br />

Pearl Public School District, began this event his first year at the<br />

helm to recognize the efforts and academic achievement of our<br />

students and the role parents and family play in their children’s<br />

success.<br />

This year’s banquet honored 108 students who scored in the<br />

highest performance level (PL 5) on both the mathematics and<br />

language arts components of the Mississippi Academic Assessment<br />

Program and/or who earned one of the top scores on fifth and<br />

eighth grade science tests.<br />

The guests are treated each year to a motivational address<br />

delivered by a Pearl High School graduate who has experienced<br />

success after graduating. This year’s event included a keynote<br />

address by Mr. Robbie Harris, PHS Class of 2001 and senior<br />

manager of the Leaders for Global Operations Program with The<br />

Boeing Company. Mr. Harris spoke to the students about effort,<br />

commitment, dreaming big, and having fun along the way. Past<br />

speakers include Dr. Betsy Herrington, pediatric neuro-oncologist;<br />

Dr. Brett Bennett, cardiologist at UMMC; Justin Jenkins, former<br />

NFL player; Gary Butler, founder, chairman and chief executive<br />

officer of Camgian Microsystems; Marlon Gullette, past PPSD<br />

School board president and local business owner; Brittany<br />

Thornton Evans, former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader; and Billy<br />

Stewart, president of East Central Community College.<br />

Students were individually recognized with a MAAP Mania!<br />

certificate and picture. Three students were honored with a<br />

special recognition for having participated in the celebration each<br />

year from third grade through eighth grade: Claire Farrar, Tyler<br />

Gangwer, and Shelby Tisdale. Members of the Pearl High School<br />

Key Club, sponsored by Mr. Will Brand, helped serve the meal,<br />

and the PHS NJROTC Color Guard, under the direction of 1st<br />

Sergeant Thomas Schaab, presented the Colors. This event was<br />

possible through generous donations made by the following<br />

sponsors: Bancorp South, Broaddus & Associates, JBHM<br />

Architecture, Kiwanis Club of Pearl, McAlister’s Deli of Pearl,<br />

Members Exchange Credit Union, Pearl Chamber of Commerce,<br />

Pearl Educational Foundation for Excellence, Prairie Farms Dairy,<br />

<strong>Rankin</strong> County Chamber of Commerce, Stewart Project<br />

Management, and Thrash Construction.<br />

112 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

Submissions provided by local officials from each individual district and not to be considered editorial opinion.<br />

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 113

The<br />

Time<br />

Coin<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Ole Man Winter is in the<br />

process of wrapping us in<br />

his gray cloak.<br />

Just when I need to have visions of<br />

spring-green and flowers, the arctic winds<br />

pop the tree limbs and chase the little birds<br />

into hiding. New Year seems to come at a<br />

poor meteorological time.<br />

January days usually mean times of<br />

looking through the flower and seed<br />

catalogs to select plants for the new flower<br />

bed that I’m always preparing for spring.<br />

With temps in the up and down, cold and<br />

warm, I can’t concentrate on blooming<br />

plants! In fact, I’m concerned that the bulbs<br />

I planted in the fall have enough antifreeze.<br />

The only things that seem to flourish<br />

in these wintry conditions are flu and virus<br />

bugs. The winds speed their arrival and<br />

energize them as they travel. Grocery lists go<br />

from the party ingredients of <strong>February</strong><br />

celebrations to fever and cough reliefs and<br />

remedies for chapped lips and skin.<br />

And the nights come quickly! They<br />

pounce on 5:00, and their darkness<br />

magnifies the chilling howls of the winds.<br />

Even the sun seems to have run for cover.<br />

It’s a brand new year – <strong>2018</strong> – a mere<br />

infant in the first days of January, but the<br />

bleak landscape and the constant hum of<br />

the heating unit are attempting to give a<br />

dismal outlook for the coming year.<br />

Suddenly I have a mental picture of<br />

our children when they were toddlers.<br />

They had no fears as little ones close to<br />

their parents. They would climb onto the<br />

kitchen chair, scramble to the kitchen<br />

island and squeal for their daddy to catch<br />

them. And he would, and they had every<br />

assurance that in their mid-air flight,<br />

Daddy’s strong arms would secure them.<br />

The night is still dark, the winds are<br />

whistling, but there’s a special warmth<br />

about me, and I know it’s not related to<br />

the thermostat. That mental picture has<br />

reminded me that my Heavenly Father<br />

stands within arms’ reach, and He says,<br />

“Launch out into the New Year. I’m here –<br />

always – and I know the way.”<br />

It’s a small Voice, but it muffles the<br />

winds and my fears. n<br />

114 • <strong>February</strong> <strong>2018</strong>

<strong>Hometown</strong> <strong>Rankin</strong> • 115

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