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M A D I S O N R I D G E L A N D F L O R A C A N T O N G L U C K S T A D T<br />

V91<br />


2 • JANUARY 2023


As we put the finishing touches on this issue I’m sitting in my<br />

office awaiting a strong line of storms to move in.<br />

Two years ago at this exact same moment, ice had blanketed the<br />

entire city in what was being referred to as an “historic” weather event.<br />

Today, it’s seventy degrees outside. In two days, it will be forty degrees<br />

cooler. I’ve often heard Mississippi’s weather being referred to as<br />

psychotic. They’re not wrong...<br />

But if you were to look at history, wouldn’t it be revealed that wild<br />

swings in weather patterns have always existed—like since forever?<br />

I think about the news and its use of hyperbole to create fear in the<br />

minds of the reader and viewer. Use of words like “historic,” “unprecedented,”<br />

“the largest,” the deadliest,” and literally one of my personal<br />

favorites, “apocalyptic.” Headlines like these create feelings of panic and<br />

uncertainty. But again, if we were to look at history, wouldn’t we see that<br />

these types of events have been happening since the beginning of time?<br />

I’m certainly not immune to the effects of persuasive messaging.<br />

I’ve found myself in seasons of fear and uncertainty. But then I stop<br />

and think to myself, “Is this the first time this has ever happened in the<br />

history of mankind?” So far, the answer has been no, one hundred<br />

percent of the time. That’s when I regain my balance.<br />

I’ve recently been made aware of a multi-million-dollar media<br />

campaign that’s been launched nationwide. He Gets Us puts today’s<br />

issues into context, using today’s vernacular and imagery, by reminding<br />

us that nothing we’re experiencing today is new. Not a bit of it. Jesus<br />

experienced these same things on the regular. They look at the<br />

biography of Jesus through a modern lens—and it’s brilliantly done.<br />

I encourage you to check it out at HeGetsUs.com.<br />

Thank you for picking up this issue of Hometown Madison. It is our<br />

hope to tell stories that create feelings of joy and hope as well—with no<br />

hyperbole—just stories from the heart.<br />



Tahya Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />


Reader Spotlight 7<br />

Hometown Family 10<br />

BlueHealth Madison 16<br />

Fighting for Mississippi Veterans 22<br />

Interior Inspirations 24<br />

Woman of Impact 28<br />

Touch A Truck 32<br />

Kids Who Care 36<br />

Through the Fire 38<br />

Mississippi Makers Fest 46<br />



Caroline Hodges<br />



Alisha Floyd<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />


Nikki Robison<br />

...see you around town.<br />


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />

STAFF<br />


Debby Francis<br />

www.facebook.com/hometownmadisonmagazine. For subscription information visit www.htmags.com or contact us at info@HTMags.com / 601.706.4059 / 200 Felicity Street / Brandon, MS 39042<br />

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

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

Hometown MADISON • 3

4 • MARCH 2023





601.957.3753 • KOESTLERPRIME.COM<br />


Hometown MADISON • 5


www.priorityonebank.com<br />

6 • MARCH 2023

READER<br />


Brittany<br />

HARVEY<br />

Why did you make Madison your home?<br />

We wanted to live in a community with a “family” feel<br />

in which we could raise our children while also having<br />

the small town features similar to where we grew up.<br />

We found everything on our checklist of where we<br />

wanted our family to live here, including the safety<br />

features and great schools.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am Dr. Brittany Harvey. I have recently graduated<br />

with my doctorate in education administration from<br />

the University of Southern Mississippi. I also hold<br />

three other degrees from Jackson State University.<br />

This school year, I have had the opportunity to stay<br />

home and take care of Morgan Faith who was born<br />

this past August while also volunteering at Amayah<br />

Grace’s school. I am very passionate about the field of<br />

special education and the inclusion of individuals with<br />

disabilities.<br />

My husband, Dennis, is an Army veteran who works<br />

as a cloud security engineer with Cisco Systems. He<br />

is also a graduate of the University of Southern<br />

Mississippi. During his free time, he enjoys volunteering<br />

with the audio/visual ministry at our church, Priestley<br />

Chapel MB Church, novice woodworking, traveling,<br />

and spending time with family.<br />

Amayah Grace, 7, enjoys dancing, reading, and all<br />

things unicorns or Barbie related. She wants to<br />

someday become a teacher like a few of her favorite<br />

teachers who have included: Mrs. Ella Collier, Mrs.<br />

Lakendria April, and Mrs. Suzanne Williams.<br />

Morgan Faith, 5 months, enjoys being spoiled by<br />

Daddy, Mommy, and big sister. She will be attending<br />

daycare soon!<br />

What is your favorite memory of living in<br />

Madison?<br />

My favorite memory would be family car rides to<br />

view Christmas lights around town, attending the<br />

2022 Christmas Open House held at the Township,<br />

and especially seeing the joy in Amayah’s eyes as we<br />

rode the train around the buildings.<br />

Where are your three favorite places to eat in<br />

Madison?<br />

Koestler Prime, Sal & Mookies, Another Broken Egg<br />

What are some fun things to do in Madison<br />

County on weekends?<br />

Fun things to do on the weekend around Madison<br />

County would include starting the morning off with<br />

coffee or tea from The Bean Parlor, visiting the local<br />

boutiques, having family time at the movie theatre or<br />

Liberty Park, attending church at Priestley Chapel MB<br />

Church, and having Sunday dinner from Marlo’s<br />

Backyard BBQ.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in your<br />

spare time.<br />

During my spare time, I enjoy spending time with my<br />

family, traveling, reading, and crafting. I also enjoy<br />

visiting various restaurants in search of the best<br />

gumbo!<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

Visiting each continent. Visiting the history museums<br />

and monuments in Washington, DC. Opening a<br />

family entertainment center focused on including<br />

individuals with disabilities.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

The person I admire the most would be my mom,<br />

Gwendolyn Morgan. My mom has a heart of gold and<br />

has always taught me to put forth my best no matter<br />

what and to give to others whether it be monetary or<br />

through the act of service. Throughout my life, I have<br />

watched her often neglect herself to ensure that she<br />

was available to take care of my younger brother who<br />

has multiple disabilities. I have never seen her<br />

complain, or wish for a different life. In 2020 when<br />

my father passed unexpectedly, my mother continued<br />

to show how strong she was. I have seen my parents<br />

happily married my entire life and can only imagine<br />

the pain she still deals with but never showed. I pray<br />

that I can be as great an example to my girls that my<br />

mother continues to be to me. Even now, my mom is<br />

still striving to achieve a lifelong dream of hers.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years from now?<br />

I see myself and my family still residing in Madison<br />

County. Our goal is to eventually find property with<br />

acreage in which we can have a family farm similar to<br />

the one I grew up on. I also see my family being in a<br />

position in which we can give back even more to<br />

others. God has truly blessed my husband and me and<br />

we pray that others can get to know Him through us.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

Spending time with my dad at the barn with his horses<br />

and at his dog kennels helping with the beagles. My<br />

dad’s full-time job was as an educator, but afternoons<br />

and part of the weekends were spent tending to the<br />

animals. On rare occasions, we could even convince<br />

my mom to come out and help us!<br />

If you could give us one encouraging quote,<br />

what would it be?<br />

“It doesn’t matter who you are, or where you come<br />

from, the ability to triumph begins with you—always.”<br />

– Oprah Winfrey<br />

Hometown MADISON • 7

Students are explorers. Our<br />

job as educators is to help<br />

them FIND THEIR WAY<br />

academically, athletically,<br />

artistically, and spiritually.<br />

Amanda Slack<br />

Head of Lower School<br />

jacksonprep.net<br />

PreK-3 through grade 12<br />

8 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 9

10 • MARCH 2023

The<br />

Lewises<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

We are Jay and Crystal Lewis and we are the proud parents of<br />

two daughters and one son whose names are Shelby (14),<br />

Jaxon (11), and Paityn (10). We love traveling as a family,<br />

attending sporting events and dining at some of our favorite<br />

restaurants.<br />

How did you meet, and how long have you been married?<br />

We met in church as teenagers. As a child growing up, I would<br />

spend weekends with my grandmother and attend church with<br />

her on Sundays. He and his family were members of the same<br />

church. We have been together for 20 years and married 15<br />

years.<br />

Do you allow time to be with your spouse for a date night?<br />

Yes, we try to spend time together weekly away from the kids.<br />

We love to dine and listen to live music. We also try to take a<br />

trip with just the two of us here and there.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 11

What brings you the greatest joy as a parent?<br />

What brings me the greatest joy as a parent is watching our<br />

children develop into their own people. They now have their<br />

own interests and viewpoints on things, and they are now at an<br />

age where they do well to articulate why they take certain stances<br />

on issues. I also love their relationship with one another. They<br />

bicker but they are extremely close and look out for one another.<br />

Who is the financial manager in your home?<br />

We both manage finances jointly. One of us focuses on due<br />

dates and deadlines and the other physically goes in and pays<br />

bills and completes other financial allocations. We also have our<br />

own personal “pocket change” for things we enjoy individually<br />

to maintain a level of autonomy and independence.<br />

When your children were younger, what was your discipline<br />

philosophy?<br />

We learned early that not only is every child different, but every<br />

child responds differently to forms of discipline. We like to get<br />

to the root cause of offenses in our home and find out why our<br />

children felt like certain behaviors were appropriate. If we have<br />

redirected our children multiple times for the same behaviors<br />

and offenses, we take electronics and privileges away.<br />

How do you spend your summer breaks?<br />

Our family loves the beach and theme parks. We typically spend<br />

spring and part of summer breaks at one or the other. The kids<br />

also participate in different camps during the summer.<br />

What accomplishments make you proud during your time<br />

living in Madison?<br />

I love seeing all of the growth in Madison. I remember when<br />

Hwy 51 only consisted of Sledge’s and then later a Jitney Jungle.<br />

Many of the neighborhoods that we have made our homes were<br />

woods located off back roads. It is great to see how Madison is<br />

thriving and has become a sought-after community.<br />

What drives you to have the job that you have?<br />

And what do you do for a living?<br />

Both my husband and I both have careers in the field of health<br />

care. He is a manager for a pharmaceutical company, and I am an<br />

account executive for a home health agency. We also own a<br />

home-based travel business. We are both people persons and love<br />

being able to provide people with experiences, services, and<br />

medications that give a better quality of life and makes them well.<br />

What do you see in your role as the greatest benefit<br />

to your family?<br />

I would say that being present is the greatest benefit. I feel that as<br />

our children get older and recollect on memories that were created<br />

when they were young, it is important that you as a parent are a<br />

part of those memories.<br />

What’s a quick go-to meal that isn’t fast food?<br />

And who does the cooking?<br />

The children love spaghetti and garlic bread so that is in rotation<br />

on our household menu at least biweekly. I do most of the cooking,<br />

however, there are a few dishes that are the sole responsibility of<br />

my husband. He is the grill master, and he also makes wonderful<br />

homemade biscuits.<br />

How long has Madison been your home?<br />

We are both lifelong residents of Madison County. I grew up in<br />

Madison and my husband grew up in Canton. Madison has been<br />

our home for 15 years.<br />

What are some of your favorite things about Madison County?<br />

We love the aesthetics of Madison County. It is truly a beautiful<br />

family-oriented place, and we have the best of both worlds. We<br />

can shop, dine, and participate in fun activities, but we can also<br />

slow the pace and enjoy the sense of calm and country charm that<br />

the county has to offer.<br />

12 • MARCH 2023


What’s your favorite thing to do as a<br />

family?<br />

Shelby Go to the beach<br />

Jaxon Go to the beach<br />

Paityn Go to the beach<br />

What your favorite restaurant?<br />

Shelby Walk-On’s<br />

Jaxon Ichiban and Hokkaido<br />

Paityn Chick-fil-A<br />

What’s your favorite TV show?<br />

Shelby Manifest<br />

Jaxon YouTube shorts and tutorials<br />

about pranks<br />

Paityn YouTube shorts and tutorials<br />

about makeup<br />

Hometown MADISON • 13

Cameren Ward<br />

10th grade<br />

I hope to get a 30 on the ACT by my<br />

senior year, and also to get accepted<br />

into most of my ideal colleges.<br />

Madison Central<br />

High School<br />

Q&A<br />

What are<br />

2 things<br />

on your<br />

bucket list<br />

??<br />

Dylan Thomas<br />

10th grade<br />

One thing on my bucket list is to star<br />

in a Broadway musical. Specifically,<br />

I would want to play Persephone in<br />

Hadestown or Sonya from Natasha,<br />

Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.<br />

I also want to be able to foster cats<br />

or kittens when I’m older.<br />

James Phillips<br />

12th grade<br />

I have two things on my bucket list.<br />

I would like to acquire a good amount<br />

of wealth so that I am able to travel<br />

the world and see new places.<br />

Another thing on my bucket list is to<br />

star in a Scream movie.<br />

Jenny Nguyen<br />

10th grade<br />

I want to become an old, cat lady.<br />

I also want to travel the world.<br />

Mary Katherine<br />

McIntyre<br />

10th grade<br />

There are tons of things on my bucket<br />

list, but there are two of them I really<br />

want to do. The first thing I want to do<br />

is go to Switzerland, because it is<br />

gorgeous. The second thing is to<br />

move to Hawaii. I want to wake up<br />

and be able to hike in the mountains<br />

and go to the beach all in one day.<br />

14 • MARCH 2023

Brittan McFadden<br />

11th grade<br />

I want to go to Greece. It has so<br />

much scenery and is so pretty.<br />

Another bucket list item I want to<br />

check off is swimming with sharks.<br />

Ephram Lake<br />

12th grade<br />

I want to go sky diving. I also want<br />

to go to Israel or somewhere in<br />

the Middle East. I love thrills and<br />

adrenaline rushes. My dad and I<br />

have been planning it since I was<br />

a kid. I want to go to Jerusalem to<br />

see Golgotha and a lot of Jesus’s life.<br />

Calesha Doyle<br />

10th grade<br />

The main two things would be to<br />

get rich, then go to Egypt and<br />

Africa and see where the Moses<br />

story happened.<br />

Ryan Delaney<br />

10th grade<br />

One thing I have always wanted to<br />

do is go scuba diving in clear water<br />

and see exotic animals. Another thing<br />

I have always wanted to do is go to<br />

California and see all the people.<br />

Anna Kimbrell<br />

12th grade<br />

My first item is to be on the field<br />

during an NFL game and interview<br />

a player. My second item is to<br />

travel this country and later go<br />

to Italy, Greece, France, Spain,<br />

and Great Britain.<br />

Logan Kennedy<br />

11th grade<br />

Two items would be skydiving and<br />

living in Paris. Both of these things<br />

are very different but also very<br />

hard to do.<br />

Avery Holland<br />

11th grade<br />

The top thing on my list is definitely to<br />

travel to Romania. I love the culture<br />

and the landscape. A close second<br />

would be learning how to figure<br />

skate. It’s a graceful and beautiful<br />

sport I would love to learn.<br />

Emily Hodges<br />

10th grade<br />

By the time I die, I want to have<br />

traveled in a tiny house on wheels<br />

around the country and have visited<br />

at least 50 countries around the<br />

world. Ever since I was little I have<br />

wanted to travel, because I want to<br />

get out of Mississippi to see the<br />

world around me.<br />

Rachael Carpenter<br />

11th grade<br />

My bucket list consists of many<br />

places to visit and people to meet.<br />

Two of my items are to visit the<br />

United Kingdom and hike across<br />

the nation. I also want to meet<br />

Ross Lynch.<br />

Southern Callahan<br />

10th grade<br />

Two things are to become a Dallas<br />

Cowboys cheerleader and be invited<br />

on a Tarte Cosmetics travel trip.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 15


BlueHealth<br />

Baptist Susan Marquez<br />

There is something noticeably<br />

different about BlueHealth Baptist in<br />

Madison. From the moment you pull<br />

into the parking lot of the primary care<br />

clinic, it is apparent that it is not like<br />

most other clinics. For one thing, a row<br />

of bays line one side of the building –<br />

designed for drive-up lab testing that<br />

can be done easily on the way to work,<br />

without leaving your vehicle. Parking is<br />

a breeze and literally at the front door<br />

of the clinic. The partnership between<br />

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Mississippi<br />

and Baptist Health Systems is working<br />

towards a shared purpose of redefining<br />

the traditional primary care experience<br />

Whether a patient is not feeling well,<br />

needs care or they simply want to<br />

improve their overall health, they will<br />

find a remarkable difference in the<br />

modern clinic. Instead of a waiting<br />

room, the lobby is filled with sunlight<br />

and you are greeted by a friendly face.<br />

Patients are escorted down a hallway<br />

lined with windows on one side, looking<br />

into a grassy courtyard area. Exam rooms<br />

are beautiful, with comfortable reclining<br />

chairs instead of hard examination tables.<br />

The clinic was designed to eliminate the<br />

anxiety many people have when they<br />

go see a doctor.<br />

16 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 17

There is definitely a feeling that your health is important to the staff.<br />

The executive director of BlueHealth Baptist, Price Davis, is friendly and<br />

approachable. He is responsible for holding the clinic to its vision of creating<br />

a one-of-a-kind health experience that is unlike any other in Mississippi.<br />

“We deliver a distinctively different and personalized approach to health.<br />

To us, you are your own person, not just another patient.”<br />

The central member of the medical team is Timothy Chen MD, the<br />

clinic’s medical director, who uses an integrative medicine approach in his<br />

practice of medicine. “We want to work with a patient to improve their health<br />

and prevent disease, not just treat it after the fact,” he explains. “We look at<br />

a patient’s nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress management, community<br />

engagement, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and alcohol use.”<br />

Nurse Practitioner, Melissa Wood, supports Dr. Chen by empowering<br />

patients with the knowledge and tools to take an active role in their own<br />

health journey. “We are providing a very personalized approach to medicine<br />

that is results-driven. I’m a big believer in celebrating success along the way.”<br />

Wood has a certification in lifestyle medicine and, in some situations, ops to<br />

prescribe lifestyle adjustments to optimize patients’ health instead of medication.<br />

“We spend time with each patient to review their current lifestyle and tailor a<br />

new plan for them.”<br />

A team of health coaches round out the team. “We have registered<br />

dieticians who see patients during their wellness visits,” says Chen. “They<br />

work with patients to set health goals.” At the end of each wellness exam,<br />

patients get a smoothie from the smoothie bar in the lobby. “We also<br />

provide recipes,” adds Davis.<br />

18 • MARCH 2023

To help put patients’ plans into practice, BlueHealth Baptist offers pharmacist<br />

consultations, coaching, yoga classes at the clinic, as well as a<br />

walking trail that is open to the public. While the clinic is only available to<br />

those covered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield, anyone can benefit from the<br />

videos and information posted on the clinic’s social media sites.<br />

Wood emphasizes that care doesn’t end when the patient leaves the<br />

clinic. “We know reaching health goals can be hard to do on your own. If you<br />

need an accountability partner, we’ll be right here to help you stay on track.<br />

We collaborate with your specialists to get your care plan and then follow<br />

up to make sure your following it correctly and are able to ask questions.”<br />

Davis is excited about the clinic’s growth. “One of our future goals, as we<br />

grow with intention, is to have more engagement with the community,<br />

whether it’s prevention or management of diabetes, a weekly exercise class,<br />

or addressing mental health. We want to provide a holistic health experience,<br />

and we do that by meeting people where they are. It may be a virtual<br />

visit if that’s most convenient for the patient. The main thing is to simplify<br />

your health care experience and design our experience in a way that works<br />

for you.”<br />

BlueHealth Baptist has only been open<br />

for one year and the results are positive.<br />

“We’re seeing people improve their health<br />

numbers, but as with anything else, results<br />

depend on how engaged people are,” says<br />

Chen. “We believe this will be the new<br />

model for medicine, and that the focus will<br />

be on preventing health issues instead of<br />

dealing with issues as they arise.”<br />

For more information on BlueHealth<br />

Baptist, visit www.bluehealthbaptist.com.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 19

This is physical jumps and mental leaps.<br />

This is the discipline, the art, the passion,<br />

the world, on one stage.<br />

And it all comes down to this.<br />



Photography by Michael J. Moore<br />

JUNE<br />

10 – 24<br />

2023<br />




Chisaco Oga<br />

USA IBC 2018 Bronze Medalist<br />

Soloist, Boston Ballet<br />

Night on the Town<br />

at the Ag Museum<br />

<br />

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<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

<br />

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20 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 21

Fighting for<br />

Mississippi’s Veterans<br />

Poppy Williams<br />

“Sometimes the hardest wars<br />

are fought at home.” - Anonymous<br />

Cheryl Bruce is a shining example that one<br />

can use their life experiences to positively impact<br />

the lives of others. Although she is too humble to<br />

admit it, through the work of her nonprofit, the<br />

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi, Cheryl has<br />

shaped the lives of hundreds of Mississippi<br />

veterans.<br />

According to Cheryl, this all started through<br />

the inspiration of her son, Dustin Ryan, who<br />

bravely served in the U.S. Army and was deployed<br />

to Iraq in 2005. After a IED (improvised explosive<br />

device) hit his vehicle and resulted in serious<br />

and traumatic brain and back injuries, Dustin<br />

returned home. However, the Dustin who<br />

returned was admittedly different than the<br />

Dustin who first deployed.<br />

“You might not always see a veteran’s injuries<br />

since not all of them are visible. Post 9/11, we have<br />

hundreds upon hundreds that came back with<br />

physical and/or mental scars. They made the<br />

sacrifice, served our country, and then came<br />

home as a changed person – just like my son,”<br />

said Cheryl.<br />

Through her experience seeing Dustin<br />

struggle with those mental and physical scars,<br />

Cheryl knew, first-hand, that veterans needed<br />

more – more support, more camaraderie with<br />

other veterans, more action, and more prayer.<br />

Though Cheryl initially raised money for the<br />

national Wounded Warriors project, she decided<br />

her time would be best spent focusing on<br />

Mississippi’s veterans. And just like that, the<br />

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi came to life<br />

and is thriving nine years later.<br />

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi is a 501(c)3<br />

nonprofit organization that supports Mississippi<br />

veterans who have served in the armed forces post<br />

9/11. They aim to support Mississippi’s veterans<br />

mentally, physically, financially, and spiritually,<br />

through a wide range of services and aid. They<br />

also stand up for veterans to educate against and<br />

prevent veteran abuse.<br />

22 • MARCH 2023

This support is multi-faceted, and it looks<br />

different for every veteran and their specific<br />

needs. Some examples of the real ways they’ve<br />

put their words into action for Mississippi<br />

veterans are through organizing events where<br />

veterans can meet other veterans and share life<br />

together, by providing physical assistance with<br />

daily tasks that many struggle to complete after<br />

injuries, by matching veterans with a service<br />

dog, and much more.<br />

Some days serving Mississippi veterans looks<br />

like a roof repair, making a wheelchair ramp,<br />

providing physical therapy or counseling,<br />

providing financial advisement sessions, or even<br />

helping to provide Christmas gifts for their<br />

families and kids. No matter how it looks that<br />

day, serving Mississippi’s veterans means that<br />

meeting their needs is – and will remain – a<br />

priority.<br />

“I can’t begin to explain the many ways that<br />

we’ve been able to help Mississippi’s veterans<br />

– mentally, physically and financially,” said<br />

Cheryl. “These things are not gifts to our veterans.<br />

Instead, they are small tokens of our appreciation<br />

for the huge sacrifice that they’ve given. Nothing<br />

we do will ever match that, but that doesn’t stop<br />

us from trying to do everything that we can.<br />

This all started because of my son, but now I<br />

feel like I have hundreds of sons!”<br />

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi speaks<br />

for, and acts, on behalf of our state’s veterans<br />

because not every warrior can speak for<br />

themself. With the support of the community,<br />

donors, and volunteers, they work tirelessly to<br />

give a voice to those needs and empower our<br />

state’s heroes to begin the journey to recovery.<br />

According to Cheryl, their strength, and<br />

the ability of current and future support, is<br />

amplified with collective action. They continuously<br />

welcome others to join their mission of<br />

making a difference in the lives of Mississippi’s<br />

veterans through volunteering, donating, or<br />

learning more about the organization at<br />

www.woundedwarriorsofms.com.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 23

Inspiring the Interior of Your Heart and Home<br />


Lisa Rippy works as hard to impact the interior of people’s lives as she<br />

does their homes. Along with her husband, Randy “Rip” Rippy, Lisa works<br />

to improve people’s lives by improving the spaces in which they live.<br />

Their company, Interior Inspirations, was started in 2004. “My sister<br />

helped name it,” says Lisa. “She said to me that because I was wanting to<br />

inspire the hearts (interior) of homemakers to call it Interior Inspirations.<br />

It’s been the mission of this business ever since. Our tagline is, Interior<br />

Inspirations—Inspiring the Interior of Your Heart and Home. The Bible<br />

verse this mission was founded on is Psalm 26:8: ‘I love the house<br />

where You live, O Lord, the place where Your glory dwells.’”<br />

Once Lisa began working with others to renovate parts of their<br />

homes, she decided to go all in, taking every class she could find<br />

on decorating and remodeling. “We did this for ten years in Nashville<br />

before moving back to Mississippi,” she says.<br />

Raised in Jackson, this is home for Lisa. She and Rip made the move<br />

to Madison in 2016. “We bought a home in Graystone, but Rip is a<br />

country boy from Tennessee. He needed more land!”<br />

One day while remodeling a bathroom located in a home just north<br />

of Madison on Old Canton Road, Lisa asked the homeowners about the<br />

small blue house next door. “They told me they owned it, and it was for<br />

24 • MARCH 2023

sale, but they wanted to find the right buyer.” Lisa took Rip to walk<br />

through the 1951 farmhouse. “It was amazing. Like nothing had been<br />

touched in it since it was built. It had the original linoleum floors and<br />

five-paneled doors.” The home also had rotted wood and peeling<br />

lead paint.<br />

Lisa and Rip did a rent-to-own deal on the home and the land on<br />

which it sat. They jumped in with both feet, moving into the house in<br />

2018 and slowly making it their home. “We did a lot of the work ourselves,”<br />

says Lisa. We have five children, all grown and gone, so it was<br />

just us. It was a little overwhelming. There was so much to do, and<br />

we were also working on projects for other people.”<br />

The first thing they did was to work on the front porch. “It was a big<br />

concrete porch with a swing on either end, and it was painted brick red<br />

and had no railing whatsoever. We started by scraping the paint off and<br />

painting the porch gray, then we added a railing.” That gave them the<br />

motivation to keep on going.<br />

“We did the remodel in stages,” Lisa says. “We moved from one<br />

room to another, dragging our mattress with us. We truly lived in<br />

chaos, but we knew it wouldn’t be like that forever. With each addition<br />

or renovation, we’d write scripture on the framing. The more we did,<br />

the more fun we had. We enjoyed doing it together.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 25

Along the way, they added an additional 600 square feet. “From<br />

what I can tell, the house started out as a one-room building with an<br />

outhouse. Plumbing was added in 1942, and the big addition was<br />

added in 1951. A master bedroom and bathroom was added in 1978.<br />

When we got it, the house had two bedrooms and two baths. We<br />

added a third bedroom and bathroom, as well as a keeping room that<br />

would compliment a house of that age.” Lisa says they put in hardwood<br />

floors throughout the house except for the bathrooms, which were<br />

tiled. “We also added 32 new double paned windows.” Other exterior<br />

work included ripping off all the rotted exterior wood siding and replacing<br />

it with twelve inch hardy board. They also replaced the soffits, fascia,<br />

gutters, and replaced the roof. “We have also added brick pavers and<br />

tongue-in-groove paneling.”<br />

The Rippys closed on the home in May 2021, and now that the work<br />

is finished, they have put it on the market. “People can’t believe we are<br />

selling it after all the work we’ve put into it,” Lisa laughs. “But Rip has a<br />

plan.” The Rippys want to buy one more home to renovate, then sell it<br />

so they can buy the home in which they will live when they retire.<br />

For Lisa, Interior Inspiration is a ministry as much as anything else.<br />

It’s been a journey filled with faith and hard work. “This is bigger than<br />

anything I could have imagined,” says Lisa.<br />

26 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 27

2023 METRO JACKSON<br />

Woman<br />

of IMPACT<br />

The American Heart Association, Metro Jackson, is proud to be<br />

celebrating the Woman of Impact Class of 2023, a complement<br />

to the Metro Jackson Go Red for Women movement. Over the<br />

past few months, AHA received nominations for a select group of<br />

local women to be recognized for their passion and drive in building<br />

stronger communities. The areas of impact were limitless – from<br />

healthcare to philanthropy, from business to faith. If they “lead<br />

with heart,” they were eligible for nomination.<br />

Women of Impact are changemakers, dedicated to making a<br />

lasting impact on the health of the Metro Jackson community;<br />

women who lead by example, improving the well-being of those<br />

around them. By joining the Go Red for Women movement as a<br />

Woman of Impact, each honoree has assembled their own team of<br />

volunteers, set a fundraising goal, and made a meaningful impact<br />

on the health and wellbeing of the Metro Jackson community.<br />

For more information on how you can get involved with the<br />

Metro Jackson American Heart Association, please visit<br />

www.heart.org/en/affiliates/mississippi/Jackson.<br />

For more information about the Go Red for Women Movement,<br />

visit MetroJacksonGoRed.heart.org<br />

Dr. Nicole Cleveland<br />

Jackson Oncology<br />

Jackson native Nicole Duncan Cleveland<br />

MD is a hematologist/oncologist at<br />

Jackson Oncology Associates. She and<br />

husband Kenneth are the parents of three<br />

girls. The best part of her day is after<br />

work— “downtime with my husband and<br />

daughters, whether just sharing the shiny<br />

or hard moments from our day, or preparing<br />

dinner together.”<br />

Heart disease has inherently affected<br />

members of her family, some surviving<br />

only for the advances in medicine.<br />

Professionally, the practice of oncology,<br />

specifically the women and men who<br />

undergo chemotherapy and radiation for<br />

breast cancer, often leads to her patients<br />

developing cardiac disease. “There is a<br />

united front from both our disciplines to<br />

aggressively focus on screening, monitoring,<br />

and treating that type of cardiac disease.<br />

We are working hard to continue to<br />

advance our own cardio-oncology<br />

program, diminishing morbidity and<br />

mortality during cancer survivorship.”<br />

28 • MARCH 2023

Teri Oakes Dyess MD, FACP, FHM wears<br />

two hats: as physician/director of hospital<br />

medicine, and the co-chief medical officer<br />

for St Dominic’s Hospital. Originally from<br />

Ocean Springs, Dr. Dyess lives here with<br />

her blended family of five ranging from<br />

21 to 32 years old.<br />

Dr. Teri Dyess<br />

St. Dominic’s<br />

How does she live a healthy life?<br />

“Practicing what I preach! I work out before<br />

work, so that time does not get in the way<br />

of exercise. I eat a healthy diet. I do not<br />

ask my patients to do anything that I do<br />

not do myself. When asked why she is<br />

fighting cardiovascular disease, Dr. Dyess<br />

said, “I’ve committed my life’s work to<br />

healthcare as a physician in hospital<br />

medicine. As a doctor dedicated to caring<br />

for patients during their time in the hospital,<br />

I see firsthand the impact that heart<br />

disease and lifestyle choices have on our<br />

loved ones. I also see the potential to<br />

find new ways to prevent and treat these<br />

conditions through research and education<br />

offered by organizations like the<br />

American Heart Association.”<br />

Dr. Janet Harris<br />

UMMC Professor Emeritus<br />

Dr. Janet Young Harris DNP, RN,<br />

NEA-BC, spent 45 years in nursing. She<br />

and husband Joe Mac Hudspeth Jr will<br />

celebrate a 40-year wedding anniversary<br />

soon. They have a son and two granddaughters.<br />

Time spent with family “makes<br />

my heart sing, but I also love helping<br />

others—I’ve been so blessed. I give back<br />

through community involvement and<br />

service to organizations that I care about.<br />

I also love my involvement with Lakeland<br />

Presbyterian Church.”<br />

Dr. Harris is has been involved with the<br />

American Heart Association serving as a<br />

former Go Red for Women chair and as<br />

a Circle of Red member since the group<br />

began. When asked why, she offered, “I<br />

have dealt with hypertension for over 40<br />

years. I take meds every day to prevent<br />

stroke and heart attack. Secondly, my<br />

51-year-old dad had a massive heart<br />

attack in 1970. He survived but suffered<br />

congestive heart failure until he died<br />

years later. Lastly, I do it for my grandgirls.<br />

When we stand together, there are three<br />

of us. And, one in three women will<br />

suffer from heart disease. I believe in<br />

being a part of change so that other<br />

mothers, children, sisters, and friends do<br />

not have to suffer or die early from this<br />

disease - our #1 killer!”<br />

Jamie Higdon<br />

TempStaff<br />

Jamie Higdon is the vice-president and<br />

co-owner of TempStaff, a local staffing<br />

agency. She and her husband, Scott, live<br />

in Florence where they are raising two<br />

active daughters. What sparks joy in this<br />

family of four? Jamie says, “We love<br />

traveling as a family, solving escape<br />

rooms, or cheering on the Mississippi<br />

State Bulldogs. We are also involved in<br />

various ministries at First Baptist Church.”<br />

She is committed to bringing awareness<br />

to the American Heart Association<br />

as a Woman of Impact because, like so<br />

many people, “There is a history of heart<br />

disease in my family. Bringing awareness<br />

of the signs of heart disease and promoting<br />

preventative care will help both the men<br />

and women in my family and others to<br />

live long and healthy lives.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 29

Janie Jarvis<br />

The Bridal Path,<br />

Madison the City – Alderman<br />

Janie Jarvis is the co-owner of the Bridal<br />

Path and serves the City of Madison as an<br />

alderman. Thirty years ago, she married her<br />

husband Mike, a retired owner of a cellular<br />

tower construction company. Thirty years<br />

is the same amount of time they have<br />

lived in Madison, where they have raised<br />

two daughters, one of whom owns the<br />

business with her mother.<br />

As you can imagine, Janie loves meeting<br />

people. Traveling and volunteering make<br />

her happy but she said, “Spending time<br />

with my family in the outdoors brings me<br />

the most joy.”<br />

When asked why she is involved with<br />

bringing awareness to heart disease, Janie<br />

shared, “My grandfather died from a massive<br />

heart attack at age 47 and my father-in-law<br />

died from heart disease at age 62. Both<br />

of them died way too early in life! I also<br />

have two daughters and statistics show<br />

that one in three women face heart<br />

disease and it is the leading cause of<br />

death for women in the United States.<br />

It is important, especially in Mississippi<br />

with even higher death rates, that we<br />

educate women on the risks and<br />

prevention of heart disease.”<br />

Dr. Yolanda McElroy<br />

M3A Architects<br />

Yolanda Jones- McElroy, PhD, is one of<br />

four children born to Annie Gipson and<br />

Bobby Jones in Brandon. She was the<br />

only girl in a family with three boys. She<br />

“greatly remembers the strength, love,<br />

and endurance of not having a sister.”<br />

She now lives in Jackson and describes<br />

herself as a faithful member of New Hope<br />

Baptist Church.<br />

Dr. McElroy’s finds joy in “serving others<br />

through volunteerism, awareness, and<br />

ministry.” As an administrator for a local<br />

architect firm, she is making time to serve<br />

as a Woman of Impact nominee because,<br />

“heart disease is the number one killer of<br />

women, particularly African Americans.”<br />

Her goal? She says, “To increase cultural<br />

awareness, prevention of heart disease,<br />

and promote a better environment.”<br />

Dr. Sara Sanders is originally from Durant<br />

and lives in Ridgeland. As a physician, she<br />

practices geriatric medicine at Baptist<br />

Premier. Her husband Sean is a cardiologist,<br />

and together they have two young<br />

children, ages 10 and 8. They spend most<br />

of their free time watching their kids in all<br />

their myriad activities. Watching a New<br />

Orleans Pelicans basketball game is a<br />

favorite pastime.<br />

Dr. Sara Sanders<br />

Baptist Premier<br />

Dr. Sanders is focused on her volunteer<br />

work with the American Heart Association<br />

because, “I am in the fight against heart<br />

disease for my patients. I care for patients<br />

as they age and usually after they have<br />

received a diagnosis of heart disease.<br />

Raising awareness earlier (in the lives of<br />

people) is so important.”<br />


2023 Metro Jackson Go Red<br />

for Women Luncheon<br />

• Wednesday, May 3rd<br />

• Sheraton Flowood The Refuge Hotel<br />

& Conference Center<br />

• 10:30am - 12:00pm<br />

Health & Wellness Expo<br />

• 12:00pm - 1:00pm<br />

Luncheon<br />

Chair: Melanie Morgan, Trustmark<br />

30 • MARCH 2023

Erin Pickens<br />

WAPT<br />

Erin Pickens is a television news anchor<br />

for 16 WAPT and is a professor at Tougaloo<br />

College in the mass communication<br />

department. She was born and raised in<br />

Memphis, Tennessee, but has lived in<br />

Jackson for almost 21 years. Memphis is<br />

a special place for Erin as it is home to her<br />

parents and all of her family, “including a<br />

handsome little 6-year-old nephew<br />

named Bryant,” the son of her brother<br />

and sister-in-law.<br />

We asked her about what brings her joy.<br />

“I like to make sure others are happy,<br />

comfortable, and enjoying themselves.<br />

I never want someone to feel left out or<br />

misunderstood. If everyone around me<br />

is content, then I have joy.”<br />

Erin said that she is committed to<br />

raising awareness about heart disease<br />

because, “with cardiac arrests making<br />

headlines recently with Damar Hamlin and<br />

Lisa Marie Presley, then, with us embarking<br />

on American Heart Month, the focus is<br />

on the heart. I was ashamed to admit that<br />

I didn’t know CPR. I work in a stressful<br />

profession and I’m sure I need to be more<br />

heart healthy. I feel I need to do more to<br />

educate myself, and at the same time,<br />

why not help educate others as well?”<br />

Erin is now trained in CPR.<br />

Dr. Julia Thompson<br />

Merit Health Heart<br />

Dr. Julia Thompson is an interventional<br />

cardiologist at Merit Health. Originally<br />

from Thornton, she now lives here with her<br />

husband Michael and two young children.<br />

Rounding out the household are a dog,<br />

three cats, two chickens, and a snake! Her<br />

family and the people in her life are what<br />

bring joy to this busy physician.<br />

Following a stint in nursing in the cardiac<br />

ICU, she went back to medical school and<br />

never wavered from her focus on cardiology.<br />

Dr. Thompson said, “I love working in<br />

the cath lab, but the most rewarding part<br />

of my job is seeing patients back in clinic<br />

doing well after a heart attack or other<br />

major heart issue.”<br />

Heart attacks and cardiac arrests have<br />

been in the news recently, but she says,<br />

there is so much more to heart disease<br />

and lists high blood pressure, congestive<br />

heart failure, heart rhythm problems (atrial<br />

fibrillation), and women with peripartum<br />

cardiomyopathy as examples. Then,<br />

Dr. Thompson says, “There are issues<br />

like high cholesterol and diabetes that<br />

increase the risk of cardiac events like<br />

heart attack and stroke. In short, when<br />

you include the entire spectrum of heart<br />

disease, it is really difficult to find someone<br />

that it hasn’t affected. So, I’m in the fight<br />

to try to limit the impact of heart disease<br />

on my family and yours,” she said.<br />

Amy Lampton Walker<br />

Ergon<br />

Amy Lampton Walker is the area sales<br />

manager for Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions.<br />

She and husband, DeFord, enjoy spending<br />

time with their three children and attending<br />

their sports and performance events. Amy<br />

said heart disease has greatly impacted her<br />

family. Her father Lee Lampton’s struggle<br />

with heart disease began at age 52. “His<br />

road to recovery was long and taxing. But<br />

thanks to God, because of his commitment<br />

to being more intentional about healthy<br />

heart habits, along with the support of our<br />

family, he has persevered and is enjoying<br />

another chance at life.” Her maternal<br />

grandfather died at 52 from a heart attack<br />

and Amy lost her father-in-law and<br />

sister-in-law the same tragic way.<br />

She shared with us, “Realizing how<br />

heart disease has impacted generations of<br />

family members has driven my commitment<br />

to ensure my children have a chance<br />

to live long and healthy lives. Heart disease<br />

claims the life of a woman about every 80<br />

seconds. I want to work against this statistic.”<br />

Amy’s goal is to find ways to encourage<br />

more health-conscious mindsets early on<br />

and not as a reaction to the disease; to<br />

help facilitate the growth of communities<br />

that support access to healthy choices;<br />

and to help ensure equal and adequate<br />

access to health care and healthy lifestyle<br />

resources for the whole family.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 31

Touch A Truck ® Jackson<br />

Celebrates 10 Years<br />

Touch A Truck ® Jackson is a family-friendly, hands-on event<br />

offering opportunities for children of all ages to explore,<br />

climb, and touch trucks, emergency response vehicles, heavy<br />

machinery, public service, and other equipment. Learning<br />

will come alive at Touch A Truck® Jackson, providing children<br />

with an opportunity to connect vehicles and equipment to<br />

our Mississippi economy and potential careers in industries<br />

like public service, farming, manufacturing, and construction.<br />

A decade ago, the Junior League of Jackson brought the<br />

Touch A Truck ® Jackson experience to the community as a<br />

hybrid fund development business and community project.<br />

The first Touch A Truck ® Jackson was met with resounding<br />

praise in the community. Katy Pacelli, the first Touch A Truck ®<br />

Jackson event chair, said, “our goal for the first year was to<br />

create a solid foundation for this event that would not only<br />

raise funds for our community partners, but also give children<br />

32 • MARCH 2023

Presented by the Junior League of Jackson,<br />

Touch A Truck® Jackson rolls into<br />

Trustmark Park March 31 & April 1, 2023<br />

The 2023 Touch A Truck ® Jackson<br />

Steering Committee<br />

Meredith McCullough, Chair; Laura Hearn, Co-Chair;<br />

Jennifer Boydston, Chair-Elect; Megan McBeth, Corporate<br />

Sponsor Chair; Jasmine Smith, Finance Chair; Teneisha Wynter,<br />

Placement Chair; Jennifer Gray, Promotions Chair; Barbara Byrd,<br />

Special Events Chair; Sallie Campbell, Staging Chair;<br />

Mimi Arthur and Rebecca Henley, Sustaining Advisors.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 33

34 • MARCH 2023

an opportunity to experience something new. It was a group<br />

effort from the entire League and was so much fun to launch<br />

something new in our community and League. I have enjoyed<br />

watching it grow and evolve over the past ten years,” Pacelli adds.<br />

A unique aspect of Touch A Truck ® Jackson is that it is a<br />

fund development business and a community project of the<br />

Junior League of Jackson. Each year, Touch A Truck ® Jackson<br />

invites 1,600 students from around the Jackson metro area as<br />

part of Field Trip Friday. Thanks to the generosity of our corporate<br />

sponsors, supporters, and Junior League members through<br />

Handy Helper donations, we are able to offer this educational<br />

opportunity to invited second-grade students at no cost.<br />

Meredith McCullough, 2023 Touch A Truck ® Jackson chair,<br />

said, “I wanted to take on this role because I love hearing all<br />

the sweet stories of the children who attend Field Trip Friday<br />

and experience all the excitement that comes with interactive<br />

fun bringing classroom learning and pages of books to life.<br />

This year we have so many great activities planned, and I look<br />

forward to seeing the joy on the children’s faces as they explore,<br />

climb, and touch trucks and equipment at our various<br />

interactive exhibits.”<br />

Over the past ten years, Touch A Truck ® Jackson has raised<br />

more than $350,000, which stays here in the Jackson metro<br />

area. These funds allow the League to fund its mission,<br />

including the support of more than 30 community projects<br />

and initiatives in the areas of children’s health, early literacy,<br />

and social development. “Touch A Truck ® Jackson has evolved<br />

over the past ten years to incorporate activities and opportunities<br />

for children and schools in the Jackson metro area<br />

beyond the initial Touch A Truck ® Jackson experience. In 2018<br />

we introduced a literacy tent with guest readers throughout<br />

the day and in 2019 we established STREAM stations to further<br />

expand the hands-on learning experience. We continue to<br />

evolve the Touch A Truck ® Jackson experience to coincide<br />

with the mission of the Junior League of Jackson. This event<br />

has grown into an experience that showcases how fun and<br />

learning can come together beautifully through focused<br />

volunteerism and an impact-based model of service. I could<br />

not be more excited about this tenth anniversary event for our<br />

community,” said Bethany Smith, 2022-2023 Junior League of<br />

Jackson president.<br />

Touch A Truck ® Jackson 2023 kicks off Friday, March 31,<br />

with Donuts & Dump Trucks, a preschool event; followed by<br />

Field Trip Friday; and Unplugged, an event for children with<br />

sensory needs. The fun will continue that night with a new<br />

special event, Glow in the Park–a glow party like you have<br />

never seen with music from DJ Adam, illuminated exhibits,<br />

and fun activities!<br />

Big Wheel Breakfast will kick off Saturday morning, April 1,<br />

allowing attendees to enjoy breakfast and early access to<br />

exhibitors. General admission opens at 10:00am and will<br />

feature interactive science, technology, reading, engineering,<br />

arts, and math (STREAM) booths for children to enjoy, literacy<br />

fun, and so many exciting exhibitors.<br />

Tickets are available for Glow in the Park,<br />

Big Wheel Breakfast, and general admission at<br />

www.touchatruckjackson.com<br />

Our special events can sell out,<br />

so don’t delay in purchasing!<br />

Hometown MADISON • 35

36 • MARCH 2023


Nataleigh Nix<br />

Mistie Desper<br />






Nataleigh Nix, daughter of Nathan and<br />

Leigha Nix, has shown a servant’s heart from a<br />

very young age. What began as a small acts of<br />

kindness has blossomed into community service<br />

projects that are transforming lives.<br />

Leigha said, “She has always been such a<br />

caring young lady but this really all began when<br />

she wanted to go serve meals at an organization<br />

for Thanksgiving around age 4. She also sang<br />

for those in attendance and it was the sweetest<br />

sight.”<br />

Nataleigh’s love of singing and serving<br />

others continued to grow. During a time when<br />

her grandfather was in ICU, she spent many<br />

hours in the waiting room with other families.<br />

Quickly, she realized a need and asked how she<br />

could help. Petitioning a local church as well as<br />

organizing a Beta Club project at school, she<br />

was able to provide bottled water and candies to<br />

those “stuck” in the waiting room.<br />

“She is extremely determined and well<br />

organized. She is dedicated to her cause and<br />

challenges herself. If you tell her something is<br />

difficult, then that is exactly what she is going<br />

to set out to do,” added Leigha.<br />

Continuing her efforts, at age 13, Nataleigh<br />

created her service initiative, AOK, through her<br />

participation in the Miss Mississippi Corporation.<br />

The AOK project includes the promotion and<br />

importance of intentionally spreading kindness<br />

throughout the community.<br />

Now 16, Nataleigh is a junior at Madison<br />

Central High School and the current Miss<br />

Metro Jackson Teen. As a local title holder, she<br />

prides herself on being able to be a role model<br />

for younger girls. “In today’s world, it is so easy<br />

to get caught up in other’s lives on social media.<br />

What people show you is just a small percent of<br />

the best in their lives, making young girls have<br />

these unachievable and unrealistic goals. I try to<br />

give them someone authentic and genuine and<br />

real that they can look up to.”<br />

Nataleigh’s heart for giving back has only<br />

continued to grow since her days of packing<br />

shoeboxes for underprivileged children with her<br />

parents. Her list of projects has grown to<br />

impressive heights and is deeply rooted into<br />

changing the lives of those truly in need.<br />

As part of her mission for February’s National<br />

Random Acts of Kindness Day, Nataleigh is<br />

working with her school leaders to nominate and<br />

recognize other students making big changes in<br />

their community. She has organized an entire<br />

week of various “kind acts” that include writing<br />

notes to teachers who have had a positive<br />

influence on their students, social media tag<br />

day to recognize someone in a positive way, and<br />

so much more. She will be speaking to the<br />

students at local schools during this week.<br />

One of Nataleigh’s favorite organizations is<br />

Shower Power of Mississippi which is a ministry<br />

providing much needed items such as hygiene<br />

products, food, clothing, and showers to the<br />

homeless population in Jackson. Nataleigh is<br />

working with Madison Mayor Mary Hawkins<br />

to organize a community drive for items for<br />

Shower Power that includes drop-off locations<br />

for canned food items along with a night at<br />

Chick-fil-A where proceeds will go directly to<br />

the cause.<br />

She added, “My pageant princesses and I<br />

went to volunteer there and it was an incredible<br />

experience. We, or at least I, had this image of<br />

what homelessness looked like. As I was talking<br />

with a young veteran, I realized he was there to<br />

get help at the age of 25. That surprised me so<br />

much and made me realize what a widespread<br />

problem homelessness is in our community.”<br />

Not only does she volunteer, but her love of<br />

singing has blessed many through her pageants<br />

as well as service projects singing for nursing<br />

homes. Nataleigh added, “I think the residents<br />

at The Orchard have left the biggest impact on<br />

me. I was singing for the dementia patients one<br />

time and so many of them do not have many<br />

memories but they would recognize the words<br />

of the songs and would begin singing with me.<br />

It was such a special time to be able to connect<br />

with them like that.”<br />

In her spare time, Nataleigh participates in<br />

her school’s show choir, dance team, is a member<br />

of the student council, part of the Mayor’s Youth<br />

Council, Beta Club member, a member of the<br />

ACT 30+ club, and so much more. Along with<br />

her upcoming projects, she will be singing the<br />

national anthem at Ole Miss and competing in<br />

the Miss Mississippi Teen pageant.<br />

Leigha concluded, “We are so proud of her.<br />

It is hard to be a teen in today’s world. She works<br />

so hard to hold herself to a higher standard and<br />

truly loves giving of herself to help others.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 37

Cameron & Connor Willson<br />

Through the Fire Susan Marquez<br />

Little boys love to pretend they are<br />

cowboys, policemen, or firefighters.<br />

Cameron and Connor Willson were<br />

no different. Only now, it’s no longer<br />

child’s play. Both brothers are professional<br />

firefighters, and they take their<br />

jobs very seriously.<br />

38 • MARCH 2023

Cameron, a firefighter with the Madison<br />

Fire Department, is the older of the two<br />

brothers at 31. “It may sound cliché, but I got<br />

into firefighting because I like to help others,”<br />

he says. “I enjoy the work. I never know what<br />

each day will bring. It could be a medical call,<br />

a car wreck, or a fire. It allows me to be<br />

spontaneous.”<br />

Connor, 29, didn’t set out to be a<br />

firefighter. He went to Ole Miss with aspirations<br />

of being a coach. “I kind of fell into<br />

firefighting,” he says. “I knew other firefighters,<br />

and I thought their job looked interesting.”<br />

He began his training while still in Oxford. “I<br />

attended the Mississippi State Fire Academy<br />

in Pearl to become a certified firefighter.”<br />

Cameron also got his certification at the<br />

Mississippi State Fire Academy. While there,<br />

he learned about a specialized certification<br />

called Smoke Divers. “It’s a class that was<br />

initially developed to help with the air packs,”<br />

he explained. The packs, called SCBA, are<br />

similar to SCUBA tanks. The difference is that<br />

SCUBA tanks are used underwater, and SCBA<br />

packs are used on land, primarily in smokefilled<br />

structures. “Many firefighters weren’t<br />

confident with the air packs,” says Cameron.<br />

The class began with learning the capabilities<br />

and limitations of the masks. Over the years, it<br />

has evolved into a class that teaches advanced<br />

firefighter tactics, such as hose movement,<br />

search and rescue, and firefighting. “It’s a<br />

hard workload that really tests your mettle,”<br />

Cameron says.<br />

The class is taught at the State Fire<br />

Academy and requires teams of two. “That<br />

team of two does the work of three teams,”<br />

says Cameron. “Because of that, advanced<br />

training to prepare for the class is necessary.<br />

Connor says that he and Cameron trained<br />

together for almost a year before taking the<br />

class. “We had to work around each other’s<br />

schedules to train, but it was something we<br />

had to do.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 39

40 • MARCH 2023

Connor says the course was extremely<br />

hard, and not everyone who starts the class<br />

finishes with their certification. “We learned<br />

about victim rescue, fire suppression, and<br />

other things. Basically, it was taking the<br />

principals we learned while in the Fire<br />

Academy and studying them more in depth. It<br />

was essential to be in top physical condition.”<br />

The psychological aspect of the class was<br />

challenging as well. Connor says it was really<br />

more mental than physical. “You have to be<br />

able to think under extreme pressure. I’d say it<br />

was 80% mental and 20% physical. You are<br />

putting yourself in a stressful situation, so it is<br />

critical to be mentally prepared to do that.”<br />

Connor says he always knew he had it in him.<br />

When Cameron and Connor talked about<br />

taking the class together, they were both “all<br />

in.” The fact that they both completed the<br />

course and got their certification in Smoke<br />

Diving is impressive. “There is only a 25-30%<br />

pass rate,” says Cameron. “It is grueling. We<br />

had to be in full gear all day except for lunch.<br />

It was like being in a brick oven all day. We<br />

were given scenarios to perform with simulated<br />

fire tactics. We were in fully smoked out<br />

buildings where we couldn’t see anything,<br />

so we had to rely on our skills. We followed<br />

a left-hand or right-hand pattern to navigate.”<br />

Cameron and Connor were the first brothers<br />

to go together and pass the course.<br />

It’s not unusual for both Madison and<br />

Ridgeland Fire Departments to respond to the<br />

same call. “Just recently, both Cameron and<br />

I responded to the same apartment fire,”<br />

Connor says.<br />

The brothers grew up in Madison,<br />

attending Madison Station, Madison Middle,<br />

and graduating from Madison Central. Both<br />

live in Madison County. Cameron is still single,<br />

while Connor is married. He and his wife,<br />

June, are expecting a baby boy in June.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 41

Where Public Meets Private<br />

Coming Together for The Betterment of All<br />

The Madison County Business League & Foundation is a private, stakeholder-based support<br />

organization that works with business owners and decision makers to discuss topics that<br />

affect economic development. Together, we continue to build upon the economic development<br />

infrastructure of Madison County. We recognize and salute the industry and businesses for the<br />

contribution they make towards our quality of life.<br />

135 Mississippi Parkway, Canton, MS 39046 | 601.707.3303<br />

madisoncountybusinessleague.com<br />


42 • MARCH 2023

It’s about<br />

forgiveness<br />

Dr. Bobby McGuffie, pastor, flowood baptist church<br />

On January 15, 2023, I preached a message<br />

on a very difficult subject–Forgiveness. It was<br />

one of the most convicting messages I have<br />

personally ever preached. Why was it so<br />

convicting? Because there have been many<br />

times that I have not forgiven when forgiveness<br />

was due. However, as long as there is<br />

opportunity (personally or collectively), there<br />

is time to forgive.<br />

There was one portion of the message<br />

that I would like to share in order for us, as<br />

believers, to truly understand. Without going<br />

into great detail, the passage I used was from<br />

the story of Joseph. This is a story that you<br />

may be familiar with. Genesis 45:1 says,<br />

“Then Joseph could not refrain himself before<br />

all them that stood by him; and he cried,<br />

Cause every man to go out from me. And there<br />

stood no man with him, while Joseph made<br />

himself known unto his brethren.”<br />

Joseph did something very direct that<br />

many of us should do. When the time came<br />

for Jospeh to have a conversation with his<br />

brothers (those who had hurt him or sinned<br />

against him), who had thrown him into the pit,<br />

he removed everyone from the room who<br />

had nothing to do with it. When we desire to<br />

forgive someone, genuinely, we do not bring<br />

other people into the situation who have<br />

nothing to do with the sin or wrongdoing. For<br />

instance, we do not go talk to someone about<br />

the wrongdoing of someone else. Why?<br />

Because they don’t have a dog in the hunt,<br />

per se. We go to the one who has hurt or<br />

offended us and follow church discipline of<br />

Matthew 18.<br />

And if someone comes to you and tells<br />

you what someone did to them, how they<br />

hurt them, or talked about them, or anything<br />

remotely close to that—if you are a believer,<br />

shut it down! We should not listen to what<br />

someone else says, negatively, when we are<br />

not involved.<br />

I would venture to say that most everyone,<br />

who knows Jesus Christ as the Lord and<br />

Savior, would agree with the things written<br />

above. I would also venture to say that not<br />

one reader enjoys hearing their name come<br />

out of someone else’s mouth negatively.<br />

So, what do we do? If we are going to say<br />

anything that hurts our witness, causes our<br />

brother/sister to stumble, or negatively impacts<br />

someone in the future, we ought not do it.<br />

There is a reason that church discipline is in<br />

the Gospel.<br />

The reason is simple, there will be wrongdoing,<br />

but there is a solution made possible<br />

through the blood of Jesus! May we all be<br />

willing to forgive like Jospeh, but ultimately<br />

like Jesus!<br />

Do you remember what Jesus said while<br />

He was hanging on the cross (for you and for<br />

me)? He said, “. . . Father, forgive them; for they<br />

know not what they do.” –LUKE 23:34<br />

Hometown MADISON • 43

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

Why did you decide to be a firefighter?<br />

As a teenager, I followed my grandfather, the late Ezell S. Johnson,<br />

when my home community (the Acona community in Lexington,<br />

Mississippi) was in the process of starting a volunteer fire department.<br />

Learning and being able to see how important a firefighter was to the<br />

community, I was sold on a career path. I couldn’t complete my<br />

volunteer certification because I was not of the age to do so. In 2014,<br />

my path to becoming a firefighter began when I received a phone<br />

call from my mentor, the late Clint Cobbins, a retired assistant chief<br />

for the Canton Fire Department, who asked me if I was ready to start<br />

my everlasting career as a firefighter.<br />

How long have you been with the Madison Fire Department?<br />

I have been a member of the Madison Fire Department for five years.<br />

I joined Madison in November 2017 as a firefighter with previous<br />

experience with the Canton Fire Department where I served three<br />

years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am blessed to have an array of family members throughout<br />

Mississippi, Michigan, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, who<br />

love and support me.<br />

I consider the members of my church, Guiding Light Church of God<br />

in Christ in Lexington as my extended family and my pastor and first<br />

lady, Superintendent Willie Hodges and Mrs. Alice Hodges as my<br />

spiritual mentors. My greatest support comes from my mother, Carol<br />

L. Stone, and grandmother, Nancy B. Johnson. They are a dynamic<br />

duo.<br />

Firefighter<br />

Marcus<br />

STONE<br />


What is the toughest thing you have experienced in your job?<br />

One of the toughest things I have experienced in the fire service is<br />

seeing someone lose a family member. As a firefighter/EMT, I feel<br />

the same pain as the grieving family even though we are not related<br />

or whether I know the deceased individual, personally. The experience<br />

makes you cherish your own family.<br />

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a firefighter?<br />

One of the most rewarding aspects of being a firefighter is being able<br />

to see someone that you have rescued or served in their time of need<br />

be so thankful and happy that you were there for them.<br />

44 • MARCH 2023

Share some things you enjoy doing in your spare time.<br />

When I’m not at the fire department, I attend and serve in<br />

my local church as a bass guitar musician and an audio/<br />

media technician. I enjoy challenging, hardcore workouts in<br />

the gym and outdoors. I am also a music lover, and I enjoy<br />

attending live performances by musical artists and bands.<br />

What are three things on your bucket list?<br />

Me being a very adventurous person and a little dare devil,<br />

I would say the three things on my bucket list would be<br />

going skydiving, taking a safari trip where I can get close<br />

and personal with the animals, and taking a ride in a<br />

military fighter aircraft.<br />

Who is someone you admire and why?<br />

A person that I admire is my mother Carol L. Stone.<br />

I admire her so much for being a God-fearing woman that<br />

raised me in the church and showed me the right path of<br />

life. My mother worked while attending graduate school,<br />

received two advanced degrees, and stayed on me about<br />

my academic studies. My mom supported me in all my<br />

after-school activities in high school, traveled to college<br />

games where I served as an athletic manager, and provided<br />

opportunities for me to broaden my learning experiences.<br />

What advice would you give to a young person?<br />

In everything you do in life, remember to always keep God<br />

first and seek directions from Him in all endeavors. Never<br />

allow anyone to tell you that you can’t do something, and<br />

to always keep your head up, think positively and move<br />

forward.<br />

What is your favorite thing about Madison County?<br />

My favorite thing about Madison County is the loving and<br />

supportive community. Working in the Madison County<br />

area is an even greater pleasure because everyone<br />

appreciates the service given to them and the community.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 45

2023<br />

This May marks the return of the<br />

Mississippi Makers Fest, a celebration<br />

of the music and art of our home state,<br />

at the Two Mississippi Museums in<br />

downtown Jackson.<br />

Last year’s inaugural festival was celebrated with<br />

an impressive turnout, including more than fifty<br />

vendors, artists, and musicians. Performances were<br />

enjoyed from regional musicians like Chapel Hart,<br />

Framing the Red, Mr. Sipp, and North Mississippi<br />

Allstars. It may have been warm, but the environment<br />

was electric.<br />

The Mississippi Department of Archives and<br />

History is thrilled to bring this free festival back<br />

to the metro area to honor the rich culture of its<br />

state with fellow Mississippians. Attendees are<br />

invited to celebrate regional artisans, live music,<br />

make-and-take activities, food trucks, and more<br />

this May.<br />

A powerhouse lineup is already slated for this<br />

year including headliner Cedric Burnside, the<br />

Kudzu Kings, the Bass Drum of Death, Track45,<br />

and 5th Child. Before the day comes, however,<br />

MDAH is accepting applications for vendors for<br />

the festival. Mississippi-based artists are encouraged<br />

to apply to take part in and sell their<br />

products at Makers Fest. Food vendors are also<br />

welcome to apply to present a taste of Mississippi<br />

46 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 47

to festival-goers. The festival provides a marketplace<br />

with low booth fees, artist hospitality perks, wellequipped<br />

facilities, generous parking, and security for<br />

its Makers. The deadline for both artist and vendor<br />

applications is March 13.<br />

Mississippi Makers Fest will not be celebrated<br />

solely by Mississippians, but also by people across the<br />

region, as visitors from the southeast will come to<br />

honor our state alongside us. They will also be able<br />

to witness our past and present as the Museum of<br />

Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights<br />

Museum will be open and free for visits thanks to our<br />

sponsorship from Southern Beverage. Join MDAH<br />

and your community this May in recognizing and<br />

celebrating the vibrant art and music of our state.<br />

Mississippi Makers Fest will be held at the<br />

Entergy Plaza at the Two Mississippi Museums and<br />

along North Street in downtown Jackson on<br />

Saturday, May 13, 2023, from 10am to 6pm.<br />

The festival is brought to you by the Mississippi<br />

Department of Archives and History.<br />

Sponsors include Southern Beverage Company,<br />

the Foundation of Mississippi History, StateStreet<br />

Group, Visit Mississippi, Regions Bank, LUCID<br />

INK, Mississippi Tent & Party Rental, and radio<br />

stations Y101, Your Country US96, Mix 98.7, 93.5<br />

The Legend, Blues 93.1, and 102.1 The Box.<br />

More information can be found at<br />

msmakersfest.mdah.ms.gov.<br />

48 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 49

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50 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 51

Lime in the Coconut<br />

Almond Bark<br />

• 1 pkg. (10-12oz.) white<br />

baking chips<br />

• 4 tsp. shortening<br />

• 2 to 4 drops green food coloring,<br />

optional<br />

• ½ cup sweetened shredded<br />

coconut, toasted<br />

• ½ cup chopped almonds, toasted<br />

• 4 tsp. grated lime zest<br />

Line a 9-inch square baking pan<br />

with foil; set aside. In a microwave,<br />

melt chips and shortening. Stir until<br />

smooth. Stir in food coloring if<br />

desired. Stir in coconut, almonds<br />

and lime zest. Spread into prepared<br />

pan. Chill until firm, 10-15 minutes.<br />

Break into small pieces. Store in an<br />

airtight container at room<br />

temperature.<br />

Roasted Broccoli<br />

with Parmesan<br />

• 1½ lbs. broccoli (about 2 medium<br />

crowns), cut into florets of even<br />

size<br />

• 3 to 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil<br />

• 1 Tbsp. lemon juice<br />

(about ½ lemon)<br />

• Kosher salt<br />

• 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, minced<br />

• Ground black pepper<br />

• ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese,<br />

or to taste<br />

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a<br />

large bowl, toss the broccoli florets<br />

and minced garlic with olive oil and<br />

lemon juice until lightly coated.<br />

Sprinkle salt over the broccoli and<br />

toss to coat. Arrange the broccoli<br />

florets in a single layer on a baking<br />

sheet that has been rubbed with<br />

some olive oil or lined with<br />

parchment paper or aluminum foil.<br />

Roast at 425 degrees for 16-20<br />

minutes until cooked through<br />

(check with a fork, should be fork<br />

tender) and lightly browned. The<br />

browned bites are the best!<br />

Strawberry Spinach<br />

Salad Dressing<br />

• ½ cup white sugar<br />

• ½ cup olive oil<br />

• ¼ cup distilled white vinegar<br />

• 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds<br />

• 1 Tbsp. poppy seed<br />

• 1 Tbsp. minced onion<br />

• ¼ tsp. paprika<br />

• ¼ tsp. Worcestershire sauce<br />

Salad<br />

• 1 qt. strawberries – cleaned,<br />

hulled and sliced<br />

• 10 oz. fresh spinach – rinsed,<br />

dried and torn into bite sized<br />

pieces<br />

• ¼ cup almonds, blanched<br />

and slivered<br />

Make dressing: Whisk together<br />

sugar, oil, vinegar, sesame seeds,<br />

poppy seeds, onion, paprika and<br />

Worcestershire in a medium bowl.<br />

Cover and chill for 1 hour.<br />

Make salad: combine strawberries,<br />

spinach and almonds in a large<br />

bowl. Pour dressing over salad; toss<br />

to coat. Refrigerate for 10 to 15<br />

minutes.<br />

52 • MARCH 2023

Best Spinach Dip Ever<br />

• 1 (16oz.) container sour cream<br />

• 1 cup mayonnaise<br />

• ½ (10 oz.) package frozen chopped<br />

spinach, thawed and drained<br />

• 1 (4 oz.) can water chestnuts,<br />

drained and chopped<br />

• 1 (1.8 oz.) package dry leek<br />

soup mix<br />

• 1 (1 lb.) loaf round sourdough<br />

bread<br />

Mix sour cream, mayonnaise, spinach,<br />

water chestnuts, and dry leek soup<br />

together in a medium bowl. Chill in<br />

the refrigerator 6 hours or overnight.<br />

Slice off the top of the sourdough<br />

round and pull out the soft interior,<br />

leaving a sturdy bread bowl. Fill with<br />

spinach mixture. Tear removed bread<br />

chunks into pieces for dipping.<br />

Avocado Green Goddess<br />

Salad Dressing<br />

• 1 avocado<br />

• 1 juice of lemon<br />

• 1 clove of garlic grated<br />

• ¼ cup plain yogurt<br />

• 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce<br />

• 2 Tbsp. green onions minced<br />

• 2 Tbsp. fresh basil<br />

• 1 tsp. salt<br />

• ½ tsp. pepper<br />

Place all ingredients in a food<br />

processor or blender and puree until<br />

smooth. Add water as needed. Serve<br />

over green salad or use as a dip for<br />

veggies.<br />

Festive Corn & Broccoli<br />

• 1 pkg. (16oz.) frozen chopped<br />

broccoli, thawed<br />

• 1 can (7oz.) Mexicorn, drained<br />

• ¼ cup butter, cubed<br />

• 1 tsp. dried basil<br />

• ½ tsp. salt<br />

• 1/8 tsp. garlic powder<br />

• 1/8 tsp. pepper<br />

In a large cast iron or other heavy<br />

skillet, combine the broccoli, corn,<br />

and butter; cook over medium heat<br />

until butter is melted. Stir in the basil,<br />

salt, garlic powder and pepper. Cover<br />

and cook until vegetables are tender,<br />

8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.<br />

Roasted Cabbage<br />

• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil<br />

• ½ head green cabbage, cut into<br />

4 wedges<br />

• 1 pinch garlic powder, or to taste<br />

• 1 pinch red pepper flakes, or to taste<br />

• Salt and black pepper to taste<br />

• 2 lemons, halved<br />

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.<br />

Brush both sides of each cabbage<br />

wedge with olive oil. Sprinkle garlic<br />

powder, pepper flakes, salt and<br />

pepper over each wedge. Arrange<br />

wedges on a baking sheet. Roast in<br />

the preheated oven for 15 minutes;<br />

flip cabbage and continue roasting<br />

until browned and charred in some<br />

areas, about 15 minutes more.<br />

Squeeze lemon over each wedge<br />

and serve.<br />

Pesto Penne with<br />

Shrimp and Peas<br />

• 12 oz. penne paste<br />

• 2 cups baby spinach<br />

• 1 cup fresh basil<br />

• 1/3 cups plus 1 Tbsp. extra virgin<br />

olive oil<br />

• ¼ cup grated parmesan,<br />

plus more for serving<br />

• ¼ cup pine nuts or almonds<br />

• 1 clove garlic, minced<br />

• Kosher salt<br />

• Ground black pepper<br />

• 1 lb. peeled and deveined<br />

medium shrimp<br />

• 1 cup peas<br />

• Crushed red chili flakes (optional)<br />

In a large pot of salted boiling water,<br />

cook pasta until firm to the bite.<br />

Drain reserving 1 cup pasta water and<br />

return to pot. Meanwhile, make<br />

pesto: In a small food processor fitted<br />

with a metal blade, pulse spinach,<br />

basil, and 1/3 cup olive oil until<br />

combined. Add parmesan, pine nuts<br />

or almonds and season with salt and<br />

pepper. In a large skillet over medium<br />

heat, heat remaining tablespoon olive<br />

oil. Add shrimp and cook until pink,<br />

about 3-4 minutes. Add pasta pesto<br />

and peas to skillet and toss until<br />

completely combined. Stir in ¼ cup<br />

pasta water and stir until creamy.<br />

Sprinkle with parmesan and chili<br />

flakes (if using).<br />

Hometown MADISON • 53

SPRING CLEANING? Let us help!<br />

DONATE TO:<br />

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Appliances<br />

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54 • MARCH 2023

LIKEUS<br />

Hometown MADISON • 55

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools<br />

Madison Central<br />

Madison Central High School’s yearbook<br />

financial staff hosted Beauty and Beau<br />

the week of February 6.<br />


Front L-R: Mary Bogan Dean, Anna Kimbrell,<br />

Mary-Kate Sandifer, Cameron Rainey,<br />

Olivia Stevens, Most Beautiful Kinsley Wilson,<br />

Most Handsome Bryman Williams, Megan Stokes,<br />

Olivia Davidson, Elizabeth Delaney, Anna Kaden<br />

Thomas, Casey Pierce.<br />

Back L-R: Hunter Beach, Kamden Boyd,<br />

Truitt Mayhue.<br />


Front L-R: Ellis Nichols, beauties Avery Johnston,<br />

Dixon Shirley, Katie Norris, Izzy Goddard,<br />

Nataleigh Nix, Hayes Williams.<br />

Back L-R: Will Brown, Camden Hood, Harry Singh,<br />

Reed Cascio, John Griffin, Reese Moseley,<br />

Ty Miller, George Tickner, Max Zuluaga.<br />


Back L-R: Jackson Henley, Noah Henley,<br />

Wesley Oakes, Cruz Trisler, Brandon Huerkamp,<br />

Gus McKey, Tripp Higgins, Christopher Navari,<br />

Powers Culver.<br />

Front L-R: Claire Thomas, Brooke Highfill,<br />

Bailey Donahue, Mivie Barrett, Southern Callahan,<br />

Brooke Fairfield, Mallory Nordquist,<br />

Londyn Gardner, Ally Harper Neyland,<br />

Caroline Bennett.<br />

56 • MARCH 2023

Madisn Ridgeland Academy<br />

McPherson Library Dedication<br />

Madison-Ridgeland Academy celebrated their newly renovated, state of the art, library with a ribbon cutting ceremony.<br />

Students were thrilled over the reading nooks and makers space that in their words could even ‘turn bad days into good ones’.<br />

Jeff and Tracie McPherson were there with their family to celebrated the dedication.<br />

L-R: Termie Land- Head of School, Rhett Donahoo, Mary Margaret McPherson Donahoo, Tracie McPherson, Townes Donahoo,<br />

Jeff McPherson, Anne Tatum McPherson Yerger, Bennett Yerger, Elementary Principal Amanda Smillie<br />

Hometown MADISON • 57

TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

College days were fun days for me.<br />

It was truly independent living and a carefree attitude that was a gift from my parents - chiefly<br />

because they paid all my expenses my freshman and sophomore years. I helped supplement<br />

a small amount of my monetary needs the remainder of my college life with part time work,<br />

but it was those first years of life-on-my-own that I loved.<br />

Marriage and family were far from my thoughts as I indulged in my freed lifestyle.<br />

Life moves quickly. Love intervened, and suddenly my conversations turned from “I” to “we.”<br />

“I” meant lonely and too quiet. “We” meant fun, laughter and a kind of joy I hadn’t experienced.<br />

Marriage vows could make us “we” permanently, so I chose “we.”<br />

The “we” was truly the joy and more than I had hoped. I hadn’t been surprised by that joy,<br />

but I was surprised when my doctor told me that my tiredness wasn’t from a lack of vitamins.<br />

I was pregnant!<br />

The initial shock carried me to wondering how this unknown family member-to-be would<br />

affect our utopia of marriage. Life was just about as perfect as it could be. Was all of that about<br />

to change? I had no idea what kind of changes were coming.<br />

The love that God pours into our hearts for spouses, parents and siblings is prodigious, but<br />

that mother’s love that He supplies comes in king-size quantities. How else does one explain<br />

a totally dependent stranger suddenly consuming its mother’s quality sleep with no complaints<br />

for that interruption? Every need is met for that tiny creature that can’t speak a word, because<br />

a mother soon learns to interpret that infant’s cries. With that love, God sends Wonder Woman<br />

hearing to the mother that enables her to detect a change in her infant’s breathing in the same<br />

room or down the hall.<br />

Before postpartum leaves, a mother BEAR makeover invades the new mother. A shield like no<br />

other allows or denies any or all access to the newborn. The mother remains on guard 24/7<br />

whether rested or exhausted!<br />

I’m grateful that I asked Jesus to invade my heart when I was young. That gave me insight into<br />

the various kinds of His love that I have experienced over the years. When our first grandchild<br />

was born, I scooped her – gently – into my arms and said, “Lord, how can such love continue?”<br />

Then in more blessed years, God gave me the joy of holding our first great-grandchild.<br />

By now I have no words to describe my Father’s love, but I somehow think a mother might<br />

have the closest understanding. God truly is LOVE.<br />

58 • MARCH 2023

Hometown MADISON • 59





Our team of heart specialists are here for your routine<br />

and preventive cardiac care through lifestyle support,<br />

minimally invasive treatments and in emergent situations.<br />

When you put your heart in our hands, you get the<br />

benefit of skilled, experienced cardiovascular specialists<br />

and Merit Health Heart’s collaborative approach to care.<br />

To learn more, visit MeritHealthHeart.com<br />

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.

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