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hometownmagazines

volume 6 number 1

February 2019

Rankin’s Red Carpet

____________________

Dixie National Rodeo 2019

____________________

DEASIA’S SEASON


2 • August 2019


Hometown Rankin • 3


19th Annual

Drawdown Fundraiser Benefitting

New Summit School & Spectrum Academy

For an evening of fun and fellowship to celebrate our children’s futures!

Friday, February 22, 2019

7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Mississippi Children’s Museum | 2145 Museum Boulevard | Jackson, MS 39202

$10,000 Cash Giveaway

Entertainment

Live and Silent Auction

Heavy hors d’oeuvres

$125.00 per ticket

(includes 2 people)

Purchase insurance for an

additional $25.00

To purchase a ticket, please call our office at 601.982.7827

or visit www.newsummitschool.com

Presented by Mississippi Community Education Center

Must Be 21 to Attend | Dressy Attire


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If you

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6 • February 2019


FROM OUR PUBLISHER

We just passed milestone #5 at Hometown Publishing. Here we

go into year #6 and my gratitude list is long. First, I thank God for

leading me in making the decision to undertake this project. I’ve

loved spotlighting our neighbors and businesses. With so much

negativity infiltrating the media, we at Hometown Magazines feel

blessed to reflect and report on all the positive, the hard-workers,

and the overcomers.

However, it comes at a cost–time being our most precious

commodity that we invest in the publications. Our talented staff

juggles long hours on the phone, editing, invoicing, making contacts,

and visiting businesses. We’re incredibly small in number for the

amount of work we put together.

Each member of our crew pulls off a challenging workload and

then goes home to their own families and children ranging from

elementary age to college. Sometimes I think we could dedicate

and entire issue to the roller coaster ride of production deadlines

and family life.

As we suit up for another year and plan our content calendars,

we continue to be extremely grateful for all of our readers and

well-wishers. Compliments keep our workload oiled and running

more smoothly.

Thank you for all the positive feedback, and thank you for

supporting the businesses that make Hometown Rankin possible.

May your 2019 be packed with happy memories as you make new

ones, and may you have the wisdom to enjoy each day to its

fullest–even the busy ones. l

PUBLISHER & EDITOR

Tahya A. Dobbs

SPECIAL PROJECTS

MANAGER

Brenda McCall

LAYOUT DESIGN

Daniel Thomas - 3dt

CFO

Kevin W. Dobbs

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE

Karla Johnson

STAFF

PHOTOGRAPHER

Othel Anding

CONSULTING EDITOR

Mary Ann Kirby

ADMINISTRATIVE

ASSISTANT

Alisha Floyd

In this issue

Dixie National

Rodeo 2019 10

Mississippi Rodeo Queen 12

A Rodeo Clowning Legend 18

A Day in the Life of a 4-H’er 26

Meet Steve Hutton 32

Rankin’s Red Carpet Gala 37

Veteran Spotlight 60

Deasia’s Season 68

The Miracle of Survival 78

Where Two or More are Gathered 84

www.facebook.com/hometownrankinmagazine. For subscription information visit www.htmags.com or contact us at info@HTMags.com / 601.706.4059 / 26 Eastgate Drive, Suite F / Brandon, MS 39042

All rights reserved. No portion of Hometown Rankin may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Rankin is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.

Hometown Rankin maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material. All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher. The production of Hometown Rankin is funded by advertising.

Hometown Rankin • 7


8 • February 2019


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For A FREE Quote Contact A Licensed Agent:

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Insurance Underwritten By:

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Exclusions and limitations apply. See a Licensed Agent for details.

Hometown Rankin • 9


The Dixie National Livestock Show & Rodeo is the largest professional

rodeo east of the Mississippi. The month-long livestock show and

week-long rodeo attracts cowboys and cowgirls from across the nation,

and internationally, to compete each year. These events will bring more

than 100,000 visitors to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds in Jackson

for an estimated economic impact of more than $20 million.

National country music recording artists Easton Corbin, Morgan Wallen, Shenandoah,

John Anderson, Dylan Scott, Cody Johnson, and Scotty McCreery will each take a night

on the dirt February 7 - 13. Tickets available through Ticketmaster.

10 • February 2019

Visit www.mdac.ms.gov for more information.


Welcome

Commissioner

Andy Gipson

Welcome to the

54th Annual

Dixie National

Livestock Show

and Rodeo!

Each February, cowboys, cowgirls, 4-H

and FFA members, rodeo queens, and

spectators travel from all over the United

States to the Mississippi State Fairgrounds

in order to experience the largest rodeo east

of the Mississippi River. This is a “Genuine

Mississippi” event!

The Dixie National Livestock Show and

Rodeo has grown into an event that draws

over 100,000 visitors to the fairgrounds and

generates millions of dollars for Mississippi’s

economy each year. Our dedicated team

works tirelessly to ensure the livestock shows,

equine events, agricultural showcases, and top

class rodeo entertainment is a success year

after year. From the professional cowboys

and cowgirls that compete for titles to the

young women who wear the crown of

Rodeo Queen, this event continues to

flourish as a tradition treasured by so many.

The Dixie National Junior Round-Up

and Open Livestock shows continue to be

the heart of the Dixie National by providing

opportunities for Mississippi’s youth and

open show exhibitors to participate. These

events had over 1,900 4-H and FFA members

and open show exhibitors and more than

2,500 head of livestock participate in 2018.

The pinnacle of the junior livestock show

circuit in Mississippi is the annual Dixie

National Junior Sale of Champions.

Proceeds from this event benefit participants

in the form of scholarships and reached

$344,778 last year. In addition to getting a

jumpstart on their college education, the

fine young men and women involved in

these events make memories and friendships

that last a lifetime.

We are truly grateful to our loyal sponsors

who give us the support to provide the level

of entertainment and professional rodeo

talent we provide every year. It is inspiring

to see how this event has grown over the

years and has been molded into the finest

and largest rodeo east of the Mississippi

River. Again, welcome and enjoy being a

part of the Dixie National Livestock Show

and Rodeo!

ANDY GIPSON

Commissioner of Agriculture & Commerce

Hometown Rankin • 11


12 • February 2019


Erin Williams

From Mississippi Girl

to National Queen

Erin William

The 2018 Miss Rodeo Mississippi, Taylor McNair,

was recently crowned the 2019 Miss Rodeo America.

A native of Learned, Mississippi, Taylor

excelled in the weeklong competition, which took

place December 2-9, 2018, in Las Vegas, against

28 other contestants and is the third Miss Rodeo

Mississippi to win the national title.

In addition to bringing home the crown,

Taylor left Vegas with an array of wins behind

her name. As the winner of the appearance,

personality, chap, and written test awards, as

well as receiving the Sherry Smith Memorial

Scholarship and third place for her scrapbook,

Taylor is excited to use her new title as a platform

to educate the public on agriculture and the sport

of rodeo. However, as the 3rd generation farmer

and rancher on her family’s farm, McNair Farms,

Taylor walks the walk and talks the talk in, and

outside, of the rodeo arena.

“I’ve grown up on my family’s farm and

learned, early on, the value of hard work,” said

McNair. “Growing up as the farmer’s daughter

comes with a lot of hard labor and, although

sometimes I’ve wished to have a brother, I

wouldn’t trade the memories and hard work

ethic for anything.”

A decorated member of rodeo royalty,

Taylor has collected several past rodeo queen

titles over the years; Miss Dixie National 2014,

Miss Crossett PRCA Rodeo 2015, and Miss

Rodeo of the Mid-South 2016 before being

crowned the 42nd Miss Rodeo Mississippi in

January of 2018. Throughout 2018, Taylor

spent the year representing Mississippi at all

Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

(PRCA) events statewide.

A recent graduate of Mississippi State

University, Taylor earned a Bachelor of Science

in AgriBusiness with a concentration on policy

and law, and minors in both business administration

and economics. While at MSU, she was

a member of the Sigma Alpha Lambda Honor

Society, Chi Omega Sorority, Toastmasters,

Freshman Council, Foundation Ambassadors,

MSU Rodeo Team, and MSU Equestrian Team.

Being both a rodeo competitor and enthusiast,

Taylor was an active competitor throughout

junior high and high school in the National

Barrel Horse Association, Mississippi High

School Rodeo Association, and Mississippi

Quarter Horse Youth Association. As a past

Mississippi Beef Ambassador, Hinds County

Outstanding 4-H’er, Mississippi Star Junior

Photos courtesy of Sherry Smith Photography

Hometown Rankin • 13


14 • February 2019


Cattleman, and Horse Public Speaking

Champion, Taylor has received numerous

scholarships, 4-H livestock exhibitor

awards, and community service awards.

As a volunteer for both Horses for

Handicapped and FARMtastic, Taylor

is passionate about giving back to the

community and her sweet personality

shines as brightly as her new crown.

LeAnne Peters, a longtime member

of the Miss Rodeo Mississippi Foundation

board of directors, the communications

director for the Mississippi Cattlemen’s

Association, and the Mississippi Junior

Cattlemen’s Association advisor, has known

Taylor for many years and is confident that

she will represent Mississippi well in her

new role.

“I have had the opportunity to know

Taylor since she showed cattle in 4-H,

which was years ago,” said LeAnne. “She

was always a mentor to younger kids and

I know she will do a wonderful job. The

entire Miss Rodeo Mississippi board of

directors is incredibly proud of Taylor and

the integrity she exhibits.”

During her reign as the 2019 Miss

Rodeo America, Taylor will travel more

than 100,000 miles and appear at more

than 100 rodeo performances all over the

nation, as well as making appearances at

schools, civic groups, and other events as

an official representative of the Professional

Rodeo Cowboys Association. Taylor is

excited to spend this next year encouraging

the next generation of rodeo athletes and

queens all over the nation, promoting the

sport of professional rodeo, and educating

the public about agriculture and its

opportunities.

When Taylor is not promoting the

sport of rodeo or the agriculture industry,

she enjoys riding horses, running, working

on her family’s farm, reading, and traveling.

In the future, Taylor plans on obtaining a

J.D. from the University of Mississippi law

school and an LL.M. in agricultural and

food law from the University of Arkansas.

According to Taylor, at the end of day,

she is excited to be living her dream and

educating others about the industry she

has loved all her life. Perhaps Faith Hill

sang it best years ago when she sang, “A

Mississippi girl don’t change her ways just

because everybody knows her name; she

ain’t big-headed by a little bit of fame.”

In true Mississippi style, Taylor’s return

from Vegas showcased, even more, her

humility. “It truly takes a village to raise a

rodeo queen and I’m beyond thankful for

everyone that is a part of mine,” said Taylor.

Congratulations, Taylor! We cannot

wait to see what you accomplish for this

industry in 2019!

Hometown Rankin • 15


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16 • February 2019


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18 • February 2019


A

Rodeo Clowning

LEGEND

ERIN WILLIAMS

Lecile Harris, who was born on

November 6, 1936, in Lake Cormorant,

Mississippi, is a rodeo legend.

Just one mention of the word

“Lecile” around any rodeo circuit,

stadium, or stock show, and

without any reference to his last

name, people instantly know

exactly who is being referred to.

And although you will likely never hear him say it,

Lecile is a big deal. He has excelled in the rodeo

arena as both a rodeo clown and bullfighter over his

60-plus year career and has accumulated an array

of accolades behind his name, including being

named the PRCA Clown of the Year in 1992,

1994, 1995, and 1996, as well as being inducted into

the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.

While watching him perform, it is apparent that

Lecile is totally in his element inside the arena.

However, according to him, his entrance into this

career came as a total surprise.

“It was the summer after I had just finished

high school and was on a football scholarship at

the University of Tennessee that me and a buddy

of mine went to a weekend rodeo that was about

20 miles away,” said Lecile. “It was an amateur thing

but we became interested in it and continued to go.”

At that particular rodeo, the bull riding section

was divided into two parts; one to start the rodeo

where competitors would ride, and the other to end

the rodeo where spectators could jump in and ride.

It is no surprise that Lecile, who has made a career

on being fearless and jumping at opportunities,

wanted to take a chance to ride.

“I didn’t even make it out of the chute good

before he bucked me off,” said Lecile. “It made me

mad so the next Sunday I went back and tried

again. I went back three or four Sundays for a

month and kept trying to ride one.”

On one of those Sundays, the bullfighter’s car

broke down causing him to be unable to make it to

the rodeo. Lecile mentioned that he had been

watching the way the bullfighters moved and

wanted to give it a try.

“My first thought that day was that these were

just local bulls and wouldn’t be that bad, and my

second thought was that the moves the bullfighters

made were similar in a way to the moves you make

playing football as far as being quick to jump and

light on your feet,” said Lecile.

Hometown Rankin • 19


The following Sunday, the bullfighter was still unable to make it due to his

car not being fixed yet so Lecile stood in again on grounds that his pay would

be in the form of a free entry fee to participate in the bull riding section. Lecile

fought bulls and simultaneously rode them for the rest of that summer. According

to Lecile, that summer planted something inside him that he couldn’t shake–

something that made him want to do more within rodeo.

For the next few years, Lecile continued to ride bulls and fight them, all

the while still playing college football. A couple

years later, Lecile was given an offer

where he could move up to a higher

rodeo company as a bull fighter on

the condition that he stop riding.

“It wasn’t that hard of a decision for

me. Although I liked to ride, I wasn’t

that good at it,” said Lecile. “I was 6’5

and that’s too tall to ride bulls because

you are too top heavy. So from there I

began exclusively fighting bulls.”

About a year into exclusively

bullfighting, rodeos began gaining in

popularity and Lecile was told that he

needed to include some comedy into his

performances. Lecile, who was in a rock

n’ roll band at the time, was already

familiar with performing on stage and entertaining an audience, so incorporating

comedy into his routine was a natural transition.

“If you didn’t do comedy, you didn’t work back then as a bullfighter because

it was a requirement,” said Lecile. “We didn’t have separate bull fighters and

separate clowns; one person did it all. I learned comedy early in my career

because of that and continued to bullfight and perform comedy inside the

arenas for 36 years.”

Lecile rose in fame and became the number one bullfighter in the

international rodeo association, a position he held for nine years. However, at

one performance in Reno, Nevada, when he was 52, Lecile got badly injured

and decided it would be time for him to retire as a bullfighter.

“It was time for me to get out of bullfighting. I was 52 and that’s really too

old for a bullfighter because you aren’t as fast as some of the younger boys,” said

Lecile. “I made the switch to straight comedy and it has been one of the best

decisions I have made in my career.”

At the peak of his career, Lecile traveled extensively and worked over 150

performances a year. Although today he has slowed down a little bit and works

between 80-85 performances annually, he says he is still continually learning in

this profession and tweaking his routines to be better year after year.

“Rodeo comedy is different because so much depends on your body

language since you are typically a long ways away from the crowd so body

language is huge and everything must be exaggerated,” said Lecile. “For years

we didn’t have wireless mics so it was even harder. I was one of the first rodeo

clowns to use a wireless mic and that has been a game-changer.”

Inspired by other legends like Emmett Kelly and W.C. Fields, Lecile

has always gravitated towards

older characters.

“When I was young and starting out,

I was an 18 or 19-year-old kid who

would paint wrinkles on my face to

get into my old character,” said Lecile.

“Now I am that old person so I

don’t have to do that anymore; these

days the wrinkles are already there

and I just follow them.”

One of the most challenging

parts of his career over the years

has been mastering the art of

timing. According to Lecile,

a good rodeo

clown should perform in such a

way that the audience in unaware

of any problems or slowdowns. A way that he has managed to master timing is

to make sure he stays inside the arena during the entire rodeo.

“When you are dealing with animals they are unpredictable, at best.

Sometimes you have a calf that doesn’t want to run out of the chute or a horse

that is being hard to handle so I make sure that, while I am in the arena, I am

always watching for those potential problems,” said Lecile.

“If I see that happening, I jump in with a comedy routine to distract the

audience so they won’t get bored; people want to be entertained they shouldn’t

have to wait for problems to get fixed. That’s the clown’s job.”

As someone who is involved in the livestock industry and has attended the

Dixie National year after year, I had never thought about the role rodeo

clowns play in developing an overall positive rodeo experience in that light–

further proof that Lecile has excelled in keeping his audiences entertained and

unaware of problems.

Today, in addition to performing, Lecile has his own rodeo each year in

Southhaven–The Rodeo of the Mid-South, which will take place this year on

January 19, 2019. The newly crowned Miss Rodeo America 2019, Taylor

McNair, earned her first crown at The Rodeo of the Mid-South. Although he

also works as a developer and manages his own sign company in Tennessee,

Lecile plans to continue performing as long as he can because, according to

him, he loves it now just as much as he did 63 years ago.

20 • February 2019


“The day this becomes a job I will quit and my career will be over because what I do is an

occupation and not a job,” said Lecile. “Sure it can be hard sometimes when you are traveling

and tired but it is still something I thoroughly love. The day it becomes something I don’t

love is the day I will quit.”

Just like always, Lecile will be performing at each performance of The Dixie National

Rodeo in 2019 and he hopes to see each of you there. After all, it won’t be his first rodeo. l

Hometown Rankin • 21


22 • February 2019


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601-825-3636

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24 • February 2019


26 • February 2019


A Day in

the Life of

a 4-H’erErin Williams

The Mississippi State

University Extension Service

youth development program,

known throughout the state as

4-H, is one of the oldest and

most respected public service

programs in Mississippi. Extension agents and youth, alike,

participate in year-round educational programs and hands-on

activities through their forestry, livestock, safety, STEM,

wildlife youth education, and health and wellness programs.

While programs offered by 4-H are statewide, participants

often benefit the most through local chapters at their county

extension services where dedicated extension agents are able

to work in smaller groups with local youth.

Madison County native, Hannah Jones, who also attends

Germantown Middle School, has been involved with 4-H

since she was a young child. Of all the different 4-H divisions,

participating in the 4-H livestock

program has been Hannah’s favorite

and has helped her to have an active

career showing livestock. A decorated

and devoted veteran in the show

ring, Hannah has won many awards

locally, statewide, and nationally.

This year, like she has done for many years past, Hannah

and her show animals will enter the show ring at The Dixie

National to compete against students from all across the state

that are all vying for the same awards. Although the junior

livestock shows at The Dixie National take place over a couple

of weeks, preparations from the dedicated youth participants

have been underway for months. For more insight into those

yearlong preparations, read the following Q&A with Hannah,

where she shows us what a typical day in the life of a 4-H’er

looks like.

Hometown Rankin • 27


What does a typical day look like for you in caring for your show

animals?

A typical day starts early in the morning. I feed them twice a day, but

the morning feed is always before school. I also always check their water

before I go to school. After school, it’s time to exercise my goats. We walk

and run down my driveway because it helps

them to build muscles but also because they

just like having fun. After that, I also lead

and teach my cattle and goats how to set up

correctly for the show ring and I do those

things every day, not just before a show.

Oftentimes, judges will say that you win by

what you do at home, not what you do at

the show, and I think that is true. My

parents push me to try hard, do my best,

and never give up.

What does a typical show day look like for

you and how do you prepare?

Show days also start early in the morning

when I load my livestock up and head to

the show. My family and I prepare their

stalls when we arrive at the show and then

we unload all the supplies (feed, grooming

products, and buckets).

Once show prep begins, the animals

are all washed and dried with huge a blow

dryer to look their best. We clip and comb

their hair a certain way and apply hair care

products to make them shine. Once I enter

the show ring, I have my eyes on the judge,

my animal, and the other animals in the

class. I present my animal in the ring with

a certain stance in line with the other

contestants. I brace my goats using my leg

to allow their muscles to pop. They need to

be square with all four legs spaced evenly apart. The judge actually feels

the animals to evaluate their muscle tone and fat cover. The judge then

places them in order. He starts with the bottom of the class and works

his way up to 1st place. He then gives reasons why he placed them in this

order.

I’ve learned that some days you win, and sometimes you don’t end up

in 1st place. I have learned to always try my best, never give up, and

always congratulate the winner. I love how it feels to win and be

congratulated, so I want others to feel that way when they win, too. After

that, we load up all the livestock and supplies and have lots of family time

while my dad drives us home. It makes for a

long day.

How long have you been involved with

showing livestock, and how did you initially

get involved?

I have been showing cattle and goats for

6 years. I officially started showing when

I was 8-years-old with 4-H. However,

I started showing in the peewee classes when I

was about 4-years-old. While both my parents

work outside of the farm, we still have a small

cattle farm. Farm life has allowed me to see new

life. My dad works with the MSU Extension

Service, so I was around the show ring when he

was working at the livestock shows, and my

mother is a veterinarian. Animals have always

been a part of my life; it’s just natural for me.

It’s been said before that the outside of

an animal is good for the inside of a child.

Would you agree with this given your upbringing

and successful show career?

Absolutely! I love all my animals. We have

cattle, horses, goats, chickens and a cat named

McDreamy. Spending time with

all my animals is one of my favorite things.

They have taught me so much about friendship

and trust, and all my animals have unique

personalities.

I have to work to gain their trust. For

example, I have learned how to communicate with

a 1300-pound-steer and a 90-pound stubborn goat. We start building a

bond slowly.

I work with my steers and heifers from March until its time for Dixie

National the next February. I teach them to lead and set up correctly;

I also wash and brush them. Most of them love for me to give them

attention with special rubs and snacks. We have to become a team

to find success in the show ring. They learn to trust me, and I learn

to trust them.

28 • February 2019


What life lessons do you feel showing livestock and being involved

with 4-H has equipped you with?

I have learned so many lessons from showing livestock, but the main

ones are responsibility, how to work hard, confidence, motivation, and

communication. It has been a fun

experience for me from meeting new

friends with similar interests, to working

with my animals, and celebrating my

wins in the show ring. Showing has

taught me that hard work pays off and

I see that firsthand. Because showing

is a competition, I have learned that

sometimes you win and sometimes you

lose, and also how to do both well and

graciously. I have learned to always try

my best and never give up.

You’ve had an incredibly successful

show career; what are a few of the

awards you have won that you are

most proud of?

Some of my favorite wins are showmanship

wins, which is based on how well my

animal and I work together. The judges

also ask questions in showmanship so

I have to think quickly and be confident

in my answers. I have to have knowledge

of my animals, feeding, and the livestock

industry to answer their questions. I

won the 11- year-old beef showmanship

with my steer, Blake, and the 11-year-old

goat showmanship with my doe, Phoebe.

Both of my steers that year were winners,

too. Dixie National 2016 was a special

year for me, and I was also proud to be

in the top 20 at the Junior National

Simmental Show in the intermediate showmanship class that

same year.

Another one of my favorite wins was this November at the North

American Livestock Expo in Louisville, Kentucky. My Simmental

heifer, Layla, won her division. We were able to stand on the green

shavings and compete in the championship drive. Every summer,

I go to Be A Champ Camp at Connors College for a showmanship

and grooming camp. I was also proud of winning the grooming

contest at Be A Champ Camp in Oklahoma in my age division.

Many kids compete for a spot in the sale of champions every year,

and it’s always one of my goals. I have been

able to participate in the sale the last three

years. Over the last three years, I have had

two goats and two steers in the sale. The

Dixie National Sale of Champions is such

a fun and rewarding day for my parents

and me because there is a lot of excitement

as I enter the show ring.

Caring for and exhibiting livestock is

incredibly time-consuming. How do you

balance your responsibilities at home,

responsibilities with your animals, and

also your school responsibilities?

Showing livestock takes lots of time and

commitment. I don’t have much spare time.

I’m very busy after school with feeding,

grooming, and practice. I am also a member

of Germantown Middle School Show Choir.

We have four concerts per year, as well as

after school practice to prepare. My parents

help me keep track of my show schedule.

I do miss school a few days for shows, and

I have to be sure I get all my make-up

assignments completed.

Have you made friends in different areas of

the nation because of your showing career?

Showing has expanded my circle of friends

from Mississippi and also other parts of the

nation. I spent my 10th, 11th, and 12th

birthdays at show camps in Oklahoma.

My parents take me and my calf (along with

all my supplies) and I spend four days with one hundred kids from

across the nation. Showing has opened doors to travel. I love to visit

farms and livestock sales to look for new show animals. Some of my

animals were born right here in Mississippi, but showing has lead me

to Oklahoma, Texas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Illinois. l

Hometown Rankin • 29


The state’s leading full-service orthopaedic specialty practice.

30 • February 2019

Jackson • Madison • Flowood • Brookhaven • Yazoo City • Ruleville


Meet

Steve Hutton

The Mississippi State Fairgrounds came

under new leadership last summer, and

changes are already being noticed. Steve

Hutton of Madison, a near life-long

Mississippian, wasted no time beginning

what many have recognized as a much

needed overhaul of the 105 acre fairground

property. Over 25 buildings make up the

fairgrounds including the Mississippi

Coliseum, Trademart, Kirk Fordice Equine

Center, livestock barns, horse stables, small

animal pens, and the like. “I don’t know

the front end of horse from the back, and it

doesn’t matter,” Hutton said. “I know how

to raise money, fix problems, structure

staff, and organize events, and I’ve already

begun to do all four.”

June 5, 2018, Steve walked into his new

office at the coliseum for the first time at

8am. At 8:30am he walked onto the

coliseum floor to meet the coliseum manager.

They couldn’t even carry on a conversation

because the buzzing of the old metal-halide

lamps illuminating the arena floor was so

loud. It sounded like an old high school

basketball gymnasium. The manager

indicated it had been that way for the 17

years he had worked at the Fairgrounds.

By 9am Steve had Irby Lighting enroute

to perform an analysis of every building on

the 105 acre campus. The Entergy Solutions

for Business program offers incentives for

businesses to get rid of their antiquated

fixtures, and replace them with energy

efficient LED lighting. Steve and his staff

broke down Irby’s analysis into several

smaller projects to be completed over the

next few years. Phase I was the Coliseum

lighting, which would allow for the largest

Entergy incentive. The 80 metal-halide

lights alone burn 100,000 watts every

time they are turned on. They ordered

$40,500 worth of new energy efficient

LEDs and Entergy is providing a $34,000

incentive upon completion of the project.

The Fairgrounds will pay off the $6,500

balance in saved utility costs over the next

eight months, and then save $6,500 every

eight months from here on out. They are

also increasing the average candlepower on

the coliseum floor by 10-15%. Hutton took

a 17 year old problem, and not only fixed it

but, in essence, got it done for free and

eventually will make money on it through

the savings.

Steve then hired a full time facilities

superintendent and is completing the

lighting installation in-house. Hiring this

30 year union electrician full-time also saves

the fairgrounds roughly $40,000 per year

by eliminating contract electricians, and

they get 10 times the amount of work done

with a person on the grounds full time.

He also has hired a full-time HR director

eliminating yet another expense that was

being outsourced for HR and payroll, a

full-time events director working to bring

more events to the fairgrounds, and a

full-time operations manager, to ensure

those events are catered to once they arrive.

“I would do this job for free, but don’t

get me wrong, I’m fortunate I don’t have

to,” Hutton added. “This one position takes

everything I have ever learned and loved

and condenses it into one massive project.”

Steve was a PGA professional for 20

years, running country clubs for the first

13 years of that career, then transitioning

to tournament director of the Southern

Farm Bureau Classic, known today as the

Sanderson Farms Championship. He left

his position at Mississippi’s PGA TOUR

event in 2004 and became vice-president

of Promise Keepers, conducting large-scaled

stadium and arena events across the United

States. He actually rented the Mississippi

Coliseum, twice. He then founded

Momentum Events and continued to

produce events across the Southeast,

including the extremely popular Christmas

32 • February 2019


Mississippi Fairgrounds

Executive Director

On Ice event in Madison, bringing over

202,000 people to an outdoor ice rink

over the holidays.

While nicknamed The Fair Commissioner,

Hutton’s official title is executive

director of the Mississippi Fair Commission.

A definition of the Mississippi Fair

Commission is actually found in State Law.

69-5-1 of Mississippi Code says…In order

to promote agricultural and industrial

development in Mississippi and to

encourage farmers to grow better livestock

and agricultural products, there is hereby

created a body politic and corporate to be

hereafter known as the Mississippi Fair

Commission. “The biggest differences

between this agency and other state agencies

is that I’m appointed, not elected, and our

agency receives no funding from the state,”

Hutton said. “We are a special fund agency,

so whatever money we make during the

Mississippi State Fair, The Dixie National

Rodeo, which we own, and renting the

various buildings over the course of a year,

makes up our annual budget. The fairgrounds

are in disrepair, so it’s hard to lure

a customer to rent a building or have a

show. But at the same time, we can’t fix

the fairgrounds if we don’t have revenue

from renting the buildings or having shows.

But I have a plan.”

Hutton has legislative approval and

authority to grant naming rights to the

buildings on the fairgrounds. “Soon, the

Mississippi Coliseum won’t be the Mississippi

Coliseum. Shreveport has the CenturyLink

Arena, Tupelo has the Bankcorp South

Arena. The Coliseum will eventually have

a new name. Barn 4 will have a new name.

Our box office will have a new name. I’ll

take every dollar I get and pour back into

the livestock and equine areas which have

long needed some attention. The fairgrounds

exist so our kids can show their livestock

during the fair and rodeo and our equine

community can have a beautiful safe place

for their cutting horse and barrel race

competitions. It may take 10-15 years, but

that’s my commitment.”

Visitors to the fairgrounds will notice a

large construction project on the east side

of the coliseum. A new $30 million

trademart is under construction and

scheduled for completion in the spring of

2020. This state-of-the-art 105,000

square foot facility will have 3 trade show

bays, additional bathrooms, beautiful

appointments, a commercial kitchen, and

will be connected to the coliseum allowing

the 24,000 square foot coliseum floor to

become Bay #4. Hutton added, “This will

allow us to host larger shows, and attract

shows that need seating for a speaker/

audience in addition to trade show space.”

When it comes to the State Fair and

Dixie National Rodeo, Steve wants to be

very careful to maintain the traditions of

the past while infusing a vision for the

future. “We are looking at bringing ice

skating to the coliseum during the fair.

We are looking at our entertainment

options and asking ‘does anyone really

come to fair because of entertainment?’”

The Dixie National Rodeo has been a

staple in the metro for 54 years. Known as

the Greatest Show On Dirt, the Dixie

National is the largest indoor rodeo east

of the Mississippi River. While this annual

event attracts a loyal fan base every year,

Hutton jokingly admitted, “I can only say

this once…this really will be my first rodeo.

But an event is an event. Take the word

‘golf’ out of my PGA TOUR job description,

and take the word ‘bull’ out of this one,

and at the end of the day they are both

events. Harper Morgan, our rodeo partner

does what they do best…brings in a quality

show. We do what we do best…provide a

venue, marketing, and tickets. I can’t wait.”

l

Hometown Rankin • 33


34 • February 2019


opportunitynoun

op·​por·​tu·​ni·​ty​|​ä-pər-'tü-nə-tē

plural opportunities

Definition *

: a good chance for

advancement or progress

Synonym

AFFORDABLE • SIX LOCATIONS

70+ CAREER & TECHNICAL PROGRAMS

5 PROGRAMS / 100% ONLINE

The opportunity is yours!

Get started today!

www.hindscc.edu | 1-800-HINDSCC

•https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/opportunity

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 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

Hometown Rankin • 35


36 • February 2018


BEST OF

2019

THE BEST

Three years ago, with the intense desire to promote

Rankin County businesses being at the core of our

company mission, the team at Hometown Publishing,

publishers of Hometown Rankin Magazine, embarked

on creating a red carpet event that would celebrate the

outstanding business community in which we live and

work. Rankin County’s Best of the Best Red Carpet

Gala was born.

The gala was held on January 17th and it was a

truly spectacular evening! We not only celebrated the

winners, but the nominees as well. We were honored

to have both Governor Phil Bryant and Congressman

Michael Guest speak to the crowd of over 700. And

at the end of the night, we had learned the winners in

63 categories.

So, we thank you. Thank you for not only supporting

this event but for supporting each other as we all strive

to make Rankin County the very best it can be.

Planning is already underway for 2020–and we

can’t wait to see you there!

Hometown Rankin • 37


38 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 39


40 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 41


42 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 43


Nominees & Winners

Dining Out

BEST ASIAN/SUSHI

Asahi Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar

Fuji Japanese Sushi & Grill

Osaka Japanese Restaurant & Sushi Bar

OEC Japanese Express, Richland

Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi Grill - WINNER

BEST BARBEQUE

T-Ray’s BBQ

Dickey’s Barbeque Pit

Little Willie’s BBQ - WINNER

Sonny’s BBQ

Smokehouse of Florence

BEST ITALIAN

Mazzio’s Italian Eatery, Richland

Soulshine Pizza Factory

Cerami’s Italian Restaurant - WINNER

Amerigo an Italian Restaurant

Lost Pizza Co.

BEST MEXICAN

El Sombrero Mexican Grill, Flowood

El Potrillo Mexican Restaurant Grill

& Cantina, Brandon - WINNER

El Cabrito Mexican Restaurant, Florence

Fernando’s, Pearl

Sombra Mexican Kitchen, Flowood

BEST FRIED CHICKEN

Fannin Mart Restaurant

Georgia Blue - WINNER

Grant’s Kitchen and Grill

Mama’s Kitchen

Table 100

BEST HAMBURGER

Simple Burger

Taste of Detroit

The Feathered Cow

Mugshots Grill and Bar - WINNER

Laid Back Burger Shack

BEST PIZZA

Cicis Pizza, Flowood

Lost Pizza Co. - WINNER

Papa John’s Pizza, Florence

Pizza Hut, Richland

Soulshine Pizza Factory

BEST STEAK

Doe’s Eat Place

Boo’s Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

Longhorn Steakhouse

Outback Steakhouse

Table 100 - WINNER

BEST DELI/SANDWICH

Newk’s Eatery, Brandon

Café Crave

Frisco Deli - WINNER

Subway of Crossgates

McAlister’s Deli, Brandon

BEST BREAKFAST

Heart & Soul, Brandon - WINNER

Waffle House, Flowood

Jo’s Diner, Flowood

The Donut Shop Café, Florence

Primos Café, Flowood

BEST DINNER

Half Shell Oyster House - WINNER

Grant’s Kitchen and Grill

Table 100

Jerry’s Fish House

Amerigo Italian Restaurant

BEST LUNCH

Chicken Salad Chick

Grant’s Kitchen and Grill - WINNER

Mama’s Kitchen

Newk’s Eatery, Brandon

Tom’s Fried Pies

BEST COFFEE SHOP

Cups an Espresso Café, Flowood

Café Crave - WINNER

Cups an Espresso Café, Crossgates

East Brandon Coffee Factory

Mocha Mugs

BEST DESSERT

Amerigo an Italian Restaurant

Bop’s Frozen Custard

Nothing Bundt Cakes - WINNER

Primos Café

Café Crave

BEST SPORTS BAR

Alumni House Sports Grill

Buffalo Wild Wings - WINNER

The Feathered Cow

Bonny Blair’s Sports Café

Mississippi Legends Grill

BEST SWEET SHOP/BAKERY

Café Crave

Dream Cakes

Sugar Magnolia Takery - WINNER

Nothing Bundt Cakes

Tom’s Fried Pies

BEST CATERER

Catered Occasions

Fresh Cut Catering & Floral

McClain Lodge - WINNER

Newk’s Eatery, Brandon

Sugar Magnolia Takery

BEST CHEF

Darwell Yeager, Darwells Too

Danny Eslava, Eslava’s Grille

Peyton Warren, Table 100 - WINNER

Grant Nooe, Grant’s Kitchen and Grill

Luke Sims, The Smokin Patty

44 • February 2019


Health & Wellness

BEST CHIROPRACTOR

Kennedy Chiropractic Clinic

Brown Chiropractic Center - WINNER

Fowler ProChiropractic & Wellness Center

Foxworth Chiropractic

Reservoir Chiropractic

BEST DENTIST

Cumberland Family Dentistry

Hankins and Herrin

Family Dental - WINNER

Mayatte Family Dentistry

Florence Dental Clinic

Reservoir Smiles Dentistry

BEST OPTOMETRIST

Dr. Minor Pace, 20/20 Vision

Dr. Anna Taylor, Taylor Eye Care

Family Optometry

Dr. Mark Allen, The Optical Shoppe

Dr. Bobby Pankey, Optical 2000

Dr. John H. Mohr - WINNER

BEST PEDIATRICIAN

Dr. Amanda H. Cook, The Children’s Clinic

Dr. Samuel Anthony Smith,

The Children’s Clinic

Dr. Dennis W. Rowlen,

Rankin Children’s Group - WINNER

Dr. Joseph D. Edwards, Jr.,

Rankin Children’s Group

Dr. W. Craig Flowers,

Rankin Children’s Group

BEST FAMILY DOCTOR

Dr. Carrie Nash, Baptist Medical Group,

Brandon - WINNER

Dr. Todd Perkins, Merit Health, Flowood

Dr. Scott Davis, Baptist Medical Group,

Richland

Dr. Mark Hellrung, St. Dominics, Brandon

Dr. Rod Shields, South Rankin Family Clinic

BEST MEDICAL CLINIC

Baptist Medical Clinic, Brandon - WINNER

Capital Ortho

Florence Family Clinic

MEA, Spillway

Corner Clinic Urgent Care

BEST NURSE PRACTITIONER

Karen Seago, NP, Merit Health - WINNER

Kelley Martin, NP, Florence Family Clinic

Jennifer Mooneyham, NP, 4 Family

Healthcare

Ashley Shivers, NP, Puckett Medical Clinic

Candace Ashley, NP, Florence Family Clinic

BEST PHYSICAL THERAPIST

Dr. Angela Hoover, Florence Rehabilitation

Blake Hobbs, Medicomp Physical Therapy,

Dogwood

Jeremy Harvey, Medicomp Physical Therapy,

Reservoir - WINNER

Matthew Armstrong, Capital Ortho

Russell Young, Elite Physical Therapy

BEST FITNESS CENTER

The Club at Crossgates - WINNER

Focus Fit, Pearl

Planet Fitness, Pearl

Fitness Plex, Florence

Anytime Fitness, Richland

BEST PERSONAL TRAINER

Tierney Quick, Beyond FIT

Teri Brown

Misti Garner, Get Fit with Misti - WINNER

Tom Cosgrave, Three Lions Crossfit

Kristin Creel, Reservoir YMCA

BEST MASSAGE THERAPIST

Rachel Garletts, Well Being Massage Therapy

Tiffany Melton, Massage by Tiffany

Lacey Clark, The Wellness Spa - WINNER

BJ Bolton, Massage Indigo

Riley Ware, Massage by Riley

Retail &

Personal

Services

BEST CAR DEALERSHIP

Bob Boyte Honda

Gray Daniels Auto Family

Fowler Buick GMC - WINNER

Noel Daniels Motor Company

Roger Dabbs Chevrolet

BEST DRUG STORE

Brandon Discount Drugs - WINNER

Polks Drugs at Crossgates

Olde Towne Drugs

Rhodes & Robby Rexall Drugs

Marty’s Pharmacy

BEST FLORIST

Willow Blu - WINNER

Simply Southern Celebrations

Chapman’s Florist

Green Floral

Kathy Floyd, Kroger at Crossgates

BEST GIFT SHOP

O! How Cute

Apple Annie’s

Mockingbird Marketplace - WINNER

AllyOops

Sweet Peas

BEST JEWELRY STORE

Crossgates Jewelers

Crown Jewelers - WINNER

Jackson Jewelers

Newton’s Fine Jewelry

Courtyard Manufacturing Jewelers

Hometown Rankin • 45


Nominees & Winners

BEST FURNITURE STORE

Miskelly Furniture - WINNER

D Noblin Furniture

T & D Furniture

Ross Furniture

Purposely Imperfect

BEST PROMOTIONAL ITEMS

One Way Promotional Products

Pollchaps Screen Print

& Embroidery - WINNER

BMARKETED – Benavides, LLC

Hallett Marketing

SignMark

BEST HAIR SALON

The Glossary Salon

Shear Shack

Liv the Salon

Hair & Company - WINNER

Ann’s Hair & Spa

BEST HAIR STYLIST

Kerri Welch, The Glossary Salon

Sydney Shoemaker, Liv the Salon

Regennia Pearce, Dixie District Outfitters &

Salon

Jamie Windham, Shear Shack

Brittany Whatley, All About You - WINNER

BEST NAIL SALON

Guitar Nails, Pearl

ZaZa Nails

Infinity Nails - WINNER

Classic Nails

Rouge Nails

BEST CHILDREN’S BOUTIQUE

Bella Couture

Southern Raised - WINNER

Tootsie Trends Boutique

Lil Ms Sew & Sew

Diva Dolls Boutique

BEST WOMEN’S BOUTIQUE

Red Wagon Boutique - WINNER

Tootsie Trends Boutique

Bella Couture

Dixie District Outfitters

Flawless Boutique

BEST RESALE/CONSIGNMENT SHOP

Traditions

Forget Me Nots - WINNER

Ohh! My Gifts & Things

Wear it’s At

Samaritans Heart Resale Shop

Professionals

BEST ACCOUNTANT

Kimberly Shelton, CPA - WINNER

Dennis Meek & Company

Garrett & Garrett, PC

Windham & Lacey, PLLC

Becky Niemeyer, CPA

BEST ATTORNEY

David Ringer, Ringer Law Firm

Amanda Spencer, Spencer & Lingold

Craig Slay, Palmer & Slay

Shannon Elliott,

Elliott Law Firm - WINNER

Prentiss Grant, Attorney at Law

BEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION

Copiah Bank, Richland

Community Bank, Brandon

Trustmark Bank, Brandon - WINNER

Priority One Bank, Brandon

BankPlus, Dogwood

BEST HEATING & COOLING

Current Solutions Electrical

Pure Air Consultants

Crowder Refrigeration

AC Doctors - WINNER

AirCo-Heating & Air Conditioning Services

BEST HOME INSPECTION COMPANY

Magnolia Home Inspection

A Wise Inspection

Echols Home Inspection

Clear View Property

Alpha Building Consultants - WINNER

BEST HOME IMPROVEMENT

SUPPLIER

Kitchen Kreations - WINNER

The Stone Source

Roberts Interiors

Superior Home Improvements

Sebren Home Improvement

46 • February 2019


BEST INSURANCE AGENT/

COMPANY

Adam Richards, Farm Bureau Insurance

Clancy Walker, Insurance Protection

Specialists - WINNER

Don Bass, State Farm Insurance

Eddie Grimes, Allstate Insurance

Justin Ashley, Alfa Insurance

BEST LANDSCAPER

Ambiance Landscape - WINNER

Southern Brees Lawn Care

Southernscapes Landscape & Design

Miller’s Landscape

Murphy’s Lawn & Landscape

BEST NEW HOME BUILDER

Burrell Properties - WINNER

S & S Home Builders

Deep South Custom Homes

Iron Creek Custom Homes

Lyles Signature Homes

BEST PHOTOGRAPHER

Rene Churchill Photography

Betty Hodge, By His Grace Photography

Vicki Ross Photography

Destiny Tillery Photography - WINNER

Sharon Coker Photography

BEST REALTOR

Mandy Castle, McKee Realty

Barbie Steverson, Crye-Leike - WINNER

Haley Winningham, Hopper Properties

Kris Koziol, Keller Williams

Edwayne and Layla Hutton,

Three Rivers Real Estate

BEST TIRE &

AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE

49 Tire & Auto

Gleason’s Tire & Auto

The Tire Depot, Flowood - WINNER

Rapid Oil Change, Flowood

Pete Patrick Tire & Auto

BEST VETERINARIAN

Florence Animal Clinic

Hometown Veterinary Services

Flowood Pet Hospital & Resort

Brandon Animal Hospital - WINNER

Dogwood Animal Hospital & Pet Resort

Entertainment

BEST LOCAL BAND

Burnham Road

South of 20

Stace and Cassie Shook

Luckenbach Willie Tribute Band - WINNER

Chasin Dixie

BEST GOLF COURSE

Patrick Farms

Castlewoods Country Club

Bay Pointe Resort & Golf Club - WINNER

Pearl Municipal Golf Course

The Refuge

BEST PLACE FOR

BIRTHDAY PARTIES

Pump it Up

Party Safari

High Heaven - WINNER

Launch Trampoline

Winner Circle Park

Miscellaneous

BEST PLACE TO WORK

SMALL BUSINESS (1-50 EMPLOYEES)

Copiah Bank, Richland

Discovery Christian School - WINNER

Ambiance Landscape

Flowood Pet Hospital & Resort

Liv the Salon

MEDIUM BUSINESS (50-100 EMPLOYEES)

Capital Ortho

Region 8, Brandon - WINNER

Precision Spine

Country Meat Packers

Community Bank, Brandon

LARGE BUSINESS (100 + EMPLOYEES)

Rankin County School District - WINNER

Merit Health, Rankin

Irby Construction

KLLM Transport

GI Associates

FRIENDLIEST PUBLIC OFFICIAL

Jay Grace, Richland Police Department

Drew Decker,

Brandon Police Department - WINNER

Steve Gaines, Supervisor District 4

Mayor Pat Sullivan, City of Richland

Mayor Jake Windham, City of Pearl

BEST NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATION

Brandon Futbol Club

Wounded Warriors of MS

Mustard Seed - WINNER

Ever Reaching Community Outreach

Jr. Auxiliary of Rankin County

Hometown Rankin • 47


ROW, ROW, ROW PAST FEES.

CHECKING HERE IS FREE!

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48 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 49


Thank you

for voting

#$3

Karen Seago, NP

#$3

as the

Best Nurse

Practitioner

in Rankin

County.

187 Doctors Drive • Pearl

601-932-8722

50 • February 2019

MHMG Merit Health Seago Best Nurse Practitioner 4x5.indd 1

1/23/19 12:40 PM


The Junior Auxiliary of Rankin County

presents the

33rd Annual Children’s Benefit Gala

A NIGHT IN

Nar$ia

Featuring Live Music By

Style Entertainment

Saturday, March 2nd

6 p.m.

The Westin Hotel

Downtown Jackson

Silent & Live Auctions

$60 Per Person - Formal Attire

Valet Parking Available

Proceeds to benefit the children of Rankin County

Hometown Rankin • 51


52 • February 2019


A Vision

for Success

Dani Edmonson

Being alive for well over fifty years is one

thing. But being in business for 57 years is

downright amazing! Dr. John H. Mohr, an

optometrist in Pearl, Mississippi, has been

serving the public since 1961. He, along with

his wife Betty, have been providing eye and

vision care to hundreds of patients they

consider extended family.

This story presents many intriguing

elements. How do husband and wife manage

to run a business together for years and remain

a couple? How has Dr. Mohr maintained the

stamina to serve his patient base for so long?

What does a couple who live and work together

do for fun? The answers will warm your heart.

Betty explains that John used to have a

tremendously deep voice when they met and

then married in 1975. “He developed cancer of

the vocal chords when he was 43,” she began.

“He told me he needed my help because having

lost one vocal chord made his voice weak and

sometimes hard to understand.” She owned a

beauty salon in Jackson at the time but didn’t

think twice about selling it to help her husband.

“We were so blessed that he only ended up

losing one vocal chord,” she said. That was 50

years ago. In addition to running a successful

business, between them they have six children,

10 grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.

To some, being with a spouse all day, every day,

would seem daunting. But not to the Mohrs.

“One day a patient said to me, ‘Well honey,

at least you don’t have to go home with him.’

I told her, ‘But I do!’” Betty laughed. And to that

Dr. Mohr looked at his wife and said, “She has

been an exceptional wife.”

So how does the now 90-year-old Mohr

explain his long-term success? “I’m a throwback.

I operate the way doctors used to practice,” he

said. Betty added, “We still get calls at home,

and he has come to the office to meet patients

after hours when necessary.” It doesn’t hurt

that he was the very first optometrist to open

up shop in Pearl in 1961. “Now there are at least

a dozen,” he said. But they both say that much

of their business is repeat because their patients

appreciate the special care they receive. “Most

of his patients continue to see him because he

does his own work from start to finish,” Betty

said. “Many patients tell us that their eye exam

was the best because of the time he takes to sit

and talk to the each one.”

Employee Martha Stogner of eight years said

coming to work for Dr. Mohr was a blessing.

“I previously worked at UMMC in the

department of ophthalmology,” she said.

“We are truly a family and he has been a

Hometown Rankin • 53


lessing to me and so many other people. We

have patients that start seeing him at a young

age and those that are in their 90s – they won’t

go see anyone else.”

The Indiana-born-but-Jackson-raised

Mohr got into this profession simply because

he enjoyed his own eye exam experience so

many years ago. “I quit my job in auto part

sales and went to school at the Southern

College of Optometry in Memphis, Tennessee.”

He claims to remain in business because he

dreads retirement. “I’m kind of a hyper person,”

he said.

In addition to being a long-standing member

of the Rankin County business community,

Dr. Mohr has done his fair share of community

service. He has been the head of numerous

optometric committees and associations. He has

also been active in local politics, most notably

as a part of the group that fought for Pearl to

become a city in 1973. “The effort took five

years,” he said. “L. D. Boling and I formed a

committee to fight for the corporation of Pearl,

and we finally succeeded.”

When you don’t see Dr. Mohr seeing eye

patients or just shopping around town with

Betty, you may look up and see him flying in

his Cessna 180. “It’s my hobby,” he said smiling.

“Although I don’t pilot it anymore, I still enjoy

being in the aircraft.”

The Mohrs are long-time residents of

Brandon, and plan to keep serving eye patients

from around the area for as long as they can. l

54 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 55


56 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin

READER

SPOTLIGHT

Liz

WELLS

Why did you decide to make

Rankin County your home?

Shortly after getting married, my husband

Brian and I moved from Hattiesburg,

Mississippi, to Rankin County for him to

start working for Flowood Fire Department.

How long have you lived in Rankin

County?

This month will make eight years.

Tell us about your family.

Brian and I will be married nine years this

month. We live in Florence with our two

children, Morgan (5) and Graham (3). Brian

has been in the fire service for over thirteen

years and started Wells Carpentry in 2014.

We enjoy spending our time together and

being involved in our local community.

What is your favorite memory of living

in Rankin County?

We have some great memories here in Rankin

County. We have been able to start our family,

buy our first home and launch our careers all

while calling Rankin County home.

Where are your three favorite places

to eat in Rankin County?

We love Amerigo, Mudbugs, and the new

Genna Benna’s in downtown Brandon.

What are some fun things to do in

Rankin County on the weekends?

Having small children, we love to be outside.

Rankin County holds some of our favorite

parks and picnic spots we visit frequently.

A favorite outing for the kids is getting to

visit their dad at the fire station.

Share some things you enjoy doing in

your spare time.

Painting has become a newfound hobby.

I also enjoy reading in my spare time.

Who is someone you admire and why?

My Mother, Kim Ewoldt. I have never

known anyone who carried themselves

with so much strength while also having the

ability to be transparent and kind. She also

raised five children and after having two

of my own, she will always be my hero!

Where do you see yourself ten years

from now?

I see myself still living in Rankin County,

working for Community Bank. I have so

much peace in this season of my life, there

isn’t much I’d want to change in the years

to come.

What are three things on your

bucket list?

Travel to Scotland. Complete the Spartan

Trifecta. Go on a family vacation to Disney

World.

What is your favorite childhood

memory?

One of my favorite memories was when I

traveled to India with my dad. I was sixteen

and we partnered with local missionaries.

Our church supported and built a church.

Seeing their culture and lifestyle was so

beautiful and humbling. The individual

people we met were incredible.

If you could give us one encouraging

quote, what would it be?

If you know me very well, you have probably

heard me say this, “You can teach what you

know, but you can only reproduce who you

are.” This is something my dad taught my

siblings and me growing up, and something

I remind myself of daily. Character and

integrity outlast any form of knowledge you

could ever gain.

What is your favorite thing about

Hometown Magazines?

I love that the vision and heart of Hometown

Magazine is to connect to the local businesses

and people that we see every day. l

Hometown Rankin • 57


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58 • February 2019


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Hometown Rankin • 59


Hometown

VETERAN Spotlight

Brigadier General (retired)

Mitchell Brown

United States Army

What were the circumstances that got you into the military?

I had graduated high school and had no idea what I wanted to. My mother

frequently asked if I had decided where I was going to college. You can imagine

the shock on her face the evening I walked into the kitchen, where she was

preparing supper, and she asked again. My response was I had joined the

Army that day. My father only asked if I was sure that was what I wanted to do –

I said yes. My father retired from the Army five years earlier. He had landed at

Normandy, survived the Battle of the Bulge and three other major campaigns.

I could see he was concerned, since Vietnam was all in the news. However,

I can truthfully say he never encouraged me to join or not join.

What years did you serve and where?

My initial enlistment was from ‘69 thru ‘71. I trained at Fort Polk, Fort Knox, and

Fort Benning, and served overseas in Vietnam and Germany. I had planned on

becoming a helicopter pilot, but since there was a backlog at pilot school and it

would be 18 months before I started training, I decided to become a paratrooper,

thus insuring I would go to Vietnam. If I was going to serve, I was going to fulfill

my full duty as a soldier. During my following years in the military, I went to every

state and territory, except Guam, traveled to Central America, South America,

and much of Europe.

What was your biggest adjustment to military life?

It was really no adjustment for me. As the son of a career soldier, I had been

around it most of my life. I lived on and around military instillations, packed and

moved numerous times, changed schools each time (sometimes in the middle

of the year and three times one year}, and had to leave friends and make new

ones every time. On active duty I knew the officers and non-commissioned

officers (NCOs) arose every morning and put on their pants just as my father

had done. I wasn’t intimidated, but I still performed as was expected of me.

Describe a standout experience while in the military.

There are far too many for me to claim one more than others. The military offers

you many opportunities to excel and achieve recognition, but most of all to gain

self-esteem and self-confidence. I know I still find it hard to believe I went from a

private to a general officer. Sure there were good times and bad times and in

some situations bad times and worse times. It is hard to explain how you remember,

so vividly, a moment of laughter that occurred in a terrible environment—just as

you remember trying to care for a wounded buddy. I remember the exhilaration

of jumping from a plane in the middle of the night with a weapon and a hundred

pounds of equipment strapped to me, with no guarantees about what was below.

There is one experience from Vietnam that I have told more than once. Most

veterans are not much on war stories. In fact, the sign at the entrance to our

ranger compound said, “No War Stories Please”. I will briefly describe what

occurred. I was a member of a ranger company and assigned to a six-man

hunter-killer team. When you were so few, making contact with a large enemy

force did not leave much hope of a good outcome, and that is what happened

on this mission. We had engaged a point element of a larger force, searched the

bodies, and took off through the brush carrying anything of intelligence value.

The same afternoon, we had contact again, but it was not intended. It was then

we knew we were being hunted by a larger force. We moved through the evening

and after putting fresh camouflage on our faces and hands, started out again at

morning’s first light. We were moving very cautiously, as the enemy appeared to

be everywhere. In no time at all, they were actually pursuing us through a draw

between a river and a steep hill. As we moved, we remained alert as to what was

ahead, and what we saw was not good. We could see a large number of enemy

soldiers coming down a ridge to our front, which would naturally cut us off.

Bad guys in front and bad guys behind is not a desirable situation. Realizing we

could not get away, we set up in a small circle, with our rucksacks in front of us.

There was no position available for us to use in the defense, so this circle of six

men with rucksacks, and in thick brush, was going to be our last stand. I remember

looking around at my teammates. They were sitting calmly waiting for the

inevitable. I remember the grins I saw as our eyes met. All of them had that look

on their face—we knew when we volunteered for the rangers this could happen.

I looked to my immediate left and saw my friend there was praying to beat heck.

Observing him, I thought that was probably a good idea. I remember looking up

at a little puffy white cloud, the only one saw. I made a lot of promises, if He would

just get us out of this. About this same time, we heard the bad guys closing in on

us. We readied ourselves and they moved in on us. I had my sights on one not

more than ten to fifteen feet from me. When he looked my way, I knew he was

going down. As he moved around from my right to left, I kept expecting to hear

one of the others open fire. I had not pulled the trigger yet, because he had not

yet seen me.

60 • February 2019


In what felt like forever (though in reality it was only seconds) the entire line of

bad guys had moved right by us. It seemed absolutely impossible. Not a shot was

fired. It was like when Moses parted the sea and they walked around both sides

of our little circle. As soon as they were out of sight, we threw our rucks on our

backs and headed as fast and as quietly as possible back the way we had come.

That afternoon we made it to a location where a helicopter could land and we

were extracted and taken back to the company area. I’d like to be able to say I

kept all l of those promises I made, but I’m not perfect. However, I believe we

survived because He intervened and not just because we were lucky.

What was your least favorite thing about being in the military?

I suppose the number of weekends, holidays, anniversaries, birthdays, and

other events I missed because I was gone. I would have liked to participate in

these family events. However, it always made the ones I did make seem even

more special.

What did the military teach you that has become a permanent part of your life?

Loyalty, duty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, and personal courage

were the Army values when I retired, and something I took with me. There has

only been one perfect person on this earth, thus, I’ve certainly experienced

difficulty trying to live up to these values. Still, having them in place to guide me,

both then and now, has made a significant difference in my life. If others just tried

to live these same values, we would not have the embarrassing political and civil

climate we have today.

Is there anything you would like to see changed in the military?

The military changes constantly over someone’s career. I can’t begin to describe all

the different uniforms I wore in my 42 years. Technology has made such dramatic

changes in weapon lethality and life-saving equipment, that it is more than many

of us old soldiers could have imagined. However, it’s not so much changes to the

military organization that I’d like to see, but the utilization of our military I would

like to see changed. In the conflict prior to Vietnam, and in the first Desert War,

we saw what our military can do if given a mission with a desired end state, and

then left to accomplish the mission. We have been plagued with tasking without

an end state, and mismanaged by politicians. Victory is not attainable if there is

no end state. The military doesn’t go to war unless the government sends it.

When the military is sent, let it do its job and then come home. I remember an

old Special Forces soldier and Medal of Honor recipient told about one of his

experiences. After concluding his presentation, a lady in the audience, that he

guessed was about his age, asked why he went to Vietnam. His reply was

simply, “I thought you knew—because you sent me.”

How did your family adjust to your time in the military?

They had lived the military life for over 20 years, so they knew what it would be

like for me. I don’t believe they felt I would have any problem adjusting, and I

didn't. It was difficult for them when I was deployed. A father who personally

experienced war in Europe and my mother who waited for his return, both had to

relive some of the anxiety previously experienced. I remember my father walking

out to the plane with me when I was leaving for Vietnam. He shook my hand,

looked me in the eye, and said, “Don’t be a hero, but don’t be a coward.”

The look on his face said much more.

Who was your favorite

commander and why?

I wouldn’t dare try and identify

my favorite commander. I had

those I admired and respected

more than others. I had those I thought

more capable than others. What I came to

realize is that each of them had strengths and

weaknesses. I sorted through all of that and tried to determine which qualities

I wanted to emulate.

One commander I will always remember with great fondness was my first

company commander in Special Forces. I was soon to be promoted to sergeant

first class, which was pretty good after only eight years. My father had been an

NCO and that was what I expected to be. However, the major had a different idea.

He and my A-team commander called me into his office, and after a relatively

short discussion, told me I was to report to Fort Benning, Georgia, to complete

officer candidate school. He said it. He didn’t really ask for my feelings about it,

and I accepted it as an order.

I had the privilege, some years later, of being the general officer officiating his

funeral and presenting the flag to his wife. I would never have achieved the rank

of a general officer had he not encouraged me to attend OCS.

Would you recommend military careers to young people making career choices?

Absolutely! The military experience builds character. It is a great environment for

anyone to mature and give thought to the future. You learn values to carry with

you the rest of your life. You learn self-confidence, you learn teamwork, you learn

initiative, and most of all you just mature. When you leave the military, if you

decide to leave, you will be much more capable of standing on your own two

feet. When I returned from my initial enlistment, I went to college. I was so much

more mature than my fellow classmates and had no problems focusing on what

my purpose was in school. I had the self-discipline to accomplish the mission.

Describe your thoughts when you join in pledging allegiance to the flag?

I have a flood of thoughts going through my head. Every time I still see myself as a

young boy in school standing by my desk with my hand over my heart. I remember

my friends from the military. I remember my ranger buddies in Vietnam. I think

how lucky I am to be here and how I wish all of them could be. I promise never to

forget the sacrifices our military members made from the birth of this nation to

those sacrificing right now. I feel tremendous PRIDE.

When it is over, I try to calm my anger as I think of the the ungrateful, uncaring,

and ignorant people who have given nothing to this country and done nothing to

earn the privilege of being an American. Yet they disrespect the flag, the pledge,

and the memory of the fallen. Service members come home every day. Some with

a flag over them and some with the memories they will have for life. They don’t

see themselves as heroes, but as patriotic Americans. I just can’t understand why

the people in this country can’t take a moment and say thanks and be respectful.

Arlo Guthrie has a song called “When a Soldier Makes it Home.” Take time to

listen to it. Then ask yourself why anyone feels they have right to disrespect those

who have fallen and those who survived. l

Hometown Rankin • 61


©2014 Ergon, Inc. All rights reserved.

ergon.com

62 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 63


The

Science

of

Kindness

Mary Ann Kirby

64 • February 2019


The day I wrote this, George H.W.

Bush, 41st President of the United States,

had just been laid to rest. His death, at

94-years-old and mere months after

the death of his beloved wife of 73 years,

dominated the news cycle for days.

But while President Bush Sr. may have

been known, politically, for his foreign

policy, it was his inherent kindness and

deep compassion for others that stands

out as what will, likely, define his legacy.

I want to be like George.

The world, and humanity as a whole,

feels like it’s under siege these days.

Anger, insults, protests, polar opposition,

have never told you this, but…,” and

proceed to tell the most amazing stories

of kindness that Jack, a 13-year-old kid,

had shown them, repeatedly. These

stories were shared over and over, and

time and time again. I can’t imagine a

greater legacy—nor the comfort and

beaming pride his family must have felt.

I want to be like Jack.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to

actually measure how a kind gesture fully

impacts society. What if it’s shared with

a stranger? Or on a whim? But each time

we release kindness out into the world,

no matter how small, a powerful surge of

With so many benefits, every act of

kindness is a healthy one. It’s a scientific

fact!

Most humans are born with a natural

sense of compassion–and while it varies

wildly from person to person, we’ve all

known people that just seem genetically

altruistic. But for the rest of us, observing

kindness and then emulating that same

kindness may be the most effective way

to guarantee its continuation. And

without a doubt, cultivating kind behavior

in our kids emboldens them to grow into

socially conscious adults who will carry

forth the kindness mission.

In a world where you can be anything, be kind . . .

partisanship, and the epic offensive nature

of society, overall, seems to prevail as an

overarching theme in the news and on

social media. And while I know I should

probably stay up-to-date on current

events, sometimes even the headline is

more than I can bear. I have to limit the

time I spend with media, TV, and

internet in particular, and select only a

few stories to read in full–usually

reserved for pop culture, cute animal

stories, and celebrity news.

I’ve become unapologetically illinformed.

One amazing story I recently did read,

however, was about a local 13-year-old

named Jack Dunaway that had passed

away, sending his family and friends into

the agonizing throes of grief and loss.

Immediately upon his death, and in the

days that followed, fellow students and

classmates who knew Jack, some better

than others, began pouring out with stories

about how he had been so incredibly kind

to them. They’d say things like, “You

probably don’t know this…,” or “I may

energy pulses through humanity uplifting

everyone in its path! This chain reaction

serves a purpose that extends far beyond

just a “feel good” factor. In fact, to fully

understand the true impact of a compassionate

act, we need to understand the

science of kindness.

Yep, kindness involves science.

There’s scientific evidence regarding

the impact that it has on both the giver

and the receiver. Kindness stimulates

the production of serotonin in your

brain–which calms you down and

creates feelings of happiness. And it not

only boosts serotonin in the giver and

the receiver, but everyone else that

witnesses it!

Kindness also causes the release of

endorphins and produces oxytocin which

promotes social bonding, exerts that

immediate calming effect, increases trust

and generosity, and strengthens the

immune system. It actually minimizes

stress because it has been determined

that compassionate people have 23% less

cortisol in their systems. Cortisol is the

infamous “stress hormone.”

If nothing else, be like you want your

kids to turn out.

So in 1989, in his inaugural address,

the 41st President of the United States

said this: “We cannot hope only to leave

our children a bigger car, or a bigger

bank account. We must hope to give

them a sense of what it means to be a

loyal friend, a loving parent, a citizen

who leaves his home and his neighborhood

and his town better than he found

it. What do we want the men and women

who work with us to say when we are no

longer here? That we were more driven

to succeed than anyone around us? Or

that we stopped to ask if a sick child had

gotten better, and stayed a moment,

there, to trade a word of friendship.”

We possess a powerful ability to choose

kindness–and whether it’s random or

intentional, free or extravagant, the way

we choose to express it is as unique as

our fingerprints. And by adopting a

more compassionate mindset full of

intentional actions, we can make the

world a better place, one act of kindness

at a time. l

Hometown Rankin • 65


66 • February 2019


SMILE

www.drsarahlangston.com

Hometown Rankin • 67


68 • February 2019


Camille Anding

Meet Deasia Lindley Monet Scott.

She’s twenty years old, and a quadriplegic

since age four when she was thrown from

the front seat of her aunt’s vehicle after

being hit head on by a driver who fell asleep.

She recalls a man getting her out of the

wreck and putting her on the ground.

That lifesaver was a doctor who performed

an emergency tracheotomy when he saw

she wasn’t breathing.

When she woke in the pediatric intensive

care unit in Batson Children’s Hospital, she

couldn’t move her arms or legs. Her mother

told her, “You broke your spine and neck,

and that’s why you can’t move.”

Four years later, Deasia was moved to

2C, another floor for intensive care patients.

That’s been her home for the last twelve

years. Her home/hospital room is crowded

with life-supporting medical equipment,

a hospital bed, and walls lined with her

paintings. Art teachers have helped her train

to clasp the artist brush with her mouth to

paint images that brighten her room and

give her a sense of accomplishment. Nurses,

Deasia’s second family, move in and out of

the room checking on Deasia and greeting

their sweet friend. They are also considerate

to help Deasia with her homework.

Even though Deasia’s limbs are bound

in lifeless paralysis, her mind is alert and

perceptive, and her heart beats with a

compassion and tenderness that’s unthinkable

for her circumstances.

Read some thoughts from her journal

that she mouth-typed with a wand onto

her iPad:

“The hardest thing about living in this

hospital is that every day for the last twelve

years I have seen patients suffering. Some

have IVs; some are in wheel chairs. All my

life I have been hanging around sick kids.

It is so hard seeing patients suffer...but

there is one good thing about my wreck that

I know. Ever since I was a little girl I didn’t

know what I was capable of until I came to

this hospital. I didn’t know I had a talent.

Hometown Rankin • 69


70 • February 2019


I always drew as a little girl. But when I came

to this hospital I painted with my mouth,

and I got really good at it. When I was in my

wreck, God taught me something—that we

can’t run away from our destiny. Some people

say we can’t change the past, but they are

wrong. We can by starting fresh and forgiving

others. That’s how we can change the past.

And I learned that every time we suffer, it

makes us stronger. And if we didn’t suffer,

it wouldn’t be fair that Jesus was the only

person that carried this burden by dying on

the cross. We don’t suffer because of Jesus—

we suffer for Him.”

Deasia possesses an amazing faith in her

Savior. She gives her grandmother credit for

encouraging her as a young quadriplegic to

love and trust Jesus. Her journal speaks often

of her condition and how she deals with it:

“Every day I endure the pain. The only

reason I do is because when you’re in pain it

makes you stronger. And I feel Jesus’ pain

when I feel my pain. He was in so much pain

when He died on the cross and bled. Jesus

shed his blood for us. And when I get my

blood drawn once a month, I do it for Jesus.”

Her journal also shares personal

experiences: “Sometimes at night, I wake up

in the middle of the night, and I can’t go

back to sleep. I just stay in my room and look

up at the ceiling and then I call the nurse to

come into the room and open my blinds and

then I see a big, white, shiny moon shining

so bright. The moon is beautiful. Every time

I go to bed, I think about me walking outside

looking up at the stars and my eyes twinkle

when I see the stars. That’s what I imagine

when I see the stars.”

In 2010, Deasia had a celebrity visitor,

the first lady of Mississippi, Deborah Bryant.

Mrs. Bryant and Deasia, now close friends,

laugh about their first meeting. Mrs. Bryant

was visiting each of the patients, and when

she walked into Deasia’s room, she was met

with the question, “Who are you?”

Mrs. Bryant answered, “I’m the governor’s

wife.” From that moment a unique bonding

began and with each visit the two became

closer. Mrs. Bryant learned that Deasia loves

history and the Bible. When she watches TV,

she watches one of Mrs. Bryant’s favorite

stations – HGTV. They also share a love for

chocolate chip cookies.

Through a group of special individuals

having a concern for Deasia’s confining

quarters and three others on her floor in

similar condition, an idea was presented to

Mrs. Bryant for a home for medically fragile

children. Mrs. Bryant wholeheartedly

endorsed the idea and joined in the planning.

Blueprints have been drawn for the 30-bed

pediatric skilled nursing facility and will be

located near the Mississippi Library

Commission and Mississippi Schools for the

Blind and the Deaf. A variety of inpatient

and outpatient services and therapies will be

offered for the patients.

The facility will work closely with

Children’s of Mississippi, the pediatric arm

of the University of Mississippi Medical

Center, to help families make the transition

from Batson Children’s Hospital to their

homes smoothly and safely.

This amazing facility to be provided by

The Mississippi Center for Medically Fragile

Children, a nonprofit organization based in

Jackson, Mississippi, is a $12 million project

with $3 million in private funds already raised.

Mrs. Bryant has shared the good news

with Deasia, and she is already anticipating

the move into a home-like environment

surrounded by a wooded area with walkways

wide enough for her to “motor” along them.

The founders of the organization are

appealing to any and all to help make this a

reality.

Deasia journaled, “My favorite verse

in the Bible is: ‘For everything there is a

season, and a time for every purpose under

the heaven.’” Mrs. Bryant and Deasia Scott

are trusting and praying that this verse’s

“everything” includes a real home and

address for patients like Deasia. Hospitals

provide invaluable services, but they were

never meant to be called home.

The splashpage for the MS Center for

Medically Fragile Children is live.

Donors can visit www.msfragilechildren.org

Or mail checks to: MCMFC, PO Box 1122,

Jackson, MS 39215

Hometown Rankin • 71


Deasia’s

Birthday

Party

December 5, 2018 / Governor's Mansion

72 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 73


74 • February 2019


Terica H. Jackson, M.D.

SUSAN MARQUEZ

As a child, Terica Herron Jackson’s father, Edward

Herron, would tell her that an ounce of prevention was

worth a pound of cure. She took that saying to heart,

as today she focuses on preventive medicine as an

internal medicine physician at Baptist Premier in Jackson,

Mississippi.

Jackson’s fascination with medicine began when

she was just eight or nine years old. Playing with her

sister and cousin in their grandfather’s barn, Jackson

flipped off a board and cut her toe. “It was just a little

gash. It didn’t require medical attention. My exceptional

mother cared for it and it healed and soon I forgot

all about it.” Almost a year later, when her mom was

putting on Jackson’s shoe, she noticed that something

wasn’t right. “There was a growth at the site of the

original injury. We went to the doctor and discovered

there was a foreign object deep within the laceration,

and my body had sequestered it off, leaving the

visible nodule on the skin surface. My interest in what

the body could do was piqued.”

She ended up having surgery on her foot, and,

in the hospital, Jackson met a kind anesthesiologist.

“She had a calm air about her. She walked me through

everything that was happening. I was positively

terrified, but her presence helped to quell my fears.

The care and confidence she exuded spoke volumes.”

It was then that Jackson decided she wanted to be

an anesthesiologist when she grew up. She wanted

to help someone else who would inevitably need the

same level of care later.

Throughout high school at Tylertown High,

Jackson felt most in her element when in science

classes. She majored in biochemistry/pre-med at Ole

Miss with a minor in Spanish. After college, she went

home to Jayess to prepare for the medical college

admission test. “At that time, internet was not readily

available in Jayess, so I chose to utilize the service in

the high school library as I still had contacts there.”

While there one day, Jackson was asked if she’d like

to fill the Spanish teacher position. “I saw a need, so

I got certified to teach, took a few more courses, and

for the next four years I taught at my old high school.

Although I enjoyed what I was doing, it was not my

passion. Healthcare was. And as such, I renewed my

pursuit of a career in medicine. ”

Her efforts were rewarded and in the fall of 2010,

she was accepted to University of Mississippi School

of Medicine. “While I initially had a desire to become

an anesthesiologist, I began to develop other interests

as I completed my clinical rotations. I soon realized

that I had a passion for both women’s health and preventive

medicine and that my passion for both would

be best encompassed as an internist as I fully enjoyed

the breadth of knowledge and the spectrum of care

involved in primary care.”

“Internal medicine is all about problem-solving. I

never know what to expect with each patient encounter.

They may look fantastic on paper, with great labs

and vitals, but when I talk to them, I hear a different

story. I have to utilize my knowledge and skills to

elucidate the etiology of symptoms, while taking into

account both subjective and objective data.”

Jackson’s patients are 18 years old and up. “The

appeal of internal medicine, to me, is being a part of

the patient’s life on a full spectrum. I have the unique

opportunity to get to know them, celebrate their joys

and successes, help navigate them through invasive

treatment options, and even discuss end-of-life care

when that time comes. But to do all that, I have to be

a good listener. One of my favorite quotes comes

from one of my mentors in medical training: ‘Patients

are true storytellers. They come in with pathology,

we interpret physiology and prescribe pharmacology,

but their stories are what we remember. Patients

shape our experiences and how we practice medicine.

People don’t care how much you know until they know

how much you care.’”

Having a team approach is key to Jackson’s

philosophy on patient care. “My relationship with my

patients is such that we are equal members of the

same team. Their success is my success. An internal

medicine physician works with a patient, and their

family, for a lifetime. It’s an area of medicine where

relationships are an instant and essential part of the

dynamic. I tell patients that they should look at their

doctor as a part of their family. They need to be able

to tell me anything and everything, and they need to

expect that I’ll provide truthful, knowledgeable and

compassionate advice. I’m both vested and invested

in the health and wellness of my patients. We are truly

players on the same team.”

Jackson is married to Jason Jackson, and the

couple has a one-year-old daughter, Kinsley. “Playing

with her and hearing her say ‘Mama’ never gets old,”

Jackson says. When she has time, Jackson always

enjoys spending time with her family. “I especially

love going hunting with my husband. It’s not really

about the hunting, but about spending time with him

and enjoying the outdoors together.”

Hometown Rankin • 75


76 • February 2019

Hometown Magazines

congratulates

Commissioner Andy Gipson

and the

DIXIE NATIONAL RODEO

for bringing 54 years of true

“Hometown” entertainment

to the state of Mississippi.


Hometown Rankin • 77


78 • February 2019


The Miracle

of Survival

Camille Anding

“Beep...Beep...Beep –

just like you hear and see

on TV,” is how Tavion Grau

described the first sounds

he heard after waking up

from a seven-day coma.

Hometown Rankin • 79


80 • February 2019


He remembers trying to reach down and rub his foot and

seeing, for the first time, that his foot and lower leg weren’t there.

His traumatic story began on May 23, 2015, the first day of

summer vacation after his freshman year in high school. Tavion

was visiting a friend and decided he would ride his friend’s

four-wheeler. An eight-year-old approached him, wanting to learn

how to drive a four wheeler. Tavion offered to teach him, and the

young driver jumped on the vehicle with Tavion sitting behind him.

Shortly after that driving lesson began, a collision, chaos, and

catastrophe, rammed into Tavion’s life, changing it forever.

Tavion only remembers fragments of the collision with a truck

and his pushing the eight-year-old off the four wheeler to safety.

The first rescuers to the scene found the four wheeler under the

truck and Tavion under the four wheeler. Tyson Burelson, a Rankin

County detective, was one of the first to the accident and applied

a tourniquet to Tavion’s mangled leg. Rosa Grau, Tavion’s grandmother,

is quick to credit Burelson for saving her grandson from

bleeding to death.

On Halloween of that year, Tavion was fitted with a prosthetic

limb and took his first steps without crutches since the accident.

His family wasn’t surprised to see him make his way, rather

awkwardly, to his basketball goal. Tavion was back with the sport

he loved!

The dedicated athlete didn’t know how long it would take him

to regain his position on the basketball team, but he wasn’t going to

let an artificial limb stop him. With hard work and the encouragement

from his coach, Darrin Chancellor, Tavion played with the high

school team his junior and senior year.

Some family members were fearful he would be more

susceptible to falls and injuries, But Grandmother Rosa stifled

their fears. “Let my hero play,” she said.

His brother, Toraz, watched him as he hit the court his junior

year. “He shot, was knocked down, but made the shot.”

Tavion is remarkable in that he manifests no bitterness or

self-pity. He maintains, “Everything happens for a reason.” His

only complaint about his prosthetic adjustment is the difficulty in

dressing and getting his pants to fit over the prosthesis. He also

added, “I’m not as quick as I used to be.”

He hopes to try out for basketball at a junior college in the

near future. Meanwhile he focuses on the encouragement from his

friends when they remember the miracle of his survival, “God’s got

something special for you.” And Tavion believes that, too. l

Hometown Rankin • 81


82 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 83


84 • February 2019


Where Two

or More are

Gathered

Leigh Ramsey

Five people sat at a kitchen table taking

notes and sharing a vision. Above them hung

a sign painted with one single word, “Gather.”

Looking back, it was the perfect picture of

what would soon take place. Over the next

few weeks many would gather for a common

purpose, to honor and bless a family that is

dearly loved.

Friends, family, church members, and

co-workers acquainted with the Miley family

had been lifting them in prayer for seven

years. Their oldest son, Harrison, was

diagnosed with Osteosarcoma in 2012, at

just 15 years old. Throughout those years,

a question weighed on everyone’s heart;

“What can we do?” We all knew to pray,

but still a yearning remained to do something

tangible that would minister to the

Miley family.

“God, you know this family and how we

can bless them. Inspire an idea of how we

can support them during this tough time.”

I believe this prayer, or one similar, was

on the hearts of many as we watched this

beloved family receive the news that their

son’s cancer, that had once been in remission,

had returned. After a short stay at St. Jude in

early June of 2018, doctors determined that

this cancer was aggressive, and they could do

nothing more than slow its growth.

Charla Miley, the mother of Harrison,

works at a shop where she has a space set

aside for ministry and encouragement.

Photos of her grandmothers sit in frames on

opposite ends of the room. When conducting

a tour of the space, Charla explained that

she has great memories of sitting on the

porch with her grandmothers. Mrs. Miley

went on to explain how pleasing the porch

was to her senses—the sights, sounds, and

smells. She gave the impression that time on

the porch, for her, was very therapeutic. Her

space at the shop is meant to mimic that

atmosphere for others.

That tour was the inspiration for a

project that would take place over a twomonth

timespan. The prayer request of

how to bless the family was answered with

reminders of Charla’s love of porches,

community, and family. The question was

raised, “Can we build this family a sanctuary

in their own back yard?” The first step was

to get permission from Darren Miley, a pastor

at Pinelake Church, and father to Harrison,

to make alterations to his deck. His answer

was a repeated, “Thank you, thank you.”

As the five people sat at the table

discussing the possibility of taking on the

project, everyone agreed that this could

be done. From a personal perspective,

I envisioned a quick project, where a few

talented contractors would place posts

around the existing deck, add some sort of

roof, and encompass the porch with a screen

for protection from mosquitoes. However,

I’ve seen it play out this way time and time

Hometown Rankin • 85


again–we can make plans and envision

dreams, but God can go far beyond anything

we could ever anticipate. I’m so thankful

His plans for this family were much bigger

than any of us imagined.

Jacob Scott, who took on organizing

construction of the porch, was already

thinking bigger. His heart was to give this

family a beautiful space with a firepit and

a fan. He said we’d need about $7,000 to

complete the project. The rest of the

planning team, Amanda Scott, Carol Cerami,

Clancy Walker, and I, exchanged glances.

We knew this amount of money would be

a challenge to raise in just one month.

However, we kept stating that God can do

anything He wants, so we proceeded with

the project.

The next day, a fundraising account was

opened with the first donation coming from

the banker who assisted in setting it up. That

same day, letters were emailed, and the word

began to spread. The final amount that was

raised came to around $8,500.

In addition to funds being raised,

donations of supplies and labor from local

businesses and talented craftsmen were

offered. A restaurant even donated lunch

for the construction crew. The supplies

that were not donated were discounted.

An architect supplied beautiful plans that,

again, were above and beyond anything we

could’ve imagined. On Friday, September 21,

a team arrived, led by Jacob Scott and Royd

Walker, to begin construction. John Cerami

oversaw the gas and electrical components.

The days that followed were filled with

dozens of people coming to serve in any way

they were able. People of all ages were on the

site building a beautiful porch and creating

a space of sanctuary for the Miley family.

Larry Clegg built an amazing roofed glider

for the yard. Children busied themselves

with small landscaping and cleaning jobs.

Sunday, September 23, there was a

medical emergency with Harrison and the

family needed to rush him to the hospital.

We were told we could stay at their home

and continue work on the porch. Jeff

Holland, who serves with Mr. Miley at

Pinelake Church, asked us to gather to lift

Harrison and his family in prayer. The team

stopped working and formed a circle in the

middle of the yard. After several minutes

of prayer and a word of encouragement for

the construction team, everyone quickly

returned to their work stations.

As the sun was setting, a downpour

of rain began. The spongy yard gave way

to slippery mud puddles. This did not stop

the team of men who remained to finish

framing the porch. They worked despite the

thunderstorm, more determined than ever

to reach the building goal for the day. The

drenched men met their goal around 10

p.m. that night.

The work week began, and volunteers

arrived whenever they had some time to

spare. When Harrison returned home

Monday, September 24, he returned on

hospice care. The morning of Friday,

September 28, we learned that Harrison

had passed away. Everyone worked with a

quieter disposition that day. We continued

toward the goal of finishing the porchbuilding

project. What was once a vision

of a space for the family to make beautiful

memories with their son as he fought cancer,

became a vision of a space of sanctuary for a

family to heal after losing their son.

As the outdoor rug was rolled into place

and the leaves were swept off the new deck

boards, a peace swept over the yard. It was

time to hand the finished product over to

the Miley family. Their extended family

started arriving to attend Harrison’s life

celebration, and the space could now be a

blessing for them.

Harrison did not want a traditional

funeral, but instead, something that more

reflected the way he lived his life. The

evening of the celebration, his father stood

in front of a giant outdoor movie screen on

86 • February 2019


a lawn at Pinelake. He shared inspirational

words about his son’s life. He said that

Harrison was always full of wonder,

amazement and excitement. He shared that

he is filled with joy, knowing the wonder,

amazement and excitement Harrison is

experiencing now.

He told how Harrison wanted a life full

of laughter and song. He wanted to run again,

something he had not been able to do in

several years—and that Harrison wanted a

miracle. His desire was for God to get the

glory for this miracle.

Darren went on to share how, in the

early morning hours of Friday, September 28,

Harrison told his dad he felt very different

and he wasn’t sure that he was going to

make it. He spent the next several minutes

speaking blessings over each family member.

Darren and Charla, and their sons, Harrison,

Travis and John, stayed together in the living

room that night.

Around 5 a.m., Harrison woke up saying,

“I’ve got to go! And I don’t want people

upset!” Harrison then took out his oxygen

tube and turned his head and laughed out

loud–something he’d not been able to do in

days. He then shouted, “Woohoo, woohoo!”

and looked at his father, closed his eyes, and

he was gone.

Darren shared how it was a sad day for

everyone, but that God gave a good message

in that glimpse of the moment when

Harrison’s faith became Harrison’s reality.

Mr. Miley proudly stated, “My son died an

amazing death. He literally looked in the

face of death and laughed!” He shared how

he is confident that Harrison shouted for

joy as he ran into the arms of his Savior.

And with that, the congregation of

friends and family who had gathered to

celebrate this young man’s life, with tears

of deep joy, deep sorrow, and renewed hope,

proceeded to enjoy one of his all-time

favorite movies, Veggie Tales Jonah, the

sing-along version.

Looking back, the porch project had

very little to do with a porch and a lot to do

with the gathering of people to let a family

know they are surrounded by friends, family

and a church body that loves them dearly.

They have a wonderful space where they

can spend time together healing, and maybe

continue to share their son’s beautiful story.

Those of us who were able to be a

part of the process get to share how

inspiring it was to see each person

bring their talents to this project. Some

gave money, some brought food and

water, some raked and mowed, and

some climbed on the roof with their

nail guns, but all were needed.

Now we’ll be able to share how we

planned a small project, but God put it on

the hearts of His people to do something

big in a very short amount of time. We’ll be

able to share how blessed we are to know

this family.

The Miley family continues to share

Harrison’s story and their observations

of the porch project. You can read their

perspective by checking out Pass the

Patchouli on Facebook and Instagram. l

Hometown Rankin • 87


88 • February 2019


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Hometown Rankin • 89


90 • February 2019


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92 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 93


94 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 95


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Hometown Rankin • 97


98 • February 2019

Mary Ann Kirby


alentine’s Day. My earliest

thoughts of the beloved celebration

date back to the third grade and are

of tiny die-cut cards stating such simple

messages like, “Some-bunny loves you”

and, “Will you be mine?” I can remember

the importance of finding just the right

cards to give out, too. No way did I want

anything too mushy or anything. Picking

out the card was serious business.

They would eventually be placed in

individually decorated brown paper

sacks that were taped to the back of

everyone’s little-person sized desk.

Love was so easy.

Years later, flowers and gigantic

helium balloons were the must-have

order of the day, often delivered to the

workplace. I was never the recipient of

such over-the-top deliveries and was

even admittedly a bit jealous of those

who were. I mean, had they somehow

figured out a secret code to love that I

hadn’t? And how were you supposed to

get those big ol’ things home anyway?

I eventually married in my early

thirties. Prior to that time, while I managed

a couple of fairly decent relationships,

I was mostly single–a lot. I mean, there

were easier things in life than trying to

find a nice guy, you know. Like nailing

jelly to a tree. But it was worth the wait.

I would eventually find my perfect

match and we will celebrate 20 years

of marriage this year. Yay!

So as I look through the thousands

of cards at the store and contemplate

the message I want to convey, I’m

struck by a simple yet powerful thought.

I love us.

In reality, the card I’m looking for

should say, “Happy Valentine’s Day.

Who, in a million years, would have

ever thought that I’d be standing here

for the umteenth time looking through

this sea of red and pink hearts? But,

despite the fact that I get grumpy and

have unpredictable mood swings, you

keep coming home–and I thank you

for that. And even though you’ve yet

to develop the ability to read my mind,

I continue to love you anyway. We’ve

made a pretty darn fabulous kid that,

with any luck, will think marriage is a

good thing after watching us. So, there’s

that. Happy Valentine’s Day! I love us.”

There need to be cards with those

types of “real” messages. Someone

could make a fortune.

Relationships are hard. All relationships.

And they take work. Anything worth

having, does. And while my husband

and I have certainly made a good run so

far, we’ve definitely had our moments–

but we always manage to work through

them. Eventually, we even laugh it off.

Laughter is about connection, and

laughter and love go hand-in-hand.

So while I might not be one of those

that gets $100 worth of helium delivered

to the front door, I will get a funny card

from my fella. It will likely still be in the

store bag from which it was bought

along with one of my favorite Hollywood

gossip-type magazines and a box of

little white powdered donuts. He knows

they’re my favorite and that means the

world to me.

The truth is that love isn’t always

perfect. It isn’t a fairytale or a storybook

and it doesn’t always come easy. Love is

overcoming obstacles, facing challenges,

fighting to be together, holding on, and

never letting go.

It’s a short word that’s easy to spell,

difficult to define, and impossible to live

without. Love is work, but most of all, love

is realizing that every hour, and every

minute, and every second of it was

worth it–because you did it together.

Maybe more marriages would

survive if people knew that sometimes

the “better” comes after the “worse.”

And that’s ok. A successful marriage

requires falling in love many times,

over and over, with the same person.

I’m thankful for my person. I really do

love us. ♥

Hometown Rankin • 99


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100 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 101


The CHALKBOARD

RANKIN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Northwest Elementary

Home - no other word evokes such fond memories.

Home - no other gathering place brings people closer together.

Home - not just a building but a family. That’s what you’ll find

at NWRE.

Home - this year’s homecoming theme was the Amazing Race.

Each float entry represented a location where the Amazing Race

might be found; NWRE brought that race home to Flowood.With

favorite Flowood locations prominently displayed, NWRE’s float

was awarded first place among the other elementary zone schools.

Home - when NWR High School Football team advanced its way

through the competition to reach the playoffs, no bigger fans and

supporters could be found than at the elementary school “down the

hill.” We cheered for our boys, sent cards and videos showing our

love, and even ran with the big flags every step of the way following

touchdowns.

Home - our beautiful campus wouldn’t function without our

beloved custodians. The Caring Cougars Club rallied our students

ensuring our favorite gentlemen would have the most amazing

Christmas ever! What better way to show our support than

throwing a parade in the school featuring our very own Mr. Calvin

and Mr. Rickie!

Home - our teachers LOVE coming to school every day! The

sense of family and unity at NWRE is a treasure to behold. At

NWRE, you’ll find teachers supporting one another through tough

days in the classroom; you’ll find teachers researching ways to help

every student reach their highest potential while still having fun

learning; you’ll even find teachers creating memories outside of

the school.

Someone once said that having a place to go is HOME, having

someone to love is FAMILY, but having both is a BLESSING.

We at NWRE count ourselves very blessed to be a part of the

Flowood family. To community, the parents, the students, and the

faculty - welcome home, we’ve been waiting for you!

102 • February 2019


Richland Elementary

The faculty at Richland Elementary is studying The Wild Card by

Hope and Wade King. This study challenges educators to embrace

their creativity and passion to create a learning environment that

will challenge, engage, and encourage each student. Recently,

Richland Elementary participated in Hope and Wade King’s

Rock Your School Day. It was a day of excitement and learning

like no other!

Kindergarten experienced one of the most magical school

experiences: Polar Express Day. Kindergarten was transformed

into a snow filled winter wonderland. Classes began their journey

parading through the school in their own Polar Express boxcar

engineered by each student. Once they reached their destination,

they enjoyed hot cocoa and marshmallows while watching The Polar

Express film. They also participated in other activities such

as listening to the story, comparing and contrasting the film and

book, creating edible trains, and making conductor hats along with

many other fun filled learning events.

Pumpkin Exploration Day was a challenging and exciting day

of learning for first grade. Teachers transformed their rooms into

learning labs and students rotated to other classrooms to participate

in various pumpkin themed activities centered on standards such as

nonfiction text features and main idea. Throughout the day, students

earned coins that they used to purchase their own pumpkins to take

home.

Second graders expanded their knowledge through a unique

experience. They fine-tuned their critical thinking skills using a

mystery theme. Students participated in “Clue” like activities to

solve the mystery of the missing principal. They completed standards

based learning tasks in order to receive a clue to the mystery. Once

they uncovered the clues, they were able to solve the mystery.

As you can see, no matter the grade level, our students and

teachers continue to make Richland Elementary a great place to

teach, learn, and grow.

Hometown Rankin • 103


The CHALKBOARD

RANKIN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Discovery Christian

Article by DCS student Jaydn Bledsoe

Discovery Christian School is excited about the launch of

Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. The academy is a way for students

to learn how to become leaders in their community and the world.

They learn to break out of their boxes and share their ideas and

that they are not too young to be a leader.

The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy kickoff was held September 28,

2018. Two of their favorite quotes are, “The philosophy of the

school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government

in the next,” and “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more

important to be nice.” They are learning to replace the “I” with

“you,” –to stop worrying more about yourself and worry more

about others, and to take time to care and check on other people.

They talk about their biggest dreams and how they are going

to accomplish them and how they could start now. They are in

the process of fully understanding how to become leaders in our

community and in the world. Also, how to step out, be bold, and

make a positive influence in our community and world. They

cannot wait to change our small little piece of the world or maybe

even the whole world.

These amazing young people are going to do big things.

They are ready to change the world along with their sponsor,

Chick-fil-A/Regions Plaza location and their facilitator,

Kristi Adcock.

Front L-R: Hannah Williams, Sydney Grace Lewis, Wesley Murphy, Madison Goldman,

Mackenzie McCrory, Carly Williams, Gabbie Wade, Annalyce Clark;

Middle L-R: Kristi Adcock, Savannah Wilkinson, Markez Andrews, Cameron Macoy,

Grayson Williams, Madelin Wilson, Cade Adcock, Carley Macoy, Reese Jones, Jaydn Bledsoe;

Back L-R: Cameron Phillips, Connor Adcock, Isaiah Yates, Scout McCrory

104 • February 2019


Discovery Christian School 6th-8th graders recently participated in their annual

reading fair. Students were allowed to pick an appropriate fiction or nonfiction book.

Students were required to read the books and complete story boards outlining the six

elements of literature from their chosen pieces.

The middle schoolers had to identify characters, plot, point of view, setting, theme,

and style while also being creative with design and presentation. When presenting

their boards, students were also encouraged to dress as characters from their books.

This allowed students to truly feel like they were part of the plots of their literature.

We are very proud of these students for their hard work.

Congratulations to Matthew Bradshaw - 1st Place, Preston Engel - 2nd Place,

Jenna Blair - 3rd Place, John Michael Temple - Best Character.

Hometown Rankin • 105


The CHALKBOARD

RANKIN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Florence

The Florence Middle School Junior High Cheer Team

took first place in their division at the MHSAA state cheer

competition held at the Jackson Convention Complex on

December 15th. They also previously competed in the

Mississippi State Fair competition on October 14th claiming

Grand Champions in the Junior High Division.

Rankin County can claim another standout athlete who is a

senior at Florence High School. Jaylen Forbes, eighteen years

old, was dunking the basketball his ninth grade year and on his

birthday, last December, scored his record high – 51 points.

After being offered twelve D-1 scholarships, he signed with

Alabama last August. He stands 6’ 4” and is listed with the top 100

basketball players in the United States. It appears he will be a force

to watch, especially on his birthday!

Back L-R: Allison Morris (Choreographer), Gracie Walker,

Annelise Weathersby, Ava Grace Weathersby, Hannah Grace Reed,

Jessica Trawick (Sponsor)

Middle L-R: Jada Barnes, Lacy Burns, Laila McCoy,

Landrie Frith, Grace Holland, Josilyn James

Bottom L-R: Aubree Muse, Brelyn Muse (Co-Captain), Brooklynn Robinson

(Captain), Sydney Dodd (Co-Captain), Marley Young

106 • February 2019


“Kind People are my Kind of People.” This quote adorns the

backs of shirts that the Florence High School Random Acts of

Kindness (RAK) Club created, and it is our motto every day. The

RAK Club was just a small idea two years ago, and it has grown

into a blessing for students and teachers, alike. What started out

as ten students has grown into a group of thirty students with

committees for each area of kindness on which we focus.

We have strived to show kindness to students, teachers, special

needs students, and the community. We have learned that it does

not take much to make people feel appreciated, noticed, and loved.

We created a kindness tree that was decorated with falling leaves

embellished with happy, uplifting words of encouragement for

students to read as they passed through the hallway. We randomly

stuck post-it notes on desks in different classrooms so the next

student to sit in that desk would see it. We crafted Thankful

Turkeys for our teachers and staff for Thanksgiving letting them

know how thankful we were for everything they do for us. We

“decked the halls” with stockings that had kind messages written

on them for each student at our school. Mrs. Yow, a teacher at

FHS, said, “I have never seen such an undertaking but it was

nothing short of magical to watch all of those faces eagerly

searching for their stocking and the moment of pride when they

finally found it!!”

Finally, our big project was to throw a Christmas party,

complete with food and gifts, for our special needs students.

What a positive impact the RAK Club has had on our school

and their peers! We are blessed to be involved with such a great

club and group of students.

Hometown Rankin • 107


The CHALKBOARD

RANKIN COUNTY SCHOOLS

Pearl

Students and staff at Pearl Lower, Northside, and Pearl Upper

Elementary Schools recently celebrated the 100th day of school.

This celebration of learning included many activities that focused

on the number 100.

The Mississippi Department of Education

recently released the graduation and dropout

rates for the 2017-2018 senior class. Pearl

Public School District is among the best in

the state! PPSD’s 94.1% graduation rate

ranks 7th in the state.

108 • February 2019


Parents of the Year

Annually, Pearl Public School District

participates in the Parent of the Year

program sponsored by the Mississippi

Department of Education. Each school

selects one parent as its Parent of the Year

for contributions made to the educational

program of the school. Thank you to these

and all parents whose efforts join with

those of the district to make Pearl a great

place for students.

2018-2019 Parents of the Year

L-R: PJ Turner, Pearl Junior High School;

Sharon Bennett, Pearl Lower Elementary;

Betty Eaton, Pearl High School;

Shannon Ellis, Pearl Upper Elementary,

Summer Slovak, Northside Elementary.

As part of a thematic unit on winter,

students in the PPSD Early Childhood

Educational Center enjoyed shaving

cream skating to simulate the experience

of ice skating.

Hometown Rankin • 109


202 North College Street • Brandon, MS

To schedule a tour or to make reservations,

call 601.260.9277


112 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 113


The

Time

COIN

Camille Anding

It came in a square box,

wrapped in brilliant red

foil and tied in a gold,

complementing bow.

The size of the box first made

Martha think the contents might be her

favorite chocolates, but the box was too

thin. She opened it, savoring what its

contents might be.

No, it certainly wasn’t an edible gift.

The box cover was a textured black with

a jeweler’s embossed name in the center.

Jewelry! Jewelry? No, it couldn’t be.

Martha knew she had all the baubles and

bling she ever wanted. Wes had made

sure of that. She had even expressed her

satisfaction in her jewelry collection.

Certainly it wasn’t a royalty stash, but

just how many baubles could one wear

in a lifetime?

Martha pulled the hinged cover up to

see, resting on black velvet, a delicate

silver chain interspersed with sparkling

diamonds. The brilliant jewels certainly

weren’t tiny, but just the size to convince

her that Wes had added to her “genuine”

collection.

He never ceased to surprise her with

his extravagant gifts. Martha fingered

the glittering chain and gently removed

it from its anchor on the velvet casing.

Wes beamed in delight, knowing he had

once again surprised her. For Martha,

luxury had always meant having more

than one needs; the necklace clearly

stated luxury. Love. She would always

consider it another love treasure.

In the years that passed, Martha wore

the diamond necklace often, always

remembering the extravagant love that

purchased it. On one gala occasion when

the necklace was the perfect compliment

to her evening attire, the orchestra’s

music stopped for an announcement.

An item of jewelry had been found on

the floor. “Please check to see if you have

a piece missing.”

Martha immediately reached for her

diamond necklace. Her fingers rapidly

traced around her neck; it was gone! She

rushed to the speaker and described her

necklace. “Is this it?” the speaker asked.

Martha was speechless but nodded her

head. Someone in the large gathering of

people had spotted the necklace on the

floor and was wanting it returned to its

owner. How easily the finder could have

slipped the necklace into his pocket.

No one would have noticed, and Martha

probably wouldn’t have noticed her loss

until she returned home.

It was a miracle. Her extravagant love

piece was back in her possession. And to

think, it was found before she even knew

it was lost. Martha touched the necklace

often for the remainder of the evening,

thanking her Father for the return of her

treasured love gift, even more valuable

now. After all, to be lost and then found

by the One who always loves extravagantly

is the greatest love treasure. ●

114 • February 2019


Hometown Rankin • 115


This will always be my go-to hospital.

Late one night in August, Cristie Rabalais rushed her father, Wayne Crenshaw, to the Merit Health Rankin emergency

room after he fell at his home. They were greeted by a kind security guard and immediately checked in and triaged by the

nurse on duty. After multiple scans and constant observation of Mr. Crenshaw’s condition, the ER physician determined

that 10 stitches were needed. Thankfully, Mr. Crenshaw is now on the road to recovery. Cristie stated, “Everyone treated

my dad with the utmost respect. I was very impressed with the entire staff. We are so fortunate to have a hospital

like Merit Health Rankin in our community.”

Quick, personalized ER care.

350 Crossgates Blvd.

Brandon, MS 39042

MeritHealthRankin.com

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