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2 • MAY 2022




Hometown RANKIN • 3

4 • MAY 2022

Hometown RANKIN • 5

6 • MAY 2022


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

were amazing!

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

Rankin County.

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.



Tahya Dobbs


Kevin Dobbs


Mary Ann Kirby


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

Tanglewood 52

Neighborhood Eats 56

The Time Coin 90



Brenda McCall



Caroline Hodges



Alisha Floyd



Tammy Haynes-Pecoul

...see you around town.



Daniel Thomas




Othel Anding



Lexie Ownby

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

Mistie Desper

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

were plentiful.

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

double dated.”

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

“...love can

only take

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

your home?

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

Rankin County?

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

more shopping!

Share some things you enjoy doing in your

spare time.

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

from now?

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

was excited!

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

Hometown Magazines?

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,

healthier lives.


of RED

To become part of this dynamic

group, contact Katherine Byrd at


or 601-906-8596.

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

our community.

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 katherine.byrd@heart.org

or 601.906.8596.

Hometown RANKIN • 15

Alissa Hebert Wallace

US Dept of Veteran Affairs

Allison Muirhead

Allison Muirhead Photography

Amanda Fontaine

MS Association of Broadcasters

Ann Barnes

Prime Care Nursing

Brenda Barron

Professional Staffing Group

Brian Fenelon

The Fenelon Group

Cindee Herlocker

Edward Jones

Cindy Carraway

Carraway Construction

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

Molina Healthcare

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

Baptist Premier

Elee Reeves

First Lady of Mississippi

Emily Speed


Erica Reed

Jackson Medical Mall Foundation

Jamie Woods Dull

AllPro Clean

Jan Collins

Madison County Business League & Foundation

Janet Harris Janie Jarvis

The Bridal Path

Jeannie Robinson

EMC Insurance Companies

16 • MAY 2022

Jeff Speed

Speed Commercial Real Estate

Jennifer Boydston Johnson

Roberts, Bridges & Boydston, PLLC

Joni McClain

McClain Lodge

Kim Stonecypher

Stonecypher Consulting, LLC

Laurie Cutrer


LeAnne Brewer

Millsaps College

Mackenzie Henry

Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare

Maggie Clark

Maggie Clark Media Services

Michael Parnell

UnitedHealthcare of Mississippi, Inc.

Michelle Dunn

Advanced Vascular & Vein Assocaties

Mike Barkett


Missy McMullan

Pam Ware

First Commercial Bank

Peder Johnson

Rashida Walker

W Real Estate, LLC

Rebecca Haas

Talking With Toddlers

Rebecca Martin


Rhonda Moore

Sandy Stonecypher

Sheramie Shore

New York Southern Style, LLC

Suzanne Thigpen

Tammy Phillips

Community Bank

Tina Lakey

Meshelle Rawls

Foundation for the MidSouth

Patti Daly


Samantha Lofton

Barnett's Body Shop

Hometown RANKIN • 17



138 Lakeland Heights Blvd.

Flowood, MS 39232


NMLS# 70244



138 Lakeland Heights Blvd.

Flowood, MS 39232


NMLS# 70252



1255 West Government Street

Brandon, MS 39042


NMLS# 85845






2441 Old Brandon Road

Pearl, MS 39208


NMLS# 730127

18 • MAY 2022

Hometown RANKIN • 19

20 • MAY 2022


Ann Clayton Cain

& Grace Greenwood

Susan Marquez

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


Summer Visiting Exhibit

May 14 – Sept. 4


TM & © 2022 The Jim Henson Company. All rights reserved.


601.981.5469 | Jackson, MS

22 • MAY 2022


Welcome You Home!


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community. You will feel right at home at The Blake.



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

22 years.

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

through trauma.

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

engineering degree.

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

discipline philosophy?

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

your family?

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

Rankin County?

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!


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

JEA10418_q4_8x5_4c_Print_HtownClinton.indd 1



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

Pickle Fest

It’s kind of a big dill

June 11



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

Strong Genes

Strong Bond

Mother/Daughter Look-Alikes

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!






































Highland Village



The District at Eastover



Banner Hall



Colony Crossing



Hometown RANKIN • 47

Salute to Education

April 12 • Clyde Muse Center

48 • MAY 2022

Hometown RANKIN • 49

50 • MAY 2022

Hometown RANKIN • 51

Mistie Desper

“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

Camp Tanglewood.”

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,

and volunteers.

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




Outback Steakhouse

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

through him.”

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




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

email msagmuseum@mdac.ms.gov.

Hometown RANKIN • 65

Pickle Cheesecake


• 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

pickles, divided

• 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

1 hour.

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

toasted bread.

Serves 10-12

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

Serves 2

Pickle Pops

• 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

serve immediately.

Serves 10

66 • MAY 2022

Dill Pickle Guacamole

• 3 avocados, pitted and mashed

• 2 Tbsp. pickle juice

• ½ cup chopped pickles, plus more

for garnish

• ¼ red onion, finely chopped

• 1 garlic clove, minced

• 1 Tbsp. chopped dill, plus more

for garnish

• 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.

Serves 6-8

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

ground cloves

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

Fried Pickles


• 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

prepared sauce.

Makes 4 servings

Overnight Pickles

• 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:




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

Advertiser Spotlight

Joe Boyd & Complete Exteriors

Quality Without Compromise

Sarah Rein

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

world’s definition.”

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

5th grade





campus tours available now!

Contact Tracie Mallard, Director of Admission, at 601.939.8611 or

tmallard@jacksonprep.net, to schedule your family's tour.

74 • MAY 2022

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Hometown RANKIN • 75

To Protect

& Serve

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

your service.

76 • MAY 2022

Hometown RANKIN • 77


William Thompson

✪ 27 years in law enforcement

✪ Brandon Police Chief 2014-present


Nick McLendon

✪ 18 years in law enforcement

✪ Richland Police Chief February 2022-present


Bryan Bailey

✪ 32 years in law enforcement

✪ Rankin County Sheriff 2011-present


Ricky McMillian

✪ 34 years in law enforcement

✪ Flowood Police Chief 2018-present

78 • MAY 2022


Dan McClendon

✪ 34 years in law enforcement

✪ Florence Police Chief 2020-present


Dean Scott

✪ 34 years in law enforcement

✪ Pearl Police Chief 2018-present


Trevell Dixon

✪ 13 years in law enforcement

✪ Reservoir Police Chief 2020-present


Robert Mahaffey

✪ 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

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

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

and magical.

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

was invaluable.

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

over yet!

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

TheTime COIN

Camille Anding

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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