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Hometown MADISON • 3
4 • JANUARY 2022
FROM OUR CONSULTING EDITOR
There’s a great verse in the
Bible that I believe helps to
describe the month of January.
It’s from Revelation 21:5 –
“Behold, I make all things new.”
Stop and think about it; we begin a brand-new year in 2022!
There are days before us never touched by history or experience.
That means we can begin “new” things – new relationships, new
hobbies, new friendships, new resolutions, new adventures, and
This issue carries the theme that’s well fitted for the beginning of
a “new” year – Renewed, Restored, and Redeemed. I believe it will
lift your spirits and help launch you into a bright, new year.
Surely all have felt the gift of restoration in some form, and the
greatest redemption has been offered to us through Jesus’ gift of
eternal life. Renewed? When I look in the mirror, I don’t always feel
like that word describes what I see, but it’s always the “inward” part
that we need to see as being what’s most important!
COVID and some of its relatives may continue to be a part of
the coming year as well as the expected negatives of life. The
economy is questionable as our government talks in “trillions.”
Health will continue to be a major concern as well as family
situations. We can either think on all the “what ifs” or take delight
in all the sunshine days that far outnumber the cloudy ones.
We at Hometown Magazines thank you for being a part of
another new year – 2022 begins our ninth year of a publication that
applauds the greatest hometown enjoyed by the greatest residents!
Happy NEW Year!
PUBLISHER & EDITOR
Mary Ann Kirby
IN THIS ISSUE
Reader Spotlight 6
Hometown Family 8
Neighborhood Eats 12
Renewed, Restored, Redeemed
Miracle Ear 22
Giving Back 26
Mercy House 30
Going the Distance 34
Kids Who Care 37
The Weight is Over 38
Learning to Be of Service 48
The Time Coin 58
...see you around town.
www.facebook.com/hometownmadisonmagazine. For subscription information visit www.htmags.com or contact us at info@HTMags.com / 601.706.4059 / 200 Felicity Street / Brandon, MS 39042
All rights reserved. No portion of Hometown Madison may be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Madison is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.
Hometown Madison maintains the unrestricted right to edit or refuse all submitted material. All advertisements are subject to approval by the publisher. The production of Hometown Madison is funded by advertising.
Hometown MADISON • 5
Why did you decide to make Madison
Mike and I chose Madison when we were first
married because we had heard about the amazing
public schools, the strong sense of community and
the wonderful Christian leadership. We felt that it
would be a perfect place to raise a family. There was
something so charming and inviting about Madison
that it immediately felt like home. Eventually, my
parents, my sister and her family, and my grandmother
also moved to Madison.
How long have you lived in Madison?
The first big decision we made as an engaged
couple was to buy a house in Madison. Mike and
I have been married for 29 years and we found the
perfect first house in Northbay and lived there for
eight years while we dreamed of building our forever
home, where we still live today. We built our house
next door to my parents. My precious mother still
lives there and we love that our children could run
next door to their grandparents house throughout
Tell us about your family.
I am originally from Jackson and Mike is from a
small town outside of St. Louis, Missouri. I graduated
from Mississippi State with a degree in banking and
finance, real estate and insurance. My first job out of
school was working for Deposit Guaranty, which is
now Regions Bank. I later went to work for Jitney
Jungle Stores as director of employee benefits until
I decided to stay at home after our first daughter was
born. Mike and I met through work and dated for
four and a half years before we got married.
When Audrey was in kindergarten, I became
involved in the PTO at Madison Avenue. I quickly
fell in love with being involved in the Madison
County School District and stayed involved until our
youngest daughter, Amelia, graduated from MCHS.
My greatest reward was being named Parent of the
Year for the state of Mississippi. I remain involved
by participating on a couple of boards that support
public education in Mississippi and the Madison
County School District. In addition to being the
Ward 3 Alderman for the City of Madison, I am on
the Bond Home board, the Madison Organization
of Neighborhood Associations board and the
Calumet HOA board.
Mike owned a large cellular tower construction
business for over 25 years but sold it several years ago.
He is now retired but has many hobbies that keep
him extremely busy. Mike’s favorite project is the
Super Hunt, which allows disabled youth and their
families to spend a weekend each year enjoying the
outdoors at various landowners’ camps across
Mississippi. He is on the board of Southern
Outdoors Unlimited which raises money for the
Super Hunt and recruits landowners to host the
Mike and I have two amazing daughters who
are both graduates of Madison Central High School
and Mississippi State University. We belong to
Broadmoor Baptist Church. Audrey, our oldest, is
25 years old. She and her high school sweetheart,
Gage McCarty, have been married for two years.
Audrey owns the Bridal Path in Banner Hall and
Gage is a nurse at St. Dominic’s where he works in
the Neuro ICU.
Amelia is 22 years old and teaches 6th grade
science at Madison Middle School—in the same
classroom that she took 6th grade science! We adore
her longtime boyfriend, Hunter Blalock, who also
graduated from MCHS and Mississippi State. He is
getting his master’s degree in entomology and plant
soil science from MSU. We love that Audrey and
Amelia have both decided to make Madison their
home as adults and where they will live as they one
day raise their children.
6 • JANUARY 2022
What is your favorite memory of living
It would be impossible to name one favorite
memory of Madison. I would have to say that that
most of my favorite memories come from watching
our girls grow up in Madison—from taking them to
practice, mastering the monkey bars on the weekends
at Madison Avenue Elementary playground, to
making bird houses for the MAE outdoor classroom.
We watched them cheer on Madison Central at
football games and pep rallies. They were on the
mayor’s youth council and would make scarecrows
for the chamber’s junior ambassador program. We
watched the 4th of July fireworks as a family and
always attended the Madison Christmas parades—
which were among our favorites. I loved when our
girls would set up a snow cone stand at the end of our
driveway during the summers, and they loved
donating their profits to the Webster Animal Shelter.
I feel that it’s the little memories that have made our
lives in Madison so full.
Where are your three favorite places
to eat in Madison?
Kristos, Hokkaido, and my newest favorite,
Full Moon BBQ.
What are some fun things to do
in Madison on the weekends?
These days, I spend most of my weekends working
at the Bridal Path. Now, with grown children, what I
consider to be fun is shopping around Home Goods
and purchasing things I really don’t need. But when
our children were younger, we spent countless hours
at Madison’s fabulous parks playing soccer, feeding
the ducks, swinging on the swings, and attending
many birthday parties.
Share some things you enjoy doing
in your spare time.
I enjoy working in the yard, exercising, and baking.
One of the best things about Madison is how easily
we can get to our land in the country. Our family
loves the outdoors, and we spend most of our spare
time enjoying fishing, hunting, and roasting
marshmallows around the fire pit. It is the perfect
getaway with friends, family, and our darling grand
Who is someone you admire and why?
I admire Stan Buckley. Stan is a resident of Madison,
a godly man who is an amazing father, husband, and
friend. Stan started a ministry called But God
Ministries which is making a difference in thousands
of lives on a daily basis in both Haiti and the
Mississippi Delta by providing food, clean water,
homes, schools, and medical and dental care while
sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
What are three things on your
I have already checked many things off of my bucket
list. We have been blessed to travel to Europe and
see the Statue of David, the Sistine Chapel and the
Coliseum in Rome. We have traveled across the
United States and Canada and had amazing travels
with our girls. I would love to travel to Australia and
South Africa. In a perfect world, I would love to
actually go and meet the five adopted children that
we have through Compassion International who
live in Africa and South America and once again,
when it is safe, go on a mission trip back to Haiti.
Where do you see yourself ten years
In 10 years, I hope to still be an alderman for the
City of Madison, and work part time at the Bridal
Path, but also enjoy retirement by traveling with my
husband and taking care of several grandchildren.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memories are of duck and
dove hunting with my daddy. He also loved teaching
my sister and me, and all our friends, how to water
ski. My daddy died four years ago, and I miss him
every day. He gave me a love of the outdoors that we
have continued to pass on to our girls. He and my
mom loved dancing and they chaperoned every
dance I ever went to from junior high school until
I left for college. I have carried my daddy’s drive
and ability to work hard with a smile on my face
throughout my life. My daddy was a man of integrity
who loved people and loved doing good for others.
He loved his family more than anything.
If you could give us one encouraging
quote, what would it be?
“Character is how you treat those who can do
absolutely nothing for you.”
What is your favorite thing about
My favorite thing is how they highlight families,
businesses, and schools in Madison. I always see
many people that I know and love the information
Hometown MADISON • 7
8 • JANUARY 2022
Tell us about your family.
Brady I enjoy playing golf, playing music, and
singing at local events and at church.
Kathryn I enjoy traveling and finding time to spend
with friends and family.
Ford I’m 16 years old and play soccer for Madison
Central and for IFC. I also enjoy running track.
Mary Clayton I am 13 years old and participate in
Madison Middle School’s Kaleidoscope show choir
and the Madison Central golf team. I run cross
country and take dance classes, as well.
How did you meet and how long have you been married.
We have been married 20 years now. We first met after college at a
Christmas party in 1997 and again at a New Year’s party later that
month when I was on a blind date with Brady’s friend. About six
months later we went on their first official date, dinner and a movie.
On our third date, I met Brady’s entire family, 17 first cousins and all,
at an engagement party in Carter, Mississippi, at his grandparent’s
home. Soon after, I moved to New York City which was already in
the works before we ever started dating. He came to visit me in the
Big Apple, and I came home for several weddings that year. I
eventually moved home and we soon got engaged in Cloudcroft,
New Mexico, and were married at First Presbyterian Church of
Jackson on April 28, 2001!
Do you allow time to be with your spouse for a date night?
Yes, we enjoy going out to dinner. Good food is always an important
theme that many vacations and trips are built around!
Hometown MADISON • 9
What brings you the greatest joy as a parent?
Watching our kids do what they love and using their talents is our
greatest joy. I really enjoy when Brady and Mary Clayton sing
together at The Gathering restaurant at Livingston. I also loved
watching Ford and his teammates run track and beat a school
record last spring.
Who is the financial manager in your home?
Keeping up with finances is a team sport in our home. We strive
to have ongoing communication about finances and try to have
quarterly financial meeting to discuss retirement and plan for
When your children were younger, what was your
Our children would say we are strict parents, but really we are
simply involved and corrected them at young ages. We thankfully
both have very similar philosophies of raising our children.
What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit to your
We are committed to making our home a very happy and encouraging
environment with lots of laughter and positivity, but also
realize that life is hard with lots of ups and downs. We know the
greatest joy in this life is built around our relationship with Christ.
Through good times and bad times, we try to point each other
towards the cross and teach our children that the one constant
relationship in this life is God’s love for us.
What’s a quick go to meal that isn’t fast food?
And who does the cooking?
I am always eating salmon and frequently make salmon filets
and asparagus in the oven. It’s a quick and easy – place foil over a
cookie sheet, rinse the salmon and asparagus, drizzle with olive oil
and sprinkle with garlic salt. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or
How long has Madison been your home?
We have lived in Madison County since 2001. We’ve also lived
in Ridgeland, out in Madison County, and now in the city limits
of Madison in the Reunion subdivision.
What are some of your favorite things about Madison County?
We are thankful that our public schools are very good and that
we can live in a safe and thriving community. Brady loves going
to the Renaissance movie theater and our favorite restaurants are
Koestler Prime and The Gathering.
How do you spend your summer breaks?
We typically go to the beach each summer, but knowing we only
have a few more years with our children in our home, we have been
focused on taking trips to places they have not been before. The
kids also go to many summer camps and youth trips during the
What accomplishments make you proud during your time
living in Madison?
In fall of 2006, we visited a new PCA church plant in the gym of
St. Joe. This small group eventually grew to become the founding
members of Madison Heights Church located on Bozeman Road.
It has been an amazing journey to watch God grow His kingdom
in this area of the state and in our community. We are so grateful
for our church family and for the opportunity to be a part of
something so special. Both of us have a lot of family members who
also attend Madison Heights, so that makes it feel like a family
reunion each week.
What drives you to have the job that you have?
And what do you do for a living?
BRADY I am the district director for Congressman Michael
Guest’s office where I oversee the management and operation of
the district, serve as a liaison to local organizations and elected
officials, develop and implement long-term strategic outreach
plans, and manage the office’s constituent services efforts. I am
also the music director at Madison Heights Church.
KATHRYN I am a senior government relations advisor with
Butler Snow and lobby on behalf of my clients before the Mississippi
legislature and state government entities. I previously worked for
Tate Reeves when he was state treasurer, overseeing the college
savings division and during his first year as lieutenant governor as
the director of administration and a senior policy advisor. I also
worked for former Governor Haley Barbour in his press office
during Hurricane Katrina and on his 2003 campaign for governor.
QUESTIONS FOR THE CHILDREN
What’s your favorite thing to do as a family?
FORD Go on vacation
MARY CLAYTON Go on vacation
What your favorite restaurant?
FORD Subway, Primos
MARY CLAYTON Aplos, Crumbl Cookies, Chick-fil-A
What’s your favorite movie?
FORD Dark Knight, Star Wars Revenge of the Sith
MARY CLAYTON Any Disney movie
10 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 11
As the pandemic continues to leave
its mark on businesses all across the nation,
no one has been bumped and bruised more
than local restaurants. With lots of indoor
dining offerings having been closed
for many of the last several months,
many restaurants relied solely on takeout
and delivery orders–and even when they
were open to a limited capacity, it was
very challenging to make a profit.
Thankfully, restaurants in our area are
open and ready to see you! But if you’re
not ready to venture back out into the
restaurant scene, order takeout. One local
restaurant owner told us that, aside from
coming in, that’s the absolute best thing
you can do to help. But never underestimate
their need for our support. It not only
exhibits compassion, it, most
importantly, exhibits hope.
In the coming months, Hometown Madison
will highlight locally owned restaurants in
a new feature we call Neighborhood Eats.
Please support this community of businesses.
It will take all of us doing our part to make
sure we all not only survive–but thrive.
More Than Just
Like many teenagers, Ryan Patrick
got a job right out of high school to
make extra money. In 2003, he graduated from
Madison Central High School and went to work at Stan’s Pizza with a friend
of his. “It was in the old Little Cesar’s location on Highway 51 in Madison,”
Ryan recalls. He worked at the pizza restaurant for two years while he attended
Holmes Community College. But for Ryan, it became more than just a job.
He learned some valuable lessons about making pizza, and about running
a pizza business.
Ryan, along with a business partner, opened his take on a pizza shop
around 2006 on North State Street in Jackson. Pizza Shack became an
instant hit. “I wanted to put my own spin on how pizzas were made,” he says.
“I realized that people were always asking for extra cheese or extra pepperoni,
so we just went ahead and did that on all our pizzas. I also noticed that when
people ate pizza, they left the crust, so we extended our toppings all the way
to the edge. We focused on using the freshest ingredients, which made our
When Ryan and his business partner went separate ways, Ryan
returned to his Madison roots and opened a Pizza Shack location on
Garden Park Drive in Madison in 2015. “We have seen the city of Madison
grow up around us,” he says. The Madison location features a large dining
12 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 13
14 • JANUARY 2022
“I call it
They’re fully loaded
edge to edge so that
there are toppings
in every bite.”
room inside, as well as an ample outdoor dining area. The pizzas served at the restaurant
are Ryan’s own style. “I call it Mississippi-style,” he says. “They are fully loaded edge to edge
so that there are toppings in every bite.” Guests can order one of the specialty pizzas offered,
or build their own, choosing their preference for crust (regular or thin and crispy), sauces
(marinara, spicy marinara, comeback, barbeque, alfredo, queso or garlic ranch), and toppings.
Some of Pizza Shack’s specialty pizzas include the Great American Burger, Thai Chicken,
Andy’s Buffalo Ranch Chicken, Italian Cowboy, Kitchen Sink and The Diamond. The restaurant
also offers specialty sandwiches, including roast beef dip, Italian sub and Philly cheesesteak.
Sandwiches can also be made to order. In addition to pizzas and sandwiches, Pizza Shack
offers salads, wings and other appetizers, and desserts, including milkshakes.
“We use the freshest ingredients possible,” says Ryan. “We chop fresh vegetables daily
and source the best ingredients we can.” Producing new and inventive menu items is
important for any restaurant, and Kyle says he has partnered with Kyle Curcio, who has
come up with a lot of great pizzas for the company. “Kyle is also helping me with our
downtown Brandon location, which we plan to open next year.” Ryan also has a location
in the old Bank of Clinton building, constructed in 1905. “I am a big history buff, he says.
“I have a lot of fun taking old buildings and giving them new life.”
While the food is important, having the right staff is critical to the success of the business.
Ryan says his staff is exceptional. “The ultimate goal of any entrepreneur is for his employees
to care about the business. I can say that our employees do. They have a personal stake in
the business. I love mentoring people, and it’s been rewarding to see some of our employees
rise to management positions and buying homes. My goal is to develop our people into
potential owners as we expand the business. We do all we can to take care of our employees.
In fact, during the pandemic we were able to raise their pay and offer medical insurance.”
The pandemic required Ryan to pivot a bit, restricting indoor dining for a while, and
offering curbside pickup. “We feel like we have come out of the pandemic both stronger
and better. At our Madison store, we are now doing in a weekend what we used to do in a
week.” Prior to the pandemic, Ryan says the store participated in many community projects.
“We did a lot of fun stuff before Covid, and we are looking forward to doing that again. Just
recently we gave away pizza at Madison’s annual movie night, which was cancelled last
year. It was nice for us to give something back to the community again.”
Ryan has been married to his wife, Mary Grace, for seven years. “She helps me
when we open a new store. She is my best friend, and the person I go to for
advice.” Ryan and Mary Grace don’t have children, but they do have fur babies
they adore. “I feel like my employees are my family as well. I work a lot, especially
since the pandemic, but I like what I do, so I don’t even think about it as work. I
think it’s important for the leader of the company to be there, and for me, it’s a place
I enjoy being every day.”
Hometown MADISON • 15
In these uncertain times, lots of us are
staying closer to home. Many people
are considering “local” road trips as a
form of entertainment. The Hometown
magazine staff recently made the
daytrip to Laurel, Mississippi, and had
a blast! What a charming little town
only to be enhanced by the presence
of the folks from the popular
HGTV show, Home Town.
We hope you’ll find time to get out
and explore the many treasured towns
that make up this wonderful state we
call home. And we’ll see you next time
when Hometown hits the road again!
16 • JANUARY 2022
Laurel, a small city nestled in South Mississippi, was once hailed as the
Yellow Pine Capital of the World. Lately though, her notoriety has shifted
from pine to preservation. Laurel now plays host to visitors from all over
the country flocking to visit “America’s Hometown.”
The story of Laurel really begins when the Eastman-Gardiner Lumber Company
opened their first lumber mill in 1893. Three more lumber companies eventually
followed and started the boom of this little town. As the lumber companies grew,
so did the downtown area.
Brick and concrete buildings were constructed, and the lumber companies encouraged the
development of businesses and family-owned shops. The owners of the companies wanted to signal
that they were here to build a community and not just cut down all the trees and leave. The lumber
barons began to build estates along 5th Avenue which were soon followed by large homes and
bungalows on the side streets and avenues. This created the Laurel Historic District, which is
the largest, finest, and most intact collection of early 20th century architecture in Mississippi.
Hometown MADISON • 17
One of Laurel’s greatest treasures is the Lauren Rogers
Museum of Art located on Fifth Avenue. The Georgian Revival
structure was designed by Rathbone DeBuys of New Orleans and was erected
in 1923 as a memorial to Lauren Rogers, the only grandson of the largest lumber
family in Laurel. The museum was created to serve the community, and the family’s
generosity has allowed the museum to be open to the public for free.
Things took a turn when the Great Depression caused the timber era to decline
and all the large sawmills closed in the 1930s. Downtown Laurel, like many other
downtowns, was a victim of Urban Renewal from 1950s-1970s. Downtown was
converted into a covered “shopping-mall” which ruined the historic charm and
drastically reduced the traffic. Ultimately the storefronts in Downtown Laurel
became mostly vacant. For years the historic streets were clear of traffic.
In 2008, a group of locals began to imagine what it would be like to see Laurel
at her peak. They began designing murals and planning festivals, anything to
spark interest in the forgotten streets of downtown. After years of hard work and
commitment, the community began to shape downtown back into the hub it once was.
Among that group was a young couple who are now easily recognizable as the stars
of the HGTV show, Home Town. Erin and Ben Napier
began remodeling a home of their own in the Historic District, and Erin’s design
talent and gift of storytelling on her personal blog eventually caught the attention
of HGTV executives–and the rest is history.
The streets of Downtown Laurel are packed with cars tagged from all over the
United States now on any given day. This excitement and energy has encouraged
small businesses and restaurants to open and brighten up the beautiful buildings
once again. Laurel has always been home to hard-working people with vision.
It seems like around every corner there is a small business owner, bank, nonprofit,
or volunteer group finding new ways to pour love and creativity into this community.
That is what makes Laurel feel like home to so many.
18 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 19
In a year filled with tremendous challenges and heartache,
there have also been stories of great triumph and achievement.
We’re all on our own personal journeys–but celebrating the
success of others serves as motivation to many.
It’s in that spirit that we present a
collection of stories we lovingly call
Renewed, Restored, Redeemed.
Happy New Year!
We wish you all the best that 2022 has to offer.
20 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 21
22 • JANUARY 2022
MATTIE ROLLINS CLIBURN
“As Jesus was walking along, he
saw a man who had been blind from
birth. “Rabbi,” his disciples asked
him, “why was this man born blind?
Was it because of his own sins or his
“It was not because of his sins or
his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered.
“This happened so the power of
God could be seen in him.”
When Mattie Rollins Cliburn was born
with microtia atresia of the right ear, her
parents were shocked and devastated as to
what this would mean for their precious little
girl. Microtia atresia causes the underdevelopment
of the ear in the womb often resulting in
an ear that is small, malformed, or missing.
Ninety percent of children born with this
condition also have hearing loss as the condition
effects the development of the ear canal.
Matt and Erin Cliburn of Brandon were
immediately thrown into the world of
specialists, medical tests, and complicated
decisions on how to help their daughter.
However, in the midst of confusion and
heartache, Erin felt the Lord promise her that
He was going to do something BIG through
all of this suffering. And seven years later,
Matt, Erin, and Mattie Rollins saw that
promise come to fulfillment. God wanted to
display His big power through the life of little
Mattie Rollins Cliburn.
When Mattie Rollins was five years old,
Matt and Erin started taking her to specialists
to learn what their options were for corrective
surgery that would allow their daughter to
hear on her right side and to have a more
“normal” looking ear. Those appointments
were not very encouraging as they realized
that most of their options were complex,
painful, and had high rates of failure.
Feeling overwhelmed and discouraged,
Erin went home and began an internet search
to try to make sense of their options. It was
in that search that she discovered Dr. Sheryl
Lewin in California. Dr. Lewin developed
and patented a new technology for a one-piece
porous ear implant called a “Lewin” ear. The
doctor was able to scan Mattie Rollins’ good
ear then mold, cut, and tweak the implant to
create a perfect replica of her left ear.
Dr. Lewin’s one-piece porous implants
are a much stronger and safer option for
microtia patients as all other procedures have
a high risk of fracture and therefore failure
of the implant. The implant would then be
covered with skin grafts to restore the ear to
what it would have looked like if it had
The Cliburns now know that discovery
was no accident, but it was the first step of the
Lord fulfilling the promise He made to them
at Mattie Rollins’ birth.
Erin reached out to Dr. Lewin’s office in
California and began the process of scheduling
surgery for Mattie Rollins. They had one
big obstacle in their way, though. The cost of
the surgery was astronomical, and Dr. Lewin
was not in the network of providers of their
insurance. With this being a completely new
surgery and technology, the insurance
company also had to approve it as “medically
necessary” for them to proceed.
The process was slow, but God began
opening doors for this family as they began to
get initial approvals that the surgery was
indeed medically necessary for Mattie Rollins
to hear on her right side. The Cliburns began
to feel like the Lord was calling them to
proceed and have faith that He would provide
for them every step of the way, so they booked
the surgery for May 20, 2021, and waited and
prayed for God to act on their behalf.
Hometown MADISON • 23
24 • JANUARY 2022
As they waited, they watched as God opened
door after door for Mattie Rollins and what they
were now calling her “earacle” (miracle ear). But
one big obstacle still remained in their path. They
had to get a letter of agreement between the
doctor and the insurance company over the price
of the surgery or the Cliburns could potentially be
responsible for costs upwards of $200,000 for
what was not covered.
As the day of surgery drew near, they began
to wonder where God was, or if they had not
heard Him correctly in this calling. However,
He continually reminded them that He is a God
who is faithful to keep His promises and that they
only had to wait and trust in Him.
On May 6th, just two short weeks from
surgery, they still had not received the letter of
agreement, and had a decision to make. They
knew they were doing the best thing for their
daughter, and they were confident that God
would be faithful to provide for what He had
called them to do. So that night they made a
decision that they were getting on the plane to
California—no matter what.
Those two weeks passed very quickly and still,
with no letter of agreement in hand, they drove to
the airport and were met with an incredibly long
line at security. They soon realized that they
would miss their flight and had to rebook and
rearrange everything for their trip.
It was in the midst of all that stress and waiting,
standing in that impossibly long line, that Erin
received the email from the doctor saying that
they had the letter of agreement and everything
was clear for Mattie Rollins to get her “earacle.”
With tears of joy and cries of praise witnessed by
everyone around them, the Cliburns boarded that
plane knowing God was with them and for them
in this surgery.
The surgery itself went well and the Cliburns
were amazed at all God had done for them. They
were even featured on the TV show Inside Edition,
as they reported on this new surgery and technology
developed by Dr. Lewin. Things went downhill
very quickly, though, when they went in for a
post-op appointment a week later and there was
an abnormal amount of swelling in her new ear.
The doctor didn’t think it was anything to be
worried about but told Erin that she would check
Mattie Rollins the next day in between her other
The examination didn’t lead her to any causes
for concern, so she sent them back home. But three
hours later, Erin noticed that Mattie Rollins had
developed a hematoma on her head. She took her
back to Dr. Lewin’s to be examined and Mattie
Rollins was rushed into emergency surgery where
the doctor discovered two blood clots. Dr. Lewin
told Erin that her mother’s instinct definitely saved
the new ear and probably saved her daughter’s life
Mattie Rollins went on to heal beautifully
with no other complications from surgery, and as
she began telling her story to all of her friends and
family, God began to work another miracle in
Mattie Rollins’ life. A miracle not for her ear, but
in her heart.
As Mattie Rollins began to recount and retell
how good God had been to her, she began to feel
like God was “knocking on her heart.” When she
attended kids camp that summer with Crossgates
Church in Brandon, she decided it was time to
give her life to the Lord who had done so much for
her. She also realized that not many people get to
see a miracle, but she got to be a “walking miracle”
so she should always make sure to tell other people
all of the good things that God had done for her.
And she has not failed in that task! Mattie Rollins
has already had a friend decide that she wanted to
be a follower of Jesus because she saw and heard
the power of God in Mattie Rollins and her
The Cliburn family’s faith has grown in ways
they never would have imagined at the start of this
journey. They now know that the best thing they
can do with all that God has given and taught
them is to share the story of His faithfulness in
the life of their daughter with anyone and
everyone they can.
Hometown MADISON • 25
Giving BackSUSAN MARQUEZ
Marcus Landfair hasn’t had the easiest life. But the
unfortunate experiences he has had led him to where
he is now. Today Marcus is a barber who also has an outreach program
that includes a learning center with five computers and a food bank.
Marcus was raised in Holmes County where he played football in high
school. When a kid is good in a sport, he is often passed from one grade
to the next with little regard to mastering needed subjects. One of Marcus’s
biggest deficits was reading. Even though he never learned to read, he was
promoted from one grade to the next.
As a young father, Marcus didn’t have the skills to provide for himself,
much less a family. His granddad cut hair, and barbering was something that
stuck in his mind as something he might be able to do for a living one day.
But that day was delayed when he was sentenced to twenty years, charged
with manslaughter for the death of the mother of his child – a crime he did
not commit. Marcus was handed a typed “confession,” and because he was
unable to read it, he signed it, sealing his fate.
For twelve and a half years, he was imprisoned, but he didn’t let that
define who he was as a man. During his incarceration, two couples took him
under their wings, visiting him frequently, and teaching him to read. In the
process, they led him to Christ. “From my perspective,” says his wife, Treona,
“Marcus went through that ordeal of being incarcerated with integrity and
Treona and Marcus met in 2013 when she moved to the Jackson area
from Pine Bluff, Arkansas. “I wanted to pick up a trade and thought I’d try
cosmetology,” recalls Treona. “Marcus was teaching at the Traxler School
of Hair, and he offered to show me around both the school and Jackson.
I decided not to go to the school, because I couldn’t date my teacher!”
During their courtship, Marcus confided in Treona, telling her that he
had been released from prison in 2010. “I could tell he was a changed man.
The experiences he had in prison washed away everything from his former
life and gave him a renewed spirit. I told him that he had the talent and
knowledge necessary to own his own business, something he had not
26 • JANUARY 2022
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has
come. The old has gone, the new is here! – 2 Corinthians, 5:17
Treona has a deep faith in God, and she refers to Bible verses that
perfectly fit the couple’s life. The couple married on October 5, 2015. Treona
told Marcus he had the talent, and she had the skills for the back end of the
business. He partnered with a pastor for a while, and soon realized that
wasn’t the right fit. They broke ties and Marcus went from a 16-station shop on
Capital Street to a small shop on Northside Drive in April 2016. “I have seen
so much growth in Marcus,” says Treona. “God has been more evident in
this. We are doing things right, and now the business is expanding in ways
we never dreamed possible.”
Marcus explains that his goal is to give back to his community in ways
that will make a real difference.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans
to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and
a future. – Jeremiah 29:11
Marcus says he has received non-profit status for his ministry and is
awaiting his EIN number. “I call it Hope for Community Outreach,” he says.
“We have a learning center with fifteen computers where people can
come in and learn about available jobs, learn life skills, keyboarding skills,
and practice for the GED. We also have a library that has books and
encyclopedias so people can learn more about things they are interested in.”
A food pantry has also been established and will soon be part of the
Mississippi Food Network. Donations of used computers and printers, books
and money are accepted through True Vine Missionary Baptist Church in
Brandon. Be sure to mention that it is for the Hope for Community Outreach.
Marcus credits Treona for helping to lead him on the path he is on now.
“God blessed us together,” he says. “When I got out of prison, I couldn’t get
a job or an apartment. I was trapped in a marriage that was like another
prison for me. Her faith and encouragement helped me find my way to a
successful life and the means to help others.”
And we know that all things work together for good to them
that love God, to them who are the called according to his
purpose. – Romans 8:28
Hometown MADISON • 27
28 • JANUARY 2022
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Hometown MADISON • 29
30 • JANUARY 2022
“Hopelessness and shame.”
Matt Milliman, executive director
and CEO of Mercy House
Adult and Teen Challenge,
feelings very well.
His father and grandfather were alcoholics and Matt struggled
for many years with addiction to alcohol and other drugs.
“I actually got sober and stayed that way for six years. One day
I had a beer with a family member and didn’t think it was a big
deal, but that decision led me back down the path to addiction.
I ended up going to prison. I felt hopeless. But God had mercy on
me and used that experience to humble me and give me hope.”
Today, Matt’s work gives him the opportunity to help men who
find themselves in similar situations. Mercy House Adult & Teen
Challenge is a faith-based program that works with men to
help them overcome drug and alcohol addiction. Located in
Georgetown, Mississippi, Mercy House restores broken families
one man at a time. “When men are able to overcome addiction,
the effect is far-reaching,” says Matt. “We can’t underestimate
the impact of a man’s role in the home and in his community.”
Based on biblical principles, the program is designed to deal
with the root causes of addiction. Men participate in Bible study,
group activities, and work training, and, thanks to the generosity
of donors, there is no cost for the program.
Mercy House Program Director Joshua Cook is a 2018 graduate
of the program, and his is just one of many success stories.
Although he grew up attending church, Joshua says, to him,
Jesus was just a fairy tale. “My mom and step-dad always took us
to church, but things were one way at church and another way at
home. There was a lot of dysfunction and I started drinking and
smoking at age 13. When I was a senior in high school, I dropped
out of school and went my own way. I wanted nothing to do
with Jesus or the church.”
Joshua spent many years using and selling drugs and ended
up in and out of jail. “My dad always bailed me out, and when I
was 24 or 25, I got some DUIs and should have gone to prison
but went to rehab instead. I attended 13 different rehab programs.
For me it was never about actually getting well. It was about
getting out of trouble.”
Hometown MADISON • 31
Joshua’s first marriage lasted only nine months, and the couple
had a son together. He married again and had two more children, but
his drug addiction escalated when he began using cocaine and crack,
and things spiraled out of control. “All I cared about was getting high.
That’s what I lived for. I would pick fights with my wife just so I’d
have an excuse to leave the house to get high. I remember hearing
my children screaming, begging me not to leave the house, but I did
anyway. I would go down the street, get high, and come back. I did
this over and over. I’ll never forget the sound of my children crying
for me not to leave them.”
Joshua was in a very dark place. “Living for the world had become
chaotic,” he says. “Everything was stripped away, and I attempted
suicide multiple times.” Running out of things to even fight with his
wife about, he packed his bags and told her he was leaving. He
spent the night in a hotel, but as his funds dwindled, so did his hotel
prospects, and he found himself sharing accommodations with rats.
By this time, his family had washed their hands of him. He was 36
years old, with no money and no job, and he knew he wanted help
but didn’t know how to get it. Joshua still didn’t believe in God, but
he prayed anyway, promising God that if He would just find somewhere
that would take him in, he would never get in that situation
again. “My brother ended up picking me up that night, and he took
me to get cleaned up and get something to eat. I got high, stole his
car, and had a terrible wreck. I was airlifted to the hospital where I was
admitted to the ICU.”
Once released from the hospital, all Joshua could think about was
getting high. “I had no money, no relationships, and I was utterly alone
and homeless. I knew the drugs were going to kill me but getting high
was all I wanted to do.” Joshua was living on the streets of Jackson
when Pastor Downes with Florence Assembly of God appeared and
picked him up. “I was shocked,” Joshua says. “He told me my dad and
others were praying for me. He took me to get something to eat and
told me about Mercy House. I decided I’d go simply because I was so
tired of being on the street. I figured I would go in, get my weight up,
get my family back, then find a job and go back to getting high. I was
good with that.”
August 17, 2017 was the day Joshua walked into Mercy House,
after 22 years of addiction. At first, he just went through the motions
of the program, but everything changed on August 30th. During a
Bible study class, Joshua started crying and couldn’t stop. “I didn’t
understand who God was but I was worn out and the teacher
suggested I go into the prayer room. After about 15 minutes I came
out and gave my life to Christ. There was no burning bush, and I
didn’t change overnight, but I made a commitment to do everything
differently. I saw the staff and other students walking around with
joy and I knew I wanted that. I held on to everything they said.”
Joshua’s faith grew as he continued in the program, and he gained
strength physically, spiritually, and mentally. “About 12 months in I
knew I was called to work with the ministry. Everything I learned in the
program helped to restore me.” Matt Milliman, who was the program
director at the time, encouraged Joshua to pray about working with
the ministry, and Joshua became the maintenance director upon his
graduation in October of 2018. God used Matt to serve as a mentor
to Joshua and the two not only serve together on staff now, but they
have remained close friends.
32 • JANUARY 2022
Joshua’s life has been completely transformed thanks to his time
at Mercy House. “It’s unbelievable how God has restored everything
in my life. I lost so much but gained so much more in return. My
relationship with my children is incredible, my life has been restored,
and my family believes in me and is proud of me. It’s a blessing to be
able to share my story and mentor other men who feel hopeless.”
Although Mercy House is in Georgetown, Mississippi, men come
from all over to the program. The first nine months are spent at the
original Mercy House, followed by five months at what is called the
“re-entry house.” During their time in the re-entry home, men
prepare for life outside the home. Many don’t have driver’s licenses
and may have debt or fines to pay off. Here they are given the tools
they’ll need to get jobs and keep them.
Mercy House Adult & Teen Challenge has a good working
relationship with the court system, due to the high rate of success
of the graduates. Oftentimes, a man facing jail time will be sent to
Mercy House instead, as the chance for getting clean and staying
clean is greater and is provided at no cost to the participant. Since
2017, approximately 300 men from Rankin County have been
through the program, and there are many businesses throughout the
county who have partnered with Mercy House to provide jobs to
“One of our long-range goals is to have a house in Rankin County
for men in the second phase of the program,” says CEO Matt Milliman.
“With so many businesses who are willing to hire our students, it
makes sense to have a home for them where they can be close to
work. It’s a long drive to Rankin County from Georgetown. They also
need to be plugged into a local church before they leave our program,
and there are simply more options in Rankin County.”
Mercy House relies on individual and business partners to continue
to offer hope to men trapped in addiction, and there are several ways
to help. The men create beautiful artwork and home decor, called
“Product with a Purpose,” that can be purchased online. Mercy House
also operates a thrift store in Byram, where donations are welcomed
and 100% of the profit goes back into the program. A vehicle donation
program, endorsed by former Governor Phil Bryant, provides
community members with the opportunity to donate vehicles,
running or not, and repairs are made in Mercy House’s very own auto
shop. Of course, monetary donations are also appreciated as well,
and allow for continued operation of the program, free of charge.
Another area of need is in mentoring men as they prepare to
re-enter the workforce and reunite with their families. Classes on
budgeting, relationship building, and work skills are much needed
and volunteers with those areas of expertise are a valuable resource.
It would be hard to measure the number of lives impacted by
Mercy House. Like Joshua, so many men have been changed and, in
turn, their families have been changed. “It’s unbelievable how God
has restored everything in my life,” he says. “I lost so much but
gained so much more in return. My relationship with my children is
incredible, my life has been restored, and my family believes in me
and is proud of me. It’s a blessing to be able to share my story.”
Hometown MADISON • 33
34 • JANUARY 2022
Going The Distance
“Just get out there and
do something, anything
active, away from the
TV, the stress, and do
something that you
enjoy,” said 71-year-old
athlete Thomas Moore.
Born and raised in Edinburg, Mississippi,
Thomas always had an interest in running. His
school did not have a track to run on at the time,
but that never stopped him from running or
being active. In 1983, four years before moving
to Brandon, he saw a brochure for the Heart of
Dixie triathlon in Philadelphia. At age 33, he
competed for the first time and was hooked.
Triathlons are an endurance multi-sport race
consisting of swimming, cycling, and running
of specified distances.
He said, “I always just needed an outlet and
never wanted to just sit. My drive comes from
just the sport itself and looking forward to doing
the races and the training involved in it all.”
Becoming a widower in 2008, Thomas
admitted, “I remember running to just ease my
mind, to help a stressful situation. Long runs
definitely helped with grief. It was almost a form
of therapy.” Thomas began to pour himself into
Competing in eight to twelve races each
year, training becomes nonstop–simply a way of
life. He admitted, “You cannot take too much of
a rest or you will lose your mobility, especially as
you age.” His training consists of simply
swimming, running, walking, and hiking.
Thomas admits that he has really never used a
trainer, he just gets out there.
Reminiscing about his multitude of event
memories, he recalled his most challenging race
was the Escape from Alcatraz in 2019. “The
water was 55 degrees with a strong current.
If you weren’t careful, the current would pull
you under the Golden Gate Bridge. I remember
stopping for a moment mid-swim to look back
at the island and just take in that moment.”
Alcatraz is a 22-acre island in the San
Francisco Bay area. A federal prison was on the
island that housed some of the most infamous
and notorious criminals in history. The strong
currents and cold water made escaping the prison
nearly impossible. Thomas had successfully swam
The farthest he has traveled for a race was
over 7,000 miles to Beijing, China. In 2011,
Thomas competed in the ITU World Championship
Grand Final. This race was Olympic
distance consisting of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike
ride, and a 10km run. Not only did Thomas
complete the rigorous race in the cold and rain,
but he also placed 16th in the entire world in his
Thomas’s most rewarding race so far was
the Ironman World Championship in Utah in
2020. He said, “Part of the biking was through
the mountains at almost a 9% grade. The last
mile was totally uphill.” After this year’s
Ironman, he and a few friends hiked many
national parks throughout the area. Utah is
known for its breathtaking scenery–from its
snowy mountains in the north to its iconic red
desert landscapes scattered through the south.
This race is dear to his heart.
Thomas plans on competing in the Ironman
70.3 in 2022 in Chattanooga, Tenn. “If I win
my age group, I would be able to compete in the
championship in Utah again. I have to be
careful because those young 69- and 70-yearolds
will be in my flight this time,” he joked.
He said, “I never try to convince anyone to
do a triathlon because it can be dangerous. I have
had my share of bike wrecks. I have broken my
collarbone, suffered a hip injury, and had a tooth
knocked out. I tell people to just walk. Get out
and go hike. You don’t need anything special or a
gym. Just use your neighborhood, just stay active.”
In the off season, you can find Thomas
trail-walking and mountain biking at The Quarry.
He added, “Its so nice to see more and more
people there enjoying nature and staying active.”
Thomas’s motivation comes from doing
something he is truly passionate about along
with the desire to stay in “pretty good condition.”
He admits, “I watch what I eat, and I just stay
active. This has allowed me to stay healthy and
not need any medications at all. I do not have to
Slowing down with age, he admits things
get harder and harder. Thomas encourages
everyone of any age to just stay active and do
something you love and enjoy.
There is great joy found in getting outdoors in
nature and getting the stresses of the world out.
Hometown MADISON • 35
36 • JANUARY 2022
KIDS WHO CARE
Malcolm Magee takes his position as manager
of the Pelahatchie High School basketball team
very seriously. “There is a lot to do, every day,”
he says. “I get the balls and other equipment
together and packed for travel to make sure the
water and towels and everything else is good to
go, as well as help the coaches any way I can. I
let them know if there is a problem with a player
and other things. It’s an important job, and I
love doing it.” Malcolm, a senior at Pelahatchie
High, has been the manager of the basketball
team for two years and he’s also been the football
team manager for three years. He loves sports of
any kind, although he has never been able to play.
Malcolm has had many challenges to
overcome since birth. “I had a stroke when I was
a baby,” he says. He also had a twin sister who
died at birth. Issues with his legs have resulted
in numerous surgeries over the years. At times
he has been unable to walk for months at a time,
but his attitude and motivation have kept him
going, all while he motivates others. “I have
known Malcolm for three years,” says Leslie
Hebert, Malcolm’s English teacher. “His surgeries
have been brutal on him, yet he has always been
a leader of his peers and in his community. He
takes his position as team manager with all
seriousness, including teaching the younger
athletes the ins and outs of the requirements of
being a football manager.”
A resident of the Kone Hill community near
Pelahatchie, Malcolm says he is surrounded with
a strong support system of family, friends, and
neighbors. “Pelahatchie has been a great place to
grow up, and the people here have been present
for me in my time of need.” Malcolm’s grandmother
taught school in the area. “I was really
close to her. She passed away in 2018.”
Last year Malcolm had extensive surgery
on his knee and rods were placed in his ankle.
“Then Covid struck,” he sighs. In November
2020, both his mother and his grandfather
passed away from the virus. Now Malcolm and
his sister, who is in the tenth grade, are in the
care of their aunt and uncles. His relatives
stepped up to take care of the Magee kids in
their childhood home, allowing them to remain
in the school and community where they have
been their entire life.
Malcolm says he appreciates all who have
supported him, and he loves to give back any
way he can, through service. “Although his
world has been in turmoil from the losses he
has endured, he has persevered and is on track
to graduate,” says Leslie Hebert. “He is always
giving back to his peers, teachers, school and
community. He is an amazing young man who
Each Sunday, Malcolm sings in the choir at
two separate churches. “I put a lot of time into
that,” he says. “I really enjoy singing.” He plans
on attending college, although he has not made
a decision on where he’d like to study just yet.
“I would like to be a coach someday, so I’d like
to look into that. But if coaching doesn’t work
out, I am thinking about going into mortuary
sciences. After my mother and grandfather died
last year, I talked with some people who work in
funeral homes, and I think that would be a nice
way to help people.”
Hometown MADISON • 37
38 • JANUARY 2022
“God was behind me. With trust and
faith, I knew He would get me through,”
said 27-year-old Dylan Holifield of Pearl regarding his weight loss journey.
Dylan’s strong faith was one of the elements that helped him courageously lose
an astonishing 293 pounds–and he’s not done yet.
Hometown MADISON • 39
40 • JANUARY 2022
Throughout his childhood and youth years, Dylan recalled always being
overweight. He said, “I was usually the biggest kid. Over the years, I’ve tried to lose
weight so many times,” admitting that he would lose weight but gain it back quickly
resulting in a “discouraged” and “defeated” attitude.
Dylan knew the health risks associated with having extra pounds on his body.
He longed to become the healthiest version of himself.
As part of the video productions team at Crossgates Baptist Church, he was
aware of the annual fast that the church encouraged as a way to strengthen one’s
journey in their faith along with the added health benefits. Dylan took a leap of faith
and participated in one of the fasting events with other church members. He said,
“I had lost all self-awareness and knew it was time for a real change. The fast was
really the kickoff to all of it. I committed to 21 days without any sugar. I proved to
myself that I can actually have self-control.”
His successes began rolling in as he lost 50 pounds. A co-worker who felt led to
help approached Dylan with a proposition, one that would ultimately change his
Dylan was given the opportunity to commit to 100 days with his co-worker
helping him with his fitness and nutrition goals. 100 days—and then if he wanted to,
he could quit. He said, “I wasn’t sure at first. I didn’t think I could do it. We ended
up taking it in 10-day blocks. I would have a weigh-in after every 10th day.”
The plan was simple. Set a calorie limit, track everything eaten, and begin simply
moving. His beginning caloric intake was around 1800 calories. Dylan said, “I stayed
away from simple sugars and white carbs. This allowed me to eat much more food
that kept me full for longer. In the beginning, I started with one 45-minute
workout a week.”
Once he was into the groove, he added in strength training with weights and
workouts using his own body weight. He admitted, “I had just made up my mind
this time. One of the biggest obstacles for me was emotional eating. There is so
much joy found in food. And I would also eat when I was sad or depressed.”
Since June 2020, he has lost more than half of his body weight. He credits his
success to his faith and to his incredible support system. “Every time I wanted to
give up, I prayed and knew that God would help me get through whatever hurdle
I was facing,’ he said.
Dylan added, “Everybody has been great. I have had so many people to lean on
through this journey and I have learned so much about myself. I always believed
that if I lost the weight, I would be happy. This has taught me so much about the
importance of mental health as well as physical.”
Phase one of his journey is almost complete as he is only a few pounds from his
goal weight. However, his next journey is just beginning. A journey that will be his
toughest yet. Dylan’s desire is to have skin removal surgery, excess skin that is a
reminder of his former self. He is currently raising money to help pay for the three
surgeries that will cost between $15,000 - $20,000. The surgeries can be completed,
including recovery, over the course of a year. To help Dylan make this possible,
donations can be mailed to Crossgates Baptist Church, 8 Crosswoods Road,
Brandon MS, 39042 (Attn: Dylan’s Surgery).
Dylan advises, “For anyone trying to lose weight, the biggest thing is to find a
balance especially in our Southern culture where so much tradition is grounded in
food. Once I changed my mindset that you eat to live and not live to eat, it changed
Hometown MADISON RANKIN • 41
Chicken Mexican Bowl
(1 serving )
• 6 oz. chicken breast
• 1 medium bell pepper
• 1.5 cups frozen cauliflower rice
• Fajita seasoning to taste
• 30g Salsa
Boil the chicken separately. Add a
little oil to a pan and add the frozen
cauliflower rice. Brown it up and
mix in the remaining ingredients.
Total Calories: 264
Chicken Broccoli Alfredo
• 12 oz. chicken breast
• 340g broccoli florets
• 1 pack Pasta Zero
• 120g Alfredo sauce
• 20g Parmesan cheese
Season chicken with Italian
seasonings and basil. Air fry chicken
for 13 minutes on 360°. Cook
broccoli in oven until tender.
Add noodles Alfredo sauce and
Parmesan cheese into pan and
let simmer. Mix in broccoli and
add your chicken.
Total calories: 360 per serving
(1 serving )
• 8 oz. red shrimp
• 1.5 cups cauliflower rice
• 1 medium zucchini cubed
• 1 Tbsp. lite soy sauce
• 1 large egg
• 1 sheet seaweed (Nori)
• Top with sesame seeds
Stir-fry the shrimp and set aside.
Add a little oil to a pan and add the
frozen cauliflower rice and zucchini
cubes. Brown it up and mix in the
remaining ingredients. Stir fry until
egg is cooked through.
Total Calories: 353
42 • JANUARY 2022
(1 serving/9 nuggets)
Chicken Power Bowl
(1 serving )
Sweet Spicy Carrots
(1 serving )
• 10 oz. canned chicken
• 1 large egg
• Seasonings of choice
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and let
sit in fridge for 20 mins. Form mixture
into nugget shapes and air fry for 20
mins on 400. Flip halfway through.
Total calories: 280
• 6 oz. chicken breast
• 160g shredded lettuce
• 60g black beans
• 125g Rotel
• 30g salsa
• 14g Mexican cheese
• 60g fat free sour cream
Mix all ingredients together or leave
separate if desired.
Total calories: 375
Weight Loss Recipes from Dylan Holifield
Find Dylan’s recipes on Facebook – “Fat to Fit Recipes”
• 6 oz. baby carrots
• 2 Tbsp. sugar free maple syrup
• Tony Chacheres seasoning to taste
Boil baby carrots for 30 minutes or
until soft. Drain water. Get skillet hot
and add nonstick cooking spray and
carrots. Once hot add two servings of
sugar free maple syrup and cook until
caramelized. Add Tony’s seasoning
and mix to incorporate.
Total Calories: 80g
BBQ Chicken Pizza
(1 serving )
• 60g Joseph’s pita bread
• 32g No Sugar Sweet
Baby Rays BBQ sauce
• 4 oz. chicken breast,
• 28g shredded cheese
Air fry at 400 for 6-8 mins
Total calories: 315
• 40 oz. chicken breast
• 1 can no-salt-added tomatoes
• 3 Tbsp. Buffalo sauce
Cook on low for 10 hours
Total calories: 180 per serving
Hometown MADISON • 43
ment infrastructure of Madison County.
ize and salute the industry and businesses
ibution they make towards our quality of life.
expanding businesses and industry.
The Madison County Business League & Foundation is a private,
stakeholder-based support organization that works with
business owners and decision makers to discuss topics that
affect economic development.
Together, we continue to build upon the economic
development infrastructure of Madison County.
We recognize and salute the industry and businesses
for the contribution they make towards our quality of life.
135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046
601.832.5592 | madisoncountybusinessleague.com
Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046
.5592 | madisoncountybusinessleague.com
135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046
601.605.0368 | madisoncountyeda.com
CONNECT WITH US ON FACEBOOK!
Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046
1.605.0368 | madisoncountyeda.com
SEPTEMBER 19, 2021
ECT WITH US ON FACEBOOK!
2021 VISION AWARD
MCEDA Executive Director Joey Deason
presents the 2021 Vision award to
David Conn, partner with 4 Top Hospitality
(Amerigo, Anjou, Char, Saltine, Sombra.
and 4 Top Catering)
2021 VISIONARY LEADERSHIP AWARD
MCEDA Executive Director Joey Deason
presents the 2021 Visionary Leadership to
Phyllis Johnson, executive director of the
Mississippi State Board of Nursing.
The Madison County
Authority and the Madison
County Business League
& Foundation created the
VISION award in 2010 as a
means of recognizing and
thanking certain stand-out
Madison County businesses
for their unique or remarkable
their investments in people,
and the resulting impact
their operations have on
the local area economy.
PASSING OF THE GAVEL
2020-2021 MCBL&F Chairman Wesley
Goings, president of Telapex - parent company
of C Spire, passed the gavel to 2021-22
Chairman Ray Balentine, vice president of
Michael Baker International.
SPECIAL GUEST & ENTERTAINER
Miss Mississippi Holly Brand
44 • JANUARY 2022
PHOTOS: Deryll Stegall
2020 YOUNG PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
MCBL&F Wesley Goings presents the
2020 Madison County Young Professional
of the Year award to Austin Stewart,
an attorney with Adams & Reese.
2021YOUNG PROFESSIONAL OF THE YEAR
MCBL&F Chairman Wesley Goings presents
the 2021 Madison County Young Professional
of the Year award to Anne Marie Smith
with 4 Top Catering.
OUTGOING BOARD OF DIRECTORS
2020-21 Madison County Business League & Foundation
Chairman Wesley Goings presented appreciation plaques
to outgoing board of directors Renee Rice with BankFirst,
and Doug Hederman with Hederman Brothers.
SPECIAL GUESTS AND PRESENTERS
Front L-R: MCBL&F Chairman Ray Balentine, Adjutant General of the
Mississippi National Guard Janson D. Boyles, General Harold Cross
MCBL&F Executive Director Jan Collins, General John Wallace
MCBL&F Immediate Past Chairman Wesley Goings
Back L-R: Pastor Jason Dillon, MCEDA Executive Director Joey Deason,
Brian Johnson, MCBL&F Past Chairman Barney Daly
Hometown MADISON • 45
46 • JANUARY 2022
CALL NOW: 601-401-3299
Hometown MADISON • 47
to be of Service.
JACKSON SUB DEBS
When Karen Morris moved to the Jackson area from Hattiesburg
two and a half years ago, she wanted to get involved in the community.
Her tenth grade daughter joined the Jackson Sub Deb program,
and Karen learned about the Jackson Symphony League.
48 • JANUARY 2022
“I got on the board of the Jackson Symphony League
(JSL) and took on the leadership role of running the Sub Deb
program.” Now president of the JSL, Karen is still involved
with Sub Deb.
The Jackson Symphony League was founded in 1955 and
has contributed through its exhaustive efforts in education,
information and fundraising to ensure the success and
vitality of the Mississippi Symphony Orchestra. To continue
that mission to reach out to the community’s youth, the JSL
launched Jackson Sub Debs in 1960.
Jackson Sub Deb is a partnership with the Mississippi
Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and the JSL. It is a program
that provides community service opportunities to girls in the
Jackson Metro area in grades ten, eleven and twelve. “We have
202 girls this year from sixteen schools,” says Karen, “We have
students from as far south as Florence High School to as far
north as Germantown High in Gluckstadt, and as far west as
Clinton High to as far east as East Rankin High School.”
The girls in Sub Deb have certain requirements throughout
the year, from ushering at MSO concerts to attending
education and training programs, as well as selling raffle
tickets to benefit the MSO. There are twelve concerts
scheduled each season, and Sub Debs sign up to usher at two
of the concerts. Sometimes the concerts have a theme, and the
girls will dress in appropriate outfits to add to the atmosphere.
Education and training sessions run from 45 minutes to
one hour and can be educational, fun, and entertaining. Some
of the subjects covered at the E&T trainings include a car care
clinic, self-defense workshop, and even a dorm decorating
class. The girls also assist with give-back shopping days by
sharing on their social media. “When we asked each girl to
share our raffle ticket sale on their social media, we watched
the ticket sales increase at an incredible rate,” says Karen.
“What they do is powerful and so beneficial to the MSO.”
One of the tasks Karen asked of the students was to write
a thank-you note to the musicians in the symphony. “Their
messages were so heart-felt and sincere. We are compiling
Hometown MADISON • 49
them all to give to the orchestra members for Christmas.”
Each year a legacy scholarship is awarded to a student who
has participated in Sub Debs for all three years. “It is a
$500 scholarship to thank them for their work on behalf
of the MSO,” says Karen. The scholarship is awarded at the
Sub Deb ball.
The ball, which began in 1967, is the highlight of the
social season for the Sub Deb participants. “Sub Deb is not
about the ball, it’s about the volunteer efforts put forth all
year,” says Karen. “The ball is their reward.” Those attending
the ball wear formal gowns and their escorts wear tuxedos.
This year’s ball will take place on April 1. Another big event
for the girls is the annual Mother-Daughter Tea. The girls
assist with plans for the special event.
Covid has affected the Sub Deb program, and
adjustments have been made to help prevent the spread
of the virus. “All of our events this year have been held
outdoors,” says Karen, “We usually do our E&T trainings
in the courtyard of Highland Village. And when students
usher at the symphony events at Thalia Mara Hall they are
required to properly wear a face mask. “We’ve also reduced
the requirements. Most of our girls are tenth graders, and
they don’t drive yet, which meant their mothers were having
to drive them to all their required activities.”
Karen says she has found working with the Sub Deb
girls to be quite rewarding. “My daughter is a senior this year,”
says Karen. “In another four or five years, when she is grown
and flown, I think I may want to get involved with Sub Deb
again. I really love it that much!”
50 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 51
601-362-6900 · mississippiarthritisclinic.com
Dr. Nancy Harrison,
Dr. Nancy Harrison,
"Autoimmunity is a difficult concept to grasp. My job
is to help patients understand their disease and how
to manage it. What I love about Rheumatology is the
patients and the lifelong relationship we form as we
fight through their chronic illness together."
FOR Y OUR
campus tours begin January 2022.
Contact Tracie Mallard, Director of Admission, at 601.939.8611 or
firstname.lastname@example.org, for details on the application process.
52 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 53
to First Responders
What made you decide to work in EMS dispatch/
NARLISE (EMS dispatcher) I work for Pafford because I’ve been in the
medical field my entire adult life. However, I have never seen what it was
like to be on the end with the caller on the line and literally be the first to
send a responder—the first person that the patient speaks to during an
JUSTIN (City of Ridgeland Police Department) I wanted to work in a
meaningful field where I would be able to impact a community in a
How long have you been with Pafford EMS/Ridgeland
NARLISE I have been with Pafford since April of 2021.
JUSTIN I have worked for the City of Ridgeland since October of 2018.
Tell us about your family.
We are a small family of two with big hearts. We both come from loving
families where our parents gave their all to make sure we knew what it
was like to help others.
What is the toughest thing you have experienced
in your job?
NARLISE The hardest part about being a dispatcher is being the one
who transfers the call to the ambulance but not being able to physically
handle it yourself. We are working with assault victims, or heart attack
and stroke patients whose family members have never been placed in a
situation like this before.
JUSTIN I believe the toughest thing that I have experienced in this job is
being confronted with the negative stereotypes about police from the eyes
of the people that I genuinely try to serve. Although, attempting to be a
positive example that overcomes the stereotypes can be very rewarding.
Justin & Narlise
RIDGELAND POLICE DEPARTMENT
Who is someone you admire and why?
NARLISE My mother. She has molded me into the care-giving person
that I am today. Without her, I would not know what it was like to give
and want nothing in return but to see someone else’s life made better.
She has instilled in me the art of giving back. From working with Habitat
for Humanity and Mission on the Bay to the Canton Stewpot and shoe
boxes for our soldiers, everything I have done has been because she gave
me the opportunity.
JUSTIN My parents. They raised six troublesome kids and continuously
worked hard to provide for us.
54 • JANUARY 2022
What are three things on your bucket list?
NARLISE Travel to Japan; Get to my ideal weight; Hike the Grand
Canyon the day before the New Year so that when the fresh year
rolls around, I can see the sunrise on a beautiful landscape and
know that I am starting it anew.
JUSTIN Win a Strongman pro card; Travel internationally;
Make it to retirement.
If you could give one piece of advice to a young person,
what would it be?
NARLISE “Don’t do tomorrow what can be done today.” I heard
this quote on a tv show once, and it has stuck with me since. At
times, we want to put off our responsibilities for tomorrow instead
of handling the situation at that moment, and I feel like that is what
puts us behind everyone else.
JUSTIN Aspire to achieve something truly great and work
relentlessly to attain it.
Share some things you enjoy doing in your spare time.
NARLISE I enjoy reading thriller novels or cooking. But, honestly,
time is hard to come by when you work 12-hour shifts.
JUSTIN I enjoy relaxing at home, eating good food, and training
in the gym for Strongman competitions.
What is your favorite thing about Madison County?
NARLISE The way we all work together to keep our areas safe for
our loved ones. The respect that we have for one another is what
keeps this county going, regardless of the color of our skin or
backgrounds. When a person is walking through a door, we hold it
open. When asked a question, it is always answered with a yes
ma’am or no sir.
JUSTIN My favorite thing is living in the City of Ridgeland. Being
in an interracial marriage, I feel more at home living there amongst
the diverse population, and we have received nothing but kindness
from the people there.
Hometown MADISON • 55
The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools
2021-2022 PTO Board Members
First L-R: Dawn Russell, Beverly Johnston, Sally Harrison, Rachel McCaffrey, Adelene Killens, and Frank Riley
Second L-R: Kapka Elenkov, Lea Miler, Mary Ann Spell, Susan Hetzel, Tiffiney Carter-Washington, and Rhonda Boles
Third L-R: Carrie Ainsworth, Collin Hutchinson, Becky Covington, Mandy Walters, Kathy Storm, Trisha Coleman, and Wendy Powell
Fourth L-R: Gena Dear, Deanne Walberg, Courtney Dean, Angie Brunini, Karla Rives, Christie Smith, and Bonney Henderson
Fifth L-R: Kathryn Stewart, Bridgett Chisolm, Devin Moseley, and Charlie Price.
Pawprint yearbook won the following awards at the MSPA
fall conference held at the University of Southern Mississippi
Monday, November 1: 2021 Best Yearbook of the Year for the
state of Mississippi; best yearbook cover design; best
yearbook photography; best copy; finalist for best yearbook
academic photo (Abby Boyd); finalist for best feature spread
(Olivia Heard); finalist for best feature writing/reporting
(Grayson Franks); finalist for best senior advertising; finalist
for best yearbook feature photo (Ella Gibbs); finalist for best
sports spread (Grayson Franks); finalist for best sports writing/
reporting (Grayson Franks); finalist for best sports writing/
reporting (Abby Boyd and Grayson Franks); and finalist for
best yearbook sports photo (Elizabeth Walters). Pictured is the
2022 Pawprint yearbook staff who attended the conference.
Back row left to right are Mackenzie Mercer, Angel Kaur,
Rachael Carpenter, Lucy Hawk and Joaquin Chade-Mendez.
Third row left to right are Rhyin Singleton, Landry Gates,
Fancier Shi, Anna Edgar and Sarah Corley. Second row left to
right are Rebecca Warren, Audrey Jenkins, Elizabeth Walters
and Olivia Heard. Front row left to right are Kate Elizabeth
Lewis and Abby Boyd. The 2021 editors were Payton Abner,
(current freshman at Mississippi State University), Haley Cote
(current freshman at the University of Mississippi), Ella Gibbs
(current freshman at the University of Alabama) and Adeline
Walters (current freshman at Mississippi State University).
The staff is advised by Vicky Williams.
56 • JANUARY 2022
Hometown MADISON • 57
The calendar shouts 2022. And with
the New Year I have great intentions
- bordering on resolutions.
The first is collecting material for a book entitled: From Mysteries to Meals.
It will be a simple task because all the collectibles are presently frozen stiff in
our freezer stationed nearby in our carport.
The upright freezer isn’t oversized, but it is a bit larger than average and keeper of unnamed
containers and bags that hold items I deemed worth saving. Just what kind of items, you
wonder? That’s the mystery of my book. A few containers are labeled; the majority are not, and
I’m well aware that it’s a job that’s months past due. Every freezer shelf is crowded, and every
drawer is spilling over. Even the icemaker is screaming, “Too tight!!”
There’s no better time than the present, the beginning of a new year, to give me that initial push
to begin. My first step is where and how to begin – a shelf at a time or a random selection of three
or four items per meal. I’m certain that the largest number of mystery containers hold small
portions of vegetables that I saved for soup day. Our freezer testifies that soup day hasn’t been
on my calendar for months. That day WILL be on my calendar this week.
The meat and remaining-casserole containers will know their destiny once they are thawed.
I will be a chef extraordinaire if I can concoct edible dishes from taco meat and sweet potato
Within two, maybe three weeks, I’ll have a clean, spacious, organized freezer with breathing
room for the icemaker. I’ll have created a variety of new dishes for my recipe book, and we’ll
eat so much “mystery” soup that choosing to dine out will be an opportunity with unparalleled
There’ll be spiritual lessons, too. 1) I’m blessed to live in a land that has leftovers and modern
conveniences designed to store them. 2) A large pot of soup (if not too mysterious) should be
shared so there won’t be any leftovers recycled to the freezer. 3) It’s a wise person who labels
things and NOT people.
58 • JANUARY 2022
Feb. 11 – Dylan Scott
Feb. 12 – Joe Nichols
Feb. 13 – The Gatlin Brothers
Feb. 16 – Justin Moore
Feb. 17 – Neal McCoy
Feb. 18 – Gary Allan
Feb. 19 – Bellamy Brothers
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