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Get the feeling for the<br />

ChristmasSeason<br />

Jingle BellMarket<br />

Clyde Muse Center<br />

at Hinds Community College<br />

515 Country Place Parkway • Pearl, MS<br />

Saturday, December 3 • 9am-4pm<br />

Arts & Crafts Vendors • Boutique Shopping • Food Vendors<br />

Make your own pics with Santa<br />

Like Us!<br />

Presented by<br />

For information<br />

call 601-939-3338

CHRiStMas for CliNtoN<br />

FeAtuRinG tHe WoRship CHoiR & ORcHestra<br />

December 11 | 6 PM<br />

CHRiStMas MemoRial ReflectioN<br />

December 18 | 5 PM<br />

CHRiStMas by CAndleligHt<br />

December 24 | 5 PM<br />

CHRiStMas DAY SeRVicE<br />

December 25 | 10:30 AM<br />

100 E. College Street, Clinton | 601.924.6705<br />


4 • NOVEMBER 2022


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

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

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

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, CHS 10th grader, Keyaira Watkins<br />



Tahya Dobbs<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />

In ThIs IsSuE<br />

Reader Spotlight 8<br />

Neighborhood Eats 10<br />

Magic of Lights 14<br />

Real Men Wear Pink 22<br />

Make-A-Wish 29<br />

Cover Art Contest 36<br />

Kids Who Care 40<br />

Salute to First Responders 56<br />



Caroline Hodges<br />



Alisha Floyd<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />


Nikki Robison<br />

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

www.facebook.com/hometownclintonmagazine. 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 Clinton be reproduced without written permission from the publisher. The management of Hometown Clinton is not responsible for opinions expressed by its writers or editors.<br />

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

Hometown CLINTON • 5

6 • NOVEMBER 2022





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minimally invasive treatments and in emergent situations.<br />

When you put your heart in our hands, you get the<br />

benefit of skilled, experienced cardiovascular specialists<br />

and Merit Health Heart’s collaborative approach to care.<br />

To learn more, visit MeritHealthHeart.com<br />

If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 7

READER<br />


Laura<br />

IVY<br />

________________<br />

Why did you decide to make Clinton<br />

your home?<br />

I have lived all over the world, but Clinton has<br />

always felt like “home.” My family is here, and I<br />

wanted to be close to them. Then I bought my<br />

house and got settled in.<br />

How long have you lived in Clinton?<br />

I have lived here 10 years. I didn’t grow up “in”<br />

Clinton, but my grandmother was here so we<br />

frequently came to visit. We did live here a few<br />

months when I was in 2nd grade, so I went to<br />

Northside for a few months. Then I went to<br />

MC, and lived here a couple of years after that.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My husband, Ron, and I have two beautiful<br />

boys and two crazy goldendoodles. Our first<br />

son, Wyatt, went to be with Jesus before he was<br />

born in February 2018. Then God blessed us<br />

with our rainbow baby, Walker, who is a delight<br />

and just turned three. His smile is infectious<br />

and he keeps us on our toes. And then we had<br />

Sawyer, who is one and all about exploring all<br />

the boundaries! Our lives are kept full with<br />

these precious little boys.<br />

My parents, John and Sue Stevens, live in Flora<br />

and we enjoy visiting them as much as possible,<br />

which is at least once a weekend! My brother,<br />

Rob Stevens, is married to Tiffany and they<br />

have two sons, Moxon and Nix. They also live<br />

in Clinton, and we love to all get together.<br />

What is your favorite memory<br />

of living in Clinton?<br />

Please indulge me to tell a memory of before<br />

I lived in Clinton… back when I was growing<br />

up and would come spend weekends with my<br />

grandmother, Dorothy Stevens Rogers, I can<br />

remember Saturdays when it was the first day<br />

of the month and hearing the civil service siren<br />

go off at noon. That was always so special to<br />

me, and I still love to hear it. It makes me smile<br />

every time.<br />

Where are your three favorite places<br />

to eat in Clinton?<br />

The Bank, Froghead Grill, and Salt & Pepper<br />

on the Boulevard.<br />

What are three things on your<br />

bucket list?<br />

To see the Northern Lights, to go to Bali,<br />

Indonesia with my husband, and to make it<br />

to all the Disney parks around the world.<br />

8 • NOVEMBER 2022

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

Clinton on the weekends?<br />

We love the market days where we can walk<br />

around Olde Towne! We are also very active at<br />

FBC Clinton and love the activities they have.<br />

Once a month our church has Parents’ Night<br />

Out, so we drop off the kids and go out to eat<br />

with other adults, usually at a local restaurant.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing<br />

in your spare time.<br />

What spare time? I have two littles - haha!<br />

I love to bake, read books, take walks with the<br />

family, or go out to eat. It’s fun at this stage of<br />

life to get to enjoy things through my children’s<br />

eyes, such as going to the Children’s Museum<br />

in Jackson.<br />

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

I really admire my dad. He has been a great<br />

father to me, spoiling me like all little girls<br />

should be, and always made time for me<br />

growing up. He was a preacher for 20 years, so<br />

he helped guide my spiritual life and pathway.<br />

Then he completely changed professions, went<br />

back to school for another degree, and has been<br />

a counselor for 16 years now, which showed me<br />

you’re never too old to start a new journey.<br />

I have a great open-door policy with both of<br />

my parents, and can ask Daddy about all kinds<br />

of subjects and get a great answer! I’ve watched<br />

him navigate various situations in life, and even<br />

when faced with adversity he’s positive and has<br />

faced things with a smile, and usually a joke!<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

I’d honestly be happy to still be in the same<br />

house, at the same job (communications<br />

director at FBC Clinton), with the same<br />

husband, and kids 10 years older! And I just<br />

bought a brand-new minivan, so probably still<br />

driving it. I’d like to take more mission trips<br />

overseas and give my boys a broad worldview.<br />

I can’t wait to take my kids on family vacations<br />

like I took growing up.<br />

What is your favorite childhood<br />

memory?<br />

My grandmother was a counselor at Clinton<br />

High School and helped start Attaché, which<br />

she was deeply involved with even after she<br />

retired. I loved coming to Clinton to watch<br />

them perform every year. When I was about<br />

10 years old, I got to travel with Attaché to<br />

compete in Birmingham. It was fun to ride the<br />

bus, stay in the hotel, do room checks at night,<br />

etc. I loved this one performer, Tiffany Eaves,<br />

and thought she hung the moon! On the way<br />

home from the competition, I was invited to<br />

ride with her parents, John Arthur Eaves, who<br />

had a limousine he was driving. I mean to tell<br />

you, I felt like quite the princess riding in that<br />

thing! I stood up in the sunroof and was waving<br />

like a crazy person when we pulled up to the<br />

location to meet my mom on the way home!<br />

Needless to say, she was surprised to see me<br />

in a limo!<br />

If you could give us one encouraging<br />

quote, what would it be?<br />

“If you don’t like the road you’re walking, start<br />

paving another one,” by Dolly Parton. It reminds<br />

me that it’s never too late to start over!<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

Hometown Magazines?<br />

I love looking through and seeing all the<br />

pictures from different local events!<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 9



Genna<br />

Benna’s<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

A Mississippi-based restaurant<br />

chain with a local, smalltown<br />

mentality has opened in Clinton,<br />

and the response has been positive.<br />

Genna Benna’s opened mid-September<br />

at 734 Clinton Boulevard, in the<br />

former Atlas Greek Down South<br />

space. “They wanted to move in a<br />

different direction, so the owners<br />

contacted us about the space,”<br />

says Brent Robinson, VP of concept<br />

development for Georgia Blue and<br />

Genna Benna’s. “We took a look at<br />

it and the building really suits us.<br />

We had Clinton on our wish list of<br />

places to open, so it was a good fit.”<br />

Brent says the building was remodeled and upgraded, and features a great outdoor<br />

seating area, a small bar area, a private dining room that seats 25, and a main dining<br />

room that can seat up to 125. “Genna Benna’s is a sister store to Georgia Blue,” says<br />

Brent. “This is our second location. We opened our first Genna Benna’s in Brandon.<br />

The menu is smaller, and the seating is more intimate, in order to cater to those with<br />

families. We try to make it as inviting as we can to everyone. We have guests who<br />

come in shorts and t-shirts, and businessmen who come in wearing suits. We try to<br />

provide a comfortable atmosphere for everybody.”<br />

10 • JULY NOVEMBER 2022 2022

What makes Genna Benna’s special is its unique menu. Brent says the offerings at<br />

the restaurant are exceptional – good food with a Southern mood. “One of the items<br />

we feature is a fried pickled okra appetizer. It’s our take on fried pickles, a Southern<br />

classic.” The mini crawfish empanadas drizzled with queso and served with Genna<br />

Benna’s spicy ranch are popular as well. One look at the entrees, and it’s easy to see<br />

that Genna Benna’s is a burger joint, a steakhouse, and a pasta place in one location.<br />

“We also have fish,” Brent says. “Our catfish is blowing it out of the water, and our<br />

pan-seared redfish is delicious.” Blue plate lunch specials are served weekdays.<br />


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 />

14 • 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 CLINTON • 15

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 complete schedule and to purchase tickets, visit<br />

MagicOfLights.com/Brandon.<br />

16 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown CLINTON • 17


I am thankful for all the friends<br />

I have made through cheer,<br />

soccer, student council,<br />

and all the opportunities<br />

at Clinton High School.<br />

Grayson Temple, 11th<br />

I am thankful for the experiences<br />

life has given me and the opportunities<br />

that I have been given throughout<br />

my lifetime; it has really shaped<br />

who I am today.<br />

Mattise Pickett, 11th<br />

I am thankful for my friends and<br />

the family I have made, and all the<br />

organizations I’m in at school.<br />

William Johnson, 12th<br />

18 • NOVEMBER 2022

I’m thankful for the hospitality<br />

Clinton High brings. We are a<br />

very diverse school. There are<br />

kids that are in athletics hanging<br />

out with kids that are in the<br />

band, everyone just gets along<br />

and it’s always a good time.<br />

Everybody is nice to everybody<br />

and that is something<br />

I am thankful for.<br />

I’m thankful for the experiences<br />

I get to have that continue<br />

to help grow my character<br />

in high school.<br />

Abigail Young, 12th<br />

I am thankful for my friends<br />

and family and the amazing<br />

teachers that have taught<br />

me everything!<br />

Kristine Van, 12th<br />

I’m thankful for my mom<br />

and my MiMi.<br />

Emma Grace Markham, 11th<br />

Charles Chisolm, 12th<br />

I am thankful for the family that<br />

student council has given me.<br />

Heaven Chamberlin, 11th<br />

I am thankful for my family, my<br />

mental health, just being here,<br />

my cheer team, and my friends<br />

uplifting me.<br />

I am most thankful for<br />

the people in my life who<br />

care about me, and my health,<br />

even though it may not be<br />

perfect. And for God.<br />

Chase Banks, 10th<br />

I’m thankful for life and for<br />

the people around me always<br />

teaching me to live my life<br />

to the fullest.<br />

Charity Donald, 11th<br />

Caila McKinley, 11th<br />

I am thankful for my friends<br />

and family as well as the<br />

opportunities Clinton High<br />

School has given me.<br />

Zoe Zumbro, 11th<br />

I’m thankful for my mom<br />

and my two little siblings<br />

because even through stressful<br />

times like senior year, they<br />

make life a bit easier.<br />

Yisseth Romero, 12th<br />

I am thankful for all of the<br />

experiences that I have had<br />

because they have given me<br />

new insight on life and have<br />

helped me become the person<br />

that I am and hopefully<br />

will shape me into who<br />

I will be in the future.<br />

Kelsi Murriel, 11th<br />

I am thankful for music and the<br />

opportunities that I have been<br />

blessed with in this school;<br />

Attaché and band have really<br />

shaped me into who I am and<br />

both are such musical things<br />

and I really do enjoy that<br />

I am able to do them!<br />

Brayden Bullock, 11th<br />

I’m thankful for my friends<br />

and my family.<br />

Alyssa Gray, 12th<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 19


Established in 1990, Capital Ortho was<br />

founded by a group of orthopedic surgeons in the<br />

Jackson area. The practice has grown over the<br />

years. They now call Flowood their home base,<br />

with eleven orthopedic surgeons in the practice,<br />

all of whom either grew up in the metro Jackson<br />

area or studied here. All of the physicians were<br />

trained at the University of Mississippi Medical<br />

Center, and maintaining their local ties is<br />

important to each one. That local connection<br />

leads the surgeons at Capital Ortho to provide<br />

a hands-on, personable approach to healthcare.<br />

“Our doctors spend time with the patients,” says<br />

Molly Staley, who has served as Capital Ortho’s<br />

marketing director for the past seven years.<br />

“It’s important to us that our patients feel fully<br />

supported and heard.”<br />

Capital Ortho expanded into Clinton in 2020<br />

with a physical therapy clinic. “We have had a<br />

presence in Clinton for two years,” says Molly.<br />

“We realized there was a real need for specialized<br />

care on the western side of the state. Clinton<br />

serves a whole different market, including<br />

patients who come from Natchez and Vicksburg.”<br />

With the opening of their newest clinic in<br />

Clinton, Capital Ortho is excited to be offering a<br />

new medical model through their partnership<br />

with NewSouth Neurospine. “It’s a joint<br />

partnership,” says Molly.<br />

“The doctors at New South Neurospine offer<br />

something different from Capital Ortho. They<br />

have fantastic physicians. Our doctors primarily<br />

treat hips, shoulders, knees, and other orthopedic<br />

issues. However, we do not have a back surgeon.<br />

Th ough our partnership with NewSouth<br />

Neurospine in Clinton, we’ll have the ability to<br />

treat necks and backs as well. It will be much<br />

easier for our patients to have it all under one<br />

roof. We are excited for this partnership.”<br />

20 • NOVEMBER 2022

The new Clinton clinic is located at 745 Clinton<br />

Parkway, across from St. Dominic and Merit clinics.<br />

“We want it to be very accessible.” The Clinton<br />

practice is a walk-in model, open daily. Brittany<br />

Fitzgerald, a family nurse practitioner, will be<br />

available daily to assess strains, pains, neck, and<br />

back pain, and any other unexplained bone or joint<br />

issues. Brittany began her career in healthcare twelve<br />

years ago as an athletic trainer, then transitioned<br />

over to nursing. She has spent the last eight years<br />

working as an ER nurse. “Working in these fi lds<br />

has allowed me to care for individuals across a<br />

broad age span who are suffering from various<br />

injuries. I believe the knowledge I have attained<br />

from my previous experience is essential to my<br />

move to orthopedics, and it is valuable in the<br />

healthcare I deliver.”<br />

Physicians from Capital Ortho and NewSouth<br />

Neurospine will rotate through the clinic daily.<br />

“People in Clinton and the surrounding area will<br />

have access to world class care in their own<br />

hometown,” says Molly. “From children to the<br />

elderly, we will treat all ages.”<br />

Brittany says she genuinely feels the new clinic<br />

is special, and the services offered set it apart from<br />

others. “Our walk-in clinic is not just for acute or<br />

urgent injuries but also for chronic issues. Individuals<br />

can also schedule an appointment if they prefer.<br />

Th s allows individuals to have the ability to receive<br />

optimal care that is timely, and that fits their schedule.<br />

The individuals I have already had the privilege of<br />

providing care to have been very gracious and<br />

welcoming, which affirms that this clinic is in the<br />

right place, providing a service that is much needed.<br />

Being a part of Capital Ortho and having this<br />

opportunity to provide orthopedic services to such<br />

a unique town, like Clinton, is very exciting.”<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 21

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 />

22 • 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 CLINTON • 23

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 />

24 • 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 CLINTON • 25

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 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 />

26 • 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 CLINTON • 27

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 />

28 • NOVEMBER 2022

Together,<br />



Wh o We Are an d Wh o We S erv e<br />

Who We Are and Who We ere<br />

Since Make-A-Wish Mississippi’s inception in 1984, more than 2,528 children with critical illnesses have experienced<br />

life-changing ine MakeAWish wishes. We Mississiis serve children ineion the 65 southern in most ore counties han in the state, hildren spanning wih every riial socioeconomic<br />

factor illnesses and ethnic hae background. eeriened We’ve lifehanin never turned wishes away a We child sere eligible hildren for a wish. in he A family’s souhern financial os status, race, or<br />

religion ounies has in no he bearing sae on sannin whether a eery child will soioeonoi receive a wish. faor and ehni akround Wee<br />

neer urned away a hild eliile for a wish A failys finanial saus rae or reliion has<br />

Our no continued earin on success wheher at Make-A-Wish a hild will reeie 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 ur real oninued heart and soul suess of the a organization MakeAWish – that Mississii we will reach is our only vision. ahieed wih rea eole and<br />

rea relaionshis s hrouh he enerous suor our ouniy of donors saff<br />

On oluneers August 11, a edial kick-off social rofessionals for W.I.S.H. and Society sonsors (Women he Inspiring real hear Strength and and soul Hope) of he was oraniaion held at Char Restaurant<br />

in Jackson. ha we Twenty-three will reah our women ision were As being you honored read hrouh which means he inforaion that twenty-three in he wishes isal will ear be granted for<br />

deserving annual reor kids fighting lease to overcome reeer unimaginable how ioran odds right you are here o in all Mississippi. he roress we hae ade <br />

and all ha is ye o oe our ia is rofound and eaninful<br />

Thank you for your commitment to our organization and the precious lives we transform each year.<br />

Thank you for your oien o our oraniaion and he reious lies we ransfor<br />

eah year<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 29


M<br />

illie B aker<br />

Meeks Cockroft Agency<br />

Shelter Insurance<br />

Insurance Agent<br />

eaher Benne<br />

W.G. Yates & Sons<br />

Construction Company<br />

Corporate Counsel<br />

Taeika Benne<br />

Bennett Law Office, PLLC<br />

Owner/ Managing Partner<br />

Lo rrain e B o ykin<br />

Currie Johnson & Myers<br />

Attorney<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 />

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 />

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 />

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 />

30 • NOVEMBER 2022

atie Brownin<br />

CDFL Architects & Engineers<br />

inny ear<br />

Pediatric Physical Therapist<br />

aerne dney<br />

Butler Snow Law Firm<br />

Tanya llis<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 CLINTON • 31


Wh it n ey F o st er<br />

Material Girls & Highland Park<br />

K at h leen G rig sb y<br />

Jackson Public School District<br />

S u e G rish am<br />

University of MS Medical Center<br />

T o n d ra H all<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 />

32 • NOVEMBER 2022

K ye H an d y<br />

Balch & Bingham, LLP<br />

Attorney<br />

M<br />

amie H erro n<br />

Skinny’s Nutrition Studio<br />

Owner<br />

Wen d y Lew is<br />

The Winning Smile<br />

Dental Group<br />

Co-Owner/ Dentist<br />

M o n a M c B rid e<br />

Mississippi Pharmacists<br />

Association<br />

Executive Director<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 />

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 />

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 />

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 CLINTON • 33


M ary M c N eely<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 />

K ryst al M<br />

in o r<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 />

S u san M<br />

u rp h y<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 />

S w ayze P en t ec o st<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 />

34 • 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 CLINTON • 35

Cover Art<br />

Contest<br />

For the 2022 holiday issue of<br />

Hometown Clinton Magazine,<br />

we asked for submissions of<br />

Christmas-themed art from high<br />

school art students throughout<br />

Clinton. We want to encourage<br />

the artistic ability in the city’s<br />

brightest young artists! We were<br />

thrilled to receive lots of entries,<br />

several of which are featured here.<br />

Congratulations to<br />

Keyaira Watkins,<br />

CHS 10th grader,<br />

for being chosen<br />

as our grand prize<br />

winner and having<br />

her submission<br />

appear on our cover!<br />

Keyaira will also receive<br />

a $100 cash award from<br />

Hometown Magazines.<br />

Arianna Mitchell, CCA - 9th<br />

Avery Cornette, CCA - 9th<br />

Arlin Dollar, CCA - 9th<br />

Cami Carpenter, CCA - 10th<br />

36 • NOVEMBER 2022<br />

Helena Amos, CCA - 11th<br />

Janie Wilder, CCA - 12th

Kaitlyn Norman, CCA - 9th<br />

Kyler Boyd, CCA - 11th<br />

Keyaira Watkins, CHS -10th<br />


YOU<br />

BELONG<br />

HERE<br />


Madison Curington, CCA - 9th<br />

Zak Foreman, CCA - 11th<br />

Yaria Taylor, CHS - 10th<br />

Merry<br />

Christmas<br />

Hannah Jackson, CHS -12th<br />

Jordan Dixon, CHS - 10th<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 37

• ACADEMIC<br />




hindscc.edu/betterlife<br />

With over 90 different<br />

options, our Pathways<br />

are designed to take<br />

the guesswork out<br />

of your future.<br />


In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 of the Higher Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other applicable Federal and State Acts, Hinds Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does<br />

not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. We recognize our responsibility to provide an open and welcoming environment that fosters a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion for employees and students to collaboratively learn, work and serve<br />

our communities. The following have been designated to handle inquiries regarding these policies:<br />

EEOC Compliance: Marquise Kessee, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion , Box 1100 Raymond MS 39154; Phone: 601-857-3458 or Email: EEOC@hindscc.edu.<br />

Title IX: DeAndre House, Associate Vice President Student Services, Title IX Coordinator , Box 1100 Raymond MS 39154; Phone: 601-857-3353 or Email: TitleIX@hindscc.edu.<br />





745 Clinton Parkway<br />

Clinton, MS 39056<br />

601-987-8223<br />

M-F, 8am - 5pm<br />

38 • NOVEMBER 2022



DEC 17-18<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 39

40 • NOVEMBER 2022


Kelvin Bowens<br />


In the summer of 2003, Ardra Bowens gave<br />

birth to her first child, a baby girl. She named her<br />

daughter Janiya, which means “God is gracious”<br />

and “Beloved.” Like most young children, Janiya<br />

was energetic and playful throughout her early<br />

years of childhood. However, around the age of<br />

six, her mother and teachers began to notice<br />

changes in her movement. Janiya could not<br />

keep her balance and gradually began to lose<br />

fundamental motor skills.<br />

In search of a diagnosis, Ardra traveled the<br />

southeast, asking numerous pediatric specialists<br />

to provide her with information and a concrete<br />

verdict for what could possibly be wrong. “We<br />

went everywhere,” she says. When Janiya was<br />

eight years old, it was determined that she had<br />

spinocerebellar ataxia type 2 (SCA2), a condition<br />

marked by progressive problems with movement.<br />

As the disease advanced, Janiya eventually<br />

became completely wheelchair bound and<br />

mostly immobile.<br />

As expected, Janiya’s extent of daily care<br />

required is immense. With the help of Ardra<br />

and nurses, Janiya is cared for around the clock.<br />

However, according to those who know the<br />

family, one of her best caretakers is not a parent<br />

or a medical professional, but rather her younger<br />

brother, Kelvin, who arrived a decade after<br />

Janiya was born, in 2013.<br />

Kelvin, a fourth grader at Eastside<br />

Elementary, spends his morning and early<br />

afternoons at school, then often comes home<br />

and assists his mother or the attending nurse<br />

with Janiya. “He knows all there is to know<br />

about her medicines,” says his mother.<br />

Monica Devine, Janiya’s nurse of two years,<br />

agrees, “Kelvin can do everything.” This often<br />

includes Janiya’s nighttime care, administering<br />

her vitamins, or simple things such as putting a<br />

pillow under his sister’s feet when she is getting<br />

in her wheelchair.<br />

Each day, Janiya requires a ventilator during<br />

the afternoons and evenings, and typically she is<br />

done with her feeding around 9 p.m. Throughout<br />

the night, she is observed and tended to<br />

multiple times. Eye drops, which help alleviate<br />

muscle stiffness in Janiya’s eyes, are administered<br />

every three hours. Having a nurse on hand<br />

makes this detailed process easier; however, it is<br />

a process that Kelvin, even at his young age, is<br />

familiar with and able to provide aid when<br />

needed. “I can wake Kelvin up in the middle of<br />

the night, and he is always able to assist,” says<br />

Ardra. “I can trust him to care of her.”<br />

According to his mother, Kelvin is well<br />

suited to fill this role in his sister’s life. “He is an<br />

old soul,” she says. “He is very compassionate to<br />

be as young as he is; he feels things deep down.”<br />

Kelvin’s older siblings, his brother “Nico” and<br />

his sister Kelli, also contribute to Janiya’s care.<br />

“The Lord used Janiya to bring us all closer<br />

together,” says Ardra.<br />

The family’s solidarity helped with Janiya’s<br />

schooling arrangement, which involved having<br />

a homebound teacher from seventh through<br />

twelfth grade. In May of this year, Janiya<br />

graduated from high school.<br />

These days, with their routines established,<br />

the Bowen’s have a firm, if demanding, schedule<br />

in place. Janiya, who has been on hospice since<br />

2012, has outlived all expectations. Ardra says<br />

that community generosity, along with the<br />

investment the nurses and her own children<br />

make in Janiya, is what keeps her motivated.<br />

“People don’t understand this unless you live it,”<br />

she says. “It is worth it, but very overwhelming.”<br />

Living in Clinton, “a truly peaceful town,” has<br />

provided a comforting environment. The family’s<br />

neighbors, whom Ardra mentions fondly, often<br />

pitch in when they can help.<br />

As for Kelvin, he remains at the center of<br />

his sister’s life. “He is my baby, but very loving<br />

and honest,” notes Ardra. “He is responsible and<br />

wants to get everything just right. He has the<br />

most appreciative spirit and is truly merciful.”<br />

When asked about future goals, Kelvin says<br />

he wants to be a businessman of some sort.<br />

Given that his current favorite class is math, he<br />

is certainly setting himself up for success in the<br />

business arena. He also hopes to play football<br />

when he gets older. But during his current<br />

day-to-day ambitions, Kelvin is completely<br />

invested in tending to his older sibling.<br />

In the gentle spirit his mother<br />

has keenly observed, Kelvin says<br />

simply, “I just love everything<br />

about my sister.”<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 41

42 • 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 CLINTON • 43

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 />

44 • 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 CLINTON • 45

How It Started–<br />

How It’s Going<br />


46 • 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 ecitement<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. or 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. ou’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 net 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 ocer,<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 tripyet 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 eciting trip we’d take, it definitely laid the<br />

groundwork for the trip as we know it today.<br />

The net few years were filled with new eperiences. 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 eperience<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 CLINTON • 47

48 • 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 CLINTON • 49

50 • NOVEMBER 2022






Hometown CLINTON • 51

52 • 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 CLINTON • 53

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 />

54 • 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 CLINTON • 55

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

Why did you decide to be a fireman?<br />

My dad was a JPD officer when I was growing up. He was always<br />

helping others so I knew at a young age that I wanted a job that<br />

made a difference in a positive way. One of my childhood friends<br />

was a fireman at a neighboring department at the time and<br />

encouraged me to try out.<br />

How long have you been with the Clinton Fire Department?<br />

I have been with Clinton for a total of 15 years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I have been married to my wife, Erin, of Florence, for 14 years.<br />

We have three beautiful children. Eva June is nine and we have<br />

twins, Hank and Hattie, who are six. Between travel softball,<br />

dance, and Jiu-Jitsu, we are constantly on the go.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have experienced in your job?<br />

For me, one of the hardest things to do day in and day out is to remain<br />

positive. We see a variety of bad situations from structure fires to the<br />

passing of loved ones. We have to shine a light during what most<br />

people consider the worst day of their lives.<br />

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

I enjoy hunting and spending time outdoors. On the rare occasion<br />

we have down time, my wife and I enjoy relaxing on the porch.<br />

Captain<br />

Brad<br />

GRICE<br />


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

I would like to travel out west and go elk hunting, restore a Chevy<br />

pickup, and build a cabin in the country to spend our retirement years.<br />

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

I would say my father. He was very strict when I was growing up<br />

and would tell you the truth whether you liked it or not. He died<br />

from heart cancer when I was 25 years old. He taught me not only<br />

how to be a man, but a good husband and father to my own<br />

children. He alway took the time to teach me how to fix things and<br />

never missed a chance to sit down and talk about life in general.<br />

Rodric McClain got out of the car to take a photo<br />

of his best friend, Tia Denise Cook of Jackson.<br />

56 • NOVEMBER 2022

If you could give one piece of advice to a young person,<br />

what would it be?<br />

Always stay true to yourself. No matter what, keep your word<br />

and your faith close. At the end of the day, life is simple.<br />

Do not complicate it.<br />

What is your favorite thing about Clinton?<br />

I really enjoy the small-town feeling of Clinton. The Brick Street<br />

Festivals and Fresh at Five are some of my favorite things. When<br />

we are out in the truck, we never meet a stranger.<br />

What is your favorite thing about Hometown Magazines?<br />

It brings small businesses and people behind the scenes to the<br />

forefront.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 57

Red Brick<br />

Roads<br />

Music & Art Festival<br />

August 27<br />

58 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown CLINTON • 59

60 • NOVEMBER 2022<br />

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!


MarleePrice<br />

Tell us about yourself.<br />

Iam originally from Brookhaven, Mississippi,<br />

born and raised. I graduated from the University<br />

of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of<br />

Public Relations before venturing to Hinds<br />

Community College to achieve an Associate of<br />

Applied Science in Graphic Design Technology.<br />

Both of those degrees contributed to my passion<br />

for marketing and branding by allowing me the<br />

ability to incorporate the strategies and<br />

communication skills learned at the bachelor<br />

level in an effort to communicate those skills<br />

through creative visuals and innovative<br />

marketing campaigns in order to drive adoption<br />

and increase brand loyalty.<br />

Iam also the mother to a thirteen-year-old<br />

boy named Price Anthony May. He is currently<br />

in the 8th grade at Mt. Salus Christian School<br />

and enjoys all things basketball.<br />

Why and when did you decide to<br />

make Clinton your home?<br />

In July of 2012 I accepted a position as a<br />

graphic designer at Southern Farm Bureau Life<br />

Insurance Company. For a year I drove back and<br />

forth each day from Brookhaven to Jackson. As<br />

my son began to approach school age, I knew I<br />

needed to make a move closer to work to start a<br />

new life for my little family. Growing up in a<br />

small town, I knew I wanted to live in a city with<br />

a strong sense of community that also had a<br />

strong academic program for Price. God placed<br />

Cindy Robertson in my life as my realtor, and as<br />

I began to look at homes in the Clinton area, I<br />

knew this was where I wanted to plant my roots,<br />

and in April of 2013 I became a homeowner.<br />

62 • NOVEMBER 2022

What are a few things you love<br />

about the city of Clinton?<br />

Although the city of Clinton shares a city<br />

limit with the capital of Mississippi, within<br />

our city limits there is sense of small-town life<br />

reminiscent of rural communities, separated<br />

from the hustle and bustle of the big city. This<br />

setting allows for the nurturing of relationships<br />

between neighbors and residents that has become<br />

one of the reasons I adore Clinton. The events<br />

our city has for citizens cultivate a sense of<br />

community that allows each person the ability<br />

to bond with people who share their interests<br />

and pour back in to this city.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging<br />

quote, what would it be?<br />

Ihave a sign on my bedroom wall that I read<br />

every morning. The sign states, “Beautiful girl,<br />

you are capable of amazing things.” I am a firm<br />

believer in self-affirmation; on growing so<br />

tenaciously internally, that no external force can<br />

change your mindset without your conscious<br />

permission. God has given us all our own talents<br />

and skillsets, and by investing in yourself, we<br />

open up the opportunity to become who God<br />

created each one of us to be.<br />

Comparison is the thief of joy, so each day<br />

I set a challenge to be a better version of myself<br />

than I was the day before; fully acknowledging<br />

that the only person standing in my way is me.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing<br />

in your spare time.<br />

Aside from binge-watching true crime and<br />

serial killer documentaries, taking road-trips<br />

with my son would have to be my most favorite<br />

spare time activity. As he has gotten older, quality<br />

time with him grows sparce. I’m sure the parent<br />

of any teenager can relate. Road-trips allow us<br />

time together to share new experiences and<br />

provides the opportunity for deep conversations<br />

about life. I cherish those memories more than<br />

any memory I have prior to motherhood.<br />

Iam also a HUGE crafter. I often singlehandedly<br />

keep Hobby Lobby, Michael’s, and<br />

Etsy in business. Last year, during quarantine,<br />

I started making clay earrings. I traveled to<br />

numerous markets in the local area and I did<br />

very well sharing my craft. I hope to find more<br />

“spare time” to dive back into this creative outlet.<br />

Aside from clay earrings I have always been<br />

an avid painter and holiday decorator. More so<br />

for my own collection than public interest.<br />

My absolute favorite holiday is approaching<br />

(Christmas) and I have already begun<br />

collecting new décor to adorn my home.<br />

Most likely by November 1st. LOL!<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 63

has been taking the good news<br />

of Jesus Christ to children and<br />

families through residential and<br />

non-residential care<br />

for<br />

baptistchildrensvillage.com<br />

601.952.2422<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 />

64 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown CLINTON • 65

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 />

66 • NOVEMBER 2022

Hometown CLINTON • 67

Let’s Talk...<br />

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strategy needs a second opinion? Maybe<br />

you have unanswered questions. Maybe<br />

you need advice on your retirement plan.<br />

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your financial future. Call us today.<br />

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For an free initial consultation,<br />

please call 601-925-8099 or visit<br />

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