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BANKING DESIGNED WITH
STUDENTS IN MIND
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2 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 3
4 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 5
6 • MAY 2022
FROM OUR PUBLISHER
The war in Ukraine has dropped from
the intense reporting to just updates.
Yet, while we are planning summer vacations, securing babysitters, and
budgeting summer building projects, the war continues, leaving death,
destruction, and grief for all ages. I appreciate what E.M. Forster said,
“I am sure that if the mothers of various nations could meet, there
would be no more wars.”
Leave it to mothers! They wield great power, and May is the month
we shine the spotlight on them. Our staff had so much fun selecting
look-alike moms and daughters for this issue as a unique way of
recognizing our moms. The response was terrific, and the look-alikes
While the world has watched the horror of war and the cruelty
surrounding evil leaders, it’s made me even more appreciative of
our local law enforcement personnel. They continue to serve us
day and night and face dangers every day. We are most fortunate
to draw positive attention to our special men and women on the
front lines in Rankin County.
The 2022 school year is just days away from being logged into
yearbooks. With the challenges of Covid, masks, and paths that
educators have never traveled, we want to congratulate all those
involved in education for not throwing in the towel. I can’t imagine the
obstacles they have had to hurdle. Don’t forget to thank the teachers
and administrators for all they continue to do for our students in
You see, this issue reminds us of how blessed we are as a nation and
a “hometown,” and featuring our own people is our pleasure and joy.
ON THE COVER Mother/Daughter look alikes featured inside. Photos taken at the home of Mr. & Mrs. Chester White.
PUBLISHER & EDITOR
Mary Ann Kirby
IN THIS ISSUE
The Way We Were 8
Reader Spotlight 13
Circle of Red 14
Kids Who Care 20
Hometown Family 24
Hometown on the Move 30
Strong Genes, Strong Bonds 36
Neighborhood Eats 56
The Time Coin 90
...see you around town.
www.facebook.com/hometownrankinmagazine. 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 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
Linda & Dean Melton
Proverbs 17:22 states that a
joyful heart is good medicine.
Linda and Dean Melton display
an infectious joy that spreads to all
who meet them. With years of
humorous and heartwarming
stories shared as they walked down
memory lane, the belly laughs
Dean and Linda met while
in school in North Carolina.
Ironically, they were on a double
date at the drive-in movies with
other people. Dean always enjoyed
going out with his group of friends.
After their initial meeting, he joked,
“That was the last time we ever
Linda recalled, “The night I
came home from that double date,
my mama said, ‘Well Linda, you’re
dating the wrong one.’ She
definitely called it.”
As their friendship grew, so did
their interest in each other. Linda
said, “He was a high school athlete.
What wasn’t there to like?” Dean
felt the same as he recalled how
beautiful she was.
Their first date in 1960 was
spent at a ballgame. Dean said,
“There wasn’t much to do in our
town. We both grew up on a farm
and I played all sorts of ball so that
is where I took her.”
Over the next three years, their
love grew. Dean revealed, “In all
seriousness, we just hit it off and I
hit it off with her family. We just
had a good time together.” Linda
added, “Our family was just crazy,
and he fell right into place. I often
joke that my mama loved him
more than me.”
The couple admitted that
proposals were not a “big thing”
like they are today. Dean knew
Linda was the one. He said, “I
didn’t have much. I bought a ring
and put it on layaway. When I got
it paid off, we went on a date to
the drive-in and that’s when I
asked her to marry me.”
They were joined in marriage
June 1,1963, in North Carolina.
Both Dean and Linda got so
tickled as they reminisced about
their honeymoon story. Dean said,
“That night was definitely one that
you don’t want to do twice.” In
those days, there was no need for
reservations and definitely no
exotic honeymoons. You just went
off to your destination choice.
Deciding to go to Florida, their
plans took a turn that left Linda in
tears but made for a hilarious story
after the fact.
Driving through Georgia, Dean
passed a police officer and
unfortunately, he was speeding.
Linda recalled, “That was the one
thing my daddy told me was to not
let him get a ticket for speeding.”
The police officer proceeded to
follow them until they reached the
state line, pulled them over, and
took Dean straight to jail.
Linda was devastated. She said,
“Here I was a brand-new bride
sitting alone in the dark crying on
my honeymoon.” Luckily, Dean
was able to bail himself out and
their trip resumed although they
were several hundred dollars
lighter. Reaching Florida, Dean
8 • MAY 2022
you so far.”
joked, “Because of the incident we
ended up having to stay in what
you call a $7 motel.” The story has
been a highlight over the years.
They revealed their story at church
and it gained quite a bit of traction.
Their grandson called one day
and said, “Is it true that Pa got
arrested on your wedding night?!”
Linda said, “We have always
made fun of this story and it spread
quickly around our church. Its just
a hilarious memory we have to
look back on.”
As newlyweds, the pair agreed
that “love can only take you so far.”
Dean shared, “We really had to
learn to be married. The best thing
was when we moved away from
everyone and had our daughter.
We had zero money, but we were
on our own learning to be a family
and it was the absolute best.”
Daughter, Celisa, was born as
Dean was beginning his career at
IBM, which Linda later followed.
Their time at IBM caused them
to move around quite a bit.
During these difficult moves,
Dean admitted, “We loved Celisa
so much and that just continued
to draw us together. She really
held us together and watching her
grow up was such a joy.”
As Celisa was growing up, they
all enjoyed the family lake house.
That was the constant in their
lives between all the moves and
new adjustments. They also
became heavily involved in youth
missions upon their return to
Jackson. They promised to let
Celisa finish school in Rankin
County without yet another move.
They all became invested in
Pinelake Baptist Church where
they each thrived in their own
ways. Linda said, “We taught in
the youth group while she was in
school. Our home was always
open to those kids.”
Dean and Linda, approaching
59 years of marriage, are still a big
part of Pinelake as they minister
to couples about to be married.
Dean said, “We have just been
fortunate and Pinelake has blessed
us with so many great friends. As
we minister to these young couples,
we stress that the number one
thing in a marriage is communication
and honesty.” Linda added,
“And you have got to stay
committed to the Lord.”
As they settle into retirement,
they will continue to minister and
serve others through their church,
enjoy their respective hobbies of
quilting and woodworking, and
support the local school sports
teams. Their greatest joy
continues to be trips to the lake
house and traveling with their
daughter, Celisa, son-in-law, Scott,
and their grandchildren. They are
proud grandparents to Anna
Lauren (husband Todd), Kyle
(wife Mary Madeline), Caroline,
and great grandson Daniel.
Linda concluded, “I was always
taught the value of family and the
importance of helping people and
reaching out.” The couple hopes
to continue to bless others by
sharing their faith and marital
guidance to others.
Hometown RANKIN • 9
10 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 11
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12 • MAY 2022
Why did you decide to make Rankin County
I was born here, and as far back as I can
remember my family has always lived here.
It’s home for me. I’ve been a resident of
Rankin County for 61 years.
Tell us about your family.
I am married to Kurt Williams, who is a
humble, caring, and hardworking man with
a quiet spirit. We have two wonderful
children; a son Kevin, and a daughter KeAirra.
I have a daughter-in-law, Courtney, and a
son-in-law, Kinnard, and two beautiful
grandchildren, Lauren (4), and Kenan (1),
who keep me young at heart.
What is your favorite memory of living in
I have so many happy memories of growing up
in Florence, but one that sticks out is when our
family would go to our grandmother’s house.
All the cousins would be there, and we would
play from sunup to sundown. At the end of the
day, my grandmother would make homemade
ice cream on the back porch, and we would eat
ice cream until our hearts were content.
What are some fun things to do in Rankin
County on the weekends?
Friday night football games! Tuesday and
Thursday night basketball! The excitement in
the stands is contiguous. It’s a nail biter until
the end! Saturday morning shop, shop, and
Share some things you enjoy doing in your
Before Covid set in, my husband and I went
around to the elderly and delivered vegetables
that he had grown in his garden. That put a
smile on their faces, and it melted our hearts
to see them smile. Family time at our home is
really special; the eating, the conversations, the
laughter is what keeps us going! Also, I love to
decorate for all types of functions: church
anniversaries, birthday parties, bridal showers,
baby showers, you name it, I’ve done it. It’s
always done in love for others, straight from
the heart. Singing in the church choir on
Sunday mornings gets me through the week:
praising God is what I love, that’s where my
faith comes from!
What are three things on your bucket list?
To travel and enjoy life a little more.
Take time out for self-love.
Give back to my community a little more.
Where are your three favorite places to eat
in Rankin County?
I love Pizza Hut; it was my favorite place to
go when my husband and I were dating.
The Mexican restaurant Los Cazadores, has
the best steak and chicken fajitas that comes
in a sizzling skillet and it melts in your mouth!
Wing World is the newest restaurant in town.
I love their hot wings; they are flaming fire!
Who is someone you admire and why?
I admire my mom and dad because they made
sure that we had everything and didn’t want
for anything. They made things happen
through their hard work and dedication to us.
Not only did we feel loved at home, but they
provided for us, so we never lacked anything.
As I got older, I saw the sacrifices that they
made to make sure we were okay. Oftentimes,
my father would work at night and my mom
would go along with him so that we were
provided for. They raised us to treat people
with respect, share with others, and give from
the heart. I can proudly say that’s where my
mentality of helping my neighbor comes from.
My parents taught us how to be strong and do
things for others. I thank them for raising me
to be the strong individual that I am today.
And I know they are proud of the woman that
I’ve become. They gave me a strong foundation
of faith in the Lord, because of their trust in
Where do you see yourself ten years
I hope to still be in the land of the living (alive).
What is your favorite childhood memory?
Moving into a new home when I was 12 years
old! My parents had worked and saved the
down payment for one year. My whole family
If you could give us one encouraging quote,
what would it be?
Live life to the fullest because tomorrow is not
What is your favorite thing about
I love to read the articles; it keeps me up to
date on what’s going on in the community.
It’s like a good book you can’t put down and
it’s HOME grown. It truly is Hometown!
Hometown RANKIN • 13
The Metro Jackson American
Heart Association’s “Circle of Red”
is a passionate group of women
and men who have the influence
and resources to significantly impact
the health of Mississippians. A social
circle grounded in advocacy for
women’s health issues and fueled
by a passion to empower, educate,
and save lives, the Circle of Red is a
network that teaches women and
men to love their hearts and take
active steps to protect them. These
members are active ambassadors
and supporters of the American
Heart Association’s mission to be a
relentless force for a world of longer,
To become part of this dynamic
group, contact Katherine Byrd at
14 • MAY 2022
Individuals who join the Metro Jackson “Circle of Red”
make a generous contribution and serve as an
ambassador with a dynamic group of advocates
who stand behind the women they care
about – wives, mothers, daughters, family
and friends – while influencing and inspiring
The 2022 Circle of Red is Chaired by Amanda Fontaine,
a native of Brandon and the Executive Director of the
Mississippi Association of Broadcasters. Amanda is joined
by an amazing committee of volunteer leaders in our
community who help to recruit new members to join the
circle. This year’s committee members are Leigh Ann Ross,
Tammy Phillips, Laurie Cutrer, Jamie Woods Dull, Joni McClain,
Lisa Comer, Mackenzie Henry, Allison Muirhead. First Lady Elee Reeves,
Emily Speed, Erica Reed, Margaret Moody, Carolyn Erwin, Rebecca Haas,
Suzanne Thigpen and the late Mary Lee. The ladies were hosted recently
by First Lady Elee Reeves at the Governor’s Mansion for a photo shoot styled
by Beyond Expectations in Flowood.
Metro Jackson American Heart Association
to host annual Go Red for Women Luncheon
For the first time in two years, the Metro Jackson Go Red for Women Luncheon will be held in
person on Friday, June 10, 2022 from 10:30am to 1:00pm, at the Sheraton Flowood The Refuge
Hotel and Conference Center. Dr. Leigh Ann Ross is this year’s chair for the luncheon. Leigh Ann is
the Associate Dean for Clinical Affairs and Chair of the Department of Pharmacy Practice at the
University of Mississippi School of Pharmacy. Go Red for Women event guests can participate in
free health screenings, interactive health stations, group photo opportunities, and other activities
from 10:30am until 11:45am and the ticketed luncheon program begins at 12noon.
The luncheon will showcase the stories of local survivors and feature a fashion show of area
heart disease survivors – men, women, and children – modeling clothing from local Metro
businesses. Event sponsors include Mississippi Baptist Medical Center, Merit Health Heart,
St. Dominic’s, Atmos Entergy, and Community Bank.
This year we will also be celebrating ten local women that have been part of the American
Heart Association’s inaugural “Women of Impact” Campaign this spring. These outstanding
women have each made a significant impact for the betterment of our community.
Collectively, they have raised funds to support the mission of Go Red for Women.
The American Heart Association’s signature initiative, Go Red for Women, is a comprehensive
platform designed to increase women’s heart health awareness and serve as a catalyst for
change to improve the lives of women globally. While nearly 80% of cardiac events can be
prevented, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in women, claiming the lives
of one in three women. The American Heart Association believes losing even one woman
is too many
For sponsor or ticket information for the Go Red for Women Luncheon, go to event.gives/goredjxn
or contact the Go Red for Women Director Katherine Byrd at firstname.lastname@example.org
Hometown RANKIN • 15
Alissa Hebert Wallace
US Dept of Veteran Affairs
Allison Muirhead Photography
MS Association of Broadcasters
Prime Care Nursing
Professional Staffing Group
The Fenelon Group
Dr. Deborah Minor
Dr. Dotie Jackson
MS Premier Plastic Surgery
Dr. Erica Bass
MS Premier Plastic Surgery
Dr. Joyce Wade-Hamme
Tri County Pulmonary & Sleep
Dr. Kellan Ashley
Dr. Leigh Ann Ross
Dr. Loleta Kellum
Dr. Michael Maples
MS Baptist Medical Center
Dr. Myrna Alexander Nickens
Dr. Natasha Hardeman
Lakeland Premier Women's Clinic
Dr. Rebekah Moulder
St. Dominic Family Practice Associates
Dr. Rishi Roy
Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates
Dr. Tamika Bradley
Dr. Terica Jackson
First Lady of Mississippi
Jackson Medical Mall Foundation
Jamie Woods Dull
Madison County Business League & Foundation
Janet Harris Janie Jarvis
The Bridal Path
EMC Insurance Companies
16 • MAY 2022
Speed Commercial Real Estate
Jennifer Boydston Johnson
Roberts, Bridges & Boydston, PLLC
Stonecypher Consulting, LLC
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare
Maggie Clark Media Services
UnitedHealthcare of Mississippi, Inc.
Advanced Vascular & Vein Assocaties
First Commercial Bank
W Real Estate, LLC
Talking With Toddlers
New York Southern Style, LLC
Foundation for the MidSouth
Barnett's Body Shop
Hometown RANKIN • 17
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
138 Lakeland Heights Blvd.
Flowood, MS 39232
SENIOR VICE PRESIDENT
138 Lakeland Heights Blvd.
Flowood, MS 39232
MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR
1255 West Government Street
Brandon, MS 39042
YOU’VE WORKED HARD
FOR YOUR HOME
SO WILL WE
MORTGAGE LOAN ORIGINATOR
2441 Old Brandon Road
Pearl, MS 39208
18 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 19
20 • MAY 2022
KIDS WHO CARE
Ann Clayton Cain
& Grace Greenwood
In the Disney film Aladdin, Princess Jasmine is a rebellious princess
who escapes from the palace in the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah so
she won’t be forced to marry a prince. While on the run, she meets
Aladdin, a young street urchin. In real life, 26-year-old Jasmine Eaton
lives in a group home in Rankin County where she deals with the daily
trials of having cerebral palsy. Her favorite pastime is watching Disney
movies, and she particularly loves the princess characters.
When Jackson Prep seniors Ann Clayton Cain and Grace Greenwood
asked Jasmine to dress in her favorite Princess Jasmine outfit for an outing,
they had something much bigger in mind for their friend.
Ann Clayton and Grace have been best friends since the ninth grade,
and they will be roommates when they head to Ole Miss this fall. Part of
their graduation requirements at Prep is to perform service hours, and the
duo tends to do that together. “We are both in the service club, and we have
volunteered together for Hope Hollow and for other projects, including
making bags for flooding victims in Louisiana,” says Grace. But the biggest
effort the two have done so far has not been for service hours. It is a
passion project they have undertaken that comes from their hearts. “We
have been helping Jasmine and her household for a few years by throwing
parties for them on different holidays,” Grace explains. “When Ann
Clayton’s mother (who has a conservatorship for Jasmine) told them that
Jasmine had only been out of Rankin County one time in her life, and
that she had never been on a vacation, the girls had an idea.
“We wanted to send her to Disneyworld,” says Ann Clayton. “We
knew it would mean the world to Jasmine, and we also realized it would be
an amazing feat to pull off.” The girls set a goal of $10,000 for the trip. A
person with special needs requires extra assistance. One of the ladies who
helps with the group home will travel with Jasmine to Orlando. “We are
hoping one other person will go as well to help out,” Ann Clayton says.
That means three round trip plane tickets, meals for three people, and
admission to the theme park for three people. Jasmine and her travel
partners will stay in the Polynesian Resort at Disneyworld.
In order to raise the money needed for the trip, the girls connected
with the Rankin County Rotary Club, who helped raise funds. “We also
went to several area businesses for donations,” says Grace. The final
fundraiser was an event the girls planned called “A Dream Come True
Walk,” held on a sunny Saturday in March on Northwest Rankin High
School’s track. Everyone who attended the walk dressed as their favorite
Disney character. Jasmine thought she was going to an outing, and that
she would be the only one dressed in costume. Instead, she arrived at the
event to see Ann Clayton and Grace in their Disney princess costumes,
and when they rolled her onto the track, she saw everyone else in costume.
“She was delighted,” says Ann Clayton. “She knew she had a surprise in
store, and she thought everyone wearing Disney costumes was the big
surprise. But when we told her that we were sending her on a vacation to
Disney World, she was on cloud nine. She was so happy.”
Ann Clayton and Grace met their $10,000 goal, and Jasmine will
make the trip to Disney World in late spring. “I can’t wait to hear about
her experience,” says Ann Clayton, who says she hopes to be a physician
assistant or to do work with disabilities. “Being around Jasmine has really
opened my eyes to the needs of people who live with disabilities,” she says.
Grace adds that the efforts made to send Jasmine to Disney World has
been one of the most rewarding things she has ever done. “It makes me
happy that we have helped make this possible for her.”
Hometown RANKIN • 21
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May 14 – Sept. 4
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22 • MAY 2022
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Hometown RANKIN • 23
24 • MAY 2022
Tell us about your family.
Tate - 50, enjoys family beach trips, watching the kids play sports,
and grilling out for everyone. Hobbies include attending football
and baseball games, hunting, and working out.
Michelle - 56, loves spending time with family, working out,
watching kids play sports, family beach trips and game nights.
Hobbies include working out, decorating, and traveling
Brooklyn - 20, enjoys hanging out with friends, working out
at Orange Theory, and traveling.
Cole - 19, loves playing baseball, hanging out with friends, and
playing video games.
How did you meet and how long have you been married?
We met initially at Mississippi College Sports complex. I was in
graduate school pursuing my master’s degree in counseling, and
Tate was working. We were later set up on a blind date by a mutual
friend and have been together ever since! We have been married for
Hometown RANKIN • 25
Do you allow time to be with your spouse for date night?
Yes, we love our date nights. We have always tried to make this a
priority and get to even more regularly now that our kids are older.
We enjoy going out to eat, movies, relaxing together, and attending
sporting events. Also, over the past several years, we have taken yearly
trips together, including going to mountains, the beach, and on a
What brings you the greatest joy as a parent?
Watching God reveal his purpose for our children has truly been
one of the biggest joys of our lives. We have loved watching our kids
grow into the young adults they are today. God has truly had his
hand on our marriage, family, and kids all along!
To watch how God takes every situation and works it for good
has truly grown our faith as parents. Brooklyn recently graduated
with her bachelor’s degree at MSU, and she is now entering into the
next phase of her education. It has been so rewarding for us as
parents to watch her seek God’s plan for her life as she continues
studying to become a counselor for young children who have been
Our youngest child, Cole, will be graduating from high school in
May. He is beginning his new journey at Holmes Community
College where he will be playing baseball and pursuing a civil
As parents, seeing our kids continue to grow daily in who they
are called to be is the most fulfilling experience. This has been such
an amazing journey and seeing them give God the glory is one of our
greatest joys. We are truly blessed beyond measure.
Who is the financial manager in your home?
Tate is the financial manager in our home. He is great with
details and seeing the overall picture. While we come together to
discuss our budgets, big financial decisions, and long-term financial
plans, Tate has always been a great leader in our family by leading us
through hard financial decisions.
When your children were younger what was your
Our discipline philosophy has always centered on Proverbs 22:6
– “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he
will not depart from it.” When the kids were young, we laid our
family foundation by rules and consequences grounded in love. We
consistently tried to model this for them. We have also always tried
to teach our kids that everyone makes mistakes but that it is essential
to turn to God for forgiveness and direction moving forward. We
have tried to emphasize humility in love with each other and in every
What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit to
Tate I would say that our family benefits most from Michelle’s
selflessness and unwavering love for our family. I will never forget the
first day she returned to work after having Cole. It was her first day
back after maternity leave, and she dropped them both off at daycare
for the first time. When I got home, she was upset and told me, “I
can’t drop them off at daycare anymore.” That night we made one of
the best decisions for our family. We decided that she would quit
working full-time to stay home with the kids. We were both very
convicted that God was calling us to do this for our family. She put
aside her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor
(LPC) to raise our kids and be the rock of our household. I cannot
thank her enough for all the sacrifices she made for our family.
Michelle I would say that our family benefits most from Tate’s
ability to provide and lead us well. He is the hardest worker I have
ever known! Tate is a simple man with great integrity and commitment
to us, putting our family first in every decision he makes. I have
always been drawn to Tate’s “hands-on” approach of fathering. Our
kids admire the man that he is, and they both would not have grown
as much as they have without his example and compassion. Even
through the hard seasons of life, Tate’s humility and leadership has
impacted us the most as it has kept our family together. He is the
strongest person I know, and we are so thankful for him!
What’s a quick go-to meal that isn’t fast food?
And who does the cooking?
One of our favorite go-to meals is poppyseed chicken, asparagus,
and crescent rolls! Now that Michelle works full-time, we both share
the responsibility of cooking based on our work schedules.
How long has Brandon been your home?
We have lived in Brandon for 21 years. We built our first home in
Brandon in 2001.
What are some of your favorite things about
We love the people and opportunities that come along with
Rankin County. We have been blessed to work with and for some of
the best people while also watching our children excel in sports and
other activities. We are extremely thankful for the coaches and
teachers that Brooklyn and Cole have had over the years. The
educational opportunities have also given our kids a chance to grow
academically. We love the diversity of people, churches, growing
restaurants, and local and small-owned businesses. We appreciate
that Rankin County has it all but still has a small-town feel.
26 • MAY 2022
How do you spend your summer breaks?
Most of our past summers have been spent on soccer and/or
baseball fields since both of our kids are athletes. Each year we all look
forward to spending time away on our family vacation which is
usually at the beach! This is the highlight of our summer because we
can get away and enjoy spending time with each other!
What accomplishments make you proud during your
time living in Brandon?
As parents, our biggest accomplishment has been raising our
family in a safe and loving community. We have loved watching our
kids make big and small accomplishments as they have grown into
the young adults that they are! Whether we as parents make accomplishments
at work or whether the kids excel in sports or academics,
our family has always been proud of each other even in the small
What drives you to have the job that you have?
And what do you do for a living:
Tate I am an area sales manager for BSN Sports. BSN Sports is the
largest team dealer of sporting goods in the world servicing colleges
and high schools with all their athletic needs. I started my career as a
high school baseball coach, followed by several years of medical sales
before BSN. Elevating an athlete’s experience through uniforms,
apparel, equipment or facility improvements is what drives me in this
job. Being a leader of a sales team with the common goal of influencing
the lives of athletes through sporting goods is very rewarding.
Michelle I am an account manager for Upstream Rehabilitation in
the Jackson, Mississippi, area. I sell the physical therapy services that
are offered at Elite Physical Therapy and Results Physiotherapy in
the Jackson Metro and surrounding areas. I call on providers in these
areas to help create awareness of our physical therapy services.
What drives me the most in my profession are two things, our
patients, and our people! I work with a team of clinical directors and
physical therapists that are committed to helping people feel better
and become stronger so they can continue to find well-being in life.
The patients that need our care are our neighbors, parents, kids, and
friends. It is rewarding to be a part of an organization that helps
strengthen people to optimally perform. Our physical well-being can
affect our emotional, mental, and spiritual well-being. I am driven by
my desire to make a difference!
However, the most important job I have is being a wife and mom.
It is the joy of my life as well as the biggest responsibility I know! I try
to be a helper to Tate, and I seek to be there relentlessly for my family.
I try to instill love and the grace of God to my kids. I am so thankful
for the gift of motherhood. My family is my purpose with God, and
God’s purpose drives everything about me. I am so blessed that the
Lord gifted me with my family, and my work family, too!
QUESTIONS FOR THE KIDS
What is your favorite thing to do as a family?
Brooklyn Go on vacation and getting to relax with family.
Cole Playing board games. (We are all so competitive; it gets
What is your favorite restaurant?
Brooklyn Ichiban Hibachi & Sushi
Cole Outback Steakhouse
What is your favorite TV show?
Brooklyn Grey’s Anatomy
Cole Attack on Titan
Hometown RANKIN • 27
28 • MAY 2022
2/8/22 9:58 AM
Hometown RANKIN • 29
Just an afternoon ride over some delta roads –
that was what I believed to be our afternoon
plans, but I had no idea what was to transpire!
My date pulled over on the side of a gravel road and with only
soybean fields to witness, asked me, a sophomore at Delta State,
to marry him. It was far from a tropical setting and void of
candlelight ambiance, but the sparkle in my engagement diamond
transformed that delta road into a location that was akin to sacred.
30 • MAY 2022
Now, several decades later, my husband and I make occasional pilgrimages to the
campus, the town of Cleveland, and the surrounding interests.
Join us as we give you a preview for a memorable road trip experience that takes you
through miles of fertile, delta flatlands and into Cleveland, the true oasis of the delta.
First, it’s probably best to plan your arrival any day of the week except Mondays. Long,
delta weekends sometimes need Mondays for regrouping time.
A modern downtown hotel, appropriately named The Cotton House, would be a great
choice for a stay located in the middle of this delta oasis. Its five floors rise like a skyscraper
in the delta flatlands. For arrivals around noon, a lunch at Delta Meat Market will set the
stage for a great visit. It’s a locals hangout conveniently connected to the lobby of the hotel.
Hometown RANKIN • 31
Now for the shopping! Downtown is laid out like a lengthy strip mall
with shops hosting varieties of merchandise. Shop from one end to the other,
cross over the tree-lined walkway that’s interspersed with flowers, sculptures,
and arbors, and follow the shops on that street from end to end. You won’t be
disappointed, and you’ll find the residents and business owners friendly and
When you need a sitting break, get in your vehicle and take a driving tour
through the Delta State University campus. Don’t leave until you stop and
tour the Grammy Museum, a state-of-the-art creation that’s added fame to
the university and its Cleveland hometown. You can also get on the mailing
list for information of upcoming events and artists.
There are several restaurant choices to close out your day. If you would
like a preview of selections, go to visitclevelandms.com/dining.
On day two, start your morning with coffee and a croissant or sweet
pastry across the street from the hotel at ZOE, a ministry-based coffee shop
with all proceeds going to missions. The relaxed atmosphere and tasty treats
add to the unique design and flavor of the shop.
Your delta visit wouldn’t be a complete experience without a pottery
excursion to Peter’s Pottery in Mound Bayou and McCarty Pottery in
Merigold where lunch is served in The Gallery. The two destinations
are close in proximity and about a twelve-minute drive from Cleveland.
Tour their variety of creations that are internationally recognized and
synonymous with the Mississippi Delta.
Cleveland, Mississippi, is a town where there’s always something
going on. According to the events calendar, every weekend hosts events -
from planetarium shows to museum events at the Grammy and Railroad
Museums. There are concerts and festivals spotlighting beers, burgers, and
music for multiple tastes. Cleveland is so close to other Delta attractions,
like the Kermit the Frog Museum in Leland, BB King Museum in Indianola,
and the Baby Doll House in Benoit, and has the hotels and restaurants to
make it the perfect place to stay during a trip to the Delta.
32 • MAY 2022
The winter highlight is “50 Nights of Lights” from
mid-November through New Years. It’s one of the best
Christmas events in Mississippi, lighting up Cleveland’s
historic downtown with over a million twinkling lights
along with enormous Christmas light displays.
When I left the north Mississippi hills for Delta State,
I couldn’t understand the love that the residents had for
their expanse of flat lands. I was told, “You have to be
from the Delta to love it.” The years have proven that
statement flawed. Visit Cleveland, the Delta oasis, and
experience a people rooted and growing like the vast fields
that encircle it.
Go to the website, at visitclevelandms.com, to plan
your dream getaway now. It has a list of itineraries from
Cleveland that include shopping excursions, girlfriend
getaways, romantic trips and family trips, not to mention
one of the items that people from all over the world visit
the delta to learn about: The Blues. There are over 50
blues markers within 45 minutes of Cleveland, and you
can find them all on the website.
Hometown RANKIN • 33
It’s kind of a big dill
Our legacy and livelihood.
We are driven by dedication to hard work, customerfirst
service and a commitment to delivering the
highest standard of products and service.
To learn more, visit Ergon.com
34 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 35
The mother-daughter bond is special
in every way.But when it comes to the
following mother/daughter duos, one
thing is for certain–their gene game
is strong. We enjoyed seeing all the
mother/daughter look-alikes that
were submitted and wish you all a
wonderful Mother’s Day!
“Mothers of daughters are daughters of mothers and have
remained so, in circles joined to circles, since time began.”
– Signe Hammer
36 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 37
Jaimee Corley Lillian Weiand
When Lillian was young, we enjoyed crafts, biking, and riding horses
together. She was homeschooled, so we have enjoyed living so much of
life together! Through the years, we have come to enjoy working out,
shopping trips, and traveling together!
38 • MAY 2022
Alisha Redd Erika Redd
I have always been a mama’s girl, and the two of us just truly enjoy
each other’s company. We enjoy traveling together, with our most
recent trip being to Canada! We also enjoy cycling and spending
time with our family. Mom and I especially love being an aunt and
grandmother to Mackenzie!
Hometown RANKIN • 39
AnnaBeth Luper Eleanor Bowman
Growing up, we always loved to run errands on the weekend that consisted
of an all-day trip being out. It would consist of grocery shopping, shopping
for clothes, or having a nail day. These days, we always love to attend any
market going on in the area whether it is the Canton Flea Market, the
Spring Market, or Mistletoe. If we are out on the weekend together, we
always love to end the night at a nice restaurant.
40 • MAY 2022
Lindsey Rideout Trisha King
Our favorite thing to do together has always been barrel racing.
My mom grew up riding horses and bought me my first pony when
I was four years old. Some of our best memories come from going to
barrel races and rodeos together as I was growing up!
Hometown RANKIN • 41
LaSondra Bowling Maxine Bowling-Spann
We love going to church together, because we believe a family who
prays and worships together, stays together! We love to support our
Brandon High School football team as well as any other direction
our children pull us in. When we aren’t sitting around enjoying each
other’s company, we love to fall asleep on the couch. We are definitely
42 • MAY 2022
Mashona Walker Hannah Smith
We genuinely enjoy each other’s company whether it is in person
or on the phone. When together, we love watching crazy reality
TV shows, cooking, and shopping. We have always been the best
travel partners and cannot wait for our next cruise together.
43 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 43
Jennifer Rutledge Jenna Rutledge
Tennis and baking are some of our shared interests. But we are both
probably known most for our graphic design talent. I am the media
designer and communications assistant at First Baptist Fannin.
Former owner of The Sparrow’s Nest, I wrote my favorite hymns in
modern calligraphy and screen printed them onto cards and tea
towels to sell at markets and local boutiques. At such a young age,
Jenna is already following in my footsteps! She manages and
creates all hand-written digital content for her successfully
growing Instagram account “faithfully living_” in which she
encourages others through both positive messages and the
Word of God.” I’m so very proud of her and look forward to
seeing how she continues to use her talents for His glory.
44 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 45
46 • MAY 2022
Hiring! Hiring! Hiring! Hiring!
The District at Eastover
Hometown RANKIN • 47
Salute to Education
April 12 • Clyde Muse Center
48 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 49
50 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 51
“I believe in having a place to
get away from the noises of the
world to be able to hear God and
to see the beauty He has created,”
said Greg Shoemaker regarding Tanglewood.
With a rich history dating back to the early 1800s, the property
that is now Tanglewood was once home to an Indian camp prior to
the signing of the Choctaw Treaty of Dancing Rabbit. Beginning
in 1841, Tanglewood began a rich legacy through multiple owners.
The Newton County property has been a sawmill, cotton gin, and
flour and grist mills. The land has also been used to farm cattle,
soybeans, corn, and timber.
Greg added, “After 175 years of people living off the land,
the property is now being used to further God’s kingdom through
Greg and Tina Shoemaker grew up in the Lake area and were
always fond of the picturesque property. He said, “I always felt a pull
to this place even after moving to Brandon and living there for
over 30 years. It always just felt like it was home.”
The Shoemaker family acquired the first piece of the property
in 2003. Greg said, “We mainly used it as a place for family and
friends but began to host camps for local youth Sunday school
classes. Back then, we just camped in tents. Cell service isn’t the
best out there and that’s a good thing. Being able to have a clear
mind away from the stresses of the world allows for you to really
become still and hear God’s word and reconnect with Him.”
Being with these youth groups and reminiscing about his own
children participating in camps years prior, he fondly remembered
how much of an impact those times had on him. When he was a
camp counselor at his children’s camps, he admitted, “It really fired
me up to do more.”
52 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 53
54 • MAY 2022
A decade later, that “more” started to become a reality when
the Shoemaker family acquired the adjoining property in 2013.
Although Greg only intended for the property to be used for
family, friends, and hunting, he said, “The Lord made it clear that
He had a much bigger plan and that we were to use it for His
glory.” Greg spent time with those in the camping world to mentor
him and help his vision come to life. After much prayer and
planning, they broke ground on The Lodge which hosted the first
retreat in 2016.
Tanglewood now hosts a variety of retreats for Sunday school
classes, church camps, special needs groups, marriage retreats, and
pastors’ getaways as well as burn victims, wounded veterans and
more. Events are available for youth to senior adults. “We have
seen thousands of people come through our gates. I love the fact
they every group is so different, but the common denominator is
their love of Jesus,” admitted Greg.
Each year, Tanglewood also hosts a hunting retreat for children
with special needs. Accommodations and amenities have been well
thought out so each child can get a full, unforgettable experience.
Greg said, “These kids are amazing. We think things through
carefully and plan everything differently down to the roads getting
into the property, making sure wheelchair ramps are available for
easy access to the shooting houses. Some of them [the shooting
houses] even have tinted windows so they can move around and
not be seen from the outside. This just makes something possible
for them where it wouldn’t be otherwise. It warms my heart to see
how this event has grown. We have one young man who has not
missed a year since we began eight years ago!”
To learn more, visit camptanglewood.com or their Facebook page.
The special needs hunt is completely free to families thanks to
various sponsors and volunteers that come in and serve over the
weekend. “We have the best volunteers. Not only do people donate
money and materials, but we also have groups that come in from
all over the place to actually build things for the property. We
absolutely could not do it without everyone who comes together
to make these events happen. We are forever blessed and grateful
for everyone involved.” Camp Tanglewood simply would not exist
without the extensive list of ministries, donors, sponsors, churches,
Tanglewood is a family affair for the Shoemakers. Greg and
Tina’s commitment and love of serving is evident in all they do
and has also become a passion of their children. Greg said,
“Even after 36 years of marriage, it continues to amaze me how
Tina quietly serves others daily.” Daughter, Bailey, is involved in
international missions and serves at the church in Charlotte
where her husband, Jack, is on staff. Son, Spencer and his wife,
Brenna Grace, are therapists with Performance Therapy who
sponsor a children’s event at Tanglewood.
Exciting things are underway at Camp Tanglewood as the
first two ADA cabins are currently being built. There will be an
end-of-summer outdoor concert allowing churches a time of
fellowship and an event to help “kick off the new school year
without having to plan activities” themselves. An outdoor banquet
is also in the works to be tied to the annual special needs hunt.
Greg concluded, “Since the Lord owns everything anyway, our
job is to use our time and talents to serve and love others, create
opportunities for others to come to know Him, and to leave this
earth better than we found it. My prayer is that people can use
Camp Tanglewood to gather, unplug, and encounter Him long
after we are gone from it.”
Hometown RANKIN • 55
WALK WITH A PURPOSE
J & R Restaurant Group Melanie McMillan
Since its beginnings in Tampa, Florida, in 1988,
Outback Steakhouse has grown to be one of the
most popular restaurant chains in the country.
From their signature “Bloomin Onion” and “Chocolate Thunder
from Down Under,” and everything in between, the Outback has
become a favorite spot to enjoy a meal with family and friends.
In 2015, Outback came to Rankin County, with the construction of the
Flowood restaurant, bringing the total to six Outback restaurants in
Mississippi. Because we see Outback Steakhouses all over the country,
most of us probably don’t think of dining at the Flowood restaurant as
“eating local.” However, the Rankin County restaurant, along with its
sister stores across the state, is actually a locally owned, family business
with strong ties to the community.
Since 2006, Steve Grantham, Jr, a Jackson native,
has been the president of J & R Restaurant Group, Inc.,
which owns and operates eight Outback Steakhouse
restaurants in Mississippi and western Tennessee. The
beginnings of J & R can be traced back to Steve’s dad,
Steve Grantham, Sr., who got to know the founders of
Outback right after they opened their first store in Tampa.
“Dad played golf with those guys,” Steve says, “and they
got to know each other and built a friendship. There was
mutual respect there and they knew they wanted Dad on their team.”
Steve Sr. developed the Dallas metroplex, opening nine locations between
1988 to 1991. The Outback corporation went public in 1991 and bought the
metroplex stores from Grantham Sr. and his partner Dr. Faser Triplett. When
those stores were bought out, Steve Sr. was offered the rights to develop
Outback restaurants in Mississippi, and he again turned to his friend Dr. Faser
Triplett. Dr. Triplett partnered with Grantham, and they named the Mississippi
venture J & R Restaurant Group in honor of their wives, Jackie and Rosemary.
56 • MAY 2022
J & R built ten stores in Mississippi between 1993 - 2005, and
then Hurricane Katrina hit, destroying the Gulfport restaurant.
“Dad and his team took generators and fuel down, and then
made sure staff members were paid, even though the restaurant
was gone,” Steve Jr. recalls. “The first order of business was to
take care of their people.”
In 2006, the Grantham family was hit with devastating news.
Steve Grantham, Sr. was diagnosed with an aggressive form
of cancer. He lived for only six months following his diagnosis.
“I was with him almost every day. I drove him to work, and we
spent a lot of time together in those six months,” says Steve Jr.
The team at J & R assumed that after Grantham’s passing,
Outback would come in and buy back the stores, but it didn’t
happen. At the time, Steve Jr. was working for Verizon and had
been for 22 years. “My background was in telecommunications
and there was really no one else in either family that wanted to
run it. I decided to try my hand at it.”
The COO of Outback corporate was a longtime family friend
and with a little convincing agreed to make Steve the operating
partner of the franchise. All of a sudden, he was a restaurant guy.
“I was terrified that I would let everyone down; my mom, my
family, the partners, everyone.”
Steve brought a new spin to his role with the company with
emphasis on financial accountability, renewed focus on his
people, customers, their communities, and grassroots marketing,
building on the legacy of his father. Under his leadership, the
company continued to grow, and profits increased. Revenues
for J & R Outback locations are typically 25% above Outback
corporate locations. The numbers are impressive, but he doesn’t
put much stock in that. “Our biggest asset is our people and
taking care of them is our top priority,” Steve says. “You have
to support your people. The first thing I do when visiting one of
our restaurants is to visit with all the staff, to make sure they
have what they need to do their jobs.” When a tornado ripped
through Jackson, Tennessee, one of the Outback staff members
had her garage destroyed and her car damaged. J & R assisted
in the repair of the garage and the vehicle, because as Steve
says, “it was the right thing to do.”
Steve’s motto is “Walk with a Purpose” and he takes it seriously.
In Rankin County and beyond, J & R is making a tremendous
impact in the communities it serves. Supporting the military is
very important to Steve, and he leads by example. The “Big
Yellow Truck,” along with the grill truck has traveled many miles
across the state, feeding our military and first responders.
Hometown RANKIN • 57
Since 2010, Outback in Mississippi has been a proud
supporter of the Trail of Honor, which features demonstrations
of military life in a walking trail through history and offers a
chance to meet real life American Heroes. Chief Master
Sergeant John Myers of the 172nd Airlift Wing first met
Grantham through the Trail of Honor event and has gotten
to know him well over the years. “In my email signature line,
I have the words ‘Others Before Self’ and I think Steve
embodies that perfectly,” CMSgt Myers says. “Everyone on
the base knows Steve. His mindset is that of a ‘guardsman
as civilian,’ willing to go wherever help is needed.”
The Outback team has provided numerous meals for
families before deployment, as well as contributed to the
unit’s family relief fund. When Hurricane Ida hit, Steve and
his crew loaded up and traveled to Louisiana with supplies
and some 10,000 chicken sandwiches, burgers, and water for
those affected by the storm. “The Minute Man in the National
Guard logo holds a musket in one hand and a plowshare in
the other,” CMSgt Myers shared. “It symbolizes leaving the
plow to take up arms when needed. As a civilian, Steve has
that same mentality and is willing to pick up that plowshare,
which is Outback, and grab that musket to go serve across
our state. He may not be wearing the uniform but he’s a big
part of what we do.”
Over the years, Grantham has been honored to receive
“challenge” coins from Medal of Honor recipients who want
to thank him for going above and beyond in his service to
the military. It was important to him to have something to
give them in return, so he designed a special “challenge”
coin for J & R that reflects the values that drive him and his
team: honesty, compassion, integrity, and service. It’s his
way of thanking our veterans for their own service to our
country, above and beyond the call of duty.
Steve doesn’t just send a team to the many events that
Outback supports but attends each one and gets to know
the people. It’s also very important to him that restaurant
staff have the opportunity to work at these events to see,
firsthand, what the company is doing. “It changes you when
you are hands-on at these events,” Steve says. “It’s not just
an abstract idea of community service. It’s impactful.”
Also close to Grantham’s heart is the Mississippi Wildlife
Fisheries and Parks Foundation, where he serves as a board
member. He has been a faithful supporter of Archery in
Mississippi Schools (AIMS), feeding the conservation officers
and volunteers who work the annual archery tournament.
Waldo Cleland, director of AIMS, and retired Mississippi State
head coach Bob Tyler serve on the foundation board with
Steve, and both men have nothing but the highest praise for
58 • MAY 2022
Grantham’s involvement with the AIMS program. “He is
our biggest supporter and doesn’t wait for things to
happen. He makes them happen.”
Sherry Hazelwood, who works for the Department
of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks and coordinates the
state’s numerous fishing rodeos for kids also helps with
the annual AIMS tournament and echoes that sentiment.
“Steve is just as happy and comfortable helping a child
with her plate as he is shaking hands with the governor.
God has given many blessings to him, in order to give
J & R has been involved in many venues and productions,
such as the CMA awards, SEC football events,
IMG Sports and others. “We went from being a vendor
at the shows to being part of the shows because they
knew they could count on us. Once you’ve proven
yourself, they don’t want anyone else,” Steve says.
The recognition is appreciated, but it’s not his driving
force. “If I didn’t push myself hard to make things better,
I wouldn’t be satisfied. I work to make sure my people
have stability and are able to take care of their families.
I want them to have a good work environment.”
Indeed, for Steve and the rest of the J & R group,
it’s all about people, from the staff to the community.
“My dad once told me ‘You give as much as you can
as often as you can without expecting anything in
return.’ That’s what guides me through my life.”
Hometown RANKIN • 59
60 • MAY 2022
Brunini.com | 601.948.3101
ATTORNEY TREY JONES
Hometown RANKIN • 61
62 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 63
64 • MAY 2022
In a pickle about something to do this summer?
Lucky for you, the third annual Pickle Fest is planned for June 11
at the Mississippi Agriculture and Forestry Museum.
According to Justin Nipper, the event
started as a joke, but quickly developed into
a wonderful family-friendly event. The origins
of the event are pretty simple, actually,” says
Justin, who serves as both the marketing
director and events coordinator for the
At a staff meeting in 2019, a staff
member with the last name “Pickle” gave
the museum’s director at the time an idea.
“He joked that we should have a pickle
festival,” says Justin. But the joke was on
the director. “He said it in front of the right
The idea took off and the first Pickle
Fest was held at the Museum that year.
“It actually ties in perfectly with what we
do here at the Museum,” Justin says.
“The festival highlights fermenting, pickling,
and canning food, which one hundred
percent ties in with our agricultural mission.
It gives people an opportunity to enjoy a
fun outdoor event, and in the process, they
can learn something, which also is part of
our mission.” Pickling and canning have
long been methods of preserving foods.
With more people planting home gardens,
there is an increased interest in preservation
methods to enjoy the harvest all year.
Justin came on board at the Ag Museum
in 2020, and due to Covid, the event was not
held that year. “I took over the event in 2021.”
The first couple of years the event was held
from 10am to 3pm, but that will change this
year. “To offset the summer heat, we are
kicking the event off at 3pm and going to
8pm,” Justin explains.
Pickle Fest will offer something for all
ages. Outdoor activities will include water
slides, an inflatable obstacle course, and live
music on a main stage. Combined with the
children’s activities will be a farmers’ market.
If you relish fermented foods and other
items, you won’t want to miss the market.
“This year we are partnering with the
Magnolia Market, and in addition, we will
have over thirty vendors returning from last
year selling canned and preserved foods,
crafts and more,” Justin states. “The vendors
will be located inside our two largest
buildings where it will be nice and cool.
We will also have educational demos on
the ground to teach those in attendance
how to can and ferment foods.”
No festival is complete without a
contest, and the Pickle Fest will deliver
with a pickle eating contest and pickle jar
packing contest, complete with prizes and
the distinguished honor of being the person
who can eat the most pickles or pack the
most pickles into a jar.
The Mississippi Agricultural Museum
Foundation is the primary sponsor for the
event. Other sponsors include Visit Jackson,
Cathead Distilleries, and Southern Beverage.
Admission to the event is $8 for ages 3 and up.
All the regular museum attractions will be
open, including the Children’s Barnyard and
Small Town, Mississippi.
For more information, call 601-432-4500 or
Hometown RANKIN • 65
• 1½ c. crushed pretzels
• 5 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
Preheat oven to 325°. In a medium
bowl, combine pretzels with butter
and stir to combine. Press into the
bottom of a 8” or 9” springform pan
and set aside.
• 2 (8 oz.) packages cream cheese,
softened to room temperature
• 1 (10 oz.) log goat cheese
• ¾ c. sour cream
• 1 Tbsp. pickle juice
• 3 large eggs
• ½ c. freshly grated
• 2 c. finely chopped
• 3 garlic cloves,
• 2 Tbsp. finely
chopped dill, plus
more for garnish
• 2 tsp. kosher salt
• 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
• ½ tsp. onion powder
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Toasted bread, for serving
In a large bowl, combine cream
cheese, goat cheese, sour cream and
pickle juice. Using a hand mixer, beat
until smooth. Add eggs one at a time
and beat until fully incorporated.
Add parmesan, ½ cup chopped
pickles, garlic, dill, salt, red pepper
flakes and onion powder. Season
with black pepper and fold until all
ingredients are evenly incorporated.
Add half cheese mixture to pan and
smooth into an even layer. Top with
an even layer of 1 cup chopped
pickles, then top with the rest of the
cheese mixture. Smooth top and
bake until slightly golden on top
and set in the middle, 45 minutes to
Remove from oven and let cool
completely. Cover and chill in the
refrigerator for at least 2 hours, up to
When ready to serve, top with
remaining pickles and dill for
garnish. Serve with crackers or
Dill Pickle Martini
• 2 cups ice
• 1 ½ ounces dill pickle juice
• 4 ½ ounces vodka
• 2 dill pickle spears
Pour ice into a cocktail shaker; pour
dill pickle juice and vodka over the
ice. Cover the shaker and shake
vigorously for about 20 seconds;
strain into martini glasses. Garnish
each cocktail with a dill pickle spear
• 2 ¼ c. pickle juice
• 1 Tbsp. granulated sugar
• ½ c. pickle chips
In a large liquid measuring cup,
whisk together pickle juice
and sugar. Place a few pickle chips
in each Popsicle mold then pour in
pickle juice mixture. Cover and add
popsicle sticks. Freeze until solid,
4 hours. Run warm water over
molds to loosen popsicles and
66 • MAY 2022
Dill Pickle Guacamole
• 3 avocados, pitted and mashed
• 2 Tbsp. pickle juice
• ½ cup chopped pickles, plus more
• ¼ red onion, finely chopped
• 1 garlic clove, minced
• 1 Tbsp. chopped dill, plus more
• ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
• Kosher salt
• Freshly ground black pepper
• Corn chips for serving
Mash avocados to your desired
consistency. Mix in remaining
ingredients. Garnish with chopped
pickles and serve with corn chips.
Dill Pickle Dip
• 16 ounces cream cheese, softened
• 9 ounces dried beef, chopped
• 16 ounces baby dill pickles
• Crackers for serving
Using a mixer, beat cream cheese
until smooth. Fold in pickles and
dried beef. Chill until ready to eat.
Serve with crackers.
Bread & Butter Pickles
• 20 cups sliced cucumbers
(about 12 medium)
• 3 cups sliced onions
(about 4 medium)
• 1 medium sweet red pepper, sliced
• 1 medium green pepper, sliced
• 3 quarts ice water
• ½ cup canning salt
• 6 cups sugar
• 6 cups white vinegar
• 3 tablespoons mustard seed
• 3 teaspoons celery seed
• 1½ teaspoons ground turmeric
• ¼ teaspoon plus ⅛ teaspoon
Place cucumbers, onions and peppers
in a large bowl. In another large bowl,
mix ice water and salt; pour over
vegetables. Let stand 3 hours. Rinse
vegetables and drain well. Pack
vegetables into eleven hot 1-pint jars
to within ½ inch of the top. In a
Dutch oven, bring sugar, vinegar,
mustard seed, celery seed, turmeric
and cloves to a boil. Carefully ladle
hot liquid over vegetable mixture,
leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove
air bubbles and adjust headspace,
if necessary, by adding hot liquid.
Wipe rims. Center lids on jars; screw
on bands until fingertip tight.
Place jars into canner, ensuring
that they are completely
covered with water. Bring to
a boil; process for 10 minutes.
Remove jars and cool.
Makes 11 pints
• ¼ cup mayonnaise
• 1 tablespoon drained horseradish
• 2 teaspoons ketchup
• ¼ teaspoon Cajun seasoning
Mix and set aside.
• Peanut or vegetable oil, for frying
• ½ cup all-purpose flour
• 1 ¾ teaspoons Cajun seasoning
• ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning
• ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
• Kosher salt
• 2 cups sliced dill pickles, drained
Heat 1 inch peanut oil in a pot over
medium-high heat until a deep-fry
thermometer registers 375. Whisk
flour, Cajun seasoning, Italian
seasoning, cayenne pepper,
½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup water in a
large bowl until smooth.
Spread the pickles on paper towels
and pat dry. Add half of the pickles to
the batter and toss to coat. Remove
from batter using a slotted spoon,
letting the excess drip off, and add to
the oil one at a time. Fry until golden
brown, 1 to 2 minutes; remove with
a slotted spoon and drain on paper
towels. Return the oil to 375 and
repeat with the remaining pickles and
batter. Serve immediately with the
Makes 4 servings
• 1 cup fresh dill sprigs
• 2 cloves garlic chopped
• ¼ cup chopped onion
• 3 cups thinly sliced small
• 1¼ cups water
• ¾ cup white vinegar
• 1 tablespoon honey
(or granulated sugar)
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
Place dill, garlic, and onion in a
large mason jar. Fill jar to top with
cucumbers. Place water, vinegar,
honey, salt, and pepper in small
saucepan over high heat. Whisk until
the mixture comes to a boil. Pour
hot liquid over cucumbers. Cool
slightly, then place top on jar and
refrigerate overnight before serving.
Store in the refrigerator.
Hometown RANKIN • 67
68 • MAY 2022
CALL NOW: 601-401-3299
©2022 Jackson Eye Associates
Meet our newest physician
Dr. Charles McGuffey.
Dr. McGuffey’s primary
focuses will be:
• SECONDARY LENSES
Jackson Eye Associates is proud to announce the addition of Dr. Charles D. McGuffey
to our Jackson office. A native of Madison, McGuffey earned his medical degree from
University of Mississippi Medical Center before completing his residency at the University
of Tennessee at Memphis. He completed a fellowship in cornea, external diseases, and
refractive surgery at the Dean McGee Eye Institute at Oklahoma University.
Hometown RANKIN • 69
Joe Boyd & Complete Exteriors
Quality Without Compromise
When Joe Boyd graduated from Northern Michigan University
in 2000, he wasn’t exactly eager to strike out on his own.
“I thought I was going to spend the next six months hanging out
and mooching off my parents while I figured out what I wanted to
do,” Joe laughs. His father, the VP of operations for an automotive
supplier, had other plans. He told Joe that his former CFO owned
a company called Complete Automation and wanted to meet with
him. Joe made clear that he wasn’t ready for a job yet, but his dad
insisted. “When I went to meet with the man, who happened to be
a close family friend, he told me that my dad said that he’d better
hire me on the spot if he wanted any more of my dad’s business.”
And that is how Joe Boyd ended up driving away from his
family home in Michigan on his birthday, January 3rd, 2001, with
a stack of plans in his new Nissan Frontier headed to Canton,
Mississippi. He was one of the field engineers who was on the
ground before the Nissan plant was even constructed. And he had
every preconception of the Magnolia State you might imagine.
“I got off 55, drove into downtown Canton, and called my dad
freaking out. It was so different from home. I was like… ‘Dad, are
they even going to have indoor plumbing?’ I had to drive through
a cotton field and over a railroad track to get to the plant site.
There was mud everywhere and I just thought - where am I?”
He didn’t know anyone, nor did he have time to remedy that
problem. Joe was working seven days a week, arriving at 7am
and leaving around 6pm. He would leave work, head to dinner
each night at McB’s, shoot some pool, and go home to his nearby
apartment. One of the waitresses got to know the regular and her
husband would come by to play pool with him. The two became
good friends and, in true southern fashion, the friend was soon
trying to play matchmaker.
Joe and his wife Amanda met in the most stereotypical of
Mississippi ways. “My friend told me some people were going to
float the Bogue Chitto that weekend and I had to come meet his
cousin. I told him there was no way I was going to date someone
70 • MAY 2022
related to him. But then the next day he brought me a fitness
magazine with this girl on the cover and told me it was his cousin.
He was a jokester so, of course, I didn’t believe him; but I still
went, and I couldn’t believe it when the girl from the magazine was
actually there. I conveniently lost my tube and ended up in hers.”
Joe and Amanda are now happily married and have three children
who Joe clearly adores.
After his time at Nissan, Joe began looking for a new job in
his field but was having trouble finding work. While he continued
looking, a friend invited him to join his roofing company and, out
of necessity, he accepted. Eventually he learned the business well
enough to start his own company. His father moved down to join
him, and they began in his living room with two plastic tables, a
laptop, trailer and truck, and a handful of guys. His dad ran the
business side of things while Joe was in the field, and they did
any exterior home projects they could find. Eventually, they built
up enough of a clientele to specialize in roofing. Complete
Exteriors has now been in business for sixteen years with offices
in Pearl and Gulfport as well as a sister roofing company in Florida.
That type of longevity in the field is more important than most
people realize. “I get calls every day from people who hired some
random guy to do their roof but now they have a problem and
can’t find him or he doesn’t live here anymore. That kind of stuff
drives me nuts. Sure, someone may be offering a 50-year warranty
on their work but when they’ve only been in business two years,
that may not mean much.”
Over the years, Complete Exteriors has developed a
reputation for superior work. Joe’s hope is that people will hire
him because they associate his company name with the highest
quality available. “There may be company’s larger than ours but
there aren’t companies that provide better results.”
Hometown RANKIN • 71
Complete Exteriors is known for their specialty work on slate, cedar, and copper roofs. They are dedicated to getting homeowners
an equitable settlement for the true value of their roof, and also specialize in settling insurance claims. “I had a homeowner
pay their $1,000 deductible and the insurance company gave an original $20,000 estimate on the work,” Joe says. “I was able
to get them to approve $100,000 worth of additional work to bring the house up to code, meet the new wind requirements, and
get brand-new decking, flashing, and siding. All that at no extra cost to the homeowner. If your company doesn’t know how the
insurance process works and how to apply the codes, the client is at a major disadvantage.”
72 • MAY 2022
On a more personal note, Joe loves using his business
to provide opportunities for those seeking a career path or
needing a second chance. He relishes giving people a
home and a plan to succeed. “I’m bringing in a lot of young
adults who don’t necessarily know anything about roofing
but are smart and hard-working. They want somewhere to
advance themselves and I can look at them and give them
a four-year plan to make it happen. I can explain the steps
to get there, and I’ll evaluate their progress. Painting that
vision for someone—I love watching them take pride in
what they can do and feel enabled.”
Timothy Keller wrote an excellent book entitled Every
Good Endeavor about the connection between the work
we do in the temporal world and God’s work. As I listen to
Joe talk about his company, it comes to mind. At one point
Keller writes, “If the point of work is to serve and exalt
ourselves, then our work inevitably becomes less about
the work and more about us. Our aggressiveness will
eventually become abuse, our drive will become burnout,
and our self-sufficiency will become self-loathing. But if the
purpose of work is to serve and exalt something beyond
ourselves, then we actually have a better reason to deploy
our talent, ambition, and entrepreneurial vigor—and we are
more likely to be successful in the long run, even by the
Joe Boyd and Complete Exteriors are certainly
successful by the world’s definition. But after listening to
him talk about his vision and work ethic, I suspect he may
accomplish more than that in the long run. And after
listening to his staff discuss his integrity and faith, I also
suspect he is looking to exalt something more than his own
interests. Because of that, Complete Exteriors is more than
a roofing company; it is the type of venture that makes
Rankin County more like the place we all want it to be.
Hometown RANKIN • 73
FOR Y OUR
campus tours available now!
Contact Tracie Mallard, Director of Admission, at 601.939.8611 or
email@example.com, to schedule your family's tour.
74 • MAY 2022
Peace of Mind Knowing Your Loved One is Safe!
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and home-like environment your loved one deserves. When your loved one’s
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Business Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8a.m. to 5p.m.
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Hometown RANKIN • 75
For those who are called
to serve and protect our
communities, the risks
are many and the
rewards are few.
Yet, without their dedication, our
communities would be in chaos.
A special week is set aside each May
for citizens to show their appreciation
to our law enforcement community.
Law Enforcement Week was started
by President John F. Kennedy as a way
for schools, churches, organizations,
businesses, and individuals to participate
in honoring our men and women in blue.
Hometown Magazines salutes
our local law enforcement leaders.
Thank you for
76 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 77
✪ 27 years in law enforcement
✪ Brandon Police Chief 2014-present
✪ 18 years in law enforcement
✪ Richland Police Chief February 2022-present
RANKIN COUNTY SHERIFF
✪ 32 years in law enforcement
✪ Rankin County Sheriff 2011-present
✪ 34 years in law enforcement
✪ Flowood Police Chief 2018-present
78 • MAY 2022
✪ 34 years in law enforcement
✪ Florence Police Chief 2020-present
✪ 34 years in law enforcement
✪ Pearl Police Chief 2018-present
✪ 13 years in law enforcement
✪ Reservoir Police Chief 2020-present
✪ 27 years in law enforcement
✪ Pelahatchie Police Chief 2021-present
Hometown RANKIN • 79
80 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 81
82 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 83
East Rankin Academy JV team competed at districts in April.
The JV girls won their second consecutive JV title with standout
performances from Katie Lee Tadlock (1st pole vault), Addison
Derrick (1st discus), Rosa Garcia (1st long jump and tie for
1st high jump), Abby Raines (tie 1st high jump), Emily Williams
(1st 400 meter), JVG Relay Teams (1st 4x100 and 1st 4x800).
The JV Boys were third overall with standout performance from
Aiden Harrell (1st 100 meter AND 200 meter).
84 • MAY 2022
Pelahatchie Elementary believes that a school’s success is not solely
determined by its test scores. In fact, we consider the climate of the school and
our students’ desire to be present both strong indicators of a highly successful
school. Students who love school are more likely to be attentive and motivated
to achieve. Instilling a love for school can leave a lasting impact on our
students, improving the effectiveness of everything they do.
Attitude and enthusiasm jumpstart a desire for learning. It’s the joy of being
in a classroom that leads to inspiration, exploration, and curiosity. Our staff
members strive to embody a positive attitude that reflects their own love of
learning. We value the relationships, moments of discovery, and teaching and
learning something interesting. We celebrate every moment in teaching and
strive to create a learning experience that students enjoy.
Here’s what a few of our students had to say about Pelahatchie Elementary:
“I love it because in every grade we learn more and more.”
“I love it because all of my friends are here, and I like the way the teachers
make us feel welcome and are sweet to us!”
“I love it because the teachers make teaching look easy, and they
understand how we work. The principals make sure that we have a safe,
bully-free school. Plus, our teachers take good care of us and are understanding
when we get questions wrong.”
“I love it because the teachers help me get smarter so I can become
something in life. The people here are very friendly, and they will help you
when you need it.”
Providing a loving and safe environment is always our goal and encourages
the students at Pelahatchie Elementary to strive for success and make school a
priority. Go Chiefs!
Hometown RANKIN • 85
They were heading to the guillotine it seemed, eyes
wide with anxiety, heartbeats pounding in their ears,
sweaty palms wiped on their legs. Even though they were
terrified, what students learned that day was invaluable
The mission was simple: to build student aptitude
and comfort with the process for either academic or
occupational interviews. Early 2022, Richland High School
reached out to local businesses and parents to find
volunteers to participate in the first annual Mock
Interview Day for 11th and 12th grade students. The
community response and support were incredible. Every
person approached jumped at the chance to come help
students build “real world” interviewing skills.
Sitting for an interview is a process which leaves
people vulnerable - for the interviewee and interviewer
alike. In order to be clear and fair to all parties, a rubric
was created that outlined definite criteria that needed to
be met in order to be successful at an interview. Parent
consent was obtained for our volunteers to guide and
judge based upon the criterion.
Richland High School’s media team put together a
short, entertaining, targeted video regarding proper
interview etiquette, and the counseling department met
with student participants to ensure they knew the
expectations. Students brought resumes, dressed
appropriately, shook hands, communicated their ideas
meanwhile maintaining their poise and creativity for
fielding difficult questions.
Walking to their interviews, uncertainty etched each
face. Returning from the interviews were wide smiles
and sighs of relief. A 12th grader, E. Jones, said that it
was a “great experience” which got him out of “[his]
comfort zone” to “test his social skills” for interviews that
will “play an important factor in getting into certain
positions” in his future. 11th grader, M. Smith,
mentioned her previous inexperience with interviews,
and how she plans to be better prepared with even the
little things like a handshake or a smile in the future.
12th grader, N. Smith, and 11th grader, C. Owens,
mentioned their appreciation for the volunteers being
local businesspeople, so their input, help, and guidance
86 • MAY 2022
Each morning at Northwest Rankin High School,
the scent of coffee wafts through the air as students
from the business school serve drinks and snacks
from their new Cougar Coffee Shop while others
purchase school supplies and apparel from the
Paw Mart. Not only is our new building stunning,
its amenities are unparalleled.
Once the morning bell rings, learners report to
classrooms, and academy students report to their
respective labs. The Health Science Academy
students practice their skills in a mock hospital
setting while convergent media students film
segments in front of their lab’s green screen. Guest
speakers are directed to the lecture hall while other
classes work in groups in the media center. At noon,
it’s everyone’s favorite time of day, and students can
be found picnicking in the courtyard, lounging on the
steps, or dining in the cafeteria. Students and faculty
alike have jumped right in to embrace the opportunities
available in our new school.
After the final bell, Cougars disperse to their
various extra-curricular activities. This year has been
quite victorious, including a playoff run for boys’
basketball and boys’ soccer, and a soccer state
championship for the Lady Cougars. The Cougar
Band, Winter Guard, and JROTC Raiders all brought
home first place wins at competition, while Robotics,
DECA, and HOSA all qualified for Internationals.
Cheer and Dance came back from Orlando with big
wins, as well. It’s been a banner year, and it’s not
Hometown RANKIN • 87
Pearl Public School District
Students at the Early Childhood Education Center had very special
goat visitors to help them celebrate Farm Day.
Pearl Lower Elementary students in Mrs. Sharley Speed’s
kindergarten class enjoyed an Easter egg hunt on the playground.
Fourth and fifth grade students at Pearl Upper Elementary who met their
third nine weeks goals were rewarded with snow cones from Kona Ice.
The 2022 Pearl High School Hall of Fame was honored
with a luncheon at River Hills Country Club. The PHS school
adopter Bank of Yazoo sponsored the luncheon.
The Pearl Junior High School Beta Club attended the Mississippi
Junior Beta State Convention. These students competed against schools
across Mississippi and brought home 17 awards.
Northside Elementary teacher Ms. Melissa Parks was surprised
by the Rankin Chamber to announce her as a top ten finalist
for the Rankin County Chamber Teacher of the Year.
88 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 89
We have a tendency to relate months of the year
with special or sad memories. Birthdays, anniversaries
and deaths make indelible marks on months for all of us.
May has a lot of special, celebratory marks for most people. The April showers do bring
May flowers, and that makes me very happy! The extreme heat and humidity of our South
aren’t totally cranked up, and the flowers take advantage of it.
My own flowers that I plant and stoke Miracle Grow to begin to “flaunt their wares” and
spread their beauty during the spring growing season of May. The roses are temporarily free of
the humidity-induced diseases, and the deer aren’t hungry enough to invade our back yard.
I tend to associate May with awards days, graduations and clean-out-desks-and-lockers
month. It meant the light at the end of the tunnel for me when I taught school, and as a student,
it meant summer paradise was next.
Mother’s Day falls in the month of May and continues to make this month special. There
have been times that I’ve felt like the memorial date tries to press us into a commercial mode,
but there’s no denying that mothers need a special recognition day.
It was during my childhood, but I still remember the excitement of Daddy carrying us to
Van-Atkins Department store in New Albany to buy Mother a gift for the big day. I always went
to the jewelry counter and picked out a new pair of earrings - blue ones - her favorite color.
That was long ago. I still miss Mother and think of her several times a day. Little did I realize
what an impression she was making in my life. I press blouses the way she taught me, I add
extra butter to recipes like she taught me, I love jonquils the way she loved them, I remind
myself to write thank-you notes the way she did, I enjoy family members singing like she did,
I appreciate the stage like she did, I pray for VBS like she did, I teach Sunday school like she
did, I soothe little grandchildren’s boo-boos like she did, I TRY to make apple pies like she did,
and I try to love my family like she did.
So many visit the cemetery on Mother’s Day because that’s as close as they feel they can be.
I just carry her memory with me and thank God for her influence in my life and look forward
to our reunion day. Who knows what month will hold that special event?
90 • MAY 2022
Hometown RANKIN • 91
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