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V93<br />


2 • MAY 2023





601.957.3753 • KOESTLERPRIME.COM<br />


Hometown MADISON • 3

4 • 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 />


CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />


Mary Ann Kirby<br />



Alisha Floyd<br />


Reader Spotlight 9<br />

Hometown Family 12<br />

Camp is Calling 18<br />

Circle of Red 24<br />

Backyard Bliss 26<br />

USA International Ballet 32<br />

Setting the Tone 40<br />

Kids Who Care 52<br />

Friday Night Porch Parties 54<br />

Mental Health Wealth 63<br />



Caroline Hodges<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />


Nikki Robison<br />


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />

STAFF<br />


Debby Francis<br />



Melissa Kennon<br />

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

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

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

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

Hometown MADISON • 5

Teresa & Mike Harland<br />

Camille Anding<br />

It was a worship service that<br />

Mike Harland won’t ever forget.<br />

He was a sophomore at Delta State<br />

University in 1980 on a baseball<br />

scholarship but also getting to use<br />

his musical talent as a part time<br />

minister of music at Calvary Baptist<br />

Church in Cleveland, Mississippi.<br />

On that select Sunday, Teresa<br />

Stovall, an incoming freshman, and<br />

her roommate, walked into the<br />

service as Mike was leading a song.<br />

The distance separating Teresa<br />

and Mike didn’t keep him from<br />

noticing how pretty she was. To his<br />

surprise and delight, he saw her the<br />

next day in the music department.<br />

She was a music major, too! On<br />

Tuesday he saw her again at a BSU<br />

party that was welcoming all the<br />

freshmen students. He introduced<br />

himself, and the couple still<br />

remembers the natural attraction<br />

they felt for each other.<br />

It took two weeks for Mike to<br />

get enough courage to approach<br />

her about a date. He asked her if<br />

she was going to stay on campus<br />

the upcoming weekend. Teresa<br />

thought he was going to ask her to<br />

sing at church, so she said, “I’m<br />

not sure. Why?” Mike said, “I was<br />

going to ask you if you’d like to go<br />

the football game with me.” Teresa<br />

answered, “Oh, I’ll be here!”<br />

After that first date, the two<br />

became steady companions and<br />

realized how much they had in<br />

common through their faith and<br />

families. Within two months they<br />

were engaged.<br />

Now serious decisions were in<br />

the making. Mike was a talented<br />

baseball pitcher with a lifelong<br />

dream of being a professional<br />

player. The Cincinnati Reds had<br />

tried to sign him as a free agent out<br />

of high school, so Mike knew his<br />

dream had real potential. He would<br />

have to work hard as a player for<br />

the next two years if he planned to<br />

pursue that dream.<br />

However, there was Teresa, the<br />

girl that he had fallen in love with<br />

and to whom he was engaged.<br />

Postponing marriage until he had<br />

finished school seemed like an<br />

impossible choice. Mike had also<br />

noticed that his focus was shifting.<br />

He had always considered himself<br />

an athlete in music. Since meeting<br />

Teresa, the love of baseball had<br />

faded. Now Teresa and music<br />

were his focus.<br />

When Calvary Church offered<br />

a pay increase that would make<br />

marriage and tuition feasible for the<br />

two, Mike gave up his scholarship<br />

and concentrated his pursuit on<br />

Teresa and music. Love had shifted<br />

his priorities.<br />

On August 8, 1981, the two<br />

exchanged marriage vows and sang<br />

together “Whether Thou Goest”<br />

as a part of the service. They<br />

returned to Delta State to complete<br />

their music majors as husband and<br />

wife and worked out their studies<br />

in order to graduate together.<br />

Mike’s first position as a music<br />

minister took them to Parkview<br />

Baptist Church in Greenville,<br />

Mississippi. Life was good. Seminary<br />

would need to be a part of Mike’s<br />

future, but now wasn’t a good<br />

time. That could come later. Dan<br />

Robertson, the Parkview pastor,<br />

insisted that Mike reconsider<br />

seminary. Mike wasn’t convinced,<br />

but when Robertson had a request<br />

from a Louisiana pastor to<br />

recommend a music minister,<br />

Robertson gave him Mike’s name.<br />

6 • MAY 2023

“If you will respect<br />

your husband, even<br />

if you think he may<br />

not deserve it, and<br />

submit to him, the<br />

love will come.”<br />

Only as God can arrange, Mike<br />

and Teresa were called to Istrouma<br />

Baptist Church in Baton Rouge,<br />

Louisiana, where Mike was able to<br />

complete his seminary degree from<br />

New Orleans Baptist Theological<br />

Seminary. Istrouma took care of<br />

the tuition expenses.<br />

After three years at Istrouma<br />

Church, First Baptist McComb<br />

was their next call. Teresa was<br />

becoming more aware of the words<br />

to their wedding song. God was<br />

continuing to chart Mike’s ministry<br />

path, and she was his supportive<br />

soulmate – “where you go, I will go.”<br />

Over the next years God gave<br />

them two sons and a daughter<br />

while Mike continued to follow<br />

God’s leading to Crossgates<br />

Baptist Church in Brandon,<br />

Broadmoor in Jackson, Hyde Park<br />

in Austin, Texas, and First Baptist<br />

Carrollton in North Dallas.<br />

The next ministry “door” called<br />

for a family meeting. Their oldest<br />

child, Lee, would be going into his<br />

senior year in Dallas, but this call<br />

for Mike meant the family moving<br />

to Nashville for Mike to be the new<br />

LifeWay worship director. After<br />

Mike’s explaining to his family<br />

about this position, their son said,<br />

“Well, Dad, you always try to do<br />

God’s will, so I don’t think doing<br />

His will will hurt me.” It was onto<br />

Nashville - a unanimous vote by<br />

the Harland family.<br />

Roots went down deep in the<br />

Nashville area for the next fifteen<br />

years. It was an amazing opportunity<br />

but one that required a lot of<br />

family adjustments. Teresa probably<br />

experienced the greatest adjusting,<br />

because the “team” that she and<br />

Mike had been, in previous<br />

churches, was not a part of his<br />

LifeWay position. She sought out<br />

ministries of her own and<br />

continued to give voice and piano<br />

lessons while being a wife and<br />

mother.<br />

Teresa and Mike don’t hesitate<br />

to thank God for having “three<br />

great kids.” Mike remembers the<br />

wise parenting counsel he received<br />

from one of his pastors – “Be sure<br />

you are the same person in the<br />

pulpit and around the dining<br />

table.” Jimmy Draper gave more<br />

advice, “After a day’s work when<br />

you step through the door of your<br />

home, your most important job<br />

just started!”<br />

Teresa shared a comment their<br />

daughter had made to her recently,<br />

“I’m glad you and Dad cared more<br />

about our character than you did<br />

our popularity or grades.”<br />

The Harlands’ advice for a<br />

blessed marriage comes right<br />

from God’s Word. Teresa believes,<br />

“If you will respect your husband,<br />

even if you think he may not<br />

deserve it, and submit to him, the<br />

love will come.” Mike added for<br />

husbands, “If you will put your<br />

wife’s needs above yours, all your<br />

needs will be met.”<br />

The Harlands are presently<br />

answering their call to serve at<br />

FBC Jackson. Their musical<br />

talents and Mike’s teaching<br />

wisdom continue to bless the<br />

Body of Christ. They readily<br />

admit their hearts’ pull when they<br />

left their three children, Lee,<br />

Elizabeth, and John, along with<br />

their spouses and their four<br />

granddaughters, in the Nashville<br />

area. But home for the Harlands \<br />

is always where God leads.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 7


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8 • MAY 2023

READER<br />


Janet<br />

PARKER<br />

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

Madison offers a great quality of life with a small-town<br />

charm, top-rated public schools, friendly people, and<br />

accessibility to great restaurants and shopping. I’m<br />

always proud to show it off to friends and family who<br />

visit from out of state and to call Madison my home.<br />

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

I moved to Madison in 1992 from San Francisco,<br />

but I grew up in the Midwest.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My friends all know how proud I am of my family –<br />

they have been my rock through good and bad times!<br />

My son, Isaac, and his wife, Carol, met in high school<br />

and married after they graduated from Mississippi<br />

State University. Isaac is the general manager for a<br />

large HVAC company and Carol is a physical<br />

therapist working toward a pediatric specialty at<br />

UMMC. They are active members of First Baptist<br />

Church in Jackson. My daughter, Mia, is also a recent<br />

graduate of Mississippi State with a degree in fine art<br />

and works as a concept artist while also building her<br />

ceramic studio. I work in marketing and business<br />

development for Innovate Mississippi and attend<br />

Broadmoor Baptist Church. My family also includes<br />

Ariel, the cat who runs the house, Louie, the Cowboy<br />

Corgi with an attitude, Angelica the fish, and<br />

Shoshana the Axolotl. My extended family lives<br />

primarily in Illinois where I grew up.<br />

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

Madison?<br />

When we came home from the hospital after my son<br />

was born, my neighbors had stocked my refrigerator<br />

and pantry and had food prepared for us. When I went<br />

into labor with my daughter in the middle of the night,<br />

a neighbor came over at 3am and stayed at my house<br />

so we didn’t have to wake up my 3-year-old! There is a<br />

real sense of community here which has been extremely<br />

important to me, especially with my immediate family<br />

being so far away. My friends and neighbors have<br />

become my family.<br />

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

Madison?<br />

Half Shell Oyster House is our go-to and we usually<br />

order the same thing every time we go – charbroiled<br />

oysters and crab claws! We also love Kristos and the<br />

lobster roll at Hokkaido Hibachi Grill.<br />

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

County on the weekends?<br />

I’m kind of a homebody so I enjoy cooking out and<br />

relaxing close to home with friends and family or<br />

catching an art fair or music festival when spring arrives.<br />

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

spare time.<br />

I love to work out and distance run, and discovered<br />

Orange Theory in Madison about four years ago and<br />

became obsessed with it! You will find me there most<br />

weekday mornings and, on the Ridgeland multi-use<br />

trail running distance on the weekends. Currently, I’m<br />

also enrolled in the Executive MBA program at Millsaps<br />

College, which consumes the majority of my spare time<br />

during this season of my life. I also have a wonderful<br />

life group at Broadmoor Baptist Church.<br />

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

The first thing is getting my MBA. After my MBA,<br />

there are a few things I would like to do including<br />

identifying a physical challenge to conquer, going on<br />

a solo-vacation, and having every closet, drawer, and<br />

cabinet in my entire house and garage in perfect<br />

organizational order all at the same time.<br />

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

My son and daughter-in-law for their work ethic,<br />

strong faith and commitment to their church, friends,<br />

community, and to each other; and my daughter for<br />

embracing her talent and pursuing what she loves, her<br />

warmth and compassion for others, and her confidence<br />

and determination.<br />

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

Throughout my life, I’ve discovered that my 10-year<br />

plans have not always worked out exactly as I<br />

envisioned, but that I’ve ended up in positions and<br />

with experiences that I could have never imagined.<br />

That said, in 10 years I plan to be a better version of<br />

myself today spiritually, mentally and physically –<br />

while preparing myself for opportunities that I don’t<br />

know exist at this point.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

When I was in fifth grade, some of my friends and I<br />

wanted to play basketball, but our school didn’t have a<br />

girls’ team, so we joined the boys’ team. The boys were<br />

so embarrassed to have girls on the team! As a result,<br />

the school started a girls’ team the following year,<br />

and we ended up going to the state championships.<br />

I received a trophy that just says “Janet” on it. It’s one<br />

of my favorite memories!<br />

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

what would it be?<br />

There are so many great quotes, so I decided on one<br />

from a great Mississippian, Zig Ziglar, whose teachings<br />

on the power of positive thinking literally changed my<br />

life when I was first exposed to them in the 11th grade.<br />

One of his quotes is “You never know when a moment<br />

and a few sincere words can have an impact on a life.”<br />

Our words can have a profound impact on others<br />

(good and bad), and my goal is to look for opportunities<br />

to encourage those around me.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 9

Registration<br />

NOW OPEN<br />

10 • MAY 2023





Hometown MADISON • 11

12 • MAY 2023

The<br />

Bateses<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

We are the Bates family, Cliff and Amy, from Ridgeland/<br />

Madison area and we have three sons, Ellis (19), Owen (17),<br />

and Levi (10) and three dogs, Leo, Mable, and Stevie, that are<br />

also family.<br />

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

I met Cliff our junior year at Ole Miss in March of 1995 and<br />

honestly, it was love at first sight. We met as I was coming out<br />

of the bathroom, and he was going in, and two weeks later we<br />

were officially dating! We dated for five years and have been<br />

married now for almost 23 years!<br />

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

Cliff and I love date nights, but our favorite thing is to make<br />

time for an “at-home date night.” We get takeout and either sit<br />

outside by the fire pit or in the dining room away from the TV<br />

and noise and try to have some intentional conversation. Cliff’s<br />

love language is quality time, so making time to connect and<br />

Hometown MADISON • 13

have fun together is important for our marriage. As children are<br />

little, it is really hard to make time for this, but we have found it to<br />

be an investment in our marriage! Get the babysitter, make the<br />

plans, and take the trip! Honestly, the best gift you can ever give<br />

your children is to love each other well.<br />

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

It brings me joy when I see or hear one of my sons being kind.<br />

Kindness is just loving our neighbor well and it’s the second<br />

greatest commandment Jesus gave us. For them to love God and<br />

love others is really all that matters to me as a mother. When I see<br />

one of my sons going out of their way to “see” someone, stand up<br />

for another, and show kindness, my heart is so full.<br />

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

Cliff is definitely the financial manager in our home. Hey, if it<br />

weren’t for Amazon, I would be much better staying within the<br />

budget! I blame Amazon and Target!<br />

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

philosophy?<br />

We have learned by parenting three sons, that all children are not<br />

the same. You really cannot use a one size fits all method to<br />

parent different children. They all have individual personalities<br />

and respond in their own unique ways. God keeps us on our toes<br />

for sure. And parenting is a humbling journey. I think once you<br />

feel like you have it figured out and start feeling puffed up, God<br />

will serve you up a big ole slice of humble pie! We have also<br />

learned that children come into this world with a natural bent<br />

toward sin, and their choices are not a reflection of our parenting.<br />

It has been really freeing to realize that truth.<br />

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

Our family loves to travel in the summer when we can. And my<br />

sons and husband love playing golf at the Reunion golf course in<br />

Madison. A big highlight of my summer is hosting a gathering for<br />

high school and college girls in our home called Summer Sisters<br />

and it’s been a highlight of my summer for eight years now. Any<br />

high school or college girl is welcome to come and learn about the<br />

love of Jesus and hear God’s truth from different speakers every<br />

June and July. It’s a sweet time to bring truth and some community<br />

to girls in a season that is so hard for so many of them. It’s<br />

something I wish I’d had growing up, so I’m thankful to be able<br />

to provide a safe place for these girls.<br />

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

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

I am a stay-at-home mom, but as my sons have gotten older, I’m<br />

able to do more volunteer work and it has been so life-giving.<br />

Cliff develops senior living /assisted living homes with VH<br />

Companies. We are members of City Heart Church in Jackson.<br />

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

the cooking?<br />

A quick go-to meal for our family I make is always poppyseed<br />

chicken. I do most of the weekly easy cooking, but Cliff really<br />

enjoys cooking and is much better at it than I am! He enjoys<br />

cooking fish and steak and I make more of the spaghetti and<br />

casseroles. I get a lot of recipes from The Dinner Darling. She is<br />

local and you get a weekly meal plan and recipes. It is so helpful<br />

and yummy!<br />

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

Madison County has been our home for almost 23 years. We love<br />

the hometown feel of Madison and all the wonderful restaurants<br />

and shopping that are offered here. Our favorite things about<br />

Madison County are the people and the convenience of everything.<br />

Our favorite restaurant is Local 463, and we love Krilaki’s<br />

salads, and their burgers and fries are the best in town! Everyone<br />

is so warm and friendly in Madison County and we are thankful<br />

to call this area home.<br />

14 • MAY 2023


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

Levi Play Uno and a friendly game of horse with his daddy.<br />

Owen Vacation together.<br />

Ellis Attend sporting events with Dad and brothers and a family<br />

beach trip.<br />

What your favorite restaurant?<br />

Levi Chick-fil-A (where my brother, Owen works).<br />

Owen Char (never met a filet I didn’t like).<br />

Ellis Nagoya in Madison.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 15

THIS IS<br />

BALLET.<br />

THIS IS<br />

JACKSON.<br />

JUNE<br />

10 – 24<br />

2023<br />

TICKETS:<br />


OR 601.973.9249<br />

Derek Dunn<br />

USA IBC 2010 Bronze Medialist<br />

Principal, Boston Ballet<br />

Photography by Michael J. Moore<br />

Pickle Fest<br />

It’s kind of a big dill<br />

June 10<br />

3pm-8pm<br />

<br />

16 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 17

18 • 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 MADISON • 19

20 • 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 MADISON • 21

22 • MAY 2023

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 MADISON • 23

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 />

24 • 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 MADISON • 25

26 • MAY 2023

Backyard<br />

BLISS<br />

Everyone has that one space in their home that they enjoy escaping<br />

to kick up their feet after a long day, stargaze, eat their breakfast,<br />

read a good book, sunbathe, or just sit and relax from time to time.<br />

For the Haygood family, that place is their back yard. Nestled in<br />

the heart of the Deer Haven neighborhood off of Robinson Springs<br />

Road, Jameson and Christy Haygood have a picture-perfect and<br />

breathtaking back yard that features all the things you would want to<br />

check off on your backyard wish list.<br />

The main push behind such a scenic landscape when they open<br />

their back doors was simply just an outdoor space to host people and<br />

bring the family together. The Haygoods also wanted to have their<br />

own pool so they could swim anytime they wanted and spend nights<br />

in the hot tub.<br />

The landscape and design process of this back yard would not have<br />

been possible without some extra help. Jameson and Christy are very<br />

thankful and give all the praise to John Hertel and his team at Provision<br />

Designs for the production and landscape skills behind all of this.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 27

28 • MAY 2023

“John Hertel and his team are amazing. We saw a design of his in our<br />

former neighborhood and tracked him down because we wanted<br />

something similar,” Christy says.<br />

“The back of the house faces the street, so the original pool design<br />

would have required moving the septic tank. With fresh eyes and a<br />

little outside-the-box thinking, we moved the pool to incorporate the<br />

large screened porch, which was a huge selling point to me for this<br />

house!” Christy also adds how the huge boulders were already on the<br />

property, just not in the back yard. John incorporated them into the<br />

pool design, and it turned out to be a fabulous choice. She especially<br />

likes the design choice of the boulder in the water wall of the pool.<br />

“The Christy and Jameson Haygood project was such a fun project<br />

to design and build,” John Hertel said. Hertel envisioned a space where<br />

the pool and entertaining area were well connected, ensuring there<br />

was not a bad seat in the back yard. With so many features, he wanted<br />

them to feel connected to the warmth of the spa and fireplace while<br />

others gathered around the outdoor kitchen and island.<br />

If someone is looking to revamp their back yard, look at a bunch<br />

of outdoor spaces and find a designer that works well with you.<br />

“Communication is key!” adds Christy. John Hertel himself is very<br />

proud of the landscaping design he did over in the Deer Haven<br />

neighborhood behind the Haygood home and mentioned that their<br />

beautifully wooded lot gave him and his team a natural and organic<br />

backdrop and set the tone for the overall look. “We used natural<br />

Arkansas field stone on their outdoor kitchen and rough-cut cypress<br />

for the pool pavilion. We repurposed large boulders for accent and<br />

focal points on the water wall and surrounding the pool,” he said.<br />

The Provision Designs team did not hold back on the amenities<br />

either and set the back yard up with dimmable lighting, granite<br />

countertops, and tanning ledges to name a few.<br />

From hosting most of the family for a surprise birthday party,<br />

having friends over for grill outs and back-to-school parties, watching<br />

football games, roasting marshmallows on summer nights, and so<br />

much more, the Haygood family has made many memories in their<br />

adored space and continues to make more every day. Whether it be<br />

adding in a new landscape design, revamping a spot in your back yard<br />

to have a fresh new touch, or just wanting to have a welcoming place<br />

to sit and relax, there is no better place like Mississippi to turn your<br />

back yard into a place to make unforgettable memories and spend<br />

time with loved ones. Are you wanting a backyard makeover now?<br />

Hometown MADISON • 29



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30 • MAY 2023



FRIDAY,<br />

MAY 12<br />




FRIDAY,<br />

MAY 26<br />





SAT, MAY 13TH<br />

SAT, MAY 27TH<br />

SUN, MAY 28TH<br />

Hometown MADISON • 31

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 />

32 • 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 MADISON • 33

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 />

34 • 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 MADISON • 35


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 />

36 • MAY 2023<br />

Jonathan Latham<br />

As I graduate and reflect on<br />

my years in school, one of the<br />

most beneficial things<br />

I have learned will be the<br />

communication and public<br />

speaking skills that I gained<br />

through speech classes and<br />

firsthand experiences of<br />

speaking at chapel,<br />

at Fellowship of Christian<br />

Athletes, and through my<br />

time in the school’s production.<br />

I believe being able to<br />

confidently communicate to<br />

a group, in an educated and<br />

proper manner, will be a<br />

testament to my time studying<br />

at MRA and will be the most<br />

beneficial in my future.<br />

Parker Anderson<br />

Learning, I have learned,<br />

doesn’t just happen in the<br />

classroom. We are constantly<br />

learning and evolving as people<br />

and MRA has fostered the<br />

perfect environment for not<br />

only academic learning, but also<br />

introspective learning. I have<br />

discovered more about myself<br />

within the halls of MRA than<br />

I have on my own. MRA’s<br />

faculty and staff have helped to<br />

guide me from my kindergarten<br />

years when I was first discovering<br />

the world, all the way to my<br />

senior year of high school as<br />

I am preparing to truly enter<br />

the world for the first time.<br />

MRA has taught me how to be<br />

a lifelong learner and to actively<br />

seek new knowledge. In the wise<br />

words of Libbo Crosswhite,<br />

MRA has taught me<br />

“to stay curious and<br />

always ask questions.’’

Presley Horn<br />

One of the most beneficial<br />

things that I’ve learned at school<br />

is how important it is to create<br />

a good relationship with your<br />

teachers. While they are still<br />

your superiors and deserve<br />

respect, developing a friendship<br />

with them is essential for a<br />

better school and home life.<br />

Having a good relationship<br />

with my teachers has helped<br />

me become more engaged in<br />

the classroom and more<br />

empathetic to others outside<br />

of the classroom.<br />

Catherine Moore<br />

Reflecting on my years in<br />

school, my most accomplished<br />

learning and experiences have<br />

occurred outside of the<br />

classroom. For as long as<br />

I can remember, I have been<br />

encouraged to expand my<br />

horizons and develop my<br />

thoughts, ideas, and imagination.<br />

However, learning what I have<br />

learned, my love for education<br />

and discovery is credited to my<br />

diligent teachers at MRA who<br />

have always encouraged me<br />

to see the bigger picture and<br />

think outside the box.<br />

Hannah Potter<br />

One of the most beneficial<br />

things I have learned throughout<br />

my high school career is the<br />

importance of balance and time<br />

management. I love to be super<br />

involved in different activities—<br />

multiple sports, student council,<br />

civic activities, and leadership<br />

teams. But I can easily find<br />

myself overcommitted and<br />

overwhelmed. I have had to<br />

learn to work smarter not harder<br />

and to give myself grace and<br />

time to rest. I hope that having<br />

learned those things early on,<br />

will benefit me as I go forward<br />

in college and the rest of my life.<br />

Mary Hayes Maxey<br />

As I reflect on my years of high<br />

school, one of the biggest ways<br />

I’ve seen growth in myself is<br />

through my walk with the<br />

Lord and my relationships with<br />

others. I have been given so<br />

many opportunities to learn<br />

from others and be influenced<br />

by my peers and mentors at<br />

school, which has built some<br />

of the strongest relationships,<br />

and more importantly has<br />

grown my relationship with<br />

Christ. I can honestly say that<br />

I have come a long way over<br />

these past four years, and that<br />

I have grown as a person<br />

surrounded by encouragement<br />

and love each and every day.<br />

Robert McCraney<br />

During my experience in high<br />

school I have learned how to<br />

multitask. A lot of times it can<br />

be hard to compartmentalize,<br />

so I have grown to learn to<br />

multitask. Being able to multitask<br />

from time to time really helped<br />

me not get overwhelmed when<br />

work piled up.<br />

Julia Moore<br />

Throughout the past three years<br />

at MRA, I have learned to have<br />

patience in the tasks that are<br />

given to me inside and outside<br />

the classroom. Not only has this<br />

been one of the most beneficial<br />

aspects to learn, it has also<br />

taught me to work well with<br />

others and to always be<br />

a team player.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 37

. Skylar Jacobs<br />

Live in the moment!! The best<br />

thing I have learned throughout<br />

my time in high school is to live<br />

in the moment and try not to<br />

worry about taking pictures! As<br />

much fun as it is to take pictures,<br />

it can be distracting to the actual<br />

fun you could be having. I love<br />

taking pictures and my biggest<br />

tip is to take all the pictures and<br />

do not look at them or post<br />

them until you have some down<br />

time. You are only in high<br />

school once so worry about<br />

making the memories before<br />

you worry about taking the<br />

pictures!<br />

Vanndel Chinchen<br />

As I begin a new chapter and<br />

leave MRA, I will take many<br />

lessons from this spectacular<br />

school. I have been involved<br />

in multiple leadership opportunities,<br />

and the one that I have<br />

learned the most from is<br />

Student Leadership Institute.<br />

SLI is about spending time<br />

and studying the Bible, and<br />

then applying it to our lives.<br />

I have learned so much from<br />

the mentors in charge of the<br />

Institute, and I now feel<br />

confident I can defend my faith<br />

in the Bible and share the gospel<br />

to others with confidence.<br />

The MRA school motto is<br />

educating the mind, body,<br />

and spirit. I believe that I have<br />

thrived under each of these<br />

categories. Through many<br />

chapels, engage groups, and<br />

multiple extracurricular<br />

activities like SLI, I have been<br />

able to grow spiritually,<br />

and I feel like that is going<br />

to be key in my life after<br />

high school.<br />

MRA is a sports powerhouse,<br />

and I have been involved in<br />

multiple sports. I know this is<br />

something I will pursue<br />

whether it be at the collegiate<br />

level or for recreation. Through<br />

sports I have learned the true<br />

meanings of grit, responsibility,<br />

and how hard work beats talent.<br />

The thing that has impacted<br />

me the most has been the<br />

academics and the teachers<br />

that I have been blessed to have.<br />

I think the most important<br />

lesson that I have learned in my<br />

time at MRA has been to be<br />

compassionate to others and to<br />

always be available to help<br />

someone in need, just like so<br />

many teachers have<br />

been there for me.<br />

38 • MAY 2023

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Hometown MADISON • 39

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 />

40 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 41

42 • 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 MADISON • 43

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 />

44 • 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 MADISON • 45

46 • MAY 2023

Welcome<br />

Home<br />

Brad<br />


Imagine ninety plus rounds of ammo from<br />

a long rifle being fired at you, along with<br />

three other officers, and suddenly realizing<br />

you’re one of the wounded.<br />

On September 5th, 2019, Brad Sullivan, a Madison County sheriff deputy,<br />

just moments earlier, had dropped off his eight-year-old at Tri-County<br />

Academy when he got a 911 call. It was a hostage situation.<br />

Sullivan, trained in hostage negotiations, and two other<br />

officers, answered the call that turned into a chase on county roads east of<br />

Canton. When the assailant rushed from his wrecked vehicle, firing repeated<br />

high-powered rounds, Sullivan was struck twice, one bullet striking him<br />

in the right side of his head and exiting through the top of his skull. “I felt<br />

like I was being electrocuted, and I heard a loud ringing noise,” Sullivan<br />

recalls.<br />

From that life-changing moment, miracles began to take place for<br />

Brad Sullivan. The first was his never losing consciousness. He heard deputies<br />

scrambling around his bleeding body that had been catapulted to<br />

the passenger’s side after the attack that caused his own vehicle to wreck.<br />

Lieutenant Joey Butler was the first to open Sullivan’s door and assure him<br />

the attacker was in custody and an ambulance was on the way.<br />

Thirty-two days later, Sullivan woke from an induced coma that was<br />

ordered to compensate for his brain swelling. He was awake and cognizant<br />

– another miracle after suffering a stroke, post attack, and another<br />

during his surgery.<br />

But this is when the real work would begin.<br />

He was moved to Methodist Rehab—but a brain infection sent him<br />

back to surgery and another week in the hospital. By the middle of<br />

November, he was standing.<br />

The day before Thanksgiving, he took his first steps. On December 20,<br />

Brad Sullivan walked out of the hospital—with the help of a quad cane and<br />

hospital aids—surrounded by hospital personnel that had become family,<br />

and his cherished brothers in blue. He’d said repeatedly that he wanted<br />

to be home for Christmas.<br />

Sullivan has no doubt that God was with him that September day, but<br />

the real-life challenges ahead of him were still looming. His voice cracked<br />

when he shared a particularly low moment of getting home and having<br />

to depend on his nine-year-old son and seventeen-year-old daughter to<br />

help him to the toilet.<br />

Still, Sullivan refused to feel sorry for himself or live in bitterness and<br />

anger. He stayed active, drove a newly accessible truck, and counseled<br />

other shooting victims within law enforcement through Law Enforcement<br />

Alliance Peer Support (LEAPS). He speaks with irrefutable respect for<br />

law enforcement and the life-threatening situations they face every day.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 47

“There’s no such thing as a routine traffic stop for<br />

law enforcement officers,” he affirmed.<br />

His career, as he knew it, however, was over.<br />

And though he continued to find comfort in the<br />

continued support from his friends, the Madison<br />

County community, and the sheriff’s department,<br />

there were still overwhelming obstacles that<br />

faced him.<br />

That’s when the next big miracle happened.<br />

When Brad was released from the hospital,<br />

he returned to a house that he rented and was<br />

not handicap accessible. Minor modifications<br />

were able to be made but the house was simply<br />

not designed to accommodate a power wheelchair<br />

that requires a four-foot turning radius at<br />

every point in the home.<br />

Lieutenant Joey Butler and Deputy Dwayne<br />

Moak decided to take matters into their own hands.<br />

They created a non-profit called “A Home for<br />

Brad” with the intention of building Brad a home<br />

that would accommodate his specific needs.<br />

They approached the Home Builders Association<br />

of Jackson and pitched the idea. They<br />

solicited the help of Mad Genius Advertising<br />

Agency to help craft their message. And on August<br />

31, 2021, a massive campaign was launched<br />

to build Brad a home.<br />

In October, ground broke. In November,<br />

the slab was poured. In January, 2022, framing<br />

began without any idea what would happen if<br />

the money wasn’t raised to finish it. It was simply<br />

never an option.<br />

Fundraisers were held and countless phone<br />

calls were made. The Home Builders Association,<br />

and their network of talented and generous<br />

members, contributed both their time, supplies,<br />

and talents—and doing it all amid astronomical<br />

supply-chain related cost increases that threatened<br />

to derail the entire project.<br />

But God...<br />

On March 22, 2023, members of the Home<br />

Builder’s Association, suppliers, and the Madison<br />

County Sheriff Department, all gathered on a<br />

beautiful spring morning to dedicate Brad’s new<br />

home. A flagpole was erected in the front yard, and<br />

a flag that had rotated throughout and flown at every<br />

law enforcement agency around the Metro, was<br />

raised as a symbol of hope and new life.<br />

This is what happens when good people<br />

come together for the greater good. And it’s<br />

certainly a reminder of the goodness of God and<br />

His miracles.<br />

God bless our brothers and sisters that<br />

serve to protect our communities day in and day<br />

out. Thank you to everyone who supported this<br />

amazing project and those who made it possible.<br />

And most of all, welcome home Brad.<br />

48 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 49

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Find out more by calling<br />

us at the phone numbers<br />

above or use this QR code.<br />

50 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 51

52 • MAY 2023


Breckyn Cooper<br />

Mistie Desper<br />








Germantown High School junior, Breckyn<br />

Cooper, is leaving her own mark on the world by<br />

serving those in her community. These acts of<br />

kindness and generosity are touching the lives<br />

of NICU families and healthcare workers.<br />

Breckyn’s passion for wanting to help others<br />

started at a young age. “When I was around nine<br />

or ten, I remember visiting my grandmother while<br />

she was in a nursing home and her friend did not<br />

have family to visit her. I wanted to do something<br />

so she felt special. I got with some of my<br />

friends and we baked muffins and brought them<br />

to the nursing home to share with the residents.”<br />

Pam, Breckyn’s mother, recalled, “Even as a<br />

young child, she always had that take-charge<br />

attitude when she saw something that needed to<br />

be done. She has such a huge heart.” Pam joked<br />

that sometimes her heart and spontaneity led<br />

her to fix things that didn’t quite need it, with<br />

or without permission, such as an impromptu<br />

haircut for her little brother or taking upset<br />

children out of the nursery at church without<br />

their parents knowing.<br />

One of her friend’s medical needs as a child<br />

sparked the idea Breckyn had to help specifically<br />

with NICU families. “One of my best friends<br />

from childhood was born with half a heart and<br />

was put into the NICU for an extended period<br />

of time. As we grew up, I realized that without<br />

the doctors, nurses, and surgeons, I never would<br />

have met her.”<br />

Breckyn created NIC and U, a service<br />

project that helps to collect supplies for families<br />

and workers in the NICU. With the help of<br />

donations from her peers at school and the local<br />

community, she uses the Sign-Up Genius app<br />

which allows students to sign up for particular<br />

needs. From there, items are packaged by<br />

volunteers and classmates and sent to the NICU<br />

for parents, babies, and the healthcare workers.<br />

Packages have been sent to UMMC, Baptist,<br />

and Merit Health Woman’s Hospital.<br />

“This is close to my heart because it is not<br />

easy for parents to have basic supplies in the<br />

hospital while tending to their sick child, and<br />

many times they can’t or don’t want to leave their<br />

child’s side. People have been so welcoming to us<br />

when we have brought supplies. It is so rewarding<br />

just seeing the joy on their faces.” Breckyn<br />

explains that items needed include basic travel<br />

sized personal hygiene items such as toothpaste,<br />

toothbrushes, soap, deodorant to baby blankets<br />

and preemie sized clothes.<br />

Breckyn is involved in various missions at<br />

Grace Crossing Baptist Church with her parents<br />

Kevin and Pam and siblings Shelby and Shelton.<br />

As a member of the Crown Club of Madison, a<br />

Diamond Girl, member of the school choir, and<br />

a volleyball player, she utilizes the time she has to<br />

serve in various areas. But one thing she enjoys<br />

the most is being a member of the Academy of<br />

Healthcare Excellence at her school.<br />

Germantown High School counselor,<br />

Shannon Cox, said, “Breckyn has a true heart<br />

for service. I knew that even before she became<br />

involved with the program that she had the<br />

passion and enthusiasm necessary for healthcare.<br />

Through this, she has set a standard for her<br />

peers to follow, and encouraged others to look<br />

beyond themselves in order to lend a helping<br />

hand.”<br />

Kevin added, “I gave her the nickname<br />

Sunshine Muffin years ago because every<br />

morning she would wake up with a huge smile<br />

on her face. She takes that loving and positive<br />

attitude into every day. She has always been the<br />

friend that would take care of others and wants<br />

to be the fixer of all things broken...hearts,<br />

relationships, and situations.”<br />

Breckyn plans to attend a local community<br />

college after graduation before pursuing a career<br />

in the very field that she passionately gathers<br />

and donates items to, the neonatal intensive<br />

care unit.<br />

She added, “I hope to just be a light in the<br />

world. Giving back to others is not for me or<br />

for how it may make me look. I want to do all<br />

I can to make someone happy or make their day<br />

easier. I hope to inspire others to volunteer and<br />

bring in items. My current hope is to have<br />

enough items to send off 20 care packages to<br />

each hospital.”<br />

Mrs. Cox concluded, “Breckyn is a true<br />

leader and the type of person that loves<br />

everyone—and it shows! Her character and<br />

personal values are second to none making her<br />

the epitome of the all-American girl.”<br />

To donate, visit Breckyn’s instragram page<br />

at nic_and_u.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 53

54 • MAY 2023

Friday Night<br />

Porch<br />

Parties<br />


“Don’t you love it when people ask you over?”<br />

That’s the question Jay Morgan, a State Farm agent in the Delta,<br />

asked when discussing his Friday night porch parties. There was<br />

a time when Jay and his wife Lou Anne, a kindergarten teacher<br />

at Madison Station Elementary, along with their children, Anne<br />

Scott, Lucy, Ellen, and Jack were never invited to friends’ homes.<br />

Mr. Morgan stated that they assumed it was because of the size<br />

of their family, so they decided the solution would be to offer<br />

to host events at their own home. The weekly events originally<br />

were hosted every Thursday evening in their home in Belzoni,<br />

Mississippi.<br />

In 2004, when the family moved to a new subdivision in<br />

Madison, they were determined to continue the hospitality.<br />

Jay said, “We decided that the neighborhood could go two<br />

ways. It could be stuffy with everyone in their houses, or we<br />

could create an atmosphere that makes it a cool place to live.”<br />

The family decided to move the events to Friday evenings, since<br />

that was the day that Mr. Morgan was not traveling for work.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 55

56 • MAY 2023

That’s how Friday Night Porch Parties began. Because the<br />

neighborhood was just being developed, the family began by<br />

inviting new neighbors to the porch. They eventually had to<br />

tone it back because they simply could not fit 50-60 neighbors<br />

on the porch. Twenty years later, they still see the effects of the<br />

porch parties. Jay commented on what a social neighborhood<br />

Reunion has become.<br />

Their children are grown, and the family even hosted three<br />

wedding receptions for the three daughters on their porch last<br />

year. Now, when the children are home, that is when the biggest<br />

crowd shows up. “It’s weird to me when people<br />

don’t have friends over, but that’s just<br />

who I am,” Jay stated. He also encourages people to invite<br />

the children. “Having children at an event makes it so much fun!”<br />

Mr. Morgan usually does the cooking. He said that his<br />

favorite thing to cook is a big pot meal like chili or gumbo.<br />

When he cannot think of what to serve, he asks his kids. If<br />

friends give him the spoils from hunting, he’ll cook that. On<br />

busy nights, he may just ask neighbors to bring appetizers.<br />

“People don’t care what you are feeding them,” Jay encouraged,<br />

“they just want to get together with other humans. The things<br />

you think matter, really don’t.”<br />

In 2020, something unexpected came from Friday Night<br />

Porch Parties. The youngest of the daughters, Ellen, decided to<br />

start an Instagram page for the events. “I blame COVID more<br />

than anything,” Jay stated. “People were bored. We started out<br />

with 500 followers, then grew to 1,000. Now we have close to<br />

9,000 followers!” The followers are called “Friday Friends” and<br />

get to enjoy family updates, recipes, and stories from Lou Anne.<br />

Mrs. Morgan described their events as a big small-group.<br />

They’ve even had opportunities to serve people in their<br />

community. “A teacher friend needed a refrigerator. We shared<br />

the need with the group and the refrigerator was delivered the<br />

next day,” Lou Anne stated. “If someone is sick, we rally around<br />

them.” She shared that people are social creatures that just<br />

want to be included.<br />

“We’ve extended our family through Friday Night Porch<br />

Parties,” Lou Anne added. “You get tired of small talk at a<br />

certain age. This is where people can come and be real.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 57

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

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

I grew up looking up to my uncle who worked in law enforcement.<br />

He worked for Mendenhall Police and the Jones County Sheriff’s<br />

Department. During that time, he told me that one of two things<br />

would happen—that either I would love it or hate it. If I loved it, then<br />

it would be the only thing I would ever want to do. And if I hated it,<br />

I would at least respect the ones that did it.<br />

I then went to college and graduated with a criminal justice degree.<br />

During this time, I wasn’t sure where I wanted to work, but as always,<br />

God has a direction for me. It led me to Jackson.<br />

I grew up in Jackson until my 6th grade year and we moved to the<br />

coast where I graduated high school and went to college. My father<br />

was a Methodist minister at Capitol Street United Methodist Church<br />

during the time I graduated and I decided to visit in 1989. During this<br />

time, we drove around Jackson. I didn’t recognize it. When I left<br />

Jackson, the only things to do were go to the Jackson Mall, the zoo,<br />

the skating rink in south Jackson, and catch a Jackson Mets baseball<br />

game at the ballpark. I remembered the Presidential Hills area and<br />

I wanted to see it. We drove through it, and I saw burglar bars on the<br />

houses. This hit me hard. People having to put bars on their houses’<br />

windows to keep their family and possessions safe is not a good<br />

thing. People shouldn’t live in fear. I knew at that moment where<br />

God wanted me to come and work. I applied with the Jackson Police<br />

Department and got the job. I worked my way up through the ranks<br />

and achieved the rank of commander at Precinct 4.<br />

How long have you been with the Gluckstadt Police Department?<br />

1 year. My anniversary date was March 21, 2023.<br />

Chief<br />

Wendell<br />

WATTS<br />


Tell us about your family.<br />

I have three wonderful grown children: Austin Kyle, a sergeant in<br />

the U.S. Army based out of Manhattan, Kansas; Brandon Everette,<br />

biomed at UMMC; and Kelsey Morgan, a registered nurse at the<br />

Baptist ER.<br />

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

When I lost my best friend in the line of duty. He was killed during<br />

a domestic disturbance back on October 22, 1997. He had been a<br />

patrolman for the Jackson Police department. He and I were partners<br />

and worked together on the Jackson Gun Unit for several years.<br />

At the time of the incident, he was a field training officer and was<br />

training a recent JPD training academy graduate.<br />

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

Golfing. However, I utilize the whole golf course when I play!<br />

58 • MAY 2023

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

I am doing one right now and that is being chief of police. I want to<br />

go to Scotland one day. I hear it is absolutely beautiful. And I want<br />

to open and run a pet store. I love dogs and I love saltwater fish.<br />

My mom and I talked about that all the time before she passed.<br />

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

My brother-in-law, Danny Ladnier. He passed away too early in<br />

this life, but he really had an impact on me. I would go see my<br />

sister and him every afternoon after school. He was a self-made,<br />

one-of-a-kind, honest man. I went over one day after school,<br />

extremely upset and he sat me down and asked me what was<br />

wrong. I told him I was upset because of what some people were<br />

saying and doing. He looked at me and said, “Are you doing what<br />

is right?” And I said yes. He said, “Then what are you worried<br />

about what other people think if you are doing right? You do what<br />

is honest and with the highest integrity, and you can look yourself<br />

in the mirror and know that you are honest with yourself. Doing<br />

the right thing will have a trickle effect toward the people you are<br />

around and will also earn their respect. Respect is earned by being<br />

honest and fair. You can never demand respect.”<br />

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

what would it be?<br />

Treat people like you want yourself, and your family to be treated.<br />

What is your favorite thing about the city of Gluckstadt?<br />

Absolutely everything. It is a rollercoaster of emotions, and twists<br />

and turns, every single day. I work for a great mayor and wonderful<br />

board of alderman. They are 100% supportive of the police<br />

department. We would not be at this point with the department<br />

without their support and believing in me. When I came on board,<br />

I looked at how other start-up cities set up their police departments<br />

and most chiefs started them up without assistance. I brought staff<br />

on immediately, and we were able to get things up and running<br />

more quickly. My staff has also become more educated in the<br />

actual building and running of a police department. I want all my<br />

staff to be well trained and understand the inner workings of the<br />

department. I want them to understand the meaning of working<br />

within a budget and why it’s so important to continue to serve the<br />

public, and not just protect them. Gluckstadt will be one of the<br />

safest cities in the nation and will have some of the most highly<br />

trained officers on the department. I want to see the city of<br />

Gluckstadt thrive, and to do that, we will keep this city safe with<br />

the best police officers out there.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 59

60 • MAY 2023<br />

2023<br />


March 1 | Old Capitol Inn | Jackson, MS

Hometown MADISON • 61

62 • 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 Madison<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 MADISON • 63

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 />

64 • MAY 2023

What is your motivation to keep practicing?<br />

I love watching the transformation occur in my patients.<br />

Watching people heal and create lives that they want is a great<br />

blessing to me. Having the privilege of seeing the light turn<br />

back on in a person’s eyes keeps me happy and hopeful for<br />

others. Instead of asking, “What is wrong with you?” I find<br />

myself asking, “What happened to you?” Trauma treatment is<br />

remarkable in its ability to help people accomplish their dreams<br />

and I love being a small part of it.<br />

Alyssa Killebrew, Therapist<br />

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the United States.<br />

This month is about bringing awareness to mental health and<br />

the stigma experienced by those with mental illnesses. As one<br />

in three individuals will experience mental health struggles at<br />

some point in their lifetime, this is a topic that we all need to<br />

educate ourselves on. If mental illness doesn’t affect us, it will<br />

affect someone we love.<br />

It is important to understand that mental illnesses are not<br />

always visible. But by talking openly about mental health, we<br />

give others a comfortable environment to talk about their own<br />

struggles. To kick off this month, I thought I would sit down<br />

and answer a few questions.<br />

What do you believe is the main issue that<br />

keeps people from seeking professional help?<br />

Stigma. We have come a long way in educating the public about<br />

mental health being just as important as physical health.<br />

However, the sad reality is that we still have many people who<br />

think mental illness is a moral issue. That incorrect assumption<br />

keeps people from seeking the help they or their loved ones<br />

need.<br />

How many clients have you had with similar<br />

circumstances to your own?<br />

The human condition, grief, and trauma, are just part of life.<br />

I would say I can relate to most clients I see because we are all<br />

spiritual beings having a human experience. Life is beautiful<br />

and tragic all in the same breath.<br />

What led you on this path to being a therapist?<br />

My parents were polar opposites, so I learned, at a young age,<br />

how to see truth on both sides of any topic. I am also the<br />

middle child, so I have had many instances where I tried to<br />

choose my battles, make peace, and roll with the dichotomy.<br />

These are all important traits to have as a therapist.<br />

What are some of your specializations?<br />

What type of different counseling services<br />

do you offer?<br />

I am a clinical psychologist, so I believe in psychological testing<br />

as part of treatment planning. We need to get a working<br />

diagnosis first, and then build a plan where we track progress<br />

across time. I also require bloodwork as part of this workup<br />

because sometimes medical issues can look like a mental health<br />

diagnosis, or they can complicate treatment. For example, I<br />

have hypothyroidism and for years I thought I was depressed.<br />

After trying an antidepressant to no avail, I was finally tested<br />

and found that my symptoms of depression could be explained<br />

by a low functioning thyroid. In order to effectively treat a<br />

patient, I need the complete picture. Thankfully, most mental<br />

health diagnoses are treatable. My goal is to do my job so<br />

effectively that my clients no longer need me.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 65

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66 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 67

First Annual Celebration Luncheon<br />

March 7 / The Station<br />

A celebration of their city, citizens, and businesses.<br />

Mayor Walter C. Morrison IV was a featured speaker.<br />


Business of the Year- Sullivan’s Marketplace<br />

Ambassador of the Year- Michael Petyak, Oakmont Financial Partners<br />

Citizen of the Year- Kerry Minninger<br />


Lindsay Kellum, Lee Hutchinson, Peyton Brown, Melanie Greer,<br />

Trisha Patel, Houston Cottrell, Jeanie Robinson, Meghan Petyak,<br />

Austin LaSource, and Spencer Mills<br />

Title Sponsor Trustmark<br />

Gold Sponsors BankPlus, City of Gluckstadt,<br />

Mississippi Government, PriorityOne Bank, Service Specialists<br />

Silver Sponsor Citizens National Bank<br />

Bronze Sponsors Community Bank, Deviney Rental & Supply,<br />

Southern Bancorp<br />

68 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 69

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 />

70 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 71

Habitat for Humanity<br />

Re-Stores The Community<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

72 • 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 MADISON • 73

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 />

74 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 75

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 />

76 • 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 MADISON • 77

78 • MAY 2023

Where Public Meets Private<br />

Coming Together for The Betterment of All<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

madisoncountybusinessleague.com<br />


MCBLF_MCEDA_Ad-2022-Full.indd 1<br />

2/2/22 3:15 PM<br />

LIKEUS<br />

Hometown MADISON • 79

The CHALKBOARD Madison Schools<br />

Madison Central<br />

SENIOR CLASS FAVORITES Back L-R: Jake Norris, Hayes Henry, Bryman Williams, Deandre Pullen,<br />

Ian Robinson, Adam Maatallah. Front L-R: Kate Fairburn, Ava Dear, Kinsley Wilson, Genna Ishee,<br />

Anna Kaden Thomas, Davan Zenor, Bergen Bianchi, Zoe Zhang, Nina Gault, Nan Callum.<br />

Not pictured: Noah Robinson, RJ Smith, Isaiah Spencer, Vic Sutton, Alexa Ainsworth.<br />


Jake Norris and Ava Dear<br />

JUNIOR CLASS FAVORITES Back L-R: Zac Cook, Harry Singh, Camden Hood, Max Zuluaga,<br />

Grayson Engles, Ty Miller, Reed Cascio, Ellis Nichols. Front L-R: Rhyin Singleton, Morgan Walberg,<br />

Nataleigh Nix, Anna Edgar, Brooke Bumgarner, Callie Nation, Lauralee Hetzel, Kyra Davis,<br />

Lauren Sutton, Kylira Griffin. Not pictured Joe Koury.<br />

80 • MAY 2023<br />

SOPHMORE CLASS FAVORITES Back L-R: Drew Williamson, Emery Washington, Micah Jones,<br />

Tripp Higgins, Brandon Huerkamp, Trace Barefoot, Darren Woods, Evan Nicholson.<br />

Front L-R: Sara Reeves Thomas, Rivers Biggs, Mivie Barrett, Bailey Donahue, Brooke Highfill, Pearl Magee,<br />

Ella Joyner, Ella Trowbridge, Lana Nabulsi. Not pictured: Jaiden Johnson, Glen Singleton, Avarie Cheeks.

Madison Ridgeland Academy<br />

Madison-Ridgeland Academy partnered with Rise<br />

Against Hunger giving students the opportunity to<br />

participate in a campus-wide service project. MRA<br />

students packed over 41,000 meals in just four hours.<br />

The students were thrilled to take part in filling, weighing,<br />

and boxing meals that will go to those in need of food<br />

and nourishment across the globe. MRA raised over<br />

$16,000 to cover the meals, materials, and shipping<br />

costs. This will positively impact the lives of many<br />

individuals who are without access to adequate<br />

nutrition.<br />

L-R: Lily Ott, Ella Moses, William Patterson<br />

Four Senior MRA soccer players were chosen to play in the MAIS All Star Soccer Game.<br />

L-R: Colten White, Luke Harris, Coach John Kehoe, Hayes Middleton, Vanndel Chinchen<br />

Five MRA soccer players were chosen to play in the MAIS Futures Soccer Game.<br />

L-R: Wade Hansford, Will Ward, Coach John Kehoe, Case Thomas,<br />

Bryson Palmer, Mason Towler<br />

The MRA boys basketball team won the 2023 MAIS 6A State Championship title.<br />

Four MRA Patriots received the All-Tournament Team honor.<br />

L-R: Sam Hailey, Harrison Alexander, Josh Hubbard, Ashton Magee<br />

The MRA girls basketball team won the 2023 MAIS 6A State Championship title.<br />

Three MRA Lady Patriots received the All-Tournament Team honor.<br />

L-R: Ella Wesley Davis, Riley Hancock, Cameron Humphries, Coach Stephen Force<br />

Hometown MADISON • 81

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 />

82 • MAY 2023

Hometown MADISON • 83





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