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V105<br />

523<br />

Setting the Tone<br />

Through the Storm<br />

A Fresh Fire

2 • JANUARY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 3

4 • JANUARY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 5

6 • JANUARY 2023

UMMC<br />

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Hometown RANKIN • 7





8 • MAY 2023


The unusual April we had has created a slow arrival<br />

of summer, it seems.<br />

The arrival of spring teased us with its early warm temperatures and<br />

balmy days. I even packed away my sweaters in anticipation of the<br />

long-awaited season. Then the temps dropped drastically with killing<br />

frosts that required our landscapes to regenerate the young leaves on<br />

all the trees and shrubs.<br />

With the arrival of new seasons and all the promises of new life, it’s<br />

difficult to think that death is still a part of every one of them – even<br />

spring. I encourage you to read about the life and home-going of a<br />

remarkable woman of God in this issue. Dorothy Henderson, and her<br />

husband, Gene, have touched thousands of lives throughout our state<br />

by sharing the gospel. Mrs. Henderson realized death was the final exit<br />

from this life, and she certainly hated the thought of the temporary<br />

separation from family and friends. But she rejoiced in the thought of<br />

meeting Jesus, face to face, and being united with the Savior whom<br />

she had loved and served the major portion of her life. I assure you that<br />

you will never look at death the same way again, thanks to the example<br />

of Mrs. Henderson.<br />

I continue to be grateful for all our readers along with the many<br />

advertisers that make this publication possible. It remains a joy to feature<br />

neighbors in our hometown. So, regardless if you read this snuggled<br />

under a blanket or on a sunny porch, we at Hometown Magazines<br />

wish you a blessed season and a renewed picture of “homegoing.”<br />


Tahya Dobbs<br />


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />




Caroline Hodges<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />

STAFF<br />


Debby Francis<br />


Nikki Robison<br />



Alisha Floyd<br />



Melissa Kennon<br />


The Way We Were 12<br />

Circle of Red 17<br />

Habitat for Humanity 24<br />

Camp is Calling 30<br />

Hometown Family 36<br />

The Big Salad 42<br />

USA International Ballet 58<br />

A Fresh Fire 68<br />

Setting the Tone 78<br />

Mental Health Wealth 87<br />

Through the Storm 94<br />

The Chalkboard 106<br />

The Time Coin 114<br />

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

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

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

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

Hometown RANKIN • 9


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10 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 11

Michelle & Keith Rhodes<br />

Camille Anding<br />

What’s the perfect date? There<br />

A new love was born that’s still<br />

They honeymooned in Florida<br />

own, Michelle earned her degree<br />

could be a lot of opinions, but for<br />

vibrant and has continued for<br />

but came home a day early to be<br />

along with her master’s and is<br />

Michelle Hanson, it was her first<br />

thirty-three years.<br />

with their families as the new<br />

presently teaching special education<br />

date with Keith Rhodes in May<br />

After a short engagement, they<br />

husband and wife. Now they would<br />

at Brandon High School.<br />

of 1989. They went out to eat and<br />

shared their wedding vows on<br />

begin their lives near both parents<br />

The closeness of this couple is<br />

then rode around talking and<br />

April 21, 1990. Shiloh Methodist<br />

on a farm that their future family<br />

obvious from being around them.<br />

listening to the radio. But it was on<br />

Church was the setting on the day<br />

would love.<br />

They both credit that to the<br />

Noblin Bridge Road that Michelle<br />

the air conditioning went out and<br />

Keith was a graduate of<br />

relationship they have with their<br />

knew she had found the someone<br />

the wedding candles caught some<br />

Mississippi State, but it wasn’t<br />

Lord. Keith grew up in the church<br />

she had always hoped to find.<br />

of the altar flowers on fire. A handy<br />

until Michelle as a stay-home-mom<br />

and had the early child experience<br />

Keith stopped the vehicle and<br />

groomsman quickly extinguished<br />

realized, “All I can do is drive a<br />

of walking the aisle and knowing<br />

asked her to dance with him to the<br />

the flames, but the wedding couple<br />

tractor,” that she decided to work<br />

all the “religious” language. But it<br />

radio music of Kool and the Gang.<br />

never even noticed.<br />

on her degree. With their three<br />

was on a mission trip several years<br />

daughters grown and on their<br />

into their marriage that Keith<br />

12 • MAY 2023

“Prayer gave<br />

us the victory.”<br />

recognized that something or<br />

followed God’s design for her as<br />

and believe in having close friends<br />

bad things happened.<br />

someone was missing in his life.<br />

being a submissive wife. From that<br />

who will pray for others and<br />

Today, the Rhodes still love<br />

He shared with his mission team<br />

point she prayed and relinquished<br />

other’s families.<br />

farm life which includes cattle and<br />

that he needed prayer. When he<br />

the family leadership role to<br />

They could share lots of<br />

hay farming. Their two daughters<br />

returned home, he told Michelle<br />

Keith. God’s original design for<br />

experiences of raising their three<br />

live on the same road they grew up<br />

that he wasn’t the same man that<br />

their marriage emerged and the<br />

children, Brook, Tyler, and Taylor,<br />

on, and Tyler and his wife live in<br />

had left on that mission trip. All<br />

results are still obvious.<br />

and how God spared them from<br />

Brandon with plans to move near<br />

doubts were gone concerning his<br />

“We love God and people,”<br />

near death accidents and brought<br />

the family farm.<br />

salvation.<br />

they are quick to confess. They<br />

them through “dark” times that<br />

Michelle and Keith agree that<br />

Michelle was settled about her<br />

offer the perfect plan for a rich and<br />

most parents experience. Keith<br />

their granddaughter Reese is an<br />

salvation but felt their marriage<br />

fulfilling marriage: God first, each<br />

acknowledges without hesitation,<br />

added reward for raising their<br />

wasn’t exactly what God had<br />

other second, and the children<br />

“Prayer gave us the victory.” Their<br />

own children, and it won’t take<br />

designed. After serious prayer and<br />

third. They are active and involved<br />

God has always been faithful, so<br />

Reese long to learn the family<br />

thought, she realized she hadn’t<br />

members of their Shiloh Church<br />

they have never questioned when<br />

motto: “Love Hard!”<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 13

14 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 15

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Circle<br />

The American Heart Association’s<br />

signature initiative, Go Red for Women ® ,<br />

is a comprehensive platform designed<br />

to increase women’s heart health<br />

awareness and serve as a catalyst<br />

for change to improve the lives of<br />

women globally.<br />

While the majority of cardiac events<br />

can be prevented, cardiovascular<br />

disease is the leading cause of death<br />

in women, claiming the lives of 1 in 3<br />

women. For 19 years, Go Red for<br />

Women has encouraged awareness.<br />

The movement harnesses the energy,<br />

passion, and power of women to band<br />

together and collectively wipe out<br />

heart disease. It challenges them to<br />

know their risk for heart disease and<br />

take action to reduce their personal<br />

risk. It also gives them tools they need<br />

to lead a heart healthy life. The Go Red<br />

for Women movement is nationally<br />

sponsored by CVS Health, with<br />

additional support from national<br />

cause supporters.<br />

For more information, please visit<br />

GoRedforWomen.org<br />

of RED<br />

Circle of Red is a society of<br />

passionate individuals who<br />

are in the fight against heart<br />

disease and stroke in<br />

women to win.<br />

In communities throughout<br />

the United States, Circle<br />

of Red members use their<br />

influence, generosity, and<br />

passion to help increase<br />

awareness of cardiovascular<br />

disease – the leading cause<br />

of death in women – and<br />

to inspire women to take<br />

charge of their health.<br />

Circle of Red members are<br />

leaders in their communities<br />

and families. For many<br />

members, the fight against<br />

heart disease is personal.<br />

As some of our greatest<br />

champions of the Go Red<br />

for Women movement,<br />

our Circle of Red members<br />

not only help save lives,<br />

but they are the heart of<br />

our mission.<br />

Why Join Circle of Red?<br />

As a member, you are a<br />

champion for women’s<br />

health.<br />

Members enjoy:<br />

• Special social events and<br />

VIP experiences both<br />

locally and nationally,<br />

with a national holiday<br />

experience in December<br />

• Exclusive mission updates<br />

• Recognition as a Circle<br />

of Red member<br />

• Membership in a<br />

meaningful community<br />

of women<br />

Join us and become a part<br />

of an exceptional group of<br />

women.<br />

For more information<br />

on joining, please contact<br />

Go Red for Women Director<br />

Katherine Byrd at<br />

Katherine.Byrd@heart.org<br />

or call 601-321-1211.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 17

Alissa Hebert-Wallace<br />

Veterans Health Administration<br />

Allison Muirhead<br />

Allison Muirhead Photography, LLC<br />

Amanda Fontaine<br />

Mississippi Association of Broadcasters<br />

Amy Lampton Walker<br />

Ergon<br />

Ann Barnes<br />

Prime Care Nursing<br />

Betsy Latham<br />

Betsy Latham Fine Art<br />

Brenda Barron<br />

Professional Staffing Group<br />

Brian Fenelon<br />

The Fenelon Group<br />

Cindee Herlocker<br />

Edward Jones<br />

Dana Stringer<br />

Dr. Ardarian Pierre<br />

University of Mississippi Medical Center<br />

Dr. Catherine Lowe<br />

Jackson Heart Clinic<br />

Dr. Danón Garrido<br />

Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates<br />

Dr. Debbie Minor<br />

University of Mississippi Medical Center<br />

Dr. Dotie Jackson<br />

MS Premier Plastic Surgery<br />

Dr. Erica Bass<br />

MS Premier Plastic Surgery<br />

Dr. James “Jim” Roberts<br />

St. Dominic’s Hospital Medicine<br />

Dr. Janet Harris<br />

UMMC Professor Emeritus<br />

Dr. Jeanne Calcote<br />

University of MS School of Nursing<br />

Dr. Joyce Wade-Hamme<br />

Tri-County Pulmonary Sleep<br />

Dr. Julia Thompson<br />

Merit Health Heart<br />

Dr. Leigh Ann Ross<br />

University of MS School of Pharmacy<br />

Dr. Myrna Alexander Nickens<br />

University Heart<br />

Dr. Natasha Hardeman<br />

Lakeland Premier Women's Clinic<br />

Dr. Nicole Cleveland<br />

Jackson Oncology Associates<br />

Dr. Rebekah Moulder<br />

St. Dominic Family Practice Associates, Madison<br />

Dr. Rishi Roy<br />

Advanced Vascular & Vein Associates<br />

Dr. Sandra McCearley<br />

Jackson Heart Clinic<br />

Dr. Sara Sanders<br />

Baptist Premier<br />

Dr. Tamika Bradley<br />

Dr. Teri Dyess<br />

St. Dominic Hospital<br />

Elee Reeves<br />

First Lady of Mississippi<br />

Emily Speed<br />

Speed Commercial Real Estate<br />

Erica Reed<br />

Jackson Medical Mall Foundation<br />

Gail Anderson Jamie Higdon<br />

TempStaff<br />

18 • MAY 2023<br />

NOT PICTURED: Diana Warden, Amy Elashry, Angela Byers, Margaret Moody, Margaret McLarty

Jamie Woods-Dull<br />

AllPro Clean<br />

Jan Collins<br />

Madison County Business League & Foundation<br />

Janie Jarvis<br />

The Bridal Path<br />

Jeannie Robinson<br />

EMC Insurance Companies<br />

Jennifer Boydston Johnson<br />

Roberts, Bridges & Boydston, PLLC<br />

Jimmy Blackwood<br />

Johnson & Johnson<br />

Dr. Terica Jackson<br />

Baptist Premier<br />

Joni McClain<br />

McCLain Lodge<br />

Karla Tye<br />

Children's Advocacy Centers of MS<br />

Kathy Smith<br />

City of Flowood, Alderman Ward 2<br />

Kim Stonecypher<br />

Stonecypher Consulting, LLC<br />

Lance Davis<br />

FORVIS<br />

Laurie Cutrer<br />

McClain Lodge<br />

Libby Dedeaux Sims<br />

Professional Staffing Group<br />

Leanne Brewer<br />

Millsaps<br />

Lin Bobbit<br />

Liz-Torricelli<br />

Children's Advocacy Centers of MS<br />

Maggie Clark<br />

Maggie Clark Media Services<br />

Meshelle Rawls<br />

Foundation for the Mid South<br />

Michael Parnell<br />

United Healthcare<br />

Gail Manton<br />

Gail Manton Florals<br />

Michelle Reef<br />

Mississippi Organ Recovery Agency<br />

Mike Barkett<br />

Mindi Kern<br />

The Winning Smile<br />

Missy McMullan<br />

Molly Staley<br />

Capital Ortho<br />

Pam McGee<br />

Compliance Advice & Training Solutions<br />

Karen Roberts<br />

ProTel, Inc<br />

Pam Ware<br />

First Commercial Bank<br />

Patti Daly<br />

BankPlus<br />

Patty Clark Peder Johnson Rebecca Haas<br />

Talking With Toddlers, Ltd<br />

Rebecca Martin<br />

Prudential<br />

Rhonda Moore<br />

Moore's Pharmacy<br />

Rita Wray<br />

Community Foundation for MS<br />

Sandy Stonecypher Sheramie Shore<br />

New York Southern Style, LLC<br />

Stacy McNinch<br />

Rankin County Chief Deputy Tax Collector<br />

Tammy Phillips<br />

Community Bank<br />

Tina Lakey Dr. Chloe Emery<br />

Lakeland Animal Clinic<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 19

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20 • MAY 2023

READER<br />


Tara<br />


Why did you decide to make Rankin<br />

County your home?<br />

I met my husband Mike in college and God<br />

called us to His service in Albany, Georgia.<br />

I followed my professional career as a radiation<br />

therapist as we started our new life together.<br />

After being there about a year, my mom, who<br />

was battling cancer, was diagnosed with brain<br />

metastasis. We then knew it was time to move<br />

closer to home. God opened a door and placed<br />

us here in Rankin County. I found a job in<br />

Jackson, at Merit Central treating my precious<br />

cancer patients and Mike serves locally in youth<br />

ministry. The instant feeling of belonging was<br />

overwhelming. We have loved every second of<br />

being here are so blessed to be part of this<br />

community.<br />

How long have you lived in Rankin County?<br />

17 years<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I’ve been married to my wonderful and<br />

hilarious husband for 19 years and we have two<br />

beautiful daughters, Annsley (13) and Addy (9).<br />

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

Rankin County?<br />

Brandon Day.<br />

Where are your three favorite places to<br />

eat in Rankin County?<br />

Jake’s, Taste of Detroit, and the Cleaners<br />

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

County on the weekends?<br />

Rent out MikethePartyGuy party rentals, the<br />

Mosiac Shop, and checking out the cute shops<br />

downtown.<br />

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

spare time.<br />

I love to travel, read, hang out with family and<br />

friends, enjoy the beautiful weather outside, and<br />

dancing.<br />

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

Explore Turks and Caicos, watch my children<br />

get married, and travel, travel, travel!!!<br />

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

I greatly adored my mom. She truly was the<br />

sweetest and most loving person anyone ever<br />

met. She made you feel so loved and special<br />

from the moment she met you. I was so<br />

incredibly blessed by her.<br />

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

now?<br />

Hopefully I will still be doing the job that I love,<br />

have one child out of college, and one going in.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

Playing outside until dark, with no social media<br />

presence or bullying - just being a kid.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging<br />

quote, what would it be?<br />

If you could be anything in this world, please<br />

be kind.<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

Hometown Magazines?<br />

I love seeing the pictures and what’s going on in<br />

the community. Thank you so much for this<br />

opportunity to share my family and experiences<br />

with you!<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 21

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Find out more by calling<br />

us at the phone numbers<br />

above or use this QR code.<br />

22 • MAY 2023


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Hometown RANKIN • 23

Habitat for Humanity<br />

Re-Stores The Community<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

24 • MAY 2023

When Merrill Tenney McKewen was hired to handle the<br />

25th anniversary of Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital Area<br />

in honor of Elise Winter in 2011, she didn’t realize she would,<br />

one day, be the organization’s executive director.<br />

“I came back as a consultant in 2012, and in 2013,<br />

I accepted the full-time position as development director,<br />

and became executive director in 2016.”<br />

It’s a job that Merrill loves, and the<br />

difference she and her team are making in<br />

the tri-county area is important. “I have the<br />

most remarkable leadership including our<br />

board of directors, and an incredible team<br />

of dedicated, hardworking team members.”<br />

Merrill is often called upon to speak at<br />

area civic organizations about HFHMCA,<br />

and she starts by clarifying that President<br />

Jimmy Carter did not start the Habitat<br />

organization. “Millard Fuller was responsible,”<br />

says Merrill. “He was a businessman<br />

with a vision of providing affordable<br />

housing for people who may have a<br />

difficult time getting into a home on their<br />

own. Jimmy Carter helped him get the<br />

organization onto a national stage.”<br />

The homes are not given to recipients,<br />

explains Merrill. “The people who move<br />

into a Habitat home must first complete<br />

classes on financial education, wills,<br />

do-it-yourself classes, and classes on<br />

community relations. They must also put<br />

in 175 hours of sweat equity on the home.<br />

After they qualify, we offer a 30-year, zerointerest<br />

mortgage loan. If they fail to pay<br />

their mortgage payments, we are forced<br />

to foreclose on the loan and they lose<br />

their home.”<br />

While volunteers are involved in the<br />

building of each Habitat home, professionals<br />

are used for things like electrical<br />

systems, plumbing, and other items that<br />

require a skilled, licensed professional.<br />

“We are a not-for-profit organization, but<br />

we are also an economic engine. We buy<br />

local, and we use local subs and contractors.<br />

Every dollar we spend generates $8 to $9<br />

for the local economy.”<br />

Habitat for Humanity Mississippi Capital<br />

Area is a construction company, a mortgage<br />

company, and a Christian-based organization<br />

that does not discriminate based<br />

on age, race, sexual orientation, or religion.<br />

A side venture for HFHMCA is the new<br />

ReStore, a retail store located at 615<br />

Stonewall Street in Jackson that takes<br />

donations of furniture, surplus building<br />

materials, appliances, art, and anything<br />

else a home may need. Their motto is<br />

“You Buy, We Build,” and Merrill says it is<br />

a way to raise money for the mission.<br />

“We sell the items to the public at a greatly<br />

reduced cost. It can be a bit of a treasure<br />

hunt, as no two days are the same.”<br />

ReStore is ideal for someone renovating<br />

a home, as well as an affordable way for<br />

new Habitat homeowners to furnish or<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 25

decorate their home. “We welcome<br />

donations of light fixtures, furniture, or<br />

other items that may otherwise be thrown<br />

away. We have a few companies that<br />

provide us with lighting, flooring, etc.<br />

from their warehouses when things are<br />

discontinued. We also get rugs and<br />

furniture from a name-brand store from<br />

time to time when they are clearing their<br />

old inventory. It’s amazing how much is<br />

thrown into landfills. I am guilty of<br />

dumpster-diving – if I see a piece of<br />

plywood we might be able to sell, I’m<br />

going to get it!” ReStore is open Tuesday<br />

through Saturday, 9:30am to 5:00pm.<br />

Volunteers are always needed for unloading<br />

donations, pricing items, stocking<br />

floors, etc.<br />

Merrill says her personal philosophy is<br />

to wholistically help the neighborhoods<br />

where homes are being built. “We not<br />

only build new homes, but we demo,<br />

recycle, and rebuild homes. We remove<br />

blight and often build new homes where<br />

old ones have been torn down. We do<br />

what we can to lift up an area, because,<br />

after all, a rising tide lifts all boats.”<br />

HFHMCA serves three counties: Hinds,<br />

Madison and Rankin. “Homes we have<br />

built in Madison County have been<br />

sponsored by Nissan. We have funds to<br />

build in Rankin County but haven’t been<br />

able to find property there. We are not<br />

allowed to build near railroad tracks, in<br />

flood zones, or near superfund sites. It is<br />

important to us that we build homes that<br />

are both safe, decent, and affordable.”<br />

About fifteen homes are built each<br />

year. Applicants are assessed on their level<br />

of need, their willingness to partner with<br />

Habitat, and their ability to pay a mortgage<br />

through an affordable repayment plan.<br />

For more information, visit<br />

www.habitatmca.org<br />

26 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 27

28 • MAY 2023

In memory of<br />

Chuck Miner<br />

owner of The Club at Crossgates,<br />

friend of Hometown Magazines<br />

“One day at a time – that’s all you can do.”<br />

That sounds like simple advice, but it carried a lot of<br />

relief, wisdom and insight for Landon Stroud,<br />

the former general manager, now owner of<br />

“The Club at Crossgates.” Landon and his wife were<br />

in the middle of settling into their new home along with<br />

all the added jobs that entails. When he shared his list<br />

with Mr. Chuck, his boss/mentor/friend, of all the<br />

seemingly overwhelming tasks to complete, the above<br />

response was the answer Landon needed to hear.<br />

It lifted the load he was trying to carry.<br />

Those invaluable responses came to an end April 19th<br />

when Chuck Miner passed from this life to his eternal one.<br />

To any believer, this was his truest proof of wisdom when<br />

he trusted Jesus as the only One that could provide<br />

eternal life in heaven.<br />

Landon will always remember some of Mr. Chuck’s<br />

familiar quotes: “Make sure you don’t take the path of<br />

least resistance.” “Don’t let the tail wag the dog,” and<br />

“You’ve got to take the bull by the horns.”<br />

Mr. Chuck loved sharing stories from his past and about<br />

his times running the Courthouses. His friends from<br />

high school days remember him as a talented basketball<br />

player and his standard of integrity.<br />

All who had any quality time in his presence will always<br />

carry pieces of his influence and fond memories from his<br />

reservoir of wisdom and sound advice. He will be missed<br />

by so many, but in bountiful ways, his positive influence<br />

will continue to be a part of our lives. Landon recalled the<br />

weekly management meetings that Mr. Chuck scheduled.<br />

“He always opened our meetings with prayer,<br />

which is something we still do.”<br />

May Chuck Miner’s zest for hard work and living<br />

a life of integrity continue to live on in a manner that will<br />

be the finest way we can honor his life and memory.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 29

30 • MAY 2023


Camp<br />

is Calling<br />

Mistie Desper<br />

When that last bell of school<br />

rings in May, summer camp<br />

is gearing up for a few months<br />

of fun and a lifetime of<br />

memories.<br />

Twin Lakes Camp and Conference Center has been “the” place<br />

to be since 1970. Nestled in the rolling hills of central Mississippi, the<br />

camp covers over 580 beautiful acres with two lakes and activities to<br />

suit everyone. Each year, the grounds and facilities host thousands of<br />

guests for camps, retreats, and conferences.<br />

Summer camps are a huge draw for students each summer<br />

looking to have fun, hang out with friends, deepen their faith, and<br />

make memories.<br />

With counselors and staff that are dedicated and joyful servants of<br />

Christ, Twin Lakes has helped transform the lives of countless young<br />

people over the years. The summer camp program was founded on<br />

“God’s word.” It provides a safe and fun environment where students<br />

form deep and meaningful relationships with old and new friends,<br />

their counselors, but more importantly, with God.<br />

With activities and time to study God’s word, the counselors and<br />

staff members strive to live God’s word daily and show students the<br />

immense joy in knowing Jesus Christ all while having loads of exciting<br />

adventures, day in and day out. Twin Lakes believes, “the influence of<br />

Christian mentors and time in God’s creation greatly influences the<br />

tone and direction of a child’s life.”<br />

As a ministry of First Presbyterian of Jackson, the camp’s mission<br />

is to help students cultivate a love for God. They believe that “those<br />

whose first love is Christ, are those best equipped to love Christ’s<br />

creation.” The program not only aims to create a lasting, meaningful<br />

relationship with Christ, it “aims at the preservation of each camper’s<br />

childhood away from the distraction of technology and modern<br />

culture.”<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 31

32 • MAY 2023

Mark Magee<br />

Andrew Vincent<br />

The grounds are home to cabins, meeting rooms, and dining halls, but the<br />

activities are where the magic happens! Anything your student could desire<br />

can be found.<br />

Activities include rock-climbing, ziplines, rope bridges, horseback riding,<br />

kayaking, swimming, archery, riflery, outdoor games, water activities, and so<br />

much more.<br />

Campers can choose from day or overnight camps. Day campers spend<br />

their day learning camp songs, enjoying various activities, and participating<br />

in outdoor adventures. Overnight campers get to experience the beautiful<br />

outdoors during the day, special events at night, and loads of hangout time.<br />

Treehouse Time is a camp favorite. The entire camp gathers together to<br />

hang out, eat snacks, swing in the giant swings, play a variety of games, fish,<br />

raft, and more. For many, this is the highlight of their day and their favorite<br />

activity at camp.<br />

Twin Lakes also provides a place for churches and groups to host retreats,<br />

conferences, and various seminars for their spiritual growth.<br />

Without many helping hands, Twin Lakes would not be possible. Along<br />

with a large staff and trained counselors, former Executive Director Mark<br />

Magee devoted the past 30 years to the ministry and community at Twin Lakes.<br />

Mark has left a lasting impact in the lives of thousands of children, along with<br />

numerous summer staff members and retreat guests, and helped to spread the<br />

gospel and grow the ministry of Twin Lakes.<br />

Filling his shoes as the new executive director is Andrew Vincent. Andrew<br />

is no stranger to the camp. He has been an integral part of the camp for over<br />

two decades serving in various positions and “has a true passion for the camping<br />

ministry and leads in a way that exemplifies the Fruit of the Spirit.”<br />

Andrew admits that stepping into the role of director is such an honor.<br />

He said, “I have served under Mark for my entire employment at Twin Lakes<br />

and have benefited from his leadership. He has been such a humble, godly<br />

example for everyone to follow.”<br />

Admitting that Mark will likely “cringe” at the mention of his name, he<br />

humbly served and never wanted any recognition, yet his character has<br />

impacted so many. One fellow employee said, “To Mark, Twin Lakes wasn’t just<br />

a place to come to work every day. Next to his family, it was his life. He went<br />

above and beyond daily to make sure Twin Lakes was dedicated to God and<br />

existed to further the kingdom of God.” Another humble, not-wanting-to-benamed<br />

employee added, “He is an encourager at his very core. The ways the<br />

Lord has used him in ministry at Twin Lakes are immeasurable this side of<br />

heaven.”<br />

Andrew is excited for his future as executive director. “I can’t imagine<br />

leaving a fraction of the legacy Mark has left from his time here but am trusting<br />

the Lord to provide the wisdom and direction that will be needed to continue<br />

to lead well in this new role.” With the support, wisdom, and determination to<br />

continue God’s work at Twin Lakes, the staff and counselors will continue to<br />

keep the camp, in Mark’s own words, “the greatest place on the planet.”<br />

For more information or to register for summer camp, visit<br />

twinlakescamp.org or email at registration@twinlakescamp.org.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 33

34 • MAY 2023

Registration<br />

NOW OPEN<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 35

36 • MAY 2023

The Harveys<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

Quincy 34 - Hobbies include basketball, flag football,<br />

and softball.<br />

Elizabeth 34 - Loves to read.<br />

Mya 6 - Enjoys art, basketball, soccer, and baseball.<br />

Madison 4 - Enjoys art, soccer, TOT ball, and dancing.<br />

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

married?<br />

We have been married for eight years. According to Liz, we met<br />

at Pearl Jr. High when we were both involved in track and field.<br />

To my knowledge, we started talking after I gave her a note<br />

while walking to the bus.<br />

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

date night?<br />

We do not allow nearly enough time for date night with just<br />

the two of us, but we try to squeeze in a meal or two with just<br />

us occasionally. As a family, we typically eat Mexican food<br />

almost every Friday.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 37

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

Quincy Mya and Madison are both still young, but so far, I’ve just<br />

enjoyed watching every aspect of their development from birth.<br />

They both are kind, caring, and teachable. Their willingness to learn<br />

and help others, at this young age, brings me great joy and reminds<br />

me of the important things in life. I could go on forever talking<br />

about my girls.<br />

Liz When I see how our daughters take care of each other and show<br />

each other kindness (mostly in public), that brings me the most joy.<br />

It lets me know they will know how to treat people as they get older.<br />

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

We both play a role in the management of finances, such as bills,<br />

groceries, etc., but Quincy is primarily the financial manager. He is<br />

better at getting things paid on time, weighing needs versus wants,<br />

and he definitely finds all the bargains!<br />

What is your discipline philosophy?<br />

Quincy I talk to them about what they’ve done wrong and make<br />

sure that they understand why they are being disciplined. Punishments<br />

may include spankings, time out, or taking things away<br />

(iPad, toys, etc.). It just depends on the situation. “Spare the rod,<br />

spoil the child.”<br />

Liz They are still at a young age where they have so much to learn.<br />

I make sure that when they are disciplined that they know exactly<br />

what they are getting in trouble for and my expectations of them<br />

moving forward. I feel that when they know better, they make better<br />

choices. I want them to understand as much as they can, right from<br />

wrong, in hopes that it will stay with them as they grow.<br />

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

your family?<br />

Quincy Availability. As the man of the house, things such as<br />

providing protection and instilling toughness are expected, but<br />

I think it’s most important to be available. It’s important for them<br />

to know that I’m never too busy for them and that they can come<br />

to me for anything.<br />

Liz My role as a caregiver is the greatest benefit to my family. There<br />

are so many roles that mom’s/wives take on for their families. At any<br />

given time we become the cook, housekeeper, teacher, nurse, hair<br />

dresser, and any other role that our family may need at any given<br />

time. My job is very demanding. However, I am still able to be at<br />

home for the baths, hugs, kisses, and just making sure the knee<br />

scrapes and paper cuts are well tended to with love and care.<br />

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

And who does the cooking.<br />

Lemon pepper wings and broccoli is probably one of quickest and<br />

easiest meals that everyone in our household will eat. Lately, Liz<br />

has been doing most of the cooking.<br />

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

Quincy Pretty much my entire life. If it’s up to me, I plan to always<br />

live in Pearl. I attended Pearl schools K-12. It’s always a great day to<br />

be a Pirate!<br />

Liz Since I started junior high school.<br />

What are your favorite things about Rankin County?<br />

Quincy I tell people all the time that Rankin County (Pearl)<br />

is all that I know. I hardly leave out of Rankin County because<br />

everything is here. My family lives here, the communities here<br />

are supportive, and the people here are nice. I feel like it’s the<br />

best place to live.<br />

Liz I love how family-oriented the community is and the time and<br />

effort that is poured into growing and developing our children.<br />

38 • MAY 2023

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

With both of us working in healthcare, we hardly have any<br />

summer days off. It feels like we don’t really get a summer break.<br />

For the last couple of years we have taken a family trip to the<br />

beach before the girls go back to school. It has become more of a<br />

tradition with my husband and his family. Other than that, we<br />

work and support the girls while they participate in summer<br />

sports.<br />

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

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

Quincy I am a physical therapist. My patients drive me daily<br />

to be the best that I can be. I enjoy helping them achieve<br />

whatever goals they may have. Hearing patients say things such<br />

as, “I never liked therapy until I met you,” drives me to continue<br />

to provide quality therapy while also providing a family like<br />

environment. When patients ask if I like my job, my response<br />

typically is, “No, I love it!”<br />

Liz I am a neonatal nurse practitioner. Caring for babies is my<br />

passion. To care for those that don’t have a voice is a privilege.<br />

The babies aren’t able to say that they are not feeling well or that<br />

they’re in pain. It’s my privilege to be a voice for them and make<br />

it my duty to improve their quality of life. To see their strength<br />

and resilience makes the job so much more rewarding.<br />

What accomplishments make you proud during your<br />

time living in Pearl?<br />

Quincy While living in Pearl, I’ve been surrounded by family,<br />

friends, and have many others who have helped me grow into<br />

the person I am today. I was able to graduate from one of the<br />

best schools around. I met my best friends, Cason and Jeremy<br />

here. Liz and I met here and have been able to start our family<br />

in Pearl while still being surrounded by many of our family and<br />

friends.<br />

Liz I met my husband in this community. I graduated high<br />

school here with a very strong education that prepared me to<br />

continue to advance my education. The family that my husband<br />

and I created here is by far my biggest accomplishment.<br />


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

Mya Play Bingo.<br />

Madison Play hide and seek.<br />

What your favorite restaurant?<br />

Mya Fogata, Joe’s Diner, Harvey’s Fish Hut, Harvey’s Fish Hut Too.<br />

And I like anything that Uncle Jeremy cooks.<br />

Madison Harvey’s Fish Hut, Harvey’s Fish Hut Too.<br />

What’s your favorite TV show?<br />

Mya Dog With a Blog<br />

Madison Ryan on YouTube<br />

What’s your favorite snack?<br />

Mya Honey Buns and popcorn.<br />

Madison Pop Tart Bites.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 39

40 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 41




Bringing Healthy Home<br />


Sarah Rein<br />

When David Joiner left the Reservoir area in 2017, it was<br />

more of a reaction to circumstances than an intentional choice.<br />

He had been enrolled in Tulane’s satellite campus in Madison, pursuing his degree<br />

in applied computing and information systems, when that satellite office was closed.<br />

With one year left to obtain his bachelor’s degree, he sold his house and moved to<br />

New Orleans to complete it.<br />

42 • MAY 2023

“With The Big Salad, you can get a filling<br />

and satisfying meal that isn’t going to put<br />

you to sleep during your 2pm meeting.”<br />

Afterwards, he lived and worked in New Orleans for five years,<br />

where he worked for an engineering company and later a nonprofit<br />

called Lighthouse Louisiana whose mission is to empower people<br />

with disabilities by helping them get jobs and regain their independence<br />

while challenging the expectations of what people with<br />

disabilities are capable of. However, he found himself repeatedly<br />

drawn back into the restaurant/food service scene. He’d worked in<br />

the industry throughout his college and young adult years and loved<br />

the proximity it gave him to people from all walks of life.<br />

Originally from Pensacola, Florida, David’s family moved to the<br />

Reservoir area when he was ten, and he graduated from Northwest<br />

Rankin in 1998. When David left the area to complete his degree in<br />

New Orleans, it wasn’t an easy choice. Although he speaks fondly of<br />

his time in Louisiana, he had to leave behind parents and a brother<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 43

“I chose Flowood for the location<br />

because it’s a beautiful up-and-coming<br />

area that’s growing.”<br />

44 • MAY 2023

he was close to, as well as a daughter in Oxford. He was driving<br />

back to Mississippi frequently for stays with his parents and to spend<br />

time with his daughter.<br />

As the pandemic spread in 2020, the separation from family<br />

became harder and the three-hour drive from his home in Metairie<br />

felt more burdensome. Then, on top of everything, David unexpectedly<br />

lost his older brother James, and the family felt the need to<br />

be together more than ever. So, just as circumstances had conspired<br />

to send David out of the state, the tough conditions of the last few<br />

years brought him back home.<br />

The question then was...what to do for work? David had long<br />

dreamt of owning his own restaurant. His passion for food and his<br />

love of people sent him on a search for the right franchise to bring<br />

to the Flowood area. And that search, conducted with his parents<br />

Jim and Pam, led them to The Big Salad.<br />

David is excited about the concept and is thrilled to be open.<br />

You can find him in Dogwood Shopping Center, just across from<br />

Amerigo and next to Cozy Outfitters at 162 Market Street. The<br />

Big Salad is a quick service restaurant with a local and fresh feel -<br />

somewhere Rankin residents can consistently get a healthy meal<br />

while feeling welcomed by a warm, friendly staff.<br />

“I chose this type of restaurant mainly because of its lighter,<br />

healthier options. We have all been out to lunch and gotten a meal<br />

that sits so heavy with us the rest of the day. With The Big Salad,<br />

you can get a filling and satisfying meal that isn’t going to put you<br />

to sleep during your 2pm meeting.”<br />

The restaurant offers a wide variety of salad toppings as well as<br />

some helpful predesigned options for the days you aren’t in the mood<br />

to choose your own. In addition, they offer soups, sandwiches,<br />

smoothies, and fresh chocolate-chip cookies.<br />

“I chose Flowood for the location because it is a beautiful<br />

up-and-coming area that’s growing. I also wanted to invest in the<br />

area I grew up in. I hope eventually to be in a place where I can<br />

sponsor my friends’ kids’ ball teams and give back to the community.”<br />

And while David insists he is a fairly boring guy - in bed early,<br />

up to work out, and doing his meal prep on the weekends - his<br />

bright smile and enthusiasm for his work suggest that his restaurant<br />

will be anything but dull!<br />

The Big Salad is now open and excited to welcome you!<br />

You can follow them @thebigsaladflowood on Facebook<br />

for announcements and specials.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 45

Deputy Sheriff<br />

Travis O.<br />

Biddle<br />

Plaque Ceremony<br />

APRIL 18<br />


Deputy Travis Biddle was shot and killed<br />

with his own weapon while transporting<br />

three inmates to the state penitentiary.<br />

The three prisoners were cuffed and belted at the<br />

waist with a “D” ring holding the cuffs to the belt.<br />

One of the inmates had hidden a razor blade in his<br />

Bible and cut the cuffs from the belt. He then reached<br />

over the back of the seat and pulled Deputy Biddle<br />

into the back seat. Another prisoner had also cut<br />

his cuffs from the belt, grabbed Deputy Biddle’s<br />

service revolver and shot him.<br />

Both prisoners were convicted of capital murder<br />

and sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.<br />

As a result of Deputy Biddle’s murder,<br />

legislation was passed requiring all officers<br />

transporting prisoners to the state penitentiary<br />

to have protective screens between<br />

them and the prisoners.<br />

46 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 47


Pelahatchie<br />

Elementary<br />

Kindness is a core value we highlight<br />

with our students. When we think of<br />

kids who care, there are several that<br />

come to mind who consistently<br />

demonstrate this quality. We chose a<br />

few students to recognize that truly<br />

spread kindness with their words and<br />

actions. The students mentioned here<br />

are friendly, generous, and considerate<br />

to those around them and help to make<br />

everyone around them feel included<br />

and important.<br />


Pelahatchie Elementary Principal<br />

48 • MAY 2023<br />


1ST GRADE<br />

Kylie is compassionate, generous, and<br />

thoughtful. She is the first to go to a peer who<br />

is upset or hurting, so that she can comfort<br />

them, and is always looking for ways to share<br />

and give to her classmates. Kylie regularly<br />

brings snacks from home to share with<br />

students who do not have their own. She<br />

almost always has a smile on her face and hugs<br />

for her classmates. She truly is a joy and she<br />

shines bright!<br />


2ND GRADE<br />

Aiden is a remarkable young man. He is<br />

caring, compassionate, and hardworking,<br />

and always willing to lend a hand. Aiden is<br />

accepting of diversity and anyone no matter<br />

their disabilities or circumstances. He brings<br />

laughter to every room he’s in and always keeps<br />

us smiling. He is often seen cleaning up other<br />

students’ lunch trash to help our custodial<br />

staff maintain a clean and sanitary environment<br />

in the cafeteria. Aiden is a leader. He<br />

initiates games and activities at recess, ensuring<br />

that all students are included and are able to<br />

participate. The light of a caring kid shines<br />

very brightly through Aiden.

PHOTOS: Bruckner’s School Photography<br />


3RD GRADE<br />

Emalynn is the most considerate child. She<br />

truly seeks to discover everyone’s potential<br />

and loves to shed light on other people’s<br />

outstanding qualities. She doesn’t care who<br />

you are or what your position is - she is going<br />

to treat every single person with equal<br />

respect. Emalynn is a peacekeeper at heart<br />

and encourages everyone to be kind, even<br />

when they don’t really want to!<br />


4TH GRADE<br />

Gage goes above and beyond to look for<br />

opportunities to be kind and helpful. He has<br />

made it his personal goal to actively seek ways<br />

to serve others and, in turn, make our school<br />

a better place. Gage takes pride in helping<br />

pick up a lunch that another student has<br />

spilled, give others a word of encouragement,<br />

and help those in need, just to name a few.<br />

We are truly blessed to have students like<br />

Gage at Pelahatchie Elementary.<br />


6TH GRADE<br />

Dawson is kind and caring towards everyone<br />

he meets. He shows respect not only to adults,<br />

but to his peers as well. He is not concerned<br />

with being “the cool kid” or the “most<br />

popular.” He is always his genuine self and<br />

treats everyone equally no matter who they<br />

are, what they wear, or how they act.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 49


Sponsored by<br />

For seven weeks, Renasant Bank<br />

and Hometown Rankin Magazine<br />

honors school personnel throughout<br />

Rankin County for outstanding<br />

work in their fields. Nominations<br />

are accepted through Facebook<br />

each week and those receiving<br />

the most nominations are awarded<br />

gift baskets from our sponsor.<br />

We are pleased to have been able to<br />

celebrate with these amazing school<br />

employees that were voted on by<br />

their peers. Thank you to all who<br />

participated and congratulations<br />

to our seven winners.<br />

Coach<br />

Jason<br />

Russum<br />

McLaurin Elementary<br />

Jason Russum is a true asset to McLaurin Elementary School<br />

and embodies our motto of living our mission, modeling<br />

excellence, and making magic happen for students. He works<br />

hard to go above and beyond for both the community and the<br />

students at our school. Coach Russum has overseen our<br />

mentoring program for the past three years and has truly made<br />

connections beyond the walls of his classroom. He is an<br />

invaluable part of our Tiger family!<br />

–Kristen Langerman, Principal<br />

McLaurin is truly a hidden gem in Rankin County. We have<br />

some of the best students, teachers, and administrators in all of<br />

RCSD. It makes the tough days easier and each day enjoyable.<br />

–Jason Russum<br />

50 • MAY 2023

Bus Driver<br />

Jeffrey<br />

White<br />

McLaurin High<br />

Many people think that the school day begins at 7:30 when<br />

students report to class, but at McLaurin High School many of<br />

our students start their day when they step on the bus as early<br />

as 6:30. These students are greeted by a great team of drivers<br />

who are led by one of the best transportation supervisors in<br />

our district. Jeff White works extremely hard to keep our buses<br />

running smoothly and support the families of our community.<br />

I join our entire staff in congratulating Mr. White for this very<br />

deserving honor.”<br />

–Russell Granberry, Head Principal<br />

McLaurin has been a big part of my family for eleven years. It has<br />

been a blessing to serve in our small community. As transportation<br />

supervisor for the McLaurin school zone, it has been my honor<br />

to continue to build relationships with parents, students, and<br />

members of the community that provides our students with the<br />

best and safest school experience possible. Go Tigers!<br />

–Coach White, Transportation Supervisor<br />

Counselor<br />

Sandy Tabor<br />

Florence High<br />

Mrs. Tabor has served Florence High School for many years as<br />

both principal and counselor. Her influence on our school is<br />

impossible to measure. She is such a rich source of knowledge<br />

and wisdom! Personally, as a new administrator, she has been<br />

a wonderful resource and advisor. I am blessed to have had<br />

the opportunity to work with and learn from Mrs. Tabor.<br />

She’s truly a treasure!<br />

–Cindy Morris, Assistant Principal<br />

I was so surprised and excited to be honored by Hometown<br />

High Five. I have been blessed to have spent many years doing<br />

what I love at the absolute best school around. There are so<br />

many great counselors in Rankin County, and that makes this<br />

even more special.<br />

–Sandy Tabor, Counselor<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 51

Cafeteria Worker<br />

Daphne<br />

Montgomery<br />

Oakdale Elementary<br />

Teacher<br />

Laurie<br />

Estridge<br />

Rouse Elementary<br />

Mrs. Daphne is a devoted and diligent cafeteria worker.<br />

She is reliable and consistent in all she does. She seems to be<br />

able to handle most anything in the cafeteria. She loves our<br />

students and works hard to make sure they have what they<br />

need in regards to child nutrition. We are thankful for her and<br />

her hard work.<br />

–Andrea Payne, Principal<br />

Oakdale Elementary is an amazing place to work. I absolutely<br />

love greeting all the children. The administrators are the<br />

friendliest. They are extremely helpful when needed.<br />

The teachers are all so sweet. My cafeteria family is that -<br />

a family with a wonderful boss, Monique. I can’t say enough<br />

good comments about all the employees at Oakdale.<br />

It is definitely THE place to work!<br />

–Daphne Montgomery<br />

Rouse Elementary is grateful for her service to our students and<br />

community. Mrs. Estridge brings enthusiasm, love, and dedication<br />

to her classroom each day. Her commitment to our Baby<br />

Bulldogs is evident!<br />

–Angela Nichols, Principal<br />

As a kindergarten teacher at Rouse Elementary, I enjoy my job<br />

because of the unique and rewarding experiences of working<br />

with young children who are just beginning their academic<br />

journey. I also find joy in being a positive influence on their<br />

growth and development, as well as the satisfaction of knowing<br />

I am helping shape the future. Additionally, the supportive<br />

parents and staff and close-knit community at Rouse Elementaryis<br />

a huge reason why I love what I do! I cherish all of the<br />

friendships and memories I have made with each family I have<br />

taught the last 23 years.<br />

–Laurie Estridge<br />

52 • MAY 2023

Librarian<br />

Tracy Lofton<br />

Pisgah Elementary<br />

Custodian<br />

Marcus Hill<br />

Highland Bluff Elementary<br />

Mrs. Lofton is always on the go and always involved in a project<br />

in support of the betterment of Pisgah Elementary. She loves<br />

our students and invests in them. She also loves our teachers<br />

and supports their teaching by offering relevant literature,<br />

sharing her knowledge and experience and offering fun<br />

learning ideas. She loves reading books and bringing them to<br />

life. Thank you, Mrs. Lofton, for everything you have done and<br />

continue to do for our sweet and “not-so-little anymore” school.<br />

–Ashley Bullock, Assistant Principal<br />

I love being at Pisgah Elementary because it feels like family.<br />

I want students to know that I am their biggest cheerleader<br />

because school needs to be a joyful place where you feel<br />

welcome, safe and loved. I aspire to make them smile, laugh,<br />

or feel a connection through a book that they will remember<br />

and they to can also be a difference maker. It’s a great feeling<br />

when you love your job and they are your second family.<br />

–Tracy Lofton<br />

Marcus is a vital part of our team at Highland Bluff. He jumps<br />

on board to help with anything that we need and always has a<br />

smile on his face. The kids and staff love him and we are glad<br />

to have him at the Bluff!<br />

–Josh Jones, Principal<br />

There are a lot of things I love about my job and working at<br />

Highland Bluff Elementary. One thing I love about coming to<br />

work every day is seeing all of the kids, and being around<br />

them is something I will never take for granted. I love my job<br />

and coworkers, they make coming to work every day something<br />

to look forward to.<br />

–Marcus Hill<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 53



FRIDAY,<br />

MAY 12<br />




FRIDAY,<br />

MAY 26<br />





SAT, MAY 13TH<br />

SAT, MAY 27TH<br />

SUN, MAY 28TH<br />

54 • MAY 2023

SALADS<br />


SOUPS<br />


SCAN TO<br />


162 Market Street • Flowood, MS 39232<br />

601-891-0091<br />


Hometown RANKIN • 55

56 • MAY 2023<br />

Business Networking Event<br />

Spring into Action<br />

March 23 / Cadence Bank, Richland

Hometown RANKIN • 57

XII USA International<br />

Ballet Competition<br />

Dances Into Mississippi<br />

this June<br />

Karen Gilder<br />

The USA International Ballet Competition (USA<br />

IBC) has invited 119 dancers from seventeen nations<br />

to compete in the 2023 USA IBC, the official<br />

international ballet competition of the United States<br />

by Joint Resolution of Congress. Normally held every<br />

four years, but delayed one year due to the pandemic,<br />

in Jackson, the 12th USA IBC is slated for June 10-24.<br />

The International Ballet Competition originated<br />

in Varna, Bulgaria in 1964. The competition eventually<br />

expanded to rotating annual events in Varna, Moscow<br />

and Tokyo. In 1979 the event first came to the United<br />

States in Jackson where it now returns every four years,<br />

all sanctioned by UNESCO International Dance<br />

Council.<br />

“Showcasing artistic excellence, the USA IBC is a<br />

platform for dancers to test their skills against the<br />

highest international standards,” said Mona Nicholas,<br />

USA IBC executive director. “Jackson is respected as a<br />

prestigious competition that launches dance careers.<br />

We anticipate a thrilling competition.”<br />

Fifty-three of the invited competitors are juniors,<br />

ages 15 to 18, and 68 are seniors, ages 19 to 28. The<br />

United States has the highest number of invited<br />

dancers (57), followed by Japan (17) and the Republic<br />

of Korea (15). Other nations represented are Armenia,<br />

Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, Finland, France,<br />

Germany, Israel, Mongolia, Paraguay, Philippines,<br />

United Kingdom, and Venezuela.<br />

Selection is always a difficult process. Hundreds of<br />

videos must be reviewed and scored. The committee<br />

consists of seasoned dance professionals and final<br />

scores are tabulated using the exact tools used during<br />

the competition.<br />

Dancers can compete as soloists, with a partner<br />

who is also a competitor, or with a noncompeting<br />

partner. The competition’s two-week period is<br />

structured for approximately 100 dancers to proceed<br />

through three rounds of competition, successively<br />

trimming the field until judges determine medalists<br />

and prize winners.<br />

By accepting slightly more than 100 dancers, the<br />

USA IBC stands a better chance at hitting its 100-<br />

dancer target for the event since, inevitably, a few drop<br />

out because of injury, job offers or other issues.<br />

In the USA IBC, dancers come from around the<br />

world to compete before a jury of dance dignitaries as<br />

well as an audience peppered with ballet company<br />

directors and scouts. Medals, company contracts,<br />

Photos: Michael J Moore<br />

58 • MAY 2023

apprenticeships, scholarships and more than<br />

$200,000 in cash prizes will be awarded. All dancers<br />

who advance to Round 3 will receive a $1,500 stipend<br />

to off-set travel costs.<br />

The 12th opening ceremony will be held on June<br />

10, 2023, at Thalia Mara Hall. The evening will begin<br />

with the Parade of Nations honoring the more than<br />

twenty countries represented by the competitors and<br />

jury. Following a brief intermission, The Washington<br />

Ballet, including many competition alumni, will<br />

perform company repertoire.<br />

John Meehan, former American Ballet Theatre<br />

principal dancer, will chair the 2023 jury for the third<br />

time. “The USA IBC is about more than medals,” said<br />

Meehan. “It’s a celebration of dance that reflects the<br />

highest standards of artistic excellence.” Other jurors<br />

will be Paloma Herrera, Argentina; Frank Andersen,<br />

Denmark; Hae Shik Kim, Korea; Angel Corella,<br />

Spain; Lauren Anderson, USA; Ashley Wheater,<br />

United Kingdom; Feng Ying, China; Stanton Welch,<br />

Australia; Robert Curran, Australia; and André Lewis,<br />

Canada.<br />

David Keary, Ballet Mississippi artistic director<br />

and a former New York City Ballet dancer, will direct<br />

the 2023 USA IBC Dance School, held concurrently<br />

with the competition. Faculty members include,<br />

Lawrence Jackson, Charles Askegard, Lisa Johnson<br />

- Willingham, Gretchen Bernard-Newberger, Valerie<br />

Madonia, and Lisa Hess Jones. All classes will be held<br />

in the state-of-the-art dance studios of Belhaven<br />

University.<br />

Princess Reid<br />

USA IBC 2018 Competitor,<br />

Joffrey Ballet<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 59

Julia Rust<br />

USA IBC 2018 Silver Medalist<br />

The Arts & Lecture Series will kick off with<br />

Ben Stevenson, USA IBC Honorary Chairman.<br />

Stevenson, a former dancer with Britain’s Royal<br />

Ballet and English National Ballet, has served<br />

as co-director of National Ballet of<br />

Washington, D.C., artistic director<br />

of Houston Ballet and Chicago<br />

Ballet, and served as the<br />

artistic director of Texas Ballet<br />

Theatre until his retirement in July 2022.<br />

Steel sculpture artist Jack Howard-Potter<br />

will discuss his creation, Dancer 12. Author and<br />

dance critic for The New Yorker, Jennifer Homans,<br />

will discuss her meticulously researched book<br />

Mr. B: George Balanchine’s 20th Century. Bournonville<br />

stager Frank Andersen’s lecture will highlight<br />

The World of August Bournonville.<br />

60 • MAY 2023

Brooklyn Mack<br />

USA IBC 2006 Silver Medalist<br />

In 2018, its most recent year, the USA IBC<br />

drew 40,400 attendees in two weeks and generated<br />

a $12.5 million economic impact for Mississippi.<br />

For a complete list of competitors, visit<br />

www.usaibc.com/compete. Tickets are on sale at<br />

www.usaibc.com/attend.<br />

For more information visit www.usaibc.com.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 61

62 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 63

Five Minute Taco Dip<br />

• 8 oz. cream cheese softened<br />

• 1½ cups sour cream<br />

• 1 packet taco seasoning<br />

• Iceberg lettuce<br />

• Shredded cheddar<br />

• Diced tomatoes<br />

• Jalapenos<br />

• Green onions or red onions<br />

Mix cream cheese with hand mixer<br />

on medium until fluffy. Add sour<br />

cream and taco seasoning. Mix to<br />

combine. Spread into a dish.<br />

Top with toppings.<br />

Pico de Gallo<br />

• 6 plum tomatoes, chopped<br />

• 1 small onion, finely chopped<br />

• ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro<br />

• 1 to 2 jalapeno pepper, seeded<br />

and finely chopped<br />

• 3 Tbsp. lime juice (about 1 lime)<br />

• 1 Tbsp. cilantro stems, finely<br />

chopped<br />

• 1 garlic clove, minced<br />

• ¼ tsp. salt<br />

In a large medium bowl,<br />

combine all ingredients.<br />

Cover and refrigerate 1-2 hours<br />

before serving.<br />

Cheesy Taco Skillet<br />

• 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil<br />

• 1 red bell pepper, chopped<br />

• ¼ cup sliced green onions, plus<br />

more to garnish<br />

• 2 cloves of garlic, minced<br />

• 1 Tbsp. chili powder<br />

• 1 Tbsp. ground cumin<br />

• Kosher salt<br />

• 1 lb. ground beef<br />

• 1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes<br />

• 1 cup black beans<br />

• 1 Tbsp. hot sauce<br />

• 1 cup shredded Monterey<br />

jack cheese<br />

• 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese<br />

Heat oil in a skillet over mediumhigh<br />

heat. Add bell pepper and<br />

green onion and cook five minutes<br />

until tender. Cook garlic one minute,<br />

until fragrant. Add chili powder and<br />

cumin and stir until combined, then<br />

season with salt. Add ground beef<br />

and cook until no longer pink, five<br />

minutes more. Add diced tomatoes<br />

and black beans and stir until<br />

combined. Stir in hot sauce, cheddar,<br />

and Monterey jack. Cover and let<br />

melt, two minutes, then garnish<br />

with green onions and serve. Cut<br />

quesadillas into wedges and serve<br />

with lime wedges and sour cream.<br />

Refried Bean Tostados<br />

• 6 flour tortillas (8 inches)<br />

• ½ lb. sliced fresh mushrooms<br />

• 1 cup diced zucchini<br />

• 2 Tbsp. canola oil<br />

• 1 jar (16 oz.) chunky salsa<br />

• 1 can (7 oz.) white or shoepeg<br />

corn, drained<br />

• 1 can (16 oz.) vegetarian refried<br />

beans, warmed<br />

• 1½ cups shredded lettuce<br />

• 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese<br />

• 2 medium ripe avocados, peeled<br />

and sliced<br />

• 1½ cups chopped tomatoes<br />

• 6 Tbsp. sour cream<br />

In a large ungreased skillet, cook<br />

tortillas for 1-2 minutes on each side<br />

or until lightly browned. Remove<br />

and set aside. In the same skillet,<br />

sauté mushrooms and zucchini in<br />

oil until crisp and tender. Add salsa<br />

and corn; cook for 2-3 minutes or<br />

until heated through. Spread refried<br />

beans over each tortilla; top with<br />

lettuce, salsa mixture, cheese,<br />

avocados, tomatoes and sour cream.<br />

64 • MAY 2023

Easy Chicken Enchiladas<br />

• 1 10 oz. can enchilada sauce<br />

• 4 oz. cream cheese, cubed<br />

• 1½ cups salsa<br />

• 2 cups cubed cooked chicken<br />

• 1 15 oz. can pinto beans,<br />

rinsed and drained<br />

• 1 4 oz. can chopped green chilis<br />

• 10 flour tortillas (6 in.)<br />

• 1 cup shredded Mexican blend<br />

cheese<br />

• Optional: lettuce, chopped tomato<br />

sour cream<br />

Spoon ½ cup enchilada sauce into<br />

a greased 13x9 inch baking dish.<br />

In a large saucepan, cook and stir<br />

cream cheese and salsa over medium<br />

heat until blended, 2-3 minutes.<br />

Stir in the chicken, beans and chiles.<br />

Place about ⅓ cup chicken mixture<br />

down the center of each tortilla.<br />

Roll up and place seam down over<br />

sauce. Top with remaining enchilada<br />

sauce; sprinkle with cheese. Cover<br />

and bake at 350 until heated through,<br />

25-30 minutes. If desired, serve with<br />

lettuce, tomato and sour cream.<br />

Cheesy Beef Quesadillas<br />

• 1 lb. ground beef<br />

• 2 cloves garlic, minced<br />

• 1 onion, diced<br />

• 1 Tbsp. taco seasoning<br />

• 2 Tbsp. tomato paste<br />

• 8 oz. can black beans,<br />

drained and rinsed<br />

• 2 avocados, pitted and diced<br />

• ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro<br />

• 4 tsp. canola oil<br />

• 4 large flour tortillas<br />

• 8 oz. shredded white cheddar<br />

• 1 lime, cut into wedges<br />

• Kosher salt<br />

• Ground black pepper<br />

• Sour cream<br />

In a large cast-iron skillet over<br />

medium-high heat, brown beef,<br />

breaking up with a wooden spoon.<br />

Season with salt and pepper. Sauté<br />

with garlic and onion until softened,<br />

3 to 4 minutes. Add taco seasoning,<br />

tomato paste, one Tbsp. water and<br />

black beans; cook on medium-low<br />

for five minutes. Turn off heat and mix<br />

in avocado and cilantro. Warm a large<br />

non-stick pan over medium heat with<br />

one Tbsp. oil. Place a flour tortilla in<br />

the pan and sprinkle half with cheese,<br />

beef mixture and more cheese. Fold<br />

tortilla over and fry lightly on both<br />

sides until cheese is melted.<br />

Repeat with remaining tortillas.<br />

Cheesy Chicken<br />

Enchilada Soup<br />

• 3 cups chicken broth<br />

• 2 lbs. chicken breast<br />

(skinless and boneless)<br />

• 1½ cup enchilada sauce<br />

• ½ cup yellow onion, diced<br />

• 3 cloves of garlic, minced<br />

• 1 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes<br />

• 1 15 oz. can black beans,<br />

drained and rinsed<br />

• 1 15.25 oz. can whole kernel corn<br />

• 1 7 oz. can diced green chiles<br />

• ½ tsp. ground cumin<br />

• 1 tsp. salt<br />

• 8 oz. cheddar cheese, shredded<br />

Heat one Tbsp. of oil in a large pot over<br />

medium heat. Add chicken to sear<br />

for 2-3 minutes, then flip and cook an<br />

additional 2-3 minutes on the other<br />

side. Remove the chicken from the<br />

pot, set aside. Add the onion and<br />

cook until softened. Add the garlic<br />

and continue to cook an additional<br />

30 seconds. Pour in the chicken<br />

broth and enchilada sauce. Stir and<br />

combine. Add diced tomatoes, black<br />

beans, corn and diced chiles. Add salt<br />

and cumin. Return the chicken to the<br />

soup. Bring the soup to a simmer.<br />

Cover and cook for 20-30 minutes<br />

until soup reached 165 and chicken<br />

is fully cooked. Remove the chicken,<br />

shred, and return to the soup.<br />

Remove the soup from the heat.<br />

Add shredded cheese and stir as<br />

it melts.<br />

Homemade Churros<br />

• ½ cup water<br />

• ½ cup 2% milk<br />

• 1 Tbsp. canola oil<br />

• ¼ tsp. salt<br />

• 1 cup all-purpose flour<br />

• 1 large egg, room temperature<br />

• ¼ tsp. grated lemon zest<br />

• Additional oil for frying<br />

• ½ cup sugar<br />

• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon<br />

In a large saucepan, bring water,<br />

milk, oil and salt to a boil. Add flour<br />

all at once and stir until a smooth<br />

ball forms. Transfer to a large bowl;<br />

let stand for 5 minutes. Beat on<br />

medium-high speed for 1 minute<br />

or until the dough softens. Add egg<br />

and lemon zest; beat for 1-2 minutes.<br />

Set aside to cool. In a deep cast-iron<br />

or heavy skillet, heat one inch oil to<br />

375. Insert a large star tip onto a<br />

pastry bag; fill with dough. On a<br />

baking sheet, pipe dough into 4 inch<br />

strips. Transfer strips to skillet and fry<br />

until golden brown on both sides.<br />

Drain on paper towels. Combine the<br />

sugar and cinnamon; sprinkle over<br />

churros. Serve warm.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 65

66 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 67

68 • MAY 2023

Camille Anding<br />

There’s a flurry of excitement<br />

among the members of the former<br />

Shiloh Methodist Church<br />

(now a nondenominational<br />

gathering of gospel<br />

sharing members).<br />

Since the church voted to step<br />

into the nondenominational role as<br />

a church, it seems the floodgates<br />

of blessings have been pouring<br />

down upon them.<br />

Who wouldn’t be excited to see<br />

God moving in so many lives?<br />

Part of the excitement is related to their new shepherd-leader, John Wells and his wife,<br />

Teresa. They came to Shiloh from First Baptist Church Pleasant Grove in Birmingham,<br />

Alabama. Since John grew up in Jackson and attended Alta Woods Baptist Church, this<br />

area feels like coming back home. After thirty-four years in the ministry of evangelism<br />

and worship leader in Colorado, Texas, North Carolina, Florida, and Louisiana, he and<br />

Teresa agree that Shiloh feels like the perfect fit as his role as senior pastor.<br />

God has blessed John with multiple talents. After graduating from high school,<br />

he was offered full scholarships in baseball, track, and voice. When he felt God’s call to<br />

the ministry, his dad told him to seriously consider what that would mean. John did,<br />

but God’s call never subsided, and John has never regretted saying “Yes” to God.<br />

However, it was two and a half years ago during the pandemic that John heard<br />

another specific directive from God. In 2021, John got a COVID diagnosis that put him<br />

in the hospital for five weeks and near<br />

death more than once. It was during this<br />

“on his back” condition that he heard<br />

the Holy Spirit directing him into the<br />

senior pastorate.<br />

When God directs, and the<br />

individual obeys, God takes care of the<br />

hows and whens. While Shiloh Church<br />

was looking for a pastor, God was placing<br />

John’s name to the top of their list while<br />

at the same time drawing John back to<br />

Mississippi. He and Teresa have been in<br />

the church parsonage for six months and<br />

have joyfully acclimated to their new<br />

home and are adjusting to rural life.<br />

John’s passion for preaching God’s<br />

Word is evident as he recalls God telling him about His calling him to Shiloh Church:<br />

“There’s nothing you have that these people need; it’s what the Holy Spirit will speak<br />

through you that they need.”<br />

A new pastor is excitement enough, but the members are also anticipating<br />

life-changing experiences when the ten days of Shiloh Camp Meeting begin June 2nd<br />

through June 11th. John Daniels, pastor of First Baptist Flora, is the scheduled preacher<br />

for this year’s camp meeting. It’s a special event that dates back to 1828. Members<br />

move onto the church property in wooden framed dwellings (resembling the Neshoba<br />

County Fair family houses) where they can fellowship and attend worship services for the<br />

ten days under a giant pavilion that’s in the center of the houses or tents as the members<br />

call them. Some spend the night in the “tents” while other members come and go, but<br />

members and visitors put it on their calendars as a spiritual highlight in the church’s year.<br />

“Camp meeting has been a special part of the year for me for the past fifty years.<br />

I found that living in a community like Shiloh was very special and new to me. The<br />

people that lived here then were raised in the Camp meeting spirit. For me it was a<br />

new experience. The ten days of revival keeps the church focused on all the blessings<br />

this community has received. l am so thankful to be a part of it. I think God blesses a<br />

church and community who praise Him. Wouldn’t want to live anywhere else,” said<br />

life-long member, Tommy Thrash.<br />

Yes, the excitement is brimming in and around Shiloh Church. Teresa shared that<br />

when they first heard about the possibility of John being on staff there, she prayed,<br />

“Lord, take us to where you’re already working.” From all outward appearances and the<br />

spirit of excitement that’s revitalizing the church, God has answered her prayer.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 69



Arabian<br />

Nights<br />

Prom<br />


APRIL 15<br />

70 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 71


As you<br />

graduate and<br />

reflect on your<br />

years in school,<br />

what is one<br />

of the<br />

most beneficial<br />

things you’ve<br />

learned?<br />

Peter Downing<br />

JPTV Anchor,<br />

Baseball Manager<br />

I’m fortunate to go to a<br />

school that offers a number<br />

of opportunities for students<br />

to find something they love<br />

to do. Every high school has<br />

opportunities for a person to<br />

spend a significant amount of<br />

time finding out what they<br />

are good at and become better<br />

at it, whether that’s in a sport,<br />

a club, or the arts. If you want<br />

to start a new club or a class<br />

at your school, do it;<br />

don’t be afraid to fail.<br />

A high school student has<br />

four years to fail as many<br />

times as it takes while living<br />

on someone else’s dollar.<br />

Use that to your advantage,<br />

because it’ll never<br />

happen again.<br />

Romney McLeod<br />

Volleyball, National Honor<br />

Society Treasurer<br />

One of the most beneficial<br />

things that I have learned<br />

throughout my high school<br />

career is to never miss an<br />

opportunity to be involved.<br />

I have learned so much and<br />

met so many new people<br />

through all of my involvements.<br />

When I was younger I was<br />

scared to try new things.<br />

But once I got to high school,<br />

I realized that it is okay to try.<br />

As I have gotten older,<br />

I have come to appreciate the<br />

opportunities that I am given<br />

at Jackson Prep and I choose<br />

to use those to my advantage.<br />

I have never regretted trying<br />

something new no matter<br />

the outcome, because every<br />

experience is valuable.<br />

72 • MAY 2023

Sakshi Kaura<br />

Color Guard Captain,<br />

Reveillon Show Choir<br />

When people say time flies in<br />

high school, they aren’t lying.<br />

Time management is one of the<br />

most beneficial and challenging<br />

things I learned in high school.<br />

I’m involved in the arts and<br />

many other extracurricular<br />

activities at Jackson Prep,<br />

so I’m constantly on campus.<br />

I realized I needed to know how<br />

to manage my time in and out<br />

of school to maintain my<br />

relationships with my family,<br />

friends, and myself. Senior year<br />

goes by fast, so cherish every<br />

moment and manage what you<br />

can do to the best of your ability.<br />

Maggie McMillan<br />

STAR Student,<br />

Reveillon Show Choir<br />

During all of high school,<br />

but my senior year particularly,<br />

I have learned the value of<br />

appreciating the important<br />

people in my life. My parents<br />

and teachers have pushed me to<br />

be my absolute best, and my<br />

parents have supported me in all<br />

of my goals and interests. I have<br />

learned to be thankful for the<br />

people who have been there for<br />

me throughout my high school<br />

career and to find the people in<br />

college who will support me the<br />

way my high school teachers<br />

and friends have.<br />

Tyler Reeves<br />

Varsity Basketball,<br />

National Merit<br />

Commended Scholar<br />

During my time at Jackson<br />

Prep, the most beneficial thing<br />

I have learned is the importance<br />

of being proactive. For projects<br />

or papers that are due at the end<br />

of the week, I have learned that<br />

it is so much more helpful to<br />

start early and allow myself<br />

enough time to finish it all.<br />

Being proactive takes away the<br />

excessive stress that comes when<br />

too much work gets piled up<br />

and it is all due the next day<br />

especially when I also have a<br />

sports practice or other event.<br />

Chase Thompson<br />

National Merit Finalist, Pacer<br />

The most valuable lesson<br />

I’ve learned throughout high<br />

school is how to give myself<br />

grace. I’ve been held to a high<br />

standard by my school and<br />

myself, but I’ve learned that<br />

I can’t be everything and<br />

everywhere all the time.<br />

It is completely possible to<br />

take the gas off of one activity<br />

and give more time to another<br />

as long as you remain reliable!<br />

Megan Tang<br />

International Student,<br />

Speech & Debate Team<br />

Will Upton<br />

Varsity Football MVP,<br />

National Merit Finalist<br />

The importance of prioritizing<br />

tasks in life. When I encounter<br />

many opportunities at Prep,<br />

I gradually learn to choose<br />

the ones that are important to<br />

me and that I am passionate<br />

about. These activities guide<br />

me to the path for my future.<br />

Group collaboration and<br />

working well with others is<br />

one of the most important<br />

skills that Prep has developed<br />

in me. Being part of a team<br />

and learning to work with<br />

different kinds of people has<br />

been a valuable asset in my<br />

career at Prep.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 73

Ben Tiller<br />

Varsity Band, STAR Student<br />

I was born and raised a military<br />

child, and when my family<br />

moved to Mississippi in my 9th<br />

grade year, my life underwent a<br />

drastic change. High school is<br />

full of many uncertainties and<br />

to navigate these mysteries in<br />

a new environment was even<br />

more challenging. However,<br />

Prep has helped me to see<br />

change as an opportunity,<br />

not something to fear.<br />

As I graduate and move on<br />

to college, I will have new<br />

experiences, meaning more<br />

opportunities for growth.<br />

Rachel Watts<br />

AP Art, Equestrian Team<br />

One of the most important<br />

things I have learned in high<br />

school is to learn what you like<br />

to do. It is important to know<br />

what your interests are and<br />

discover more about yourself.<br />

Take advantage of opportunities<br />

to try new things, but don’t<br />

do too much that it becomes<br />

overwhelming. Once you find<br />

what you like, spend your time<br />

doing that, and who knows,<br />

maybe you’ll find what you want<br />

to do for your job in the future.<br />

Luke Segrest<br />

Basketball MVP,<br />

Mu Alpha Theta President<br />

I would say one of the most<br />

beneficial things I’ve learned<br />

is that you can’t control<br />

everything. Not everything<br />

goes according to plan all the<br />

time, and it is important to be<br />

able to respond to that positively.<br />

Edward Wilson<br />

Poetry Out Loud<br />

State Champion,<br />

Speech & Debate Team<br />

For me the most important<br />

lesson I’ve learned across the<br />

last four years is that your future<br />

is just that—yours. As much as<br />

our teachers, friends, and family<br />

love us, WE must do the hard<br />

work of making our lives<br />

something we are proud of.<br />

No one can live it but you.<br />

Noah Mallard<br />

Varsty Band Captain,<br />

Reveillon Show Choir<br />

One thing I’ve learned in<br />

high school is to just enjoy it.<br />

Don’t sweat the little things<br />

or what someone else thinks<br />

about you. Just do you.<br />

Duncan Mathews<br />

Varsity Baseball, Pathfinder<br />

One of the most important<br />

and beneficial things that<br />

I have learned in my years at<br />

Jackson Prep is to be a leader<br />

and create a great example<br />

for your surrounding peers.<br />

74 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 75

Welcome<br />

Neighbor<br />

Club<br />

April Luncheon<br />

Fashion Show<br />

April 11<br />

Country Club of Jackson<br />

The luncheon featured their<br />

annual fashion show sponsored<br />

by Soft Surroundings, a retailer<br />

offering casual-wear, shoes,<br />

and more for women.<br />

Soft Surroundings is located at the<br />

Renaissance at Colony Park.<br />

76 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 77

Setting<br />

the Tone<br />

The Story of<br />

Dorothy Henderson’s<br />

Homegoing<br />

Sarah Rein<br />

“I won’t bow to idols, I’ll stand strong and worship You<br />

And if it puts me in the fire, I’ll rejoice ‘cause You’re there too<br />

I won’t be formed by feelings, I hold fast to what is true<br />

If the cross brings transformation then I’ll be crucified with You<br />

‘Cause death is just the doorway into resurrection life<br />

And if I join You in Your suffering, then I’ll join You when You rise<br />

And when You return in glory with all the angels and the saints<br />

My heart will still be singing, my song will be the same.”<br />

Cody Carnes – Christ Be Magnified<br />

78 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 79

80 • MAY 2023<br />

In our world of modern medicine - with a seemingly<br />

endless array of treatment options and breakthroughs -<br />

it is unusual to hear people speak openly of death. We<br />

are much more comfortable pursuing and praying for<br />

healing. And, in a sense, that is right.<br />

God has given us good, often amazing, gifts in the<br />

care and medicine doctors can provide. It is not wrong to<br />

desire to be well and to pray and work towards that end.<br />

But what about when treatments fail? What happens<br />

when age or disease weakens our body to the point that<br />

there is nothing left to be done?<br />

For the Christian - it is time to celebrate. At least,<br />

that’s the answer Dorothy Henderson embraced as she<br />

prepared to meet her Savior. From the day of her<br />

diagnosis, she set the tone for how her family would<br />

approach the end of her life on earth.<br />

In October of 2019, the Henderson family was<br />

planning a large birthday celebration for Dorothy. Her<br />

five children would be present along with some of her<br />

grandchildren. Her daughter, Dawn, who was hosting<br />

the party at her family’s farm in Itawamba, answered a<br />

call from her parents while she was decorating. At a<br />

doctor’s appointment that morning, Gene and Dorothy<br />

had received the shocking news that she had cancer in<br />

her bile duct and pancreas - a dire prognosis. But they<br />

were still coming.<br />

Dawn immediately reached out to her siblings and,<br />

on a group call, they wondered aloud, “How do we have<br />

a party now?” But it dawned on them that God had<br />

known the news Dorothy would get that morning.<br />

And He had planned to have the family together that<br />

day...for a celebration. So they proceeded to have a<br />

beautiful candle-lit dinner, cake, gifts, flowers, and an<br />

evening of dancing to Elvis. Afterwards, they sat<br />

together under the family’s enclosed porch as it rained<br />

and affirmed their faith together. Their mother was<br />

choosing to trust Him and they would too.<br />

Dorothy shared her thoughts as she initially processed<br />

the news. “I told them then that I didn’t want it to be a<br />

gloomy thing - no slow walking and sad singing. We’ve<br />

told people all our lives how to live and how to die.”

And, as her cancer returned after the initial<br />

treatments and her health continued to deteriorate, it<br />

became increasingly obvious that the time had arrived<br />

for Dorothy and Gene to model that advice. Dorothy<br />

had turned to Jesus for salvation as a young child.<br />

She had built a life on the truths of His Word. She had<br />

partnered with Gene as he shepherded a church and as<br />

they raised five children to love Jesus. And now, she<br />

would follow Him through this last part of her journey.<br />

She would follow Him into death.<br />

Dorothy shares, “There is great joy and it takes away<br />

the fear. I did not like the word hospice but they said<br />

that will help your family - well, ok - I love my family.<br />

God’s plan started a long time before this so I can trust<br />

Him now. His plan didn’t change when I agreed to<br />

hospice. But heaven doesn’t scare me. I told my grandkids<br />

not to worry. I know where I’m going. If I’m not in<br />

this bed, I’m with the Lord.”<br />

Of primary importance to her as she prepared to<br />

meet her Savior was the salvation of the people around<br />

her. After a fall landed her in a rehabilitation center<br />

earlier this year, Dorothy’s unconventional attitude<br />

about what she was facing drew the attention of some of<br />

the staff. “A lady came in to take my blood pressure and<br />

she asked me how we could have signs celebrating what<br />

was happening. She begged me to tell her about Jesus.<br />

Her father was in the hospital after a heart attack and<br />

she wasn’t sure if or how she could bring him home. So I<br />

told her - we will just pray and ask the Lord for wisdom.<br />

So we prayed for her father and held hands while I asked<br />

her if she knew Jesus. And then she immediately left and<br />

asked her supervisor if she could go buy a Bible and<br />

stopped by later to show it to me.”<br />

Dorothy’s family has been a large part of the mission<br />

field God gave to her, and it has been a fruitful one. In<br />

their 62 years of marriage, she and Gene welcomed five<br />

children, seventeen grandchildren, and seventeen<br />

great-grandchildren - with one more on the way.<br />

Knowing she would be leaving them soon, Dorothy<br />

wanted to make sure the separation was a short-lived<br />

one. On February 22nd of this year, the Henderson<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 81

family had a “packing party” - a time when everyone<br />

would fill out a packing list with questions about their<br />

salvation, their final wishes, and their own readiness to<br />

leave this world behind. The following day, with<br />

Dorothy too sick to get out of bed, all the children and<br />

some of her grandchildren were present for a larger<br />

family gathering. Arrangements were made for a large<br />

monitor to be brought into her bedroom so the grandchildren<br />

and great-grandchildren who weren’t able to be<br />

present could participate remotely.<br />

Gene recalls the celebration -<br />

“I called it the funeral before the funeral.<br />

You know people always say - I wish I’d told them....well,<br />

everyone got to tell Dorothy how they felt about her, and<br />

she got to bless them. We arranged for a musician to be<br />

there to lead us in worship and we all prayed for her.”<br />

The next day, a Wednesday, Dorothy was feeling<br />

good and had a group of ladies coming to visit. They<br />

showed up in boas, and ended up having yet another<br />

party. More women kept calling and showing up as the<br />

day progressed and, with about twenty women present<br />

in the end, they sang and prayed as they encouraged<br />

Dorothy in her faith.<br />

Then, on Thursday, a group of women from First<br />

Baptist Brandon - where her husband had been a pastor<br />

for many years - came for a “going to heaven pep rally.”<br />

There were songs and cheers and more celebrating.<br />

“I know people think we are crazy having all these<br />

parties but it’s been a fun time getting ready,” Dorothy<br />

smiles. “And mainly, if God can be honored and lifted<br />

up and understood...” her voice trails off.<br />

82 • MAY 2023

Gene picks up where she left off, “You tell people all your life that<br />

death is not an enemy to be feared. Paul tells us that to live is Christ and to<br />

die is gain. I comfort my mind by thinking that what she’ll have in heaven<br />

is far better than what we have here. Dorothy’s gain is going to be my loss<br />

but it’s a temporary loss. I pray for grace and strength to be as strong in<br />

living as she has been strong in her passing. As a Christian, you can face<br />

death victoriously.”<br />

Dorothy’s hope in granting this interview in the last weeks of her<br />

life was that Christ would use it to call more people to Himself. As the<br />

discussion drew to a close, Gene prayed for this article’s effectiveness.<br />

That it would help others prepare for their own time to die and so be<br />

an extension of Dorothy’s witness and legacy.<br />

She ponders as we end, “If Jesus says He’s going to prepare a place for<br />

us...can you imagine what it’s going to be like? And to get to see my mom,<br />

my daddy, so many others. I love the illustration of it being like a child<br />

going to sleep in the back of the car. You go to sleep in the back of the car<br />

and you wake up and you’re there. Maybe going to heaven is a little bit<br />

like that. There’s such peace in that.”<br />

On April 10th, Dorothy Henderson was carried to heaven in the arms<br />

of her loving Father. We honor her final wishes here by posing a question<br />

for you, dear reader. Are you prepared for your own death as Dorothy was<br />

for hers? Do you know the One who defeated that final enemy and, most<br />

importantly, are you His?<br />

“Let us prepare for death.<br />

Let us cleave to the Lord Jesus,<br />

who is our all.<br />

Make our calling and election sure.<br />

Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,<br />

and believe intensely.<br />

Repent of sin and fly from it earnestly<br />

and with your whole heart.<br />

Live diligently. Live while you live.<br />

Let every moment be spent as you<br />

will wish to have spent it when you<br />

survey life from your last pillow.<br />

Let us live unto God in Christ<br />

by the Holy Ghost.<br />

May the Lord quicken our pace by the<br />

thought that it is but a little while!”<br />

Charles Spurgeon<br />

– Concerning Death<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 83

For the Future of<br />


and YOURS!<br />

Paid for by Mark Scarborough for Chancery Clerk Campaign • markforchancery.com<br />

• Married to Mary Moody<br />

Scarborough<br />

• 3 Sons (& daughters-in-law)<br />

and 8 grandchildren<br />

• Eagle Scout<br />

• Graduate of Florence High<br />

School, Hinds CC, & MSU<br />

• Member of the<br />

Plain Masonic Lodge<br />

• Member of First Baptist<br />

Church of Jackson<br />

• Served as Mississippi<br />

Representative 1984-1992<br />

• Served as Alderman,<br />

City of Richland 1997-2001<br />

• Served as Mayor,<br />

City of Richland 2005-2017<br />

• Owned and operated<br />

Scarborough Properties–<br />

Building and Leasing<br />

Commercial Properties<br />

84 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 85

86 • MAY 2023

Mental<br />

Health<br />

Wealth<br />

Did you know that 431,000 adults in<br />

Mississippi have a mental health condition?<br />

(According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness)<br />

That’s more than double the population of Rankin<br />

County. So, what is “mental health” and why do<br />

431,000 adults in Mississippi have a mental health<br />

condition? Mental health includes our emotional,<br />

psychological, and social well-being. It affects how<br />

we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how<br />

we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy<br />

choices. Mental health is important at every stage of<br />

life, from childhood and adolescence through<br />

adulthood.<br />

We can all admit that we have struggled with stress,<br />

over-thinking, and feeling down in the dumps more<br />

times than none. May is Mental Health Awareness<br />

month and we wanted to exaggerate to you the<br />

importance of taking care of yourself in these trying<br />

times and point you in the direction of the right<br />

people to turn to when you aren’t sure of what next<br />

step to take in life.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 87

Mental<br />

Health<br />

Wealth<br />

Richard McMullan, CMHT<br />

Do you think mental health awareness<br />

is not talked about as much as it should<br />

be? If so, why?<br />

Mental health awareness is not talked about as<br />

much as it should be due to stigma. Stigma is having<br />

a negative perception towards a person or persons.<br />

This can lead to people not seeking mental health<br />

services due to fear of being viewed negatively by<br />

others.<br />

What type of different counseling<br />

services do you offer?<br />

We offer individual, family, and group therapy<br />

for adults and children to address a wide variety<br />

of clinical needs, as well as a multitude of specialty<br />

individualized programs.<br />

Director of Children’s Services<br />

When a client is looking for a therapist,<br />

what are some questions they should<br />

ask to see if you are the right fit?<br />

Do I feel safe and that I can freely express myself with<br />

the therapist? Does this therapist have the necessary<br />

experience, skill, and certification to help me with my<br />

needs? Do I have a sense of connection with the<br />

therapist?<br />

Do you see more of a specific gender or<br />

age and if so, why do you think that is?<br />

We see an equal proportion of individuals, both male<br />

and female, with age ranging from early childhood<br />

to elderly.<br />

Why do you enjoy doing what you do<br />

every day?<br />

I enjoy what I do every day in mental health because<br />

I am giving back to my community and serving<br />

others with the knowledge and talents God has<br />

blessed me with.<br />

88 • MAY 2023

What’s the biggest obstacle you have seen<br />

people struggle with since the pandemic?<br />

The pandemic seemed to exacerbate existing problems for<br />

many of us. It emphasized the lack of deep and meaningful<br />

connections for many and forced others to slow down from the<br />

race that life often becomes. I’ve also seen an increase in overall<br />

anxiety and depression symptoms.Those that lost loved ones<br />

during the lockdowns also suffered a different kind of grieving<br />

experience, which has left many with delayed or complicated<br />

grief symptoms.<br />

Elizabeth Taylor, Therapist<br />

Why do you believe going to therapy and<br />

talking to someone is important?<br />

I believe everyone could benefit from seeing a counselor at least<br />

once at some point in their lives. Counseling offers so many<br />

benefits: lowers stress levels, helps us process difficult life<br />

situations/relationships/grief/loss/decisions, provides a safe<br />

environment for working through our past (childhood traumas,<br />

divorces, family of origin dynamics), develops healthy coping<br />

strategies for life’s stressors, creates healthier relationships with<br />

ourselves and with others, improves communication and<br />

expression of emotions, helps us gain self-awareness and relief<br />

from depression/anxiety/other mental disorders, and facilitates<br />

the ability to recognize faulty internal personal narratives.<br />

What led you on the path to being a therapist?<br />

When I was 13 years old, I experienced a tragic and traumatic<br />

loss through the suicide of a very dear friend. For several years,<br />

I was stuck in the cycle of questions that often accompany such<br />

a loss. I didn’t have the opportunity to process his death at the<br />

time and that contributed to some confusing emotions during<br />

my teen years. As a counselor, I try to be for others what I<br />

needed during those years.<br />

How many clients have you had with similar<br />

circumstances to your own?<br />

At the core, most people experience similar emotional and<br />

relational difficulties across the lifespan. The details and<br />

specifics may be described differently, but many people share<br />

similar emotional and relational wounds, such as rejection,<br />

insecurities, fears, loss, grief, unmet expectations, and disappointments.<br />

Having someone to talk to about these struggles<br />

can bring meaning to our suffering and can facilitate more<br />

compassion for ourselves and others. I believe that people<br />

begin to heal the moment they feel heard. Being an attentive<br />

and compassionate listener with my clients can help lay a<br />

foundation where their healing can take place.<br />

Do you see a therapist yourself?<br />

YES! I absolutely see a therapist. I think it is imperative that<br />

counselors see a counselor or therapist. The work we do in our<br />

practices can be difficult and draining, so seeing a counselor is<br />

just one part of my own professional/personal self-care efforts.<br />

I found my current therapist several years ago and am so<br />

grateful for her perspective. She has a slightly different educational<br />

background than I do (she is an LCSW) and her ability<br />

to facilitate my growth and healing has been vital for my own<br />

personal well-being. Though I’m not as consistent as I used to<br />

be with our sessions, I continue to see her when different or<br />

stressful situations arise in my life.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 89

Rankin<br />

Career<br />

Women<br />

Luncheon<br />

MARCH 28<br />


Speakers<br />

Brittany Estes &<br />

Natalie Malone Readus<br />

Brittany Estes has been coaching<br />

and championing women for over<br />

ten years. She is a professional and<br />

certified life coach who has worked<br />

in large churches utilizing her skills.<br />

Keep up with Brittany online across<br />

all social media at @jbrittanyestes.<br />

Natalie Malone Readus has spent<br />

the last two decades in the real estate<br />

closing business and along with her<br />

husband, Travis, has built several<br />

other companies. Natalie attributes<br />

her acumen to listening, learning,<br />

and allowing herself to be led.<br />

90 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 91

Thanks to all our<br />

readers and<br />

advertisers.<br />

We appreciate you!<br />

92 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 93

94 • MAY 2023

Through the Storm<br />

Mistie Desper<br />

“I found Jesus in a jail cell, and I took Him with me.”<br />

Kim Herrington’s life has been<br />

transformed, saved, and redeemed<br />

by prayer and ultimately her own<br />

surrender to Jesus Christ. Kim grew<br />

up like any other normal teenager.<br />

She had a great family, friends,<br />

school accomplishments, and was<br />

active in sports. At age 16, she became<br />

ill, but that illness quickly progressed<br />

into something dangerous.<br />

Developing pneumonia that<br />

resulted in ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome), her<br />

prognosis was grim. After her heart stopped 2-3 times, she was<br />

placed in a medically induced coma and her grieving parents<br />

were told to say their goodbyes.<br />

“My mother’s prayers must have been heard because by the<br />

grace of God, I came out of that coma.” But when Kim came to,<br />

roughly 30 days later, she was angry, confused, detached, and<br />

fearful of what was happening to her mind and body after<br />

suffering a major trauma.<br />

“My mom took one child into the hospital and left with a<br />

completely different one. I came home with a prescription for<br />

literally everything. I had Adderall to focus, morphine patches,<br />

pain pills, and sleeping aids. My body had been through so<br />

much and I had so many drugs in my system from the hospital–<br />

I came out of there fully addicted.”<br />

Trying to regain her life’s<br />

normalcy, Kim quickly realized<br />

she was unable to do it and isolated<br />

herself from her friends. This<br />

isolation led her to a new group<br />

of friends that were not who she<br />

needed in her life. “When my<br />

prescriptions ran out, my addiction<br />

still needed to be fed. I went from<br />

Adderall to cocaine.”<br />

Graduating high school, Kim<br />

was now out in the world with a full-blown drug addiction. Her<br />

life began to take a dark, scary path as she became involved in a<br />

relationship that was riddled with abuse. This dark time pushed<br />

her further into addiction. At the age of 18, she received her first<br />

DUI, and at 20, her first arrest for methamphetamine. “From<br />

the age of 17-28, I was arrested 17-18 times in counties all over<br />

Mississippi for everything that you could think of.”<br />

Kim went on not only finding herself in and out of jail, but<br />

now she was a young mom to be. Her son’s father was arrested,<br />

leaving her alone and scared for her and her baby’s well-being.<br />

Wondering how she would survive and pay for them when<br />

her waitressing job wasn’t paying the bills, she turned to<br />

selling drugs.<br />

It wasn’t long before the Lord starting sending angels her<br />

way. Two frequent diners, Jim and Cynthia Wall, stopped her<br />

one day and asked to pray for her while she was at work.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 95

Cynthia said, “When I met her, she had all the signs of<br />

having a drug habit. She was rail thin, but even then, her drive<br />

to serve others was there, to make each of her customers feel<br />

welcome and special.”<br />

Kim said, “Cynthia planted that seed. I didn’t listen then,<br />

but she planted it. She genuinely prayed and cared for me when<br />

she didn’t have to.”<br />

With that seed planted, Kim resumed the life to which she<br />

had now become accustomed. However, now she had her son<br />

to care for and think about. “I remember leaving home one day<br />

and the police were looking for someone in the neighborhood.<br />

I knew I should go home and flush the drugs I had, but I<br />

believed the Lord set it all up, and these things needed to happen<br />

for me.”<br />

As she made her way through the police, she was stopped<br />

and searched. Her son was taken from her arms, and she was<br />

arrested again. “This was the last time.” And this time was<br />

indeed different as Kim’s life was about to have a divine<br />

intervention setting her on an incredible journey of healing<br />

and recovery.<br />

Kim said, “My parents did not run to me this time and I<br />

spent 30-40 days in the Rankin County jail. It was tough love,<br />

but I needed it.”<br />

Kim’s cellmate, nicknamed Pretty Mate, was instrumental<br />

in watering the seed that Mrs. Cynthia had planted. She pushed<br />

Kim to attend the weekly bible study at the prison and she would<br />

read the Bible to her nightly. Still angry and blaming God for<br />

life’s path and her abuse and struggles, she still wasn’t warming<br />

up to the idea of church or biblical principles.<br />

On Dec 10, 2017, Kim attended a 5:30am church service<br />

outside of the jail in the freezing cold. The devotional was about<br />

a single mom’s struggles and at the bottom was 1 Peter 5:10<br />

which states, “After you have suffered for a little while, the God<br />

of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will<br />

Himself perfect, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”<br />

Kim immediately began crying and felt an “unexplainable<br />

warmth” and fell to her knees and “cried, cried, and cried.”<br />

Pretty Mate told her, “This is what surrender is.”<br />

Without notice or warning, the very next day, her parents<br />

showed up. She was released and able to reunite with her son.<br />

“I promised him that day that I’d never leave his side again and<br />

I have kept that promise.”<br />

Celebrate Recovery at The Pointe Church was her next stop.<br />

There Kim met Debbie Pridgen. “She showed me so much love,<br />

the love of Jesus, and showed me I was worthy of being loved.”<br />

96 • MAY 2023

In the program, Kim admitted to just going through the<br />

motions to satisfy the court. She says that after about six<br />

months in, something broke inside of her. She began sharing<br />

her story and began the long healing process. She admits, “I<br />

fully surrendered to the Lord and have been faithful since.”<br />

The sentence and jail time she was facing was harsh and<br />

would result in her having to leave her son for several years.<br />

Kim said, “I told the Lord that I knew He would work some<br />

miracle.” That is exactly what He did. The sentence was reduced<br />

again and again until she received news that she would not serve<br />

any jail time. “Blessing after blessing kept pouring in.” Her<br />

entire record was eventually wiped clean.<br />

Kim said, “I never make plans anymore. I just let the Lord<br />

take the wheel. My mom is the strongest woman I know. Never<br />

underestimate the power of a praying mama. I put her through<br />

so much and she lived in terror for years not knowing if I would<br />

make it home alive, but she never once turned her back on me.<br />

I admire her faith beyond words.”<br />

Kim’s son, Levi, is now seven and she has added a daughter,<br />

13-month-old Olivia. Now six years clean, she has gone on to<br />

earn a psychology degree and a multitude of certifications that<br />

she uses to help youth and parents who are in the very situation<br />

that she used to be in herself. She is very active in Celebrate<br />

Recovery at Grace Church to help others battle their addictions.<br />

“I want to plant seeds of hope and encouragement to others.”<br />

She has also been blessed with a man that loves the Lord and<br />

leads their family.<br />

Kim is pouring into others now and helping people overcome<br />

their own struggles with drug addiction. “I still have bad days<br />

like everyone else but now I run to Jesus. It’s a peace that<br />

surpasses all. I want families of addicts to know to please reach<br />

out to someone who has been through it.”<br />

“And pray, pray, pray even when it seems like people don’t<br />

care. That support means everything.”<br />

To find a local Celebrate Recovery program,<br />

visit www.celebraterecovery.com<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 97

Your Life.<br />

Our Focus.<br />

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Jackson • Madison • Flowood • Ruleville • Yazoo City • Brookhaven<br />

98 • MAY 2023



Corner of the Garage to Corner Office<br />

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Hometown RANKIN • 99

Rankin County Chamber<br />

Salute to Education<br />

-A Tribute to Excellence<br />

April 20 / Clyde Muse Center<br />

100 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 101

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

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

Becoming a firefighter is something I discovered I wanted to do<br />

right after high school. I had a relative in the fire service and he<br />

had many years in, but I didn’t pay it any attention until it was<br />

time for me to join the work force. As I began to think more on it,<br />

the more and more it appealed to me. The job itself takes bravery<br />

and courage. It teaches discipline, comradery, and brotherhood.<br />

Those traits rung in my head like a bell, and I was now drawn to<br />

it. It’s a decision I made at 24 years old and I haven’t looked back<br />

since.<br />

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

Since August 5, 2014.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My family consists of mostly women! In my mother’s house,<br />

it was me and my two younger sisters. Since there was such a<br />

huge gap in ages with my sisters being 13 and 18 years younger<br />

than me, I tasked myself with helping out my mother in every<br />

way I could when it came to raising them. I saw myself as this<br />

protective figure. Some might say, I was a rock amongst flowers.<br />

Lieutenant<br />

Arius<br />



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

One of the toughest things I’ve had to deal with in this line of<br />

work are parents who have just lost a child. While most people<br />

see this career as fun and eventful, there is also a dark side to<br />

being a fireman. True enough, death is a part of life, and we see it<br />

all the time as first responders. It’s something that we oftentimes<br />

prepare ourselves for when the call comes out. What we don’t/<br />

can’t prepare for is the gut-wrenching sympathy you feel for the<br />

family as they break down over losing a loved one. That is a very<br />

hard thing to watch.<br />

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

Travel outside the country, go skydiving, and go snowboarding<br />

in Colorado.<br />

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

You can often find me in the gym or killing it at the bowling alley<br />

while spending time with family. But I’m also a person of peace.<br />

I like to hang out at the cigar shop and engage in conversation<br />

with some of the guys.<br />

102 • MAY 2023

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

what would it be?<br />

If I could give a young person advice, it would be to never limit<br />

yourself. Don’t let the thought of something being too hard or<br />

anyone telling you something is impossible stop you from<br />

pursuing something you have a passion for. If you have a dream,<br />

chase it wholeheartedly and don’t procrastinate during the process.<br />

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

No doubt, my favorite thing about Flowood is the people.<br />

You can clearly tell that they love their fireman by how much<br />

food and snacks they bring us!<br />

What is your favorite thing about Rankin County?<br />

Rankin County has the lowest sales tax in the surrounding area<br />

- who wouldn’t get behind that?<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 103

104 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 105


Pearl Public School District<br />

ECEC students had a fun-filled day learning about farm life<br />

and engaging in hands-on activities on Farm Day.<br />

Pearl Lower Elementary first graders got their hands dirty<br />

planting corn after reading How To Plant A Taco.<br />

Northside Elementary third graders brought their learning to life<br />

by building volcanoes and observing them erupt!<br />

Pearl Upper Elementary students who met their third nine weeks goals<br />

were rewarded with snow cones from Kona Ice.<br />

The Pearl Junior High School Sixth Grade Singers were awarded<br />

all superior ratings for their performance in the Choral Arts Festival.<br />

The Class of 2023 Pearl High School Hall of Fame was honored with<br />

a luncheon at River Hills Country Club sponsored by Bank of Yazoo.<br />

106 • MAY 2023

McLaurin Elementary<br />

You don’t have to be famous to live out your own red carpet<br />

moment”, famous words written by Rachel Zoe. On March<br />

25th, the McLaurin Elementary PTO hosted a Red Carpet<br />

Fashion Show. Students from grades K4-6th grade modeled<br />

their favorite celebrity or character. The fashion show had<br />

special appearances by Lainey Wilson, Michael Jackson,<br />

Taylor Swift, Barbie, Hulk Hogan, and Harley Quinn.<br />

A woodland fairy and mermaids also made a special<br />

appearance on the red carpet. From cowgirls and rockstars<br />

to a sharp dressed man, the paparazzi sure were busy.<br />

Stay tuned, an 80s glow party is just around the corner.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 107


Florence Middle<br />

Our Flag was Still There –Kristen Holmes<br />

Attention, salute, pledge. The red and white<br />

stripes and the fifty brightly shining stars found<br />

on our flag hold so much meaning to the people<br />

of America for many different reasons. It means<br />

liberty, love, and passion. And at Florence Middle<br />

School on November 11, 2022, we showed<br />

tribute to those who have served our country<br />

with ambition and bravery.<br />

Students were encouraged to invite veterans<br />

to our assembly, so that we may honor those<br />

who dedicated their lives to serving the people<br />

of the United States of America. The gathering<br />

began with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed<br />

by “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then, the choir<br />

sang “Armed Forces Melody,” recognizing each<br />

branch of the military while the veterans stood<br />

to be acknowledged for their service. Guest<br />

speaker, Colonel Ed McDaniels, having served<br />

25 years in the military and receiving many awards<br />

while in service, spoke of the significance of this<br />

day, including personal experiences in the fight,<br />

as well as second- hand testimonies. Finally, a<br />

moment of silence to respect those who did not<br />

make it off the battlefield followed by a playing<br />

of ”Taps“ by our Big Red Band. Colonel Ed<br />

McDaniels ended his speech with a verse from<br />

the Holy Bible emphasizing the love our<br />

courageous brothers and sisters in the armed<br />

forces show for all Americans- “Greater love<br />

hath no man than this; that a man lay down his<br />

life for his friends.” So, the next time you put<br />

your hand over your heart and salute the flag,<br />

remember those who made possible the<br />

freedoms you have as an American.<br />

108 • MAY 2023

McLaurin High<br />

McLaurin Beta Club is putting Rankin County on the map.<br />

MHS students, over the last several years, have impressed<br />

locally, state-wide, and on a national stage both in academic<br />

competitions and through service projects. Within the last five<br />

years, MHS has had two National Leadership Ambassadors<br />

(1 of 3 to serve nationwide) and three state Leadership Reps<br />

(1 of 3). With 500,000 active members, National Beta is the<br />

nation’s largest independent, non-profit, educational youth<br />

organization. It promotes the ideals of academic achievement,<br />

character, service and leadership.<br />

Mariyah Moore was elected 2023 State Beta secretary. Gracie<br />

Smith won a $1,000.00 Senior Beta Scholarship and is a<br />

semi- finalist for the Top 100 National Scholarships. Sponsors,<br />

D.C. Bridges and Kris Morris, were awarded the National Beta<br />

Educators of Excellence (among 17 of 19,000 sponsors).<br />

D.C. Bridges was elected as state sponsor-elect for Mississippi<br />

Beta Club. At the 2022-2023 state convention in Biloxi, MHS<br />

Club members won numerous other honors and awards.<br />

Knight Bridges, Kaleb Bullock, Allyson Huges, TJ Fraizer - Musicology 1st place<br />

Knight Bridges<br />

1st place in 9th grade Academic Science<br />

Gracie Smith<br />

Senior Scholarship Award, $1,000<br />

Mariyah Moore<br />

2023-2024 Mississippi State Beta Secretary<br />

Haley Anna Russell<br />

1st place in Black & White Photography<br />

23 Awards/Honors received at State Convention Front L-R: Abby Harper, Baileigh Grisham, Zyquein Wells, Devontae Smith, Gracie Smith, Peyton Hendry, Knight Bridges,<br />

Morgan Musgrove, Haley Anna Russell. Middle L-R: Kelly Aycock, Kris Morris (Sponsor), Ava Walch, Janae Razor, Addison Arevalo, Ryleigh Johnson, T.J. Fraizer, Mariyah Moore,<br />

Kaleb Bullock, Abaney Purser, Allyson Hughes, Kaitlyn Smith, McKenna Fisher, Alyssa Culpepper, Allysa Chain, Brooke Hankins, D.C. Bridges ( Sponsor).<br />

Back L-R: Claire Cresswell, Madison Harrell, Malayna Almanerez, Trey Dees, Kaleb Dees, Keniah Cannon, Kevin Brown, Alyzabeth Johnson, Madison Morin,<br />

Bailey Owen, Valerie Carey, Savannah Sanders, Alexis Byers, Elizabeth Lewis, Gabby Hildesheim<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 109


Jackson Prep<br />

The 2023 Star Students and Teachers were recently announced.<br />

Congratulations to Chase Thompson, teacher Christina Jackson, Will Upton, teacher Bill Richardson,<br />

Ben Tiller, teacher Marsha Hobbs, and Maggie McMillan, teacher Kimberly Van Uden.<br />

Congratulations to the Jackson Prep<br />

National Merit Finalists for 2022-2023.<br />

Back L-R: Will Upton, Ben Tiller, Jake Mathews<br />

Front L-R: Chase Thompson, Kimmons Sheppard<br />

Jackson Prep’s senior show choir Reveillon was named Grand Champion<br />

at the recent Brandon Elite Show Choir Competition 2023.<br />

Congratulations to junior Elizabeth Polk for winning<br />

the Reserve Division of the 2023 Mississippi Chess<br />

Association Girls’ State Championship.<br />

Congratulations to Jackson Prep 8th graders<br />

Jonathan Nations and Bennett O›Quinn, who<br />

represented Jackson Prep in the VEX IQ Robotics<br />

Mississippi Championships in early March.<br />

The team won the Overall Engineering Design<br />

Award and will travel to the World Championships<br />

in Dallas.<br />

Jackson Prep senior Edward Wilson was named<br />

the 2023 Poetry Ouy Loud state champion for<br />

Mississippi and will travel to Washington, D.C.,<br />

in May to compete in the national championships.<br />

110 • MAY 2023


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Hometown RANKIN • 111

TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

A chicken casserole is always a classic for a<br />

Sunday school fellowship.<br />

And that’s what I began making for the event. In the middle of the preparation the smell of<br />

the chicken swimming around in its hot broth made me remember a really old story relating to<br />

chicken fare.<br />

My younger sister and I spent a week out of several childhood summers at a cousin’s home in<br />

Memphis. There were three cousins who called their box-shaped brick house home. It was situated<br />

in the middle of a large subdivision with limited small trees and devoid of any large ones. Still, I wasn’t<br />

accustomed to city life, so the fenced-in back yards and the close proximity to neighbors on all<br />

sides meant a far from routine experience for me.<br />

We almost worked the hinges off their backyard swing set, and the limited amount of shrubs<br />

and no woods made hide and seek a game we didn’t repeat. At least once during our week, the<br />

entire family would take a picnic to the city pool. What a treat for me who learned to swim in my<br />

granddaddy’s pond behind his barn. The muddy bottom would always squish between my toes,<br />

and the water never came close to being clear. Nevertheless, my brother and sisters made lots of<br />

muddy, fun memories along with whatever might have been swimming below our thrashing limbs.<br />

The city pool was sheer luxury! Its water burned my eyes more than the pond water, but the ability<br />

to see beneath the surface all the way to the bottom gave a whole new meaning to swimming.<br />

One of their family’s favorite evening meals was chicken with an assortment<br />

of veggies. It was the way my aunt served the chicken that got my attention.<br />

She pulled the entire, plump, naked bird out of a big pot and plopped it on the<br />

serving platter. It was my first time to witness a chicken that wasn’t in bite size<br />

pieces stirred in a casserole or deep-fried with a golden layer of seasoned flour.<br />

I still remember how my sister and I stared at that chicken. I was wondering how we were supposed<br />

to eat it until my uncle began pulling wings and legs from the table centerpiece. Even though it was<br />

like nothing my mother had ever served, my childhood appetite insisted I try it. Not bad – I thought<br />

to myself as my sister and I joined my cousins with their city version of a chicken dinner.<br />

I didn’t realize it until I cooked for children of my own that my aunt had found a true time-saving<br />

chicken dinner. There was no greasy stovetop or skillet to clean and no time-consuming task of<br />

watching and turning chicken pieces in a layer of hot oil. And the flavor for a growing, hungry child<br />

wasn’t half bad.<br />

There’s a Bible verse in 1 Timothy that says: “For everything created by God is good, and not to be<br />

refused if it is received with thanksgiving.” I’m grateful I didn’t refuse that unpretentious, boiled bird,<br />

but I’m certain my thanksgiving wasn’t up to standard.<br />

114 • MAY 2023

Hometown RANKIN • 115

Orthopedics now in Brandon!<br />

Orthopedic specialists Donald Baker, MD, and Michelle Vinchwater, CFNP,<br />

are now seeing patients at our new clinic on Highway 18 in Brandon.<br />

2841 Hwy 18, Suite A | Brandon, MS 39042<br />

601-376-2818<br />

MyMeritDoctor.com<br />

Members of the Allied Health and Medical Staff at Merit Health Rankin.

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