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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 />

V86<br />


Hometown MADISON • 3








DEC 17-18<br />

6 • NOVEMBER 2022




601.957.3753 • KOESTLERPRIME.COM<br />


Hometown MADISON • 7



From Playroom to Boardroom<br />

Growing up, you always took make-believe to the<br />

next level. Today, you still pursue the full potential<br />

of each idea – finding advisors who relate to your<br />

intuition. We share that drive, because connecting<br />

people to their dreams is our true passion.<br />

Every great relationship has an Origin story.<br />

Start yours today at Origin.Bank/YourStory<br />


8 • NOVEMBER 2022


I was born in November, so it’s naturally my favorite month of the year!<br />

It seems like everything that happens between Labor Day and Christmas<br />

becomes one big blur, however. My husband says it’s because I try to do too<br />

many things at once. But I happen to think that if you don’t do everything you<br />

can, when you can, you may miss out on doing it at all.<br />

There are a couple of stories in this month’s issue that are really near and dear<br />

to my heart. The first one documents the traditional Secret Mission trip that my<br />

husband and two of his closest friends have created for all our collective kids.<br />

It started when my own child was merely six years old. Today, he’s a sophomore<br />

in college. But the point is that these dads were very intentional about the way<br />

they spent their time with their kids—going back to doing everything you can,<br />

when you can.<br />

The other is a follow-up story about Shower Power—a grassroots organization<br />

that serves the growing homeless population in downtown Jackson. It’s where<br />

I spend nearly 100% of my time and energy when I’m not working for the<br />

magazine. We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of our “village” that sustains us<br />

with time, talents, and resources, and wanted to bring you up to date on what’s<br />

happening in our little organization.<br />

Finally, I’d like to remind you about “A Home for Brad.” Madison County<br />

Sheriff Deputy Brad Sullivan took two bullets to the head in 2019 while pursuing<br />

a kidnapping suspect. Miraculously, he lived. After months in the hospital, he was<br />

asked what he wanted more than anything. His answers were simple. He wanted<br />

to WALK out of that hospital—and he wanted to be home for Christmas.<br />

Brad did in fact walk out of the hospital—with assistance—but he is confined<br />

to a wheelchair and his home isn’t ADA compliant. It just doesn’t work on any<br />

level. So, a group of people got together and, with the generosity and support of<br />

friends and complete strangers alike, have built Brad a new home. The goal is to<br />

get him “home” by Christmas. Building supply costs skyrocketed while they were<br />

slap in the middle of the build. Any contingency dollars they thought they had<br />

are long gone. If you feel led, they desperately need your financial support to<br />

get them across the finish line and get Brad into a home that works for him.<br />

Please consider giving at AHomeForBrad.org.<br />

I wish you and your family a very Happy Thanksgiving, a wonderful Christmas,<br />

and a Happy New Year. There’s so much to be grateful for—even when times<br />

are hard. We’re all called to love one another. I challenge you to find a way to<br />

make a difference in someone’s life.<br />

ON THE COVER: Our Art Contest winner, Germantown 9th grader Bella Brewer<br />



Tahya Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />

In ThIs IsSue<br />

Reader Spotlight. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11<br />

Hometown Family . . . . . . . . . . . . .12<br />

Magic of Lights . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18<br />

God’s Heart for Orphans. . . . . . . . . 30<br />

Real Men Wear Pink. . . . . . . . . . . 36<br />

Resting Their Sails . . . . . . . . . . . 40<br />

Shower Power Update . . . . . . . . . . 46<br />

Make-A-Wish . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51<br />

Hometown Eats . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60<br />

The Secret Mission . . . . . . . . . . . 64<br />



Caroline Hodges<br />



Alisha Floyd<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />

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


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />


Nikki Robison<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 • 9

Need a routine eye exam, cataract or eyelid surgery, glaucoma care, or a new pair of glasses or<br />

contacts? Our physicians are the key to unlock your eye care plan. From pediatric to geriatric,<br />

we want to be your forever eye care provider. Schedule an appointment today.<br />

November 10th - 21st, 2022<br />

Save Now, Gift Later!<br />

Purchase online at 3in1GiftCard.com<br />

In person at BRAVO!, Broad Street, and<br />

Sal & Mookie’s<br />

Digital and physical gift card options<br />

No Limit to how many you can purchase<br />


Plus, We Give 10% to Charity!<br />

Select 1 of 12 community chosen charities,<br />

and WE will donate 10% of your total gift<br />

card purchase to your selected charity.<br />

Plus, we will feature one of the 12 selected<br />

charities each month in 2023, and they will<br />

receive additional donations from each<br />

10 • NOVEMBER 2022

READER<br />


Christy<br />

WALKER<br />

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

My husband grew up in Farmhaven and graduated<br />

from Canton Academy. We moved to Canton after<br />

we married in 2004. Seven years ago, we moved to<br />

Gluckstadt to be closer to both our schools and our<br />

church, Pear Orchard Presbyterian Church in<br />

Ridgeland.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am married to Matt Walker of Canton. We have<br />

been married for eighteen years. He is a teacher and<br />

football/track coach at MRA. He also co-owns a<br />

power washing business, Xterior Xperts, and<br />

Walker’s Elite Nutrition, a nutrition company<br />

specializing in supplements. We have two daughters<br />

– Mary Tristen, a 10th grader at Germantown High,<br />

and Mattie, a 6th grader at Germantown Middle.<br />

I just started my twenty-third year of teaching, sixteen<br />

of those with Madison County School District. I have<br />

been teaching at Germantown High School since its<br />

opening in 2011. Also, as part of our family, we have<br />

four dogs, four cats, many ducks and chickens, and just<br />

added honeybees this past May.<br />

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

Madison County on the weekends?<br />

My husband and I love just being home, creating or<br />

dreaming of projects which means visiting local home<br />

and garden stores. MT loves to hang out with friends<br />

at a local restaurant or at the Renaissance. Mattie loves<br />

hanging out with her friends at the barn at Blue<br />

Ribbon Riding Academy.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in<br />

your spare time.<br />

I absolutely love to read! Two years ago, I created a<br />

blog where I suggested books. I recently transferred<br />

everything over to my own personal website<br />

(mytinylittlefarm.com). I love updating it with my<br />

book reviews, lesson plans, or just thoughts about<br />

teaching. Other than reading and blogging, I love<br />

to tend to my chickens and ducks, gardening, and<br />

learning how to be a beekeeper. Also, on Saturdays,<br />

you will probably find me at Goodwill.<br />

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

My parents! I am thankful they told us “no” to many<br />

of our “wants” during our childhood. They instilled in<br />

us not only a strong work ethic but the belief that if we<br />

wanted the “extras,” we had to save up and purchase<br />

them ourselves. My husband and I have instilled this<br />

in both of our girls who must save their own money<br />

to buy technological devices. My mom has also<br />

inspired me on how to be a working mom. Looking<br />

back, I have no idea how she worked a full-time job<br />

in addition to a part-time job, being active in band<br />

boosters, and staying up late nights to make the<br />

goodies or homemade gifts for school parties. She<br />

never complained about being too tired. She also<br />

never wasted a special opportunity. I remember her<br />

taking my siblings and me to hear President Bush<br />

speak at MSU’s graduation ceremony in 1989. I<br />

complained about sitting in the rain at the time but<br />

now am thankful for that moment. Now that both<br />

my girls are becoming more active in school and<br />

church activities, I try not to fret about how to make<br />

it all happen but just make it happen! My mom always<br />

reminds me that I will only get this chance once so<br />

enjoy the busy times, the messy house, the load of<br />

dishes, and the pile of laundry.<br />

Where are your three favorite places<br />

to eat in Madison?<br />

Trace Grill is my absolute favorite, followed by Kristos<br />

and McAlister’s.<br />

What’s on your bucket list?<br />

I really don’t have a bucket list. However, if you ask<br />

my sister to name the two things I have always wanted<br />

to do, it would be to drive a dump truck and to be on<br />

Wheel of Fortune. If I had to add one more item to<br />

the list, for one summer, I would love to live in the<br />

countryside of Great Britain or Cornwall.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

Retired but hopefully either helping train future<br />

teachers or training current teachers. I love creating<br />

and sharing lesson plans, so I do not think that I will<br />

ever be able to let go of that part of my job.<br />

What is your favorite memory of living<br />

in Madison?<br />

My grandmother was German, and my mom was<br />

born in Germany. After I married and learned about<br />

GermanFest in Gluckstadt, my mom and I would try<br />

and go each year. I still love GermanFest and take<br />

the girls each year, if just to give them a taste of<br />

German foods and traditions.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging<br />

quote, what would it be?<br />

2 Corinthians 4:17 “For our light and momentary<br />

troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that<br />

far outweighs them all.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 11

12 • NOVEMBER 2022

The<br />

Richardss<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

Jay and Martha Richardson We were blessed with three sons,<br />

James, Adam, and Joel, who all still live in Madison. All our sons<br />

and their children are involved and serving in their churches. James<br />

and his family are members of Highland Colony Baptist Church,<br />

Adam and his family are members of Christ Covenant Presbyterian<br />

Church, and Joel and his family serve at Highland Colony Baptist<br />

Church, where he is now the senior pastor.<br />

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

We met at Morrison Heights Baptist Church in Clinton in April<br />

of 1979 and we married in October of 1979. We were introduced by<br />

the pastor and his wife and have been married for 43 years. In 1988,<br />

God called Jay and our family into full time Christian ministry.<br />

After attending New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, where<br />

he received his Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry, Jay<br />

pastored Drew Baptist Church in Drew, Mississippi; First Baptist<br />

Church in Greenville, Mississippi and Highland Colony Baptist<br />

Church in Ridgeland, Mississippi. He recently retired as senior<br />

pastor at HCBC, and our youngest son Joel now serves in that role.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 13

James & Kristin – Jack, Sam & Ellie James<br />

Joel & Elizabeth – Hayes & Brooks<br />

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

We have tried to maintain a date time each week, even when the<br />

children were growing up. It may be lunch once a week or a Friday<br />

night. But time for just the two of us is very important.<br />

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

As parents, our greatest joy is seeing our children serving in their<br />

local church, leading their children to a relationship with Jesus<br />

and growing in their faith.<br />

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

We share the responsibility of the finances. Martha pays the bills,<br />

but any financial decision is discussed with each other and made<br />

together.<br />

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

philosophy?<br />

Living in a pastor’s home should be no different than any other<br />

Christian’s home. We tried to live our lives as real people, showing<br />

them our walk with the Lord in our everyday lives. Our boys knew<br />

we loved them and in that love was boundaries. Discipline is a<br />

part of parenting that is not fun but necessary in all of our lives.<br />

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

family?<br />

Our greatest role now as grandparents is to continue to pass our<br />

faith on to our grandchildren. Our sons and their families are<br />

raising their children in faith in Jesus, and we want to reinforce<br />

that in their lives.<br />

14 • NOVEMBER 2022

Adam & Samantha – Aiden, Sydney, Cruze, Henry, Griffin, Shep, John Christian (and one due in January!)<br />

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

We enjoy is breakfast for supper. It has always been a favorite<br />

in our home!<br />

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

We have lived in Madison since September of 2003, when we<br />

were called to Highland Colony Baptist Church in Ridgeland..<br />

Jay became the senior pastor there at that time.<br />

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

What we love most of all of Madison County is the people, especially<br />

our church family.<br />

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

Now that we are retired, summer breaks will be year-round!<br />

Hometown MADISON • 15

‘Tis the Season<br />

for Financing<br />

YOUR Dreams!<br />




7720 Old Canton Road, Suite A<br />

Madison, MS 39110<br />

direct 601.707.8221<br />

fax 601.707.8222<br />

cell 601.540.6751<br />

kim@peytonandcompany.com<br />

16 • NOVEMBER 2022


For the 2022 holiday issue of Hometown Madison,<br />

we asked for submissions of Christmas-themed art from high<br />

school art students throughout Madison County. We want to<br />

encourage the artistic ability in the county’s brightest young artists!<br />

Congratulations to Bella Brewer<br />

on being chosen as our cash prize winner!<br />

Merry Christmas!<br />

Germantown - Ava Fulgham, 9th<br />

Germantown - Bella Brewer, 9th<br />

Germantown - Mary Robertson, 9th Germantown - Regan Alexander, 9th Velma Jackson - Akail Middleton, 12th Velma Jackson - Alonzo Johnson, 10th<br />

Velma Jackson - Carltavious Ross, 12th Velma Jackson - Jordan Conway, 10th Velma Jackson - Juliana King, 9th Velma Jackson - Sherman Williamson, 10th<br />

Hometown MADISON • 17

Susan Marquez<br />

The Brandon Amphitheater will be transformed into a light-filled venue<br />

for the holiday season. The lights will be turned on for the drive-through<br />

holiday-themed display starting on Friday, November 18, 2022,<br />

and will shine nightly through Sunday, January 1, 2023.<br />

18 • NOVEMBER 2022

The event will feature dozens of light displays, illuminated canopies, and digital animation,<br />

all constructed with over two million lights, including one million individual LED lights.<br />

“With our focus toward being a quality community for families to live, work, and play, the<br />

Brandon Amphitheater is the natural destination to host an enjoyable, drive through<br />

Christmas presentation of this caliber for people of all ages,” says Brandon<br />

Mayor Butch Lee. “Our efforts are geared towards transforming our Quarry Park<br />

Trails that surround the Brandon Amphitheater into a magical experience filled<br />

with memorable moments for years to come. We are excited this year to be<br />

one of 21 locations in North America to host a Magic of Lights show. Attracting<br />

a show of this magnitude, with sister show events in locations<br />

such as the NFL Gillette Stadium in Boston, and the Daytona<br />

National Speedway in Daytona, Florida, speaks well for our<br />

hometown and life in Brandon.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 19

The Magic of Lights display will be produced by Family<br />

Entertainment Live, a family-oriented entertainment holding<br />

company headquartered in Medina, Ohio. The event is<br />

presented by WLBT-TV. “We are excited to bring Magic of<br />

Lights to the Brandon community and the Brandon Amphitheater<br />

for the first time ever and hope it becomes an annual<br />

holiday tradition,” says Ken Hudgens, CEO of Family<br />

Entertainment Live.<br />

Ted Fortenberry, Regional Vice President and GM of WLBT<br />

says, “We are excited to present the Magic of Lights at<br />

Brandon’s Amphitheater. It is the perfect setting for this<br />

fantastic family holiday experience. Helping to bring in<br />

events like Magic of Lights so families can create lifelong<br />

holiday memories fits perfectly with WLBT’s commitment to<br />

serve the communities of Central and Southwest Mississippi.”<br />

Visitors to the event can enjoy the tour’s displays from the<br />

comfort of their own vehicle. Displays will feature a 32-foot<br />

tall, animated Mattel’s Barbie, and prehistoric Christmas<br />

display featuring life-sized dinosaurs celebrating the season.<br />

Other displays will include Big Foot Monster Trucks, Winter<br />

Wonderland, as well as Magic of Lights favorites including the<br />

Twelve Days of Christmas, Toyland, and the 200-foot long<br />

Enchanting Tunnel of Lights. “Magic of Lights is a nostalgic<br />

and festive experience for guests of all ages,” says Hudgens.<br />

The numbers to create the event are staggering. The total<br />

Magic of Lights event will use 12.6 miles of light cord. It takes<br />

3,750-man hours to set up each Magic of Lights event. Each<br />

Magic of Lights event uses about ten miles of steel to build<br />

the displays and ten miles of LED lighting installed inside of<br />

the displays, which are designed, bent, cut, and welded into<br />

about 800 frames that are combined in different color<br />

configurations to create each show’s giant winter holiday<br />

scenes. Each frame of each scene is designed using state-ofthe-art<br />

technology. And each display is hand-built in-house<br />

from fifteen pages of design specifications. Scenes are as<br />

high as 32 feet tall, and as long as several hundred feet.<br />

Magic of Lights shines nightly from 5:30pm until 10pm.<br />

Mayor Lee says more than 10,000 vehicles are expected<br />

to drive to Rankin County to experience the event. “This<br />

Christmas light event will pave the way for this to become<br />

an annual, family friendly show in the years ahead.”<br />

Tickets for this festive holiday event are on sale now and<br />

can be purchased for any day starting at just $15 per vehicle,<br />

for a limited time. For a complete schedule and to purchase<br />

tickets, visit MagicOfLights.com/Brandon.<br />

20 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown MADISON • 21

Staff Sides<br />

Squash Casserole<br />

• 3 lb. cooked squash<br />

• 1 small onion<br />

• 1 cup sour cream<br />

• 1 cup grated cheese<br />

• 1 cup Minute Rice<br />

• 1 stick butter, melted<br />

• 1 can cream of mushroom soup<br />

In a large saucepan, steam squash<br />

with onion, stirring occasionally.<br />

Once tender, gently combine with<br />

other ingredients. Transfer to<br />

a<br />

glass baking dish, and bake<br />

35 minutes at 325.<br />

LEXIE<br />

Broccoli Salad<br />

• 5 cups broccoli florets<br />

• 1 cup bacon, cooked and<br />

crumbled<br />

• ½ cup sliced almonds<br />

• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese<br />

• ¼ cup red onion, chopped<br />

Add broccoli, bacon, almonds,<br />

cheddar, and onion in a large<br />

mixing bowl.<br />

Dressing<br />

• 1 cup mayonnaise<br />

• ¼ cup sugar<br />

(or your preferred sweetener)<br />

• 1 Tbsp. white vinegar<br />

• Salt and pepper, to taste<br />

In a separate bowl, mix mayonnaise,<br />

vinegar, sweetener, salt, and pepper.<br />

Add dressing mixture to broccoli<br />

salad and toss to combine until<br />

evenly coated. Refrigerate one hour<br />

and serve.<br />

Carrot Souffle<br />

• 3½ lbs. peeled carrots<br />

• 1½ cups sugar<br />

• 1 tsp. baking powder<br />

• 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract<br />

• 6 eggs<br />

• ½ lb. margarine softened<br />

(butter works too)<br />

• 1/4 cup flour<br />

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.<br />

In a large pot filled to just below the<br />

steamer with water, add the carrots.<br />

Steam for 12-14 minutes or until<br />

very tender. Into your blender add<br />

carrots, sugar, baking powder, vanilla<br />

extract, eggs and margarine. Mix<br />

until creamy with no chunks of<br />

carrots. Add flour and pulse a couple<br />

of times until just combined. Bake in<br />

a 13x9 casserole for one hour until<br />

golden brown on top.<br />

MARY ANN<br />

ALISHA<br />

22 • NOVEMBER 2022

Strawberry Pretzel Salad<br />

Pretzel Crust<br />

• 2 cups crushed pretzels<br />

• ¾ cup butter melted<br />

• 3 Tbsp. sugar<br />

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.<br />

Combine crushed pretzels, butter,<br />

and sugar in a bowl and press into the<br />

bottom of a 9x13 pan. Bake 10<br />

minutes and cool completely.<br />

Creamy Filling<br />

• 8 oz. cream cheese softened<br />

• ¾ cup sugar<br />

• 8 oz. Cool W hip, defrosted<br />

In a medium bowl, mix cream cheese<br />

and sugar with a hand mixer on<br />

medium until fluff y. Gently fold in<br />

Cool W hip. Spread mixture evenly<br />

over the cooled crust and refrigerate<br />

at least 1 hour.<br />

Strawberry Topping<br />

• 6 oz. strawberry Jell-O<br />

• 2 cups boiling water<br />

• 4 cups sliced strawberries<br />

In a large mixing bowl combine<br />

Jell-O and boiling water until jello<br />

is dissolved. Allow mixture to sit at<br />

room temperature until completely<br />

cooled. Place sliced strawberries over<br />

the cream cheese mixture.<br />

Pour cooled Jell-O overtop.<br />

Refrigerate until firmly set, at least<br />

4-6 hours or overnight.<br />

TAHYA<br />

Loaded Hash Brown<br />

Casserole<br />

• 1 20 oz. package shredded<br />

hash browns (thawed)<br />

• 1 cup cooked bacon (about 16<br />

slices), chopped into crumbles<br />

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese<br />

• 1 can cream of chicken<br />

or cream of mushroom soup<br />

• 3/4 cup sour cream<br />

• 4 Tbsp. butter, melted<br />

• 1/2 cup green onions, chopped<br />

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.<br />

Spray11x7 baking dish with nonstick<br />

cooking spray. In a large bowl,<br />

combine hash browns, half of the<br />

bacon and cheese, cream of<br />

mushroom/chicken soup, sour<br />

cream, and butter. Mix well and<br />

spread evenly into baking dish.<br />

Bake 50-55 minutes or until<br />

potatoes are tender. Top with<br />

remaining bacon and cheese and<br />

return to oven to bake for an<br />

additional five minutes or until<br />

cheese is melted. Remove from<br />

oven and top with green onions.<br />

Serve and enjoy!<br />

NIKKI<br />

Green Bean Casserole<br />

• 2 lb. fresh green beans, ends cut off<br />

• 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4 inch pieces<br />

• 3 cloves garlic, minced<br />

• ½ whole large onion, chopped<br />

• 4 Tbsp. butter<br />

• 4 Tbsp. all-purpose flour<br />

• 2½ cups whole milk<br />

• ½ cup half-and-half<br />

• 1½ tsp. salt, more to taste<br />

• Freshly ground black pepper<br />

• 1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper<br />

• 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese<br />

• 4 oz. sliced pimentos, drained<br />

• French fried onions<br />

Cut green beans in half, blanch and<br />

drain, set aside. Cook bacon over<br />

medium heat for two minutes, add<br />

onion and garlic, continue cooking for<br />

3 to 5 minutes, until bacon is done<br />

and onions are golden brown. In a<br />

separate skillet or saucepan, melt butter<br />

over medium heat. Wisk in flour to<br />

evenly mix into the butter. Cook for a<br />

minute or two, pour in milk and half<br />

and half. Continue cooking, whisking<br />

constantly, while sauce thickens, about<br />

2 minutes. Add salt, pepper, cayenne<br />

and cheddar. Stir while cheese melts.<br />

If sauce is too thick, splash in some<br />

chicken broth. Turn off heat. Add<br />

pimentos and bacon/onion mixture.<br />

Stir to combine. Pour over green<br />

beans and stir gently to combine.<br />

Pour into a baking dish and top with<br />

French fried onions. Bake at 350<br />

for 30 minutes or until<br />

sauce is bubbly.<br />

Sweet Potato Casserole<br />

• 4 cups large sweet potatoes,<br />

peeled and cubed<br />

• ½ cup packed brown sugar<br />

• 8 Tbsp. (1 stick) butter, melted<br />

• 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract<br />

• ½ cup milk<br />

• 2 large eggs<br />

• ½ tsp. kosher salt<br />

• 1 cup packed dark brown sugar<br />

• ½ cup all-purpose flour<br />

• 4 Tbsp. butter, melted<br />

• 1 cup chopped pecans<br />

• 2½ cups mini marshmallows<br />

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a<br />

9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.<br />

Place sweet potatoes in a large pot and<br />

cover with water. Bring to boil, reduce<br />

heat and simmer until tender, about<br />

15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly.<br />

In a large bowl, stir together sweet<br />

potatoes, sugar, butter, vanilla, milk,<br />

eggs, and salt until smooth. Pour<br />

into prepared dish. In a medium bowl,<br />

stir together sugar, flour, and butter<br />

until it clumps. Stir in pecans, then<br />

spread evenly over potatoes. Top<br />

with marshmallows. Bake until<br />

cooked through and golden, about<br />

30 minutes.<br />


DANIEL<br />

Hometown MADISON • 23

24 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown MADISON • 25

26 • NOVEMBER 2022


Jenny Dabbs & J Dabbs Design<br />

Being Different and Enjoying It<br />

Sarah Rein<br />

Jenny Dabbs had a somewhat non-traditional<br />

entry into the world of design but that has not<br />

impeded the tremendous growth her business<br />

has undergone in the last fifteen years. If<br />

anything, Jenny’s career trajectory may have risen<br />

faster because of it. And, to be clear, that’s for<br />

career number two in her life.<br />

In early adulthood, Jenny worked as a nurse.<br />

But she’d always been interested in design,<br />

architecture, landscaping…anything that added<br />

to a space’s character and beauty. When she and<br />

her husband moved their family of four from<br />

Jackson back to her hometown of Philadelphia,<br />

they bought a run-down home in the lovely,<br />

wooded neighborhood she grew up in. It ended<br />

up becoming her first big project. “We didn’t<br />

have money at the time to hire architects and<br />

designers, so I read and studied and figured out<br />

how to do it myself! After 18 months and a total<br />

gut and rebuild, we had our home. And it’s just<br />

great.”<br />

It must be, because people began asking her<br />

for advice regarding their own homes. In what<br />

must be a profoundly humble statement, Jenny<br />

“winged it” - learning the craft as she practiced<br />

it. She started out doing small projects like paint<br />

selections and flooring ideas. Today, her portfolio<br />

includes multi-million dollar estates with projects<br />

and clients from 30A to Atlanta. Based in<br />

Philadelphia, Miss., Jenny is always on the go<br />

and is in the Jackson and Starkville areas on an<br />

almost weekly basis.<br />

For many years, Jenny channeled her<br />

creativity into her first business venture - The<br />

Potting Shed, a high-end garden and gift shop<br />

in Philadelphia. When it opened in 2005, her<br />

son Henry was only 18 months old and her<br />

daughter was six. And her husband, Andy, had<br />

opened a surgery clinic just a few years prior. In<br />

the midst of that busy season, Jenny was able to<br />

meet scores of people from the community. One<br />

of them, Melody Vowell, frequently went to<br />

Jenny with her design and decorating questions<br />

because she liked Jenny’s taste so much. And<br />

then, in 2017, when she decided to build a home,<br />

she hired Jenny as her consultant during the<br />

design and decorating phases.<br />

“Jenny has a way of bridging the gap between<br />

what the client wants and the path to get there.<br />

For instance, you may have a picture of a kitchen<br />

you like, but you have to make decisions during<br />

each step of the building process to achieve that<br />

same feel in your own home. Jenny was my go-to<br />

person for that. She interviews her clients to<br />

understand their vision and their particular<br />

style–being mindful of individual functional<br />

needs and budget considerations,” Vowell<br />

stated.<br />

As The Potting Shed grew, Jenny decided<br />

to move it into a historic home in downtown<br />

Philadelphia that she then renovated herself.<br />

She sold her business in 2014, but hung onto<br />

the building. After a year-long sabbatical to<br />

travel the country with her daughter who was<br />

playing tournament softball, Jenny joined the<br />

Antique Shops of Jackson and reopened her<br />

retail business, while still doing renovations,<br />

new construction and consulting.<br />

In 2021, Jenny decided to move JDabbs<br />

Design back home to Philadelphia. She<br />

approached the owner of a historic building<br />

that used to house The Busy Bee Cafe, a 1960s<br />

staple in downtown Philadelphia. Having just<br />

renovated the second floor of his building into<br />

New York-style loft apartments, Douglas<br />

Hudson was immediately interested in seeing<br />

what Jenny could make of the first level of his<br />

old, neglected building, now known as The<br />

Busy Bee Suites. “I knew she had an amazing<br />

sense of style and a gift for interior design. I was<br />

particular about the feel that I envisioned, and<br />

she was on board. She immediately went to work<br />

exposing ceiling beams in some areas, repairing<br />

tin ceilings in other areas, and exposing red<br />

brick under the stucco walls. I was very involved<br />

in the beginning of the renovation, but soon<br />

realized that Jenny could be trusted to transform<br />

the space into what we had agreed it should be.”<br />

Shortly after, Jenny acquired a historic,<br />

abandoned Western Auto warehouse just three<br />

buildings down from the Busy Bee. It became<br />

the latest addition to the collection of JDabbs<br />

buildings and has operated as another showroom<br />

and gathering spot for Jenny’s friends and<br />

customers. She recently purchased a baby grand<br />

for the space to use for events and open houses.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 27

Sometimes Jenny plays and sometimes she<br />

invites a jazz trio. A lover of music, she likes to<br />

bring that into any space she is working in.<br />

Jenny celebrates her own individuality as a<br />

designer, hoping that it translates into the<br />

experience her customers have when they step<br />

into a JDabbs building.<br />

“My goal is for you to have a wonderful,<br />

warm, cozy, feeling when you walk in… whether<br />

you’re shopping or just stopping by to visit. We<br />

love to sit and hang out with our customers. We<br />

sit on the styled furniture, have drinks in the<br />

warehouse. We always have great music playing<br />

and it smells good and…we just have a great time.<br />

It’s fun for us and we want our customers to<br />

feel the same.<br />

“We often put lawn chairs outside and sit<br />

on the sidewalks in front of shops and just hang<br />

out. We enjoy having a good time, singing and<br />

dancing daily. We just make life fun in our<br />

spaces and why not? Who says high-end has<br />

to be stuffy?”<br />

Dabb’s zest for life and work has led her to<br />

take on the biggest renovation she’s ever been<br />

part of and one of the biggest that downtown<br />

Philadelphia has ever seen. Greg and Pam Smith<br />

and their daughter Kadee purchased the historic<br />

Yates building on the Square in April of 2022.<br />

Kadee, who had met Jenny when she was a bride<br />

shopping for items in The Potting Shed, was<br />

insistent that Jenny be the one to bring their<br />

vision to life. “When I knew we were about to<br />

tackle one of the biggest renovations of such a<br />

historic building on the square I knew we<br />

needed to go over the top on design and I knew<br />

only one person would fill that bill and that was<br />

Jenny. We are a little over halfway through and<br />

she has been a gem to work with. She can turn<br />

small budgets into works of art. She knows<br />

where you can spend less and still make the<br />

final outcome breathtaking. She has cemented<br />

herself as our family’s forever designer.”<br />

Renovations began on July 1. “It’s coming<br />

along great,” Jenny relates. “The Yates Hospital<br />

is an old building with an immense amount of<br />

character. It was built in the 1920s, so it has<br />

around 100 years of history that we’re trying to<br />

preserve while getting rid of anything that’s not<br />

useful like junk and debris.” The plan is to turn<br />

the first floor, formerly a pharmacy, into a<br />

restaurant. The second floor, which used to be a<br />

hospital, is still in the planning and dreaming<br />

phase.<br />

Jenny sees a big future for the revitalization<br />

of Philadelphia and can’t wait to see what’s next.<br />

She now splits her time between working<br />

out of town with clients and in her shop<br />

downtown. Neither of which would be possible<br />

without her very supportive family and the<br />

close-knit team that runs the shop when she is<br />

traveling. JDabbs Design spaces are a reflection<br />

of Jenny’s particular style, of which her colleagues<br />

and customers are big fans. Will Ballou of<br />

Ballou Design Group says, “Jenny never stops.<br />

She has a great eye for design and her store<br />

reflects this. She has a talent for combining<br />

unique pieces to create a cohesive result. Her<br />

store fills a gap in central Mississippi for home<br />

furnishings and accessories. I have bought<br />

several pieces of my own from her.”<br />

Melody Vowell is now settled into the<br />

home Jenny designed and is thrilled with the<br />

end result. “One of my favorite things Jenny<br />

encouraged me to do was put black subway tile<br />

on my kitchen wall instead of white. I was a<br />

little hesitant at first, but I am so glad we did!<br />

There is a lot of natural light in my house and<br />

the black subway wall gives my kitchen a much<br />

needed depth and contrast.”<br />

Jenny’s current projects include a massive<br />

hunting lodge in the delta, a historic home in<br />

Eastover, a furnish in Reunion, and two new<br />

construction builds in Starkville. Were that<br />

not enough, she’s also running her shop and<br />

considering adding to her collection of retail<br />

spaces if the right building becomes available<br />

in Starkville.<br />

And how does Jenny herself see her<br />

contribution to the local and regional design<br />

landscape?<br />

“I am different and see things differently.<br />

I like to have a story behind my work or design<br />

things in a way that is unexpected. I’ll try things<br />

others might not be willing to try. I want people<br />

to see my work and ask….how did she do that?”<br />

28 • NOVEMBER 2022

You can visit Jenny at her shop, JDabbs Design, in downtown Philadelphia Monday-Saturday from 10-5 or visit jdabbsdesign.com<br />

for information and examples of the services she offers. They range from design, remodeling, and project coordination to<br />

procurement and installation. And don’t be intimidated. In Jenny’s own words, “You do not have to be wealthy<br />

to hire a designer, but the wealth of knowledge that our industry offers is often priceless.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 29

30 • NOVEMBER 2022


God’s Heart for Orphans<br />

“The story of Zacchaeus in the Bible is found in Luke 19:1-10. In this passage, we read<br />

that Zacchaeus’s life was forever changed when he encountered Jesus that day in the tree.<br />

Jesus radically changed my life as well on two very different occasions during the<br />

adoption of our two daughters.” Chris Gray of Brandon shared the inspiration<br />

behind the name of the adoption ministry he and his wife, Andrea founded.<br />

The ministry is called the Zacchaeus Tree Adoption Ministry.<br />

In 2008, the couple felt led to pursue<br />

adoption after struggling with infertility. They<br />

decided to adopt from Russia. Andrea had the<br />

idea that the couple should purchase birthday<br />

gifts for the little girl, Hannah Claire, who<br />

would soon be joining their family. They made<br />

a list of items they would get her for ages three<br />

through 18. One of the gifts they were searching<br />

for was a Bible written in Russian.<br />

On December 2, 2008, the couple went to<br />

Russia to meet their daughter. They visited her<br />

in the mornings. The afternoons and evenings<br />

were free to go sightseeing and find the items on<br />

their list. They visited street vendors, souvenir<br />

shops and bookstores searching for the perfect<br />

gifts. Each stop, they’d ask for a Bible, but were<br />

unable to find one.<br />

The couple later returned to Russia for their<br />

final trip. They’d be coming back to the U.S. with<br />

their daughter. It was extremely cold, and they<br />

were warned by the adoption agency that Hannah<br />

Claire would not be used to it and should not<br />

be taken out. But the clock was ticking–they<br />

still hadn’t found a Bible. Chris prayed, “God,<br />

how will I find a Bible in less than 24 hours?”<br />

They boarded a bus that was completely<br />

full except for one empty seat across from Chris.<br />

An older gentleman took the vacant spot, and<br />

began doing hand motions. He never spoke,<br />

just kept moving his hands. Chris and Andrea<br />

became nervous. Eventually, the mysterious<br />

stranger moved to the back of the bus. When<br />

the bus stopped and it was time to exit, they<br />

locked eyes with the older gentleman, who was<br />

now sitting on the steps of the bus.<br />

He stared at Chris and slowly stood to his<br />

feet, while putting his hand in his coat pocket.<br />

Chris began to step off of the bus, and the man<br />

put an item in Chris’s chest just before the doors<br />

closed. Chris knew immediately what he had<br />

been given, a New Testament written in Russian.<br />

Chris reflects, “That man changed my life<br />

forever. I hope to meet him in Heaven one day<br />

and thank him. That encounter was the<br />

cornerstone for starting the adoption ministry.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 31

In January of 2012, the Gray family felt led<br />

to adopt again. Chris remembers thinking,<br />

“There is no way we’ll have another experience<br />

like we did with Hannah Claire’s adoption.”<br />

The couple had started the process and paid<br />

$27,000 toward the adoption. They were<br />

devastated to learn that Vladamir Putin had<br />

banned Americans from adopting Russian<br />

children. The money put toward the adoption<br />

was lost. The couple chose to start the adoption<br />

process again, this time in Moldova. Six<br />

months into that process, Moldova’s adoption<br />

process came to a standstill as well. The couple<br />

lost their money again.<br />

They eventually started the work to adopt<br />

from Poland. In January of 2014, Chris<br />

attended a Wednesday night church service at<br />

Pinelake. He had turned in a prayer request<br />

card that read, “God, if you want us to continue<br />

this adoption process, you’ll have to provide<br />

for it because we have lost so much.” Chris<br />

watched as Chip Henderson, the senior pastor<br />

at Pinelake, stepped onto the stage and held<br />

Chris’s prayer request and announced the<br />

prayer need to the congregation.<br />

Eight months later, Chris felt led to fill out<br />

the paperwork for an adoption grant. The<br />

grant was for $5,000 to help cover the cost of<br />

an adoption. But time slowly passed and both<br />

Chris and Andrea assumed they had not been<br />

selected for the grant.<br />

In November of 2014, Chris visited Target<br />

on his lunch break. He decided to check his<br />

email while he was there. He was surprised to<br />

see an email reading, “Congratulations Gray<br />

Family.” They had been awarded a $20,000<br />

grant. Chris shared that it touched his heart<br />

that God showed how much he loves and cares<br />

for orphans through providing a Bible for<br />

Hannah Claire and the money for Ava’s<br />

adoption.<br />

In 2015, Chris was attending another<br />

Wednesday night service at Pinelake. The<br />

sermon was on Jonah. Chip said, “If you’ve<br />

been running from something God has asked<br />

of you, stand and we will pray over you.” Chris<br />

stood, knowing he had been asked to encourage<br />

others who are in the process of adoption.<br />

He has now spoken about adoption and<br />

foster care at over 90 churches in Mississippi.<br />

He also teaches a class to families considering<br />

adoption or fostering at Crossgates Baptist<br />

Church on the first and third Wednesday of<br />

each month. He started the Zacchaeus Tree<br />

Adoption Ministry, which offers adoption<br />

grants to Mississippi families. Families can<br />

raise up to $2,500 toward an adoption, and<br />

the ministry will match it through Lifesong<br />

for Orphans. So far, the ministry has helped<br />

ten families fund their adoptions.<br />

Chris was recently recognized for his work<br />

in helping families who are on the journey<br />

toward adoption and fostering. In September,<br />

the Gray family traveled to Washington D.C.<br />

to receive this recognition. He said of the<br />

event: “It was an honor to be selected by U.S.<br />

32 • NOVEMBER 2022

Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith for the Congressional<br />

Coalition on Adoption Institute Award in Mississippi.<br />

I am so proud to have had the opportunity to meet<br />

with Senator Hyde-Smith, and to know that she<br />

is a strong supporter of adoption. I had the<br />

opportunity to talk to her about creating legislation<br />

for a “Certificate of Foreign Birth” bill to help<br />

families who are adopting or who have adopted a<br />

child from a foreign country, so that these families<br />

would be able to get their child a birth certificate<br />

in Mississippi. It was interesting to learn that the<br />

CCAI, which was created by congress, is the<br />

largest bipartisanship caucus in Washington.”<br />

Mr. Gray shared how God has repeatedly<br />

revealed that He is a God who cares about all of<br />

the details that seem so small to us. Chris shared<br />

a bit more about how God’s character had been<br />

revealed to him through this journey, “I also find<br />

that God is quite humorous in that the street that<br />

I grew up on in Pearl was named Sycamore, which<br />

is the type of tree that Zacchaeus climbed up to<br />

see Jesus.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 33

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Hometown MADISON • 35

REAL MEN<br />


Central MS<br />

Ambassadors<br />

Why<br />

do you<br />

wear<br />

pink?<br />




Using my platform to be a ‘wind of<br />

change’ to advocate and push for<br />

early detection, better treatments, and<br />

further research for women and men is<br />

important so that one day no one else<br />

will ever hear the words, “You have<br />

cancer.” The more people we have in<br />

this fight, the quicker that will happen!<br />




20 years ago, I found out that my wife<br />

was pregnant with our second child.<br />

Soon after that, we found out that she<br />

had breast cancer. We were told by<br />

multiple doctors that we needed to<br />

have an abortion and move along with<br />

chemotherapy. We believed that God<br />

would provide a way to have chemo and<br />

still have a full-term healthy baby. And<br />

He did just that. We had a healthy baby<br />

boy, who is now a senior at Ole Miss. We<br />

lost my wife to this horrible disease eight<br />

months after our second son was born.<br />

I want to do what I can to contribute to<br />

finding a cure for cancer because I do<br />

not want to see any family have to go<br />

through the pain and sorrow of seeing<br />

a loved one pass away from cancer.<br />



I was still in high school when I first<br />

learned how ugly cancer can be. My Aunt<br />

Laura was diagnosed with breast cancer<br />

shortly after marrying my uncle. She<br />

fought courageously but unfortunately<br />

passed away three years after her<br />

diagnosis. Since then, my wife and I have<br />

been affected by breast cancer through<br />

many friends and other family members.<br />

This impacts us all! Because of that, I have<br />

always felt the urge to do more. Which<br />

is why I am extremely excited about the<br />

opportunity to be a part of this year’s<br />

RMWP campaign!<br />



I choose to wear pink because I have<br />

seen the impacts of breast cancer hit all<br />

too close to home, and I want to be a<br />

part of helping families who are fighting it.<br />

36 • NOVEMBER 2022







I wear pink for the family that found out<br />

this year that the wife has Stage II breast<br />

cancer and is battling chemo daily. I wear<br />

pink for the family that last year received<br />

the news that the oldest daughter has<br />

breast cancer, then later discovered that<br />

not only has the wife been diagnosed with<br />

breast cancer, but the youngest daughter<br />

tested positive for the BRCA gene, leading<br />

to all three of them having to undergo<br />

mastectomies. These two families, who<br />

mean the world to me and my wife, are<br />

why I wear pink and have dedicated my<br />

efforts in this campaign to them!<br />

When I was eight years old, I lost my<br />

great-grandmother to cancer, who I<br />

was remarkably close to. At twenty-eight,<br />

I lost my great uncle to cancer. Last year,<br />

my grandmother received a breast cancer<br />

diagnosis. With a smile on her face,<br />

always kind words, and never a complaint<br />

(except that she could not taste food),<br />

she raised up to fight against cancer and<br />

she won! I wear pink for her, for those<br />

that did not win, for those yet to receive<br />

a diagnosis, and because one day it could<br />

be me.<br />

My grandfather Victor Aguzzi, who<br />

battled cancer almost 20 years ago,<br />

unfortunately passed in 2004. When<br />

asked to stand beside 27 others Real Men<br />

for 2022, I envisioned how proud he and<br />

my family would be for me to represent<br />

the cure for cancers. While visiting with<br />

family, friends, coaches, teammates,<br />

my church, and working friends, I have<br />

learned that it was more than just my<br />

grandfather that fights this disease. Pink<br />

is one of my favorite colors. It is loud and<br />

full of love. While wearing pink, I fight for<br />

all of those battling.<br />







I am raising funds and awareness for<br />

my mother Kathy Roberts who was<br />

diagnosed with breast cancer in October<br />

2020. Since that time, she has undergone<br />

chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery.<br />

She is two years past her diagnosis and<br />

is nearing retirement from a 35-plus<br />

year career in insurance. She is looking<br />

forward to traveling and spending time<br />

with friends and family in the years to<br />

come.<br />

My why is easy. Cancer affects every<br />

family, but breast cancer has affected<br />

my family over the years. My mom had<br />

breast cancer in 2001 and my dad, yes<br />

men make up ~1% of all breast cancer,<br />

had breast cancer in 2012. Others in my<br />

family have had or are beating breast<br />

cancer as we speak. The research and<br />

advancements in treatments have allowed<br />

my family to be survivors. This is my why!<br />

In my family, cancer is something that<br />

we often have to worry about and think<br />

about. We have lost great pillars in my<br />

family line due to various cancers. But, we<br />

also have warriors and survivors that have<br />

conquered cancer. I wear pink to honor<br />

those who have passed and to celebrate<br />

those who are not only living but thriving.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 37

Why<br />

do you<br />

wear<br />

pink?<br />



Breast cancer is the most common cancer<br />

among women worldwide. As a husband,<br />

father, and son, any movement aimed at<br />

helping my wife, two daughters and mother<br />

live their lives free of breast cancer has my<br />

tireless support. There are so many<br />

courageous women diagnosed with<br />

breast cancer each year. Wearing pink<br />

is an opportunity to support them while<br />

continuing to raise awareness for the<br />

disease and promote the importance of<br />

catching it early by scheduling regular<br />

check-ups.<br />



My wife, Roxanne, was diagnosed with<br />

breast cancer at age 49. God has blessed us<br />

with many gifts, including our connection<br />

to people. The more people we spoke to<br />

about cancer, the clearer it became that<br />

this disease affected 1 in 5 women, but it<br />

seemed like more. That’s why I’m stepping<br />

up to fight breast cancer with all I have.<br />

Since I’m in a position to make a difference<br />

within my community, I believe I have an<br />

obligation to do so. By raising money and<br />

awareness through Real Men Wear Pink, I’m<br />

helping save more lives from breast cancer.<br />



Cancer. It’s a word no one wants to hear.<br />

It has affected so many people whether<br />

it be a parent, sibling, relatives, or friends.<br />

My first cousin was affected by it and has<br />

been in remission for quite some time. My<br />

wife’s grandfather lost his battle with lung<br />

cancer. My grandmother had breast cancer<br />

and my wife’s dad has been in remission.<br />

We have had some losses—but we’ve also<br />

had wins along the way and that is why I<br />

continue to raise funds for the American<br />

Cancer Society. That’s why I wear pink!<br />



I’m wearing pink for all the awesome<br />

women I have in my life and family.<br />

Each one of them deserves to be fought<br />

for daily, but especially for a cause as<br />

important as the fight against breast<br />

cancer. The great ladies I’m blessed to<br />

have in my immediate and extended<br />

family are shining examples of what it<br />

is to be good and loving in a world that<br />

seems so upside down so often.<br />



I wear pink because I have seen what<br />

breast cancer has done to our friends, our<br />

sisters, and our mothers. I wish that no one<br />

would have to go through battling this<br />

disease—that we wouldn’t have to worry<br />

about our spouse’s pain and suffering or<br />

what life is going to be like without them.<br />

That children didn’t have to watch their<br />

moms suffer and then grow up without<br />

them by their side. My hope is that we<br />

can one day truly defeat this disease.<br />

38 • NOVEMBER 2022




2021 RMWP CHAIRMAN<br />





After losing three family members to<br />

cancer, I know firsthand the hardships<br />

many face after hearing the words “You<br />

have cancer.” The American Cancer<br />

Society provides services that build the<br />

bridge between surviving and thriving<br />

for those living with cancer, especially in<br />

Mississippi. By wearing pink, I’m doing<br />

my part to ensure fewer people struggle<br />

when facing the obstacles that come<br />

after a cancer diagnosis and funding the<br />

research that could lead to a cancer free<br />

future.<br />






UMMC<br />




UMC<br />






BDAY 99.1 FM<br />

I wear pink for my grandmother who<br />

passed away too soon due to cancer. I<br />

wear pink for my four girls because I want<br />

a future for them that doesn’t involve<br />

breast cancer or cancer of any kind. I<br />

wear pink because our moms, wives, and<br />

daughters are worth fighting for!<br />





Hometown MADISON • 39

Resting Their Sails<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

40 • NOVEMBER 2022

Jeanne Tew grew up swimming in lakes and rivers.<br />

She knew nothing about the sea, nor did she know how to sail a boat.<br />

When she met Ron Tew, she had to learn fast. “I am from Columbus, and<br />

Ron is from Natchez,” says Jeanne, in her smooth Southern drawl. “He was<br />

living in Columbus, and we met while working for the same company.”<br />

Ron had retired early from his position as a bank president. He had<br />

taken sailing lessons at the Barnett Reservoir back in the 1960s and<br />

always loved sailing. When he retired, he bought a sailboat and docked<br />

it in Pensacola.<br />

Ron was ready to go on a long sailing trip. “We were both divorced,<br />

and he asked me if I wanted to go on a sailing trip. I told him I didn’t know<br />

how to sail, and he asked if I could cook. I said, ‘of course,’ and the told<br />

me he could teach me to sail.”<br />

They took off to Pensacola, where Ron gave Jeanne a few sailing<br />

lessons. They loaded up on supplies and took off December 1997 for<br />

the trip of a lifetime. Their first destination was Key West, via the Gulf of<br />

Mexico. “I learned really quick that I get seasick,” she recalls. “We hit some<br />

bad weather one day, and I was so sick that night. The next night, Ron<br />

was tired due to lack of sleep, so I said I would stand watch. I saw some<br />

lighting off in the distance, and before I knew it, threre was a squall, and<br />

all the sails were up. Ron came running up to the deck and we got things<br />

under control. I learned fast how to read the weather.”<br />

Christmas was spent in Key West. Thinking they were on their own,<br />

they heard over the radio that the marina was hosting a potluck dinner<br />

for all the cruisers. The marina provided the turkey and ham, and everyone<br />

showed up bringing their favorite dish. “That was our introduction to the<br />

sailing lifestyle,” says Jeanne. “Soon we heard calls go out that there<br />

would be cocktails on the beach, or people invited us onto their boat.<br />

It was a very social lifestyle. I was surprised how easily we met other<br />

people. It’s not that easy with people who live on dirt.”<br />

The social status for the people who lived on boats was immediately<br />

leveled. “Everyone wore the same uniform, which was a t-shirt and<br />

shorts, or a bathing suit. From the largest mega yacht to the single-handed<br />

sailor, everyone faced the same issues: weather conditions, the hassle<br />

of checking into a new country, or how to get a needed boat part<br />

shipped in.”<br />

The Tews spent two years on their boat, Tewsday. It was a 38’ Island<br />

Packet. “We sailed from the Keys, through the Bahamas, and around the<br />

Caribbean. We headed west through the Panama Canal to San Diego<br />

where we stayed for the next six months.” While in San Diego, Jeanne<br />

Hometown MADISON • 41

42 • NOVEMBER 2022

says they bought a ‘beater’ car to get around. They joined the San Diego<br />

Zoo. “A boat is like a house, in that there is always something to do. We<br />

would work on the boat in the morning, get tired, then head to the Zoo<br />

for a while.” They were anchored in San Diego for New Year’s Eve in<br />

2001, better known as Y2K. “We didn’t know what to anticipate, but it<br />

was nothing.”<br />

They wound up selling the boat in San Diego when Ron purchased<br />

a Blue Hull 52’ Tayana named Vixon. “Ron said it was the prettiest thing he<br />

had ever seen. I said, ‘gee, thanks, but can it cook?’” The couple packed<br />

up their belongings and flew to Trinidad to take possession of the boat.<br />

They sailed for another two years. “We didn’t just bounce from place<br />

to place,” says Jeanne. “We would stay for a few days to a few weeks.<br />

I played tennis, so I always found a group to play with.” They sailed up the<br />

east coast as far as Maine. “We stayed in Bar Harbor for three months.”<br />

Ron was already a scuba diver, and Jeanne took lessons on the island<br />

of Grenada to be certified. “I also snorkel, which I really love.”<br />

Both Jeanne and Ronnie were English majors in college, and during<br />

their sailing years they both journaled every day. “Ronnie always said that<br />

when he retired, he wanted to open a little bookstore. He had already<br />

written one book before we left.” Ron has now authored seven books,<br />

most of which are novels. He has written one young adult book, a<br />

memoir about his travels and growing up in Natchez, and a book called<br />

The Love of Wisdom, in which Ron shares his beliefs and philosophy of<br />

life through story. “I am more of an editor,” says Jeanne. “I have written<br />

a book called Me & Captain Ron & the Sea, which is filled with funny<br />

anecdotes from our travels.”<br />

Jeanne says that wonderful life lessons were learned along the way.<br />

“We have adopted the idea of manana, which isn’t so much ‘tomorrow’<br />

as it is ‘some time.” We had friends who came down to visit us, and we<br />

would tell them to meet us at a certain port on a certain day. We also<br />

said that if we weren’t there, they were grownups and they would have to<br />

find a hotel. You see, if the weather was bad, we would not be able to sail<br />

in to pick them up.” They also learned that people are generally friendly,<br />

and they will help you if you need it. “If you are respectful and polite to<br />

people, they will usually act the same towards you.”<br />

The Tews finally rested their sails when they started having grandkids.<br />

They have thirteen grandchildren, all in Mississippi. “The kids got bored<br />

with sailing after an hour or so, so we sold the sailboat and bought a<br />

powerboat so we could zip out and back.” They decided to move to<br />

Madison, and they now live in Reunion, in a home on the water. They<br />

are members of the Jackson Yacht Club, and Jeanne sometimes subs<br />

for sailing crews when they need someone for weekend races. “I also<br />

kayak on the lake in Reunion.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 43

44 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown MADISON • 45

46 • NOVEMBER 2022


Envisioning a<br />

Masterpiece<br />

Sarah Rein<br />

There is a short story by J.R.R.<br />

Tolkien called “Leaf by Niggle.”<br />

In it, the main character is an<br />

artist named Niggle who loves<br />

to envision his life’s great work<br />

- an exquisite painting of a tree<br />

in the middle of a forest.<br />

He pays an obsessive amount of attention<br />

to a single leaf - laboring to make it the very<br />

best it can be. But life is forever interrupting<br />

his focus. He has a lame neighbor with a sick<br />

wife who frequently needs his help. He can<br />

never quite get his work to take shape. And,<br />

before he knows it, he is called away on a long<br />

journey he has been putting off. Niggle is<br />

unprepared and frustrated that his work has<br />

never come to fruition. But, to his astonishment,<br />

when he arrives at his destination, his tree is<br />

waiting for him…the tree he had seen in his<br />

mind but had never been able to form into<br />

reality. Every feature is perfect. Every color,<br />

expertly chosen. Everything so much better<br />

than he was ever able to make it in his lifetime.<br />

When Teresa Renkenberger had the<br />

inspiration for Shower Power in 2019, it started<br />

with the moving story of befriending a homeless<br />

man named Benny who needed a place to get<br />

clean. She purchased a box truck with plans to<br />

turn it into a mobile shower unit—and then<br />

immediately brought her good friend Mary<br />

Ann Kirby on board.<br />

And so began the creation of their “leaf.”<br />

Teresa Renkenberger<br />

Like Niggle, they have paid a great deal of<br />

attention to the details of their project. And<br />

despite starting out as a potential solution for<br />

just one man, Shower Power’s ministry has<br />

now provided nearly 4,000 showers to people<br />

and added a food pantry and clothing closet.<br />

On Fridays, local churches, companies, and<br />

organizations partner with Shower Power to<br />

provide a meal to roughly one hundred members<br />

of the homeless community. And in October<br />

of 2020, Project Hope was created as an<br />

extension of the ministry. Project Hope<br />

identifies which of the unsheltered Shower<br />

Power visitors would be good candidates for<br />

a sponsored move to low-income housing–<br />

and then supports them for a time as they<br />

transition from life on the streets.<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

Working through Challenges<br />

Life has thrown them unexpected curveballs in<br />

much the same way as it did Niggle. In February<br />

2021, that came in the form of historically low<br />

temperatures. Operations Manager Mary Ann<br />

Kirby recounts that event. “Teresa called me one<br />

morning, and we talked about what it would look<br />

like to put some of our people in hotel rooms.<br />

We made a post on Facebook about raising $50<br />

per night to get people in from the cold. We<br />

figured we’d raise enough to put 25 or 30 people<br />

up. We ended up putting 137 people in hotels<br />

for eleven nights straight. And paid cash for it...<br />

all of which was donated in the span of about<br />

48 hours. Then, in January of 2022, we did it<br />

again. But this time we rented the entire Red<br />

Roof Inn. 150 people that would typically be<br />

unsheltered spent a total of 22 nights inside.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 47

Even then, they faced the discouragement of<br />

knowing that three people had died of<br />

hypothermia…one just around the corner from<br />

where Shower Power was housing many others.<br />

So, they began adjusting their plan.<br />

Knowing that there would always be more<br />

frigid nights, they started collecting extreme<br />

cold-weather gear–zero-degree rated sleeping<br />

bags, ski gloves instead of flimsy knit gloves,<br />

and tents and tarps. Since implementing that<br />

approach in February 2022, they haven’t lost a<br />

single person to hypothermia. This year they<br />

are looking to stockpile 200 more zero-degree<br />

rated sleeping bags.<br />

As the women behind Shower Power labor<br />

to create their masterpiece, they continue to<br />

work through issues that can temporarily disrupt<br />

their focus. Kirby explains, “We’re funded<br />

almost entirely by private donations. Every can<br />

of food, every coat, every pair of shoes we give out<br />

comes from our “village.” Learning to manage<br />

those donations has come with a steep learning<br />

curve. We used to just give away everything we<br />

had, but then realized that we needed to try to<br />

start keeping up with what we were giving out<br />

to make sure that resources were going to those<br />

who truly needed them. We can achieve some of<br />

that just by implementing good record-keeping<br />

and good common sense. We’re actually in the<br />

process of putting those new procedures in<br />

place as we speak. It also lets us know what our<br />

greatest needs are so that we can be proactive<br />

in maintaining our supply inventory levels. So<br />

we’re growing not only in the people that we<br />

serve but in our systems and procedures as well.”<br />

Seeing what God is making<br />

When Niggle is called away on his long<br />

journey, he is unprepared and his life’s work is<br />

unfinished. He has to leave with the stinging<br />

realization that his creation is incomplete. Such<br />

is the nature of a ministry like Shower Power.<br />

The work will never be complete this side of<br />

eternity. The complex realities of poverty and<br />

the brokenness of our world mean there will<br />

always be people to feed, clothe, and to provide<br />

the dignity of a shower. But through all the<br />

challenges, interruptions, and heartbreak, there<br />

are glimpses of the masterpiece being created.<br />

48 • NOVEMBER 2022<br />

In 2021, Teresa and Mary Ann had identified<br />

their next candidate for Project Hope, a regular<br />

visitor named John who had gratefully accepted<br />

that 11-night hotel stay during February’s ice<br />

storm. He had been regularly showing up for<br />

Friday lunches, occasionally with his keyboard<br />

in tow to serenade the group with Lionel<br />

Richie renditions.<br />

During the storm, and through social media,<br />

God had providentially brought Shower Power<br />

to the attention of Charles and Tina Elliott, and<br />

their son Austin, as the ministry team worked<br />

to usher people into shelter during the freezing<br />

temperatures.<br />

It was only four days later, however, that<br />

Austin made his own long journey as his earthly<br />

life ended very unexpectedly. But through their<br />

own grief, and grappling with their unimaginable<br />

loss, the Elliott family made the decision to<br />

honor Austin by donating to Shower Power.<br />

When Mary Ann and Teresa sat down with<br />

the couple, they asked if they were willing to<br />

give a $7,200 Project Hope scholarship with<br />

John as the recipient.<br />

As they listened to the women describe John,<br />

the Elliotts were floored. Austin’s great love<br />

had been music. A guitarist who had traveled<br />

extensively to hear bands he loved, Austin had<br />

recently graduated from Ole Miss and was just<br />

beginning his adult life. And John, who is also<br />

a musician and plays the bass guitar, was now<br />

about to get a fresh start in his. God was doing<br />

what He does - making beauty from ashes.<br />

John’s new home is full of Austin’s furniture<br />

and his closet is full of Austin’s shoes…they wear<br />

the exact same size. Charles and John have<br />

become the closest of friends and speak on the<br />

phone daily.<br />

Their story gives a peak at the good God is<br />

doing behind the scenes. And it isn’t the only<br />

success story—there are likely many that will<br />

never be known until heaven. But there is plenty

When asked how Shower Power has<br />

changed her Teresa replied, “Our mission<br />

will always be to make people feel worthy<br />

and loved. I firmly believe that showing people<br />

love can heal them–like literally work miracles.<br />

And we’ve surrounded ourselves with all kinds<br />

of volunteers who demonstrate the same kind<br />

of compassion. We love the people we serve–<br />

and they love us back. That has changed me<br />

more than anything else.”<br />

Shower Power and the women and<br />

volunteers behind it have given a glimpse of<br />

something special and life-changing. And<br />

when its creators see the work God has done<br />

through it in eternity, they may have the same<br />

reaction as Niggle. The final masterpiece<br />

will be more glorious than they could have<br />

imagined in this lifetime.<br />

more work to be done. Mary Ann describes the<br />

growth they’ve experienced. “There are so many<br />

people that have come alongside us who believe<br />

in what we’re doing and willingly offer their<br />

time and talents. We found ourselves needing<br />

accounting and legal oversight and now we have<br />

it. We have people that arrange their full-time<br />

jobs around Fridays so they can be there to help.<br />

We have a spectacular lineup of businesses and<br />

schools and churches and organizations that<br />

come to us and want to be helpful. Their desire<br />

for involvement provides us with incredible<br />

validation.”<br />

And future plans? “We are quickly reaching<br />

capacity with space. And while our weekly<br />

crowd size has soared, we know it is going<br />

to be important to grow horizontally and not<br />

just vertically. We are planning to purchase<br />

another shower and put it in a different part<br />

of town to meet those geographical needs.<br />

We’ll purchase the shower unit, brand it to<br />

Shower Power, and find a church or ministry<br />

outreach that would be willing to run it as<br />

their own. They’ll staff it, and we help them<br />

with as much coaching, underwriting, and<br />

foundation-building as they need.”<br />

If your church, business, volunteer group,<br />

or family would like to get involved<br />

with this vibrant ministry,<br />

visit showerpower.ms/<br />

to learn more about the<br />

opportunities available.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 49

50 • NOVEMBER 2022

Together,<br />



Who We Are and Who We Serve<br />

Who We Are and Who We Serve<br />

Since Make-A-Wish Mississippi’s inception in 1984, more than 2,528 children with critical illnesses have experienced<br />

life-changing Since Make-A-Wish wishes. We Mississippi’s serve children inception the 65 southern in 1984, most more counties than 2,528 in the state, children spanning with every critical socioeconomic<br />

factor illnesses and ethnic have background. experienced We’ve life-changing never turned wishes. away a We child serve eligible children for a wish. in the A family’s 65 southern financial most status, race, or<br />

religion counties has in no the bearing state, on spanning whether a every child will socioeconomic receive a wish. factor and ethnic background. We’ve<br />

never turned away a child eligible for a wish. A family’s financial status, race, or religion has<br />

Our no continued bearing on success whether at Make-A-Wish a child will receive Mississippi a wish.<br />

only achieved with great people and great relationships.<br />

It’s through the generous support – our community of donors, staff, volunteers, medical professionals and sponsors –<br />

the Our real continued heart and soul success of the at organization Make-A-Wish – that Mississippi we will reach is our only vision. achieved with great people and<br />

great relationships. It’s through the generous support – our community of donors, staff,<br />

On volunteers, August 11, a medical kick-off social professionals for W.I.S.H. and Society sponsors (Women – the Inspiring real heart Strength and and soul Hope) of the was organization held at Char Restaurant<br />

in – Jackson. that we Twenty-three will reach our women vision. are As being you honored read through which means the information that twenty-three in the wishes Fiscal will Year be granted 2022 for<br />

deserving annual report, kids fighting please to overcome remember unimaginable how important odds right you are here to in all Mississippi. the progress we have made …<br />

and all that is yet to come. Your impact is profound and meaningful.<br />

Thank you for your commitment to our organization and the precious lives we transform each year.<br />

Thank you for your commitment to our organization and the precious lives we transform<br />

each year.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 51


Millie Baker<br />

Meeks Cockroft Agency<br />

Shelter Insurance<br />

Insurance Agent<br />

When I was in school at Ridgeland<br />

High School, we lost a friend in our<br />

class to cancer and Make-A-Wish<br />

was able to send his family to the<br />

Augusta Nationals in his honor.<br />

I’ll never forget that. Through that<br />

experience, I was forever touched,<br />

and I desired to continue a friend’s<br />

legacy of inspiration by being an<br />

honoree for W.I.S.H. Society.<br />

A specific philanthropic achievement<br />

that I will forever be grateful for is<br />

raising over $15,000 for malnourishment<br />

supplements for But God<br />

Ministries in Haiti. I then got to help<br />

distribute them during my summer<br />

internship in Haiti. It was a massive<br />

honor that I will forever remember.<br />

Being an honoree for W.I.S.H.<br />

Society is a great honor. Having a<br />

platform to help grant wishes in my<br />

home state of Mississippi is the<br />

highest honor. I’m very grateful!<br />

Heather Bennett<br />

W.G. Yates & Sons<br />

Construction Company<br />

Corporate Counsel<br />

Make-A-Wish is a wonderful<br />

organization that has a lasting impact<br />

on people and one that I love very<br />

much. My goddaughter was gifted<br />

with a trip to Disney World several<br />

years ago. She was still healing from<br />

a life-threatening illness and her<br />

two sisters and parents were all<br />

tired, scared, and in need of JOY!<br />

Make-A-Wish brought so much<br />

joy to them.<br />

I am thrilled and excited to be given<br />

the opportunity to help give to an<br />

organization that has given so much<br />

to others and to meet and work with<br />

other like-minded women.<br />

Tameika Bennett<br />

Bennett Law Office, PLLC<br />

Owner/ Managing Partner<br />

I am truly humbled to be a W.I.S.H.<br />

Society honoree. I believe that this<br />

opportunity will help me be of service<br />

to those in need and encourage me to<br />

reach out and assist deserving people.<br />

Helping others experience joy is<br />

something that is very important to<br />

me. In this exciting and fulfilling<br />

experience as an honoree, I hope to<br />

serve others!<br />

Lorraine Boykin<br />

Currie Johnson & Myers<br />

Attorney<br />

I’ve seen firsthand the power that a<br />

wish can give to a family! I’ve worked<br />

with several children whose wish was<br />

a Disney vacation, and I’ve seen the<br />

value to these families of time away<br />

together! Instead of focusing on<br />

hospital visits and medical treatments<br />

ahead, these families had the ability<br />

to enjoy their time together and<br />

make memories that they will always<br />

cherish. I wanted to be a part of the<br />

W.I.S.H Society to help raise funds<br />

to provide even more wishes to<br />

Mississippi children through<br />

Make-A-Wish.<br />

I am thrilled to be among this<br />

group of women bringing awareness<br />

to Make-A-Wish and what this<br />

organization does for families. Every<br />

child should be able to just be a kid,<br />

and that’s what happens when a<br />

wish is granted. It gives me great joy<br />

to know that our efforts will help<br />

provide even more opportunities to<br />

Mississippi families.<br />

52 • NOVEMBER 2022

Katie Browning<br />

CDFL Architects & Engineers<br />

Ginny DeHart<br />

Pediatric Physical Therapist<br />

LaVerne Edney<br />

Butler Snow Law Firm<br />

Tanya Ellis<br />

Forman Watkins & Krutz LLP<br />

Principal<br />

Owner McB’s Bar & Grill<br />

Attorney/ Partner<br />

Partner<br />

I have had the privilege of working<br />

in healthcare design throughout my<br />

career. I work with providers and<br />

clinicians to create spaces that promote<br />

healing and allow medical professionals<br />

to provide exemplary care. In<br />

doing so, I have had the opportunity<br />

to meet patients and learn more about<br />

the medical needs in our community.<br />

Most recently, working on UMMC’s<br />

new Children’s of Mississippi project<br />

and the Children’s Center for Cancer<br />

and Blood Disorders, I have met<br />

numerous professionals who are<br />

working to care for the children in<br />

our community. By participating as<br />

a W.I.S.H. honoree I can support<br />

Make-A-Wish, honor our health care<br />

community, and provide another<br />

level of support and encouragement<br />

to children in the metro area.<br />

I am humbled to be recognized as a<br />

W.I.S.H. honoree. Community is<br />

incredibly important to me because<br />

when we work collectively to lift one<br />

another, we can do great things.<br />

Make-A-Wish is an organization<br />

that inspires hope and strength for<br />

so many and our efforts and support<br />

will enable them to fulfill their<br />

mission and positively impact lives.<br />

After graduating college, I worked in<br />

hospitals and clinics doing therapy<br />

with kids and adults. In 2006, I<br />

made the decision to start a similar<br />

business providing therapy to<br />

children. As a pediatric physical<br />

therapist, I work closely with children<br />

and their families in helping them<br />

achieve their gross and fine motor<br />

skill milestones. The children are<br />

happy with the achievements made<br />

with therapy; however, being able to<br />

help a child’s wishes and dreams<br />

come true through this organization<br />

helps them on a much grander scale.<br />

I personally believe that being a part<br />

of a child’s big wish and dreams<br />

coming true is the ultimate gift–<br />

there’s nothing that compares in<br />

their eye!<br />

It is an honor to be invited to<br />

represent the W.I.S.H. Society that<br />

helps to make the wishes and dreams<br />

of children come true. As a true lover<br />

of children, it is the best feeling to<br />

make a child smile or laugh or have a<br />

good time. I have accepted this role<br />

because I will be involved, in not<br />

only making a child happy but in<br />

making their wishes and dreams<br />

come true.<br />

This role will allow me to be a part<br />

of making children’s wishes come<br />

true. Before accepting the role of<br />

W.I.S.H. honoree, I did my<br />

independent research. I was pleased<br />

to see the mission of the organization<br />

and the many lives that have been<br />

changed by the generous donations<br />

of others. After confirming the<br />

organization’s mission and the<br />

impact it has had on children in the<br />

world, I gladly accepted the role of<br />

W.I.S.H. Society honoree. I’m<br />

honored to be a part of a good cause.<br />

Knowing that it is not about me, but<br />

about how I can help others makes it<br />

even more worthwhile and honorable.<br />

I am looking forward to seeing<br />

children happy when their dreams<br />

become reality.<br />

The past few years have been hard<br />

for all of us. There is rarely anything<br />

positive in the headlines these days,<br />

and divisiveness seems to be the new<br />

norm. Amidst all of this, Make-A-<br />

Wish is serving as a light to families<br />

and children in the darkest of<br />

times- something we can all support.<br />

I’m serving as an honoree to be a part<br />

of that light and help this amazing<br />

organization continue its work. I am<br />

humbled by this opportunity and<br />

grateful to be a small part of this<br />

extraordinary effort.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 53


Whitney Foster<br />

Material Girls & Highland Park<br />

Kathleen Grigsby<br />

Jackson Public School District<br />

Sue Grisham<br />

University of MS Medical Center<br />

Tondra Hall<br />

Nissan Manufacturing<br />

Owner/ Founder<br />

I am grateful to have been selected<br />

as a W.I.S.H. Society honoree.<br />

I cannot wait to help with the<br />

Make-A-Wish organization and<br />

aspire to bring more awareness to<br />

Make-A-Wish Mississippi. I hope<br />

to assist in sharing more about the<br />

organization and spreading the word<br />

about Make-A-Wish being a local<br />

non-profit organization in our area.<br />

Assistant Superintendent of<br />

Elementary Division 1<br />

I am truly humbled to be selected<br />

to serve in this capacity as a W.I.S.H.<br />

Society honoree. I am looking<br />

forward to meeting others who<br />

embody the idea that we are all one<br />

part of the whole. This will be my<br />

first time engaging with Make-A-<br />

Wish on a project, and I am so<br />

excited. I accepted the role of<br />

honoree simply because I want to<br />

help the organization in achieving<br />

its vision!<br />

Pediatric Hospitalist<br />

I have had the honor for almost ten<br />

years of taking care of the children<br />

and families of Mississippi during<br />

some of their most challenging times.<br />

I see firsthand the complexity of<br />

health care challenges in some of<br />

our patients and the joy that an<br />

experience such as this can bring.<br />

I have witnessed the difficulty of<br />

families and patients trying to<br />

navigate life when it changes in the<br />

blink of an eye. This is an organization<br />

that I am thrilled to be a part<br />

of to positively impact these precious<br />

children in need. Through this<br />

opportunity, I hope to serve these<br />

children and help fulfill wishes they<br />

will treasure, give them the opportunity<br />

to make memories, to dream,<br />

sustain hope, and feel celebrated<br />

and loved.<br />

Senior Manager, HRBP<br />

Make-A-Wish Mississippi is near<br />

and dear to my heart, and I am<br />

grateful for the opportunity to help<br />

make a difference. My first interaction<br />

with Make-A-Wish came over<br />

twenty years ago when I was a<br />

manager at our local Toys-R-Us.<br />

I remember the smiles on the<br />

children’s faces as they filled their<br />

shopping carts during their shopping<br />

sprees. I was happy to assist them<br />

with their wishes then, yet, I wanted<br />

to make a bigger contribution to<br />

their lives. I was fortunate enough to<br />

begin serving on the board in 2019<br />

and my wish has been granted to<br />

make an even larger contribution<br />

to these children through this honor.<br />

I am excited to accept this great<br />

responsibility and I look forward to<br />

working within our community to<br />

address the needs of these deserving<br />

children. I intend to partner with<br />

individuals, organizations, and<br />

businesses who have traditionally not<br />

been approached to offer their<br />

support to Make-A-Wish Mississippi.<br />

It is an absolute honor to serve our<br />

community through Make-A-Wish<br />

and I am looking forward to<br />

extending that privilege to everyone<br />

who is willing to serve and make a<br />

child’s life better.<br />

54 • NOVEMBER 2022

Kye Handy<br />

Balch & Bingham, LLP<br />

Attorney<br />

I accepted the role of honoree<br />

because I appreciate that all the<br />

money raised helps children in<br />

Mississippi. It is an amazing cause<br />

to put a smile on the face of children<br />

and families going through the most<br />

challenging time of their life.<br />

Community is extremely important<br />

to me, along with giving back to the<br />

community. Make-A-Wish Mississippi<br />

makes such a huge impact on so<br />

many lives and it is an amazing honor<br />

to be a part of that process.<br />

Mamie Herron<br />

Skinny’s Nutrition Studio<br />

Owner<br />

When I was in the Disney College<br />

Program in 1995, I volunteered with<br />

the Make-A-Wish program’s<br />

Parent’s Night Out and it was a really<br />

rewarding opportunity for me as a<br />

college student that I will never<br />

forget. I have always loved fundraising<br />

opportunities, and I feel that I have<br />

been given the opportunity to know<br />

so many generous individuals that<br />

love to support this type of event.<br />

Together, in the past, we have been<br />

able to accomplish great things!<br />

From this experience, I am excited<br />

to be able to contribute to fulfilling<br />

a wish through my efforts.<br />

Wendy Lewis<br />

The Winning Smile<br />

Dental Group<br />

Co-Owner/ Dentist<br />

I am truly humbled to have been<br />

thought of as someone who would<br />

represent this organization well. It<br />

gives me so much joy to know that<br />

others see me as someone who<br />

continues to use my God-given<br />

talents and abilities to bless others<br />

beyond just my practice. It is an<br />

incredible honor to not only have<br />

the opportunity to raise money and<br />

bring awareness to this great cause<br />

but also to do it alongside such<br />

amazing women who inspire and<br />

motivate me to be a better version<br />

of myself. Having worked with the<br />

Make-A-Wish foundation previously<br />

and being passionate about continuing<br />

to use my platform to bring awareness<br />

and smiles to others in our state and<br />

community, I knew this would be an<br />

incredible opportunity to make a<br />

difference by doing just that. I hope<br />

to leave this experience feeling as<br />

though I was successful in meeting<br />

the goals that we set. I pray that even<br />

one life will be changed for the better.<br />

My mentor, Dr. Heber Simmons, Jr.<br />

always said to “leave the woodpile<br />

higher than you found it.” I look<br />

forward to meeting and working<br />

with other women who share this<br />

mission and like-mindedness.<br />

Mona McBride<br />

Mississippi Pharmacists<br />

Association<br />

Executive Director<br />

It is such an honor to be able to serve<br />

others in this capacity as a W.I.S.H.<br />

Society honoree because I desire to<br />

help others. I accepted the role of<br />

honoree without hesitation to be<br />

able to help make a difference in the<br />

lives of critically ill children and see<br />

their wishes become a reality. I have<br />

always had a servant leadership heart<br />

and I am committed to helping<br />

others. From this experience, I strive<br />

to help a child’s dream be fulfilled.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 55


Mary McNeely<br />

I am humbled to be recognized as a<br />

W.I.S.H. Society honoree, but even<br />

more excited to bring awareness to<br />

the Make-A-Wish organization. I<br />

look forward to sharing the mission<br />

of the Make-A-Wish organization<br />

and the value it has in our community.<br />

My husband and I love supporting<br />

different non-profits in our state.<br />

Having five children in our blended<br />

family, we see value in the Make-A-<br />

Wish mission. I am excited to<br />

support this wonderful organization.<br />

Krystal Minor<br />

BFAC.COM<br />

Chief Operations Officer<br />

I love children. Watching little ones<br />

grow into the leaders God called<br />

them to be is very special to me.<br />

I felt honored to be asked to<br />

represent or take part in an effort<br />

that will bless our future leaders.<br />

This organization’s goal is to provide<br />

hope and courage for kids as they go<br />

through medical treatment, and I<br />

want to be a part of this important<br />

effort. To be honored in this capacity<br />

is to know that the honor is in the<br />

cause and the mission to give a gift<br />

of hope to children who are going<br />

through life-altering illnesses. From<br />

this experience, I want to help raise<br />

enough money to at least help one<br />

child get his/her wish and to continue<br />

to bring awareness to this important<br />

organization.<br />

Susan Murphy<br />

Diabetes Foundation<br />

of Mississippi<br />

Board Member<br />

I’m honored to accept this role in the<br />

W.I.S.H. society. What a privilege to<br />

raise funds and awareness for<br />

children with critical illnesses and to<br />

grant more wishes throughout our<br />

state of Mississippi. I’ve accepted this<br />

role because I’ve found that helping<br />

children in need has been the most<br />

rewarding philanthropic thing I’ve<br />

done. Being honored in this capacity<br />

helps me to know that my charitable<br />

actions are truly making a difference.<br />

I hope that this experience is a<br />

springboard for future opportunities<br />

to continue to serve with W.I.S.H.<br />

and other organizations in our<br />

community.<br />

Swayze Pentecost<br />

First Presbyterian Day School<br />

Advancement Director<br />

Make-A-Wish will always hold a<br />

special place in my heart. Working<br />

with families and seeing firsthand<br />

the impact of a wish is something<br />

that I will never forget or take for<br />

granted. These children continually<br />

have their childhood robbed by<br />

disease. They miss out on school,<br />

birthday parties, and just general<br />

“kid” things. Make-A-Wish lets<br />

them feel normal, even if for just a<br />

day. Because of these things, I happily<br />

accepted the role of honoree.<br />

Make-A-Wish has such an incredible<br />

community of volunteers and<br />

supporters. To be asked to participate<br />

in the WISH Society was such an<br />

honor and one that I do not take<br />

lightly. It is important to continue to<br />

support this incredible organization,<br />

and I am grateful to be a small part!<br />

I want to share with others the<br />

impact that Make-A-Wish has had<br />

on my life. I am excited to be<br />

involved and share the stories that<br />

have forever stayed with me from my<br />

time at Make-A-Wish. I hope it<br />

encourages others to get involved!<br />

56 • NOVEMBER 2022

Amy Ramsey<br />

The Fit Soul, LLC<br />

Liz Walker<br />

Ergon, Inc.<br />

Chianti Woodfork<br />

Prestige Dental Care<br />

Melanie Burrow<br />

2022 W.I.S.H. Society Chair<br />

President & Owner<br />

Healthy & Lifestyle Coach<br />

Independent Brand Partner<br />

for Savvi Corporation<br />

Founding Brand Partner<br />

in new athleisure company<br />

Accepting the role of honoree for<br />

W.I.S.H. Society was an easy “yes”<br />

for me as their mission aligns with<br />

my personal values and beliefs to<br />

make an impact by serving and loving<br />

others. I receive this role of honoree<br />

as an incredible privilege to be able to<br />

grant a wish to these precious children<br />

and their families battling critical<br />

illnesses, and maybe for a moment,<br />

deliver the gift of hope with an<br />

unforgettable experience. Being<br />

recognized as a female leader in our<br />

community and serving alongside<br />

other like-minded women, where we<br />

can use our talents, strengths, and<br />

resources to make a difference through<br />

Make- A-Wish Mississippi is an<br />

incredible honor, thank you for the<br />

opportunity!<br />

I am passionate about serving my<br />

community and especially children.<br />

I am excited to be a part of the 2022<br />

W.I.S.H. Society. I have seen firsthand<br />

what it means to a child and his/her<br />

family to have a wish granted.<br />

As a pediatric oncology social worker<br />

for 13 years, I referred many patients<br />

to Make-A-Wish. When I began<br />

working with children and their<br />

families at Children’s of MS in 1991,<br />

my very first referral from Dr. Pullen<br />

was to find a way to make Edward<br />

Earl’s wish to go to Disney World<br />

come true.<br />

Edward Earl had been approved to<br />

have his wish granted but he had<br />

taken a sudden turn and was not<br />

expected to live. The wish coordinator<br />

and I brought Disney World to<br />

Edward Earl. We got a Mickey Mouse<br />

costume, and the wish coordinator<br />

became Mickey. Her husband came<br />

with a video camera. We decorated<br />

his hospital room with all things<br />

Disney!<br />

Owner/ General Dentist<br />

I am passionate about serving my<br />

community and building relationships<br />

with those around me. I knew I<br />

could build long-lasting relationships<br />

and serve my community further by<br />

being an honoree. Being an honoree<br />

for W.I.S.H. Society is a uniquely<br />

incredible opportunity to not only<br />

inspire but be inspired by other<br />

like-minded women and leaders in<br />

the community. Make-A-Wish is an<br />

organization with a long history of<br />

bettering individuals’ lives. I was<br />

more than happy to accept this role<br />

and responsibility.<br />

I’ve had the opportunity to see a<br />

wish granted, firsthand. It’s such a<br />

special moment for everyone involved.<br />

The excitement is contagious. I’m<br />

honored to serve as chair this year.<br />

I am most excited about seeing what<br />

these phenomenal women will<br />

accomplish, and the joy that will be<br />

brought to all these kids, as a result<br />

of their efforts.<br />

Allison Tyler<br />

President & CEO /<br />

Make-A-Wish Mississippi<br />

I will never forget Edward Earl<br />

opening his eyes for the first time in<br />

days as we sang the M-I-C-K-E-Y<br />

song to him. I knew right then that<br />

Make-A-Wish makes a difference!<br />

Allison joined Make-A-Wish in 2019,<br />

and under her leadership, increased<br />

it’s fundraising by double digits.This<br />

continued level of funding will allow<br />

Make-A-Wish Mississippi a chance<br />

to grant every critically ill child their<br />

wish on time.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 57

58 • NOVEMBER 2022

A<br />


YOU CAN<br />

COUNT ON<br />

Hometown MADISON • 59




When Robert St. John had an opportunity to take over the Biaggi’s<br />

space at the Renaissance, he jumped. “I had looked at that space years<br />

ago and wanted to do my Crescent City Grill concept there,” he says.<br />

Crescent City Grill is just one of Robert’s restaurants in his hometown<br />

of Hattiesburg. He operates several restaurants in Hattiesburg, one of<br />

which is an Italian restaurant named Tabella. “I opened Tabella in 2011,<br />

before I ever went to Italy,” he says. “I came to Jackson every week for<br />

months and spent time learning recipes in David Trigiani’s kitchen.”<br />

Now Robert spends a quarter of each year in Italy. He takes three<br />

tour groups to Italy annually. During his travels there he has made many<br />

friends and learned about the different regions of Italy. “Tuscany is my<br />

favorite,” he says. “I love the Tuscan people, the scenery, and the food.<br />

My take on Italian food is night and day from what it was when I first<br />

opened Tabella.”<br />

Robert’s newest restaurant opened in September in Ridgeland’s<br />

Renaissance at Colony Park. He named the restaurant Enzo Osteria,<br />

after his Tuscan friend, Enzo Corti. “Enzo is one of my favorite Italian<br />

friends. He lives in the small town of Barberino-Tavernelle in the heart<br />

of the Chianti region of Tuscany. He and his wife, Annagloria, are the<br />

first people my wife and I met when we traveled to Italy in 2011. We<br />

stayed in one of their villas, and we still stay there when we go to Italy.<br />

I told Enzo I wanted to name a restaurant after him, and Annagloria<br />

asked why we didn’t name one after her. I told her that her name was too<br />

long. Besides, Enzo has a z in it, and z’s are cool.”<br />

Enzo is a fourth-generation wine and olive oil merchant. “He embodies<br />

everything I love about Italian food and culture, and we have patterned<br />

our restaurant, and its approach, after his love of Tuscan food and wine,<br />

his zest for living, exuberant charm, and infectious personality. At Enzo<br />

Osteria, we aim to live up to all those characteristics.”<br />

60 • NOVEMBER 2022

After taking several tour groups to Italy over the years, Robert says<br />

hundreds of people now know Enzo. “The Tuscany region is a lot like the<br />

American South. That really struck me. It is an agrarian society, but instead<br />

of cotton and soybeans, they grow grapes and olives. They love family, and<br />

they are very hospitable. They love good food, and they love to have long,<br />

leisurely dinners with friends and family.”<br />

In Italy, an osteria is a place that serves wine and simple food. “We are<br />

doing a mix of American Italian and authentic Italian,” Robert says. “The<br />

authentic Italian cuisine at Enzo will be Tuscan in origin. The pizzas in<br />

Tuscany are very thin, with minimal ingredients. We’ll be doing some<br />

American Italian stuff too. I like both. Both are great.” Some tweaks are<br />

made in the food prepared to please the American palate.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 61

Robert says the menu includes recipes he has learned in his travels<br />

to Italy, and recipes his son learned while working in Tuscany. “We<br />

kept the inaugural menu very limited to make sure all our staff were on<br />

the same page during the opening days. We have gradually added more<br />

authentic Italian recipes through a daily features program, and many of<br />

those items will eventually transition onto the regular menu.”<br />

The former Biaggi’s location was built fifteen years ago. “The<br />

building had great bones,” says Robert. “We did some work to the<br />

interior,” Robert says. The restaurant was closed for two weeks for the<br />

transition from Biaggi’s to Enzo Osteria. “The biggest change is in the<br />

bar. It is a lot darker. It’s a great happy hour after work bar. We also<br />

have two dining rooms, a private room, and a great outdoor area.”<br />

Another big change in the restaurant is the faux finishes. But if you<br />

didn’t know they were faux, you really wouldn’t know. “When we got<br />

the restaurant, the stacked stone wall in the lobby was painted bright<br />

white,” Robert says. “I knew we had to do something about that.” A<br />

customer gave Robert the name of local faux finish artist Cherry<br />

Rountree. “I went in and met Robert,” says Cherry. “He knew exactly<br />

what he wanted, which I like. He told me that he wanted the wall to<br />

match the stone on the exterior.” Cherry has been doing faux finishes<br />

for 24 years. She went about hand painting each stone to make it look<br />

like the original stone. If you didn’t know it was painted, you’d be<br />

hard-pressed to recognize that it is not the original finish of the stone.<br />

62 • NOVEMBER JULY 2022 2022

Cherry also worked on the hearth in the private room of the restaurant,<br />

and she was asked to do something about the white circular backsplash. “I<br />

had just done tongue and groove in my own home from a source I found in<br />

Hickory, Mississippi. I had some left over and suggested using that. Jarrod<br />

Patterson (Robert’s business partner) said ‘do it!’ So, I bought a little saw<br />

and turned into a part-time carpenter to get it done.”<br />

Robert says his first, and most important, goal was to keep everyone on<br />

staff. “We paid them all while we were closed during the transition from<br />

Biaggi’s to Enzo. We trained them, worked with the kitchen to teach them<br />

the new recipes, and many helped with a deep cleaning and the renovation.<br />

I’m happy to say we opened with a full staff of former Biaggi’s employees.”<br />

Enzo Osteria is open daily from 11am to 9pm, and on Saturdays until<br />

10pm. It is located at 970 Highland Colony Parkway in Ridgeland.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 63

How It Started–<br />

How It’s Going<br />


64 • NOVEMBER 2022

This is a story about being intentional with time...<br />

It’s kinda like that feeling you got as a kid on Christmas morning.<br />

The anticipation of it would put butterflies in your stomach. When I<br />

asked the others in the group how they would describe the mission,<br />

they used words like adventurous, exciting, memorable, and special.<br />

Since just about as long as I can remember, the “Secret Mission”<br />

trip has occurred right around Christmas—when all of us were out of<br />

school. When it started, there were four of us kids. One family had a<br />

baby brother at home that was too young to go. I can remember<br />

getting ready to go on our first ever trip and the nervous excitement<br />

I had about it. Now I look back thirteen years later, and over 21,000<br />

miles traveled, and I’m more excited than ever to go on the next one.<br />

The Kirbys, the Heimers, and the Drydens have always been close.<br />

Being neighbors and friends since we were all practically born made<br />

it easy for us to become a close group. The group included our dads,<br />

Bill Heimer, Jamie Dryden, and Michael Kirby, and the kids, Anna<br />

Grace Heimer and her sister Emma, Sara Foster Dryden and her<br />

brother Jack, and me, Parker Kirby. Jack was just a toddler when<br />

this started so it would be a few years before he’d join us.<br />

Every Saturday morning, our dads would take us all<br />

to Chick-fil-A. For the dads, it was a chance to give the<br />

moms an opportunity to run errands or do things<br />

around the house without the kids underfoot. And for<br />

the kids, it was a great excuse to play!<br />

As our dads would sit there and have their coffee,<br />

they started brainstorming on what a little “day-trip”<br />

with the kids might look like. I don’t think any of us could<br />

anticipate what would come from it.<br />

So, one Saturday, they decided to shake things up from<br />

our normal routine. We were told that instead of going to<br />

Chick-fil-A, we’d be doing something new. When we asked<br />

exactly what that would entail, all we were told was, “It’s a<br />

secret. You’ll just have to find out.” And with that single<br />

mysterious statement, we were hooked.<br />

All we were told was that the day would begin at the train<br />

station in Jackson. I was six years old so getting on a train<br />

was a huge deal, in and of itself. We killed a little time by<br />

going across the street to the King Edward Hotel to get a<br />

picture in front of their hotel lobby Christmas tree. (This has since<br />

become a very important part of the tradition.) A little while later, we<br />

boarded the train, took our seats, and eventually started to pull out of<br />

the station. From that moment on, we were anxious at every stop,<br />

hoping that we had reached our final destination.<br />

We eventually made it to Brookhaven and spent the next seven<br />

hours going around the town completing a scavenger hunt that our<br />

dads had created for us—and exploring as much as we could. The<br />

scavenger hunt called for having a picture made with a police officer,<br />

singing a Christmas carol in public, and getting a picture with Santa<br />

Claus, among other things.<br />

At the end of the day, we hadn’t made it fifteen minutes down the<br />

tracks, headed back to Jackson, before we were asking where we were<br />

going next year! And with that, the Secret Mission was born.<br />

All of us were very young at the time of this first trip—yet I<br />

remember just about every detail of that day thirteen years ago. It was<br />

hard for us to recognize the magnitude of the tradition that had just<br />

been created, yet all of us seemed to understand how important the<br />

secret mission would be to us in the future.<br />

The Brookhaven trip was a blast! But the dads were about to catch<br />

a whole different gear. In hindsight, although the first secret mission<br />

wasn’t necessarily the most exciting trip we’d take, it definitely laid the<br />

groundwork for the trip as we know it today.<br />

The next few years were filled with new experiences. We went to<br />

New Orleans, Memphis, and Little Rock, with more and<br />

more anticipation and excitement every year. And bear in<br />

mind, we never knew where we were going. We got to experience<br />

trolleys, the Peabody ducks, and even a little snow! And being able to<br />

experience these things with the group at such an early age was<br />

even better.<br />

From the team building we had completing scavenger hunts to the<br />

closeness we gained playing card games late at night, the true meaning<br />

of the secret mission was becoming obvious. The trip was much more<br />

than a chance for the dads to get away for a weekend or for the kids to<br />

Hometown MADISON • 65

66 • NOVEMBER 2022

go have fun. This trip was created to be<br />

an opportunity for the group to form an<br />

unbreakable bond with each other that<br />

would span decades—and so far, it had<br />

done just that.<br />

Next thing we knew, four years had<br />

gone by, and we’d already made life-long<br />

memories with each other that we’ll be<br />

able to talk about forever. But little did<br />

we know, the best was yet to come.<br />

I would consider trips 5-11 to be the<br />

most iconic years of the mission—just<br />

because of our ages. We went all over<br />

and continued to make memories, but<br />

the later years started to feel a little<br />

different. We were getting older.<br />

During our sixth trip, which was in<br />

Nashville, the dads decided to try<br />

something new that they had heard<br />

might be cool. These places were<br />

called escape rooms—and they were<br />

new to the entertainment scene<br />

and quickly gaining popularity.<br />

The escape room experience was a<br />

turning point for the secret mission, and we have not done a single<br />

mission since without completing one or two of them—a continued<br />

staple of the trip.<br />

The bond of the group grew greater with the revelation of escape<br />

rooms, and the core traditions of the trip had been cemented. There<br />

could be no secret mission without the basics—scavenger hunt, escape<br />

rooms, and late-night conversations over card games. We had no idea<br />

how important these traditions would be in forming the relationships<br />

we have with each other today.<br />

After 11 years of the trip, we had watched NBA and NHL games<br />

together, had gone to Dave and Busters more times than the average<br />

person should, and experienced some of America’s greatest cities<br />

together. We’d ziplined, boat toured, ice skated, and theme park<br />

hopped. It was hard to grasp how much the trip had grown, and more<br />

importantly how much we had grown since the secret mission’s<br />

beginning. It’s still baffles me to think that we went from taking a<br />

train to Brookhaven to taking a flight to Chicago, making lifelong<br />

memories all along the way.<br />

The last few years of the secret mission have looked a little different.<br />

With COVID-19 and all the challenges that it brought to planning a<br />

trip, we were provided the opportunity to slow down and change the<br />

trip’s dynamic. We started as young kids—but now all but one of us are<br />

either in college or graduated<br />

college. We’ve grown up—and the<br />

secret mission has found yet a<br />

new meaning.<br />

Before, it was about keeping the<br />

kids entertained. Now, it’s about<br />

keeping the kids close. We used to<br />

talk about our favorite toys and how<br />

our sports were going, and now we<br />

talk about our values and what’s<br />

really going on in our lives. I’m not<br />

completely sure that any of us knew<br />

where the secret mission was going<br />

to end up, or how close we would<br />

become as a group, but I am beyond<br />

grateful for it.<br />

Thankfully the tradition is far from<br />

over. But it’s still fun to look back and<br />

reminisce over the times we’ve had so<br />

far. Looking back at the pictures,<br />

documenting the countless memories<br />

we have made, and charting the growth<br />

of the trip and the group really allows<br />

me to grasp the true meaning of our<br />

time together. The unbreakable bond and<br />

community we have formed makes the trip that much more worthwhile.<br />

I would want nothing more than to be able to keep the secret mission<br />

going with my own children with the hopes of creating the same<br />

traditions and instilling the same values that our fathers have created<br />

and instilled in us. I grow more and more grateful every day for the<br />

sacrifices that have been made and the time that our dads have spent<br />

crafting this trip to become what it has, and I hope that this tradition<br />

is one that will be handed through generations because of their efforts.<br />

I can think of no greater legacy.<br />

So here I sit, writing this piece as a sophomore in college, with<br />

the same enthusiasm and anticipation for this year’s trip that that<br />

six-year-old had sitting in the train station in Jackson thirteen years<br />

ago. We’ve been to Brookhaven, New Orleans, Memphis, Little Rock,<br />

Dallas, Nashville, St. Louis, Houston, Atlanta, Chicago, Asheville,<br />

Huntsville, and Orlando. And as time would tell, I have a completely<br />

different appreciation for the secret mission than I ever would have<br />

imagined. I am beyond grateful for the community-turned-family that<br />

I get to do it with, and I’m eager to see where it leads us in the future.<br />

And more than anything, I am extremely excited for this year’s<br />

trip. Of course, I don’t know where we’re going. They still keep it a<br />

secret. And like they’ve always told us, we’ll just have to find out.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 67

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

Why did you decide to be a policeman?<br />

While in college at the University of New Mexico on a football<br />

scholarship, I dreamed of playing professional football in the NFL.<br />

However, things didn’t work out for me. After the draft, I was left<br />

with a lot of smaller professional opportunities to play arena league<br />

football.<br />

During college, going into law enforcement was always my back-up<br />

plan. After deciding to let those football dreams go, I decided law<br />

enforcement was where I wanted to be. I have always enjoyed<br />

helping people and being a police officer would allow me to do just<br />

that. I am also able to experience something different every day.<br />

I do believe that God’s plan is sufficient. Although my job comes<br />

with many challenges, it is also very rewarding. I do not regret my<br />

decision.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am originally from a tough neighborhood in Memphis, Tennessee.<br />

In 2002, my parents, two younger brothers, and I moved to Ridgeland,<br />

Mississippi. At that point, I attended Ridgeland High School where I<br />

initially met my beautiful wife who played hard to get until I returned<br />

home from college. We eventually started dating before getting<br />

married in 2015 and started a family. We have two amazing children:<br />

Jace (6) and Zoe (2) and two dogs K-9 Dalton (2) and Rudy our<br />

11-year-old boxer.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have experienced in your job?<br />

During my time as the full-time DUI officer for the city of Madison<br />

(2015-2019), working fatalities and seeing first-hand how drunk<br />

drivers really destroy families and affect so many people was the<br />

worst. And not only the offender—but the innocent victim losing<br />

their life or having their life altered and changed forever by the<br />

senseless decisions of an impaired driver.<br />

Sergeant<br />

Karlin<br />

GIVENS<br />


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

I enjoy traveling and spending time with my family and when I’m<br />

not traveling, having cookouts and watching sporting events from<br />

football, basketball, or boxing. I am a really big sports fan. I also enjoy<br />

training dogs in my spare time which is why I aspired to become a<br />

K9 handler. I credit my love for dog training to my first German<br />

Shepherd (Kodi), who helped me fight through the disappointment<br />

of not being drafted into the NFL. He helped set the tone for a very<br />

specific direction in my career.<br />

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

Retirement, traveling to Dubai, taking my family to Hawaii once<br />

Zoe gets a little older.<br />

68 • NOVEMBER 2022

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

My mother! We have been through a lot of ups and downs and<br />

after losing my father last year, things have really been tough on<br />

her and the family. But she remains strong in faith and continues<br />

to move the family forward and keeps all of us together.<br />

If you could give one piece of advice to a young person,<br />

what would it be?<br />

Don’t be afraid to follow your dreams, work hard and go for them.<br />

Always keep God first and don’t let negativity stop you. Be the<br />

absolute best you can be.<br />

What is your favorite thing about the City of Madison?<br />

I work in a community that is extremely supportive of law<br />

enforcement. During the current climate of law enforcement and<br />

the harsh daily criticisms we receive, it’s refreshing to have city<br />

leaders that are completely supportive of us. I’m also thankful to<br />

have the opportunity to work for a department that’s extremely<br />

supportive of growth and advancement.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 69

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools<br />

Madison Central<br />

Madison Central is proud to announce its 2022-2023 National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Scholars.<br />

Front L-R: Semifinalists Morgan Stroud, Jessica Eibert, Shreya Sinha, McKinley Johnson, Allie Hazelwood; Commended Scholar Jordan Northington;<br />

Semifinalist Ryan Watson; Commended Scholars Molly Albritton, Ella Ruhl; Semifinalists Sofia Elenkov, Lexie Elenkov, Alicia Xu.<br />

Back L-R: Semifinalists Cassie Howell, Claire Boykin, Rithik Banerjee; Commended Scholar Bassel Aldaoud; Semifinalists Jason Tu, Leo Mei, John Phelan,<br />

Fabricio Neira, Charlie Ratliff, Hayes Henry; Commended Scholars Daniel Ainsworth, Beau Barnette, Emma Greene, Bethany Abraham.<br />

Madison Central presented its 2022-2023 homecoming court Friday, October 28.<br />

Senior Homecoming Court<br />

Front L-R: Kinsley Wilson, Alexa Ainsworth, Mattie Dupuy, Bergen Bianchi, Zoe Zhang, Ava Dear.<br />

Back L-R: Vic Sutton, Isaiah Spencer, Aiden Allen, R.J. Smith, Bryman Williams<br />

Not pictured, Jake Norris<br />

70 • NOVEMBER 2022

Junior Homecoming Court<br />

Front L-R: Kylira Griffin,<br />

Brooke Bumgarner, Lauralee Hetzel,<br />

Rhyin Singleton, and Anna Edgar.<br />

Back L-R: Dino Pickett, John Griffin,<br />

Tyrone Richardson, Ty Miller,<br />

Harry Singh.<br />

Sophomore Homecoming Court<br />

Front L-R: Sara Reeves Thomas,<br />

Lana Nabulsi, Pearl Magee,<br />

Aricyn Brown.<br />

Back L-R: Darren Woods,<br />

Whit Turpin, Brandon Huerkamp,<br />

Tripp Higgins.<br />

Sophomore Homecoming Court<br />

Front L-R: Avery Coney, Alilyiah Morris,<br />

Reyanna Williams.<br />

Back L-R: Connor Wade,<br />

Trashun Brown, Damorion Smith.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 71

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools<br />

Canton<br />

Mr. & Miss Canton High 2022-2023<br />

say they are ready to bring in a wave of change<br />

as they proudly represent their Tigers with style,<br />

humility, and grace!<br />

Mr. Canton High, Dwight Luckett, Jr. says he wants<br />

to inspire students to work hard to get a good<br />

education because he says with hard work and<br />

perseverance, they can achieve their wildest<br />

dreams. He also wants students to know the<br />

importance of giving back to their community.<br />

While he is a proud Tiger, he wants CHS to be<br />

a place where scholars can also have fun while<br />

learning. He wants his peers to take more<br />

educational field trips and get involved in great<br />

clubs that celebrate their unique qualities and<br />

honor their success.<br />

One of his favorite quotes comes from a person he<br />

greatly admires, former President Barack Obama.<br />

“Change will not come if we wait for some other<br />

person or some other time. We are the ones<br />

we’ve been waiting for. We are the CHANGE<br />

that we seek.”<br />

Miss Canton High, Erin Nichols, says she wants<br />

to make sure CHS is a place where everybody is<br />

somebody and where students can get involved<br />

and be heard.<br />

One of her favorite quotes comes from a person<br />

she greatly admires, former First Lady Michelle<br />

Obama. “You may not always have a comfortable<br />

life and you will not always be able to solve all<br />

of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever<br />

underestimate the importance you can have.<br />

History has shown us that courage can be<br />

contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own.”<br />

Let’s Go, Tigers!<br />

72 • NOVEMBER 2022



The newest location of PriorityOne Bank will be a full-service retail banking and lending establishment<br />

featuring three drive-thru lanes, a commercial deposit lane, and an Interactive Teller Machine.<br />

www.priorityonebank.com<br />

Hometown MADISON • 73

TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Miracles! The word draws us and creates<br />

mystery and a bit (or a lot) of awe in most.<br />

We long for miracles and often just hearing of miracles renews our hopes and captures our<br />

attention again.<br />

I’ve read of many miracles, beginning with so many in the Bible. Some believe those kinds of<br />

miracles disappeared with the days of the disciples and apostles. I don’t! I believe miracles are still<br />

here - as long as we believe in a miracle-working God and his indwelling Spirit in his children.<br />

However, I’ve never witnessed a body of water split for a dry walk-through, and I’ve never had<br />

my spiritual eyes opened enough to see an army of angels encircling me. I’ve never watched anyone<br />

walk on water or heard and seen a single command turn a stormy sea into a glass-top surface.<br />

I would have been mesmerized to see thick clouds fall over a mountain and hear God’s Voice<br />

boom through the darkness, and to actually see the sun stand still would have been beyond my<br />

comprehension - but oh how I would have been an eager spectator.<br />

Yet, when I stop and consider miracles, I realize they are all around me - so<br />

many that I just take for granted. Gravity isn’t a subject that takes up any of my<br />

thinking space, but it’s a constant miracle in my life. Without gravity, I would float<br />

off into space along with anything or anyone that wasn’t tied down!<br />

Our universe is measured in billions, and there are galaxies that are so distant,<br />

a telescope has never come near them - and yet, here on earth’s planet, humans<br />

live and function daily - on the only life-inhabited planet that’s known.<br />

Even the animal kingdom is a network of the miraculous. Birds annually fly<br />

thousands of miles to migrate to warmer climates and then find their way back to<br />

their original location without any gadgets or road signs. When the hummingbirds<br />

return to my summer feeders, I never consider the miracles of their nonstop<br />

flights of up to 500 miles in a single day.<br />

It’s obvious that the scientific world can write volumes on the unexplainable and the hypothetical,<br />

but when I consider everyday miracles, I run out of brain space. The ability to see a rose in bloom<br />

and smell its fragrance, to be immediately sensitive to the touch of hot and cold, to hear sounds<br />

and have a brain to transmit their origin and meaning, to need sleep and stay in that mode for hours<br />

each 24-hour cycle, to be able to satisfy hunger with food.<br />

The list could be endless. Scientists continue to find unexplained miracles operating in the human<br />

body. So many of these scientists spend their lives in attempting to find a “how,” “where,” or “why,”<br />

to our universe and its occupants. I’m extremely grateful that God opened my spiritual eyes to his<br />

creation and miracles and gave me faith to believe in four simple words: “In the beginning God...”<br />

74 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown MADISON • 75





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