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Focused on You<br />

Ridgeland Clinton Yazoo City<br />

(601) 898-8875 (601) 924-6842 (662) 746-4581<br />

mcl.cpa<br />





745 Clinton Parkway<br />

Clinton, MS 39056<br />

601-987-8223<br />

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

4 • MAY 2023


“Spring has sprung!” Or has it?<br />

That’s the question the unusual April we had has caused us to ask.<br />

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

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

of a long-awaited spring. Then the temps dropped drastically with killing<br />

frosts and caused spring to have to regenerate the young leaves on all<br />

the trees and shrubs.<br />

I understand weather forecasts are hinting at another possible drop<br />

in temps before the final release of spring. However, I’m sticking by the<br />

actual date that spring is designated to arrive while trying to ignore the<br />

outdoor thermostats.<br />

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

to think that death is still a part of every season – even spring. I encourage<br />

you to read about the life and home-going of a remarkable woman of<br />

God in this issue. Dorothy Henderson, and her husband, Gene, have<br />

touched thousands of lives throughout our state by sharing the gospel.<br />

Mrs. Henderson realized death was the final exit from this life, and she<br />

certainly hated the thought of the temporary separation from family<br />

and friends. But she rejoiced in the thought of meeting Jesus face to<br />

face and being united with the Savior whom she had loved and served<br />

the major portion of her life. I assure you that you will never look at<br />

death the same way again, thanks to the example 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<br />

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

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

Magazines wish you a blessed spring and a renewed picture of<br />

“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 />

All Pro Dad 18<br />

Mental Health Wealth 20<br />

Kids Who Care 22<br />

Habitat for Humanity 26<br />

Setting the Tone 34<br />

Fighting for Mississippi Veterans 48<br />



Caroline Hodges<br />



Lexie Ownby<br />


Nikki Robison<br />

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


Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

STAFF<br />


Othel Anding<br />

STAFF<br />


Debby Francis<br />



Melissa Kennon<br />

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

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

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

Hometown CLINTON • 5

6 • MAY 2023

Hometown CLINTON • 7

8 • MAY 2023

READER<br />


Sherry<br />

WHEAT<br />

_______________<br />

Why did you decide to make Clinton<br />

your home?<br />

We moved from Alabama for my husband’s<br />

practice. We wanted a smaller town with a<br />

larger city close by. Clinton was a beautiful<br />

town and the residents were friendly.<br />

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

32 years<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My husband, David, has a family practice<br />

business here in Clinton. He has been a<br />

physician for 42 years. I am a registered nurse<br />

and have been for 45 years, and have a degree<br />

in microbiology. I also taught junior high<br />

sciences for 10 of those years. I now work at<br />

my husband’s practice as practice manager doing<br />

whatever needs to be done. Our daughter, Sarah,<br />

and her family live here as well as our son, Brett.<br />

Sarah is an attorney and Brett is in construction.<br />

Grandson, David, is seven and absolutely<br />

wonderful; he reads everything as well.<br />

What is your favorite memory of living<br />

in Clinton?<br />

Going to the Brick Street Markets and seeing<br />

everyone we know.<br />

Where are your three favorite places<br />

to eat in Clinton?<br />

Genna Benna , Bonsai, and Lillie’s.<br />

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

Clinton on the weekends?<br />

Downtown market, shopping local.<br />

Share some things you enjoy doing in<br />

your spare time.<br />

I love to spend time with family, read everything,<br />

and sew. I enjoy French hand sewing,<br />

smocking, cross stitch, arts and crafts, and word<br />

games. I also enjoy my work—meeting and<br />

helping people at Clinton Family Care.<br />

What are three things on your bucket<br />

list?<br />

Go to Hawaii, read Gone with the Wind again,<br />

and see a spaceship launch.<br />

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

It’s corny, but I admire my husband. He is the<br />

kindest most patient person I know. He works<br />

hard, plays hard, and loves his family.<br />

Where do you see yourself ten years<br />

from now?<br />

I don’t look that far ahead. Sometimes if you<br />

do, you miss what’s important now.<br />

What is your favorite childhood<br />

memory?<br />

Playing in the country under shade trees; seeing<br />

relatives every day, and having parents that<br />

loved me unconditionally.<br />

If you could give us one encouraging<br />

quote, what would it be?<br />

Never give up—and have faith.<br />

What is your favorite thing about<br />

Hometown Magazines?<br />

I love the photography and learning about<br />

local people.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 9

What is something your mother or grandmother<br />

instilled in you that you would want to pass on<br />

to your children?<br />

Tiffany Edwards<br />

Laci Pittman<br />

Madeline Howard<br />

Karen Kostal<br />

Mother’s Day has become one of my<br />

most favorite celebrated days of the<br />

year. While I celebrate my mother<br />

throughout the year, this day is most<br />

special because now we share it<br />

together. My mother has instilled<br />

multiple core values in me. I believe<br />

the most instilled value she has given<br />

to me that I pour into my children is<br />

prayer. It began with my grandmother,<br />

Claudine, and her devout love for family<br />

and Christ. Her relentless efforts have<br />

carried our family for generations.<br />

Prayer is the cornerstone of our family.<br />

For example, each day before school,<br />

my mom prayed with my older sister,<br />

younger brother, and me, and poured<br />

positive affirmations into our hearts<br />

before entering the harsh world. I<br />

remember going to school undefeated<br />

and with a positive attitude the majority<br />

of the days. I now implement those<br />

same traditions with my daughter and<br />

son. God is so faithful! My children now<br />

cover me with prayer in both moments<br />

of triumph and despair. My mom<br />

always expressed to me, “What you<br />

begin with your children, is what will<br />

carry them through life.” I want to say<br />

to my mom, Thank you and I love you<br />

infinitely. We are because of you!<br />

My grandmother, Peppy, was such a<br />

huge influence on my life! She helped<br />

raise me and then when she needed<br />

someone to help take care of her, she<br />

asked me. So when my fiance, Russell,<br />

and I married, she came to live with us.<br />

She lived with us for nine years, until<br />

she passed away at the age of 96.<br />

There are so many life lessons, but<br />

I think the most important is to take<br />

care of others. Show your heart, be<br />

open, vulnerable,and show kindness<br />

to everyone. Everyone deserves a<br />

seat at the table and be hospitable<br />

in everything you do. She did this in<br />

many ways, but mostly in cooking<br />

for others. Russell and I love to host<br />

people in our home! She was my step<br />

grandmother, and she was never able<br />

to have children, but she loved me like<br />

I was hers. When my husband and I<br />

had trouble getting pregnant, then<br />

having two miscarriages, we were<br />

finally able to have our daughter Lily<br />

Beth. Oh, how I wish she could have<br />

known her! We talk of her often, she<br />

instilled so much in me and I hope to<br />

do the same with my daughter!<br />

(I cried all the way through this!)<br />

My mother always instilled in me to<br />

do everything with grace and to be<br />

relentless in my pursuit of passion.<br />

She unknowingly exemplified her<br />

teachings daily as a single mother.<br />

She raised me to be the very best<br />

version of myself while fearlessly<br />

accomplishing all that she set out to do.<br />

I pray that I too am leading by example<br />

while raising my two incredibly amazing<br />

boys that I love dearly.<br />

Kristi Walker<br />

My mother definitely instilled a strong<br />

work ethic in us and I want to do the<br />

same with my girls. My mom went<br />

back to nursing school while working<br />

and raising three young kids. She<br />

works hard each day and gives her all<br />

with everything she does. I want my<br />

girls to work hard for what they want,<br />

not to give up or quit, and to put forth<br />

their best effort.<br />

My mom instilled in me a sense of<br />

empathy. Growing up, I remember<br />

seeing a homeless man, and my mom<br />

driving past him to a restaurant, picking<br />

up a meal, and taking it back to him.<br />

Whether it was stopping in the rain<br />

and giving her umbrella to someone<br />

getting wet or helping a lost child find<br />

their parent; whether gathering clothes<br />

for someone who needed them or being<br />

late somewhere because we had to<br />

stop and help the dog too close to the<br />

highway for safety; whether bringing<br />

a meal to a family going through a<br />

hard time or cleaning up for someone<br />

who couldn’t ask for help; my mom<br />

always reminds me of the importance<br />

of taking care of others. I hope to instill<br />

empathy in my children so that no<br />

matter what they end up doing in life,<br />

they remember to go slow enough to<br />

look around and notice who needs help<br />

and to do something about it. After all,<br />

that’s what Jesus calls us to do.<br />

10 • MAY 2023

Sarah Kieffer<br />

My mom is the hospitality queen. She<br />

is always opening her home to people<br />

who don’t have local family to spend<br />

holidays with. Or to house missionaries<br />

while they travel. She is always cooking<br />

meals, bread or pies to give to others<br />

who are grieving, sick or in need. She<br />

is the hands and feet of Jesus as she<br />

serves others. I want to instill a love<br />

of hospitality in my kids and want them<br />

to put others first and love well.<br />

Shirley Williams-Kane<br />

As a little girl my mother always said,<br />

“Pray before you go to bed, so that<br />

when God wakes you in the morning,<br />

and your feet touch the floor, the<br />

Devil knows you are ready to be a<br />

warrior for Christ!” As I got older,<br />

I truly learned what that meant.<br />

I hope as I share that with my children<br />

that they remember the warrior their<br />

grandmother was and the one I am<br />

becoming.<br />

Amanda Henderson<br />

“Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”<br />

-William Shakespeare. This is a quote<br />

spoken from a mother to her son in<br />

Shakespeare’s play, “All’s Well That<br />

Ends Well.” I live by this quote as it is<br />

a reflection of the values my mother<br />

instilled in me from early childhood.<br />

My mother is the epitome of kindness,<br />

patience, and grace. She taught me to<br />

be a reflection of what I want to see in<br />

others. This contributes to a peaceful,<br />

healthy, and happy life. I strive to exhibit<br />

these characteristics in all aspects of<br />

my life, so that my children will “do as<br />

I say and as I do.”<br />

Kimberly Purdie<br />

Both of my grandmothers, as well<br />

as my mother, were and are devout<br />

Christian women. They emphasized<br />

the importance of faith from the time<br />

I was born. For my daughter’s dedication,<br />

I selected this verse: “The Lord<br />

your God is in your midst, a mighty<br />

one who will save; he will rejoice<br />

over you with gladness; he will quiet<br />

you by his love; he will exult over you<br />

with loud singing.” –Zephaniah 3:17.<br />

I hope she always loves the Lord and<br />

trusts in Him.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 11

12 • MAY 2023

The Thomases<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

Matt - 49 Enjoys spending time with his family, playing golf,<br />

working in the yard and following his children around the country<br />

watching them play soccer.<br />

Amanda - 50 Enjoys time with family, having coffee with friends,<br />

and traveling on the weekends to watch her kids play soccer.<br />

Nathan - 22 Graduating from MC in May 2023 with a degree in<br />

biology/pre-med. He will be attending UMMC medical school in<br />

August. He enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing<br />

golf, hiking, and traveling.<br />

Hayden - 17 Graduating from CHS in May 2023. He will be<br />

attending MGCCC in August where he will be playing soccer.<br />

Enjoys spending time with his family and friends, playing soccer,<br />

snow skiing, and wake surfing.<br />

Elise - 13 8th grader at CJHS. She enjoys spending time with<br />

family and friends, playing soccer, snow skiing, and going to the<br />

lakehouse.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 13

14 • MAY 2023

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

We were high school sweethearts at CHS and have been married for<br />

27 years.<br />

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

Date nights are sometimes planned and sometimes spontaneous.<br />

A quiet dinner and a quiet house are our favorites.<br />

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

To watch your children grow and mature physically, mentally,<br />

and spiritually into the person that God desires for them to be.<br />

Each one is so uniquely different.<br />

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

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

Matt I am a physical therapist and clinic director of Elite Physical<br />

Therapy in Clinton. I have been practicing PT for 26 years and the<br />

last 18 have been here in Clinton.<br />

Amanda I am a physical therapist at UMMC in acute care in the<br />

adult hospital. I have also been practicing PT for 26 years in various<br />

capacities at Baptist and UMMC. It brings us both great joy to come<br />

alongside patients and help them in their recoveries.<br />

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

We are both equally involved in managing the household budget.<br />

Amanda pays the bills, but Matt handles the monthly budget.<br />

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

discipline philosophy?<br />

Consistency. Setting clear boundaries with clear consequences.<br />

Leading by example and admitting mistakes.<br />

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

your family?<br />

To provide stability, support, love, and direction to our children.<br />

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

And who does the cooking?<br />

Tacos. And whoever gets home from work first.<br />

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

Over 45 years.<br />

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

College town, close-knit community, excellent public schools, strong<br />

churches, brick street festivities, and community events.<br />

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

Vacationing, going to Pickwick Lake, soccer, and summer camps.<br />

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

living in Clinton?<br />

Matt 1991 CHS soccer state champion, 1992 CHS Hall of Fame,<br />

current CPSD school board member, 1992-1995 member of MC<br />

football team.<br />

Amanda 1990 CHS basketball state champion, 1990 CHS Hall<br />

of Fame, 1994 MC Hall of Fame and Founder’s Award.<br />

Hayden 2022 and 2023 CHS soccer state champion.<br />


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

Nathan I love having a meal with my family and sharing stories<br />

about how our days went.<br />

Hayden Going to dinner and coming home and watching a movie.<br />

Elise Going on vacations so we can be away from all the distractions<br />

and be able to focus on one another.<br />

What’s your favorite restaurant?<br />

Nathan Newk’s.<br />

Hayden Cane’s<br />

Elise Chick-fil-A<br />

What’s your favorite TV show?<br />

Nathan The Last Dance<br />

Hayden Last Chance U<br />

Elise Outer Banks<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 15

With over<br />

90 different<br />

options, our<br />

Pathways are<br />

designed to take<br />

the guesswork<br />

out of your future.<br />

hindscc.edu<br />


In compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Title IX, Education Amendments of 1972 of the Higher Education Act, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and other applicable Federal and State<br />

Acts, Hinds Community College offers equal education and employment opportunities and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability or veteran status in its educational programs and activities. We recognize<br />

our responsibility to provide an open and welcoming environment that fosters a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion for employees and students to collaboratively learn, work and serve our communities. The following have been designated to handle<br />

inquiries regarding these policies:<br />

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

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

16 • MAY 2023<br />

www.clintonmscofc.com<br />

155 Broadway St. Clinton, MS 39056<br />

601-924-5300<br />

“Follow us on Facebook”

Hometown CLINTON • 17

ALL<br />

PRO<br />

DAD<br />

Sumner Hill Junior High is honored to receive a Community<br />

Impact Grant from the New York Life Insurance Company for<br />

$12,000. Dr. Nikisha Ware will represent The New York Life<br />

Insurance Company and present the Community Impact Grant<br />

to Sumner Hill’s school counselor, Heather Norton, principal,<br />

Dr. Alexis Walker, assistant principal, Mr. Jermaine Brown, and<br />

Christie Claxton, former principal.<br />

Sumner Hill’s purpose for using the community grant money is<br />

to build family bonds with fathers and their children. After collecting<br />

data regarding fathers and positive male role models from Sumner<br />

Hill’s boys last year, the counseling program and administration<br />

wanted to provide services to strengthen father/son relationships for<br />

ninth graders. Research shows that children are likelier to do well<br />

academically, participate in extracurricular activities, and enjoy<br />

school, if fathers have high involvement as opposed to low involvement<br />

in the schools. Sumner Hill is an All-Pro Dad Chapter for<br />

the fifth year that meets monthly. All Pro Dad provides resources,<br />

training, and events to help fathers as they raise their children for a<br />

healthy and hopeful future.<br />

The goals of the community grant are to provide social and<br />

emotional support for our students and to strengthen the family<br />

unit within our Clinton community. We had a special dinner for<br />

our boys and their father/positive male role model on Thursday,<br />

March 2, at Clinton High School Culinary Dining Room. The<br />

Clinton High School Culinary Arts Program provided a threecourse<br />

steak dinner. Tony Dungy, cofounder of All-Pro Dad, spoke<br />

to our participants via Zoom. We asked him to talk about making<br />

positive decisions as high school students, the importance of<br />

positive relationships within the home, and learning to cope with<br />

difficult situations. Tony Dungy personally autographed 20<br />

footballs and books for our students who participated.<br />

Tony Dungy has many accomplishments. He served as head<br />

coach in the National Football League for 13 seasons. He led the<br />

Indianapolis Colts to a Super Bowl XLI victory, making him the<br />

first African-American head coach to win the Super Bowl. He<br />

currently serves as an analyst on NBC’s Football Night in America.<br />

He is a national spokesman for the fatherhood program All Pro<br />

Dad and was inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2016.<br />

18 • MAY 2023

Coach Dungy has written several books, such as Quiet Strength: The<br />

Principles, Practices, and Priorities of a Winning Life; Uncommon: Finding Your Path<br />

to Significance; and the most recent publication is Uncommon Influence.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 19

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 almost 17 times the population of the City of<br />

Clinton. 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<br />

of 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 emphasize 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 />

20 • MAY 2023

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 />

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 />

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 />

Richard McMullan, CMHT<br />

Director of Children’s Services<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 />

Hometown CLINTON • 21

22 • MAY 2023


Makinley FinneganMistie Desper<br />







OR BRAVE.<br />

For those who know Makinley Finnegan,<br />

they adamantly affirm that all the aforementioned<br />

attributes are fitting and inherent to her<br />

personality. “She has always had a heart for<br />

serving people,” says her mother, Nicole.<br />

In winter of last year, as her 12th birthday<br />

approached, Makinley decided she wanted to<br />

put her inclination towards service to use. “We<br />

began by having a basic conversation about ways<br />

to help the homeless population,” says Nicole.<br />

Subsequently, of her own volition, Makinley<br />

decided to begin taking donations for bags to<br />

distribute - bags that would contain items<br />

needed for those who do not have a permanent<br />

residence. “My birthday wish was to give out<br />

these bags,” she says.<br />

Items in the bag included a memory foam<br />

neck pillow with a snap (“The snap means it is<br />

not easily taken away,” notes Makinley) a mini<br />

Bible and journal, socks to keep warm, a detailed<br />

folder naming food banks and shelters, the<br />

national hotline list, waters, snacks, baby wipes, a<br />

toothbrush, toothpaste that doesn’t require<br />

water, a blanket, soap, bandaids, a hair comb,<br />

and an extra bag. Each item was carefully<br />

selected by Makinley, as she thought through<br />

what challenges people might face and what their<br />

needs would look like in hard circumstances.<br />

According to the U.S. Interagency Council on<br />

Homelessness, in recent years, the state of<br />

Mississippi has had an estimated 1,107 people<br />

who are experiencing homelessness, the majority<br />

of whom are in the metro Jackson area. As<br />

Makinley formed the idea of how to help these<br />

people, she began to reach out to those in her<br />

community. Her mother created a post on<br />

Facebook explaining how and what to donate,<br />

and the project began to receive feedback and<br />

contributions.<br />

Nicole and Makinley gave everyone a month<br />

to bring donations in. “Some people dropped<br />

off at our house,” says Nicole. “Some people<br />

mailed checks or sent Venmo. Teachers at her<br />

school became involved and also donated.” For<br />

Makinley, local participation was the realization<br />

of her goal. “I was so excited when I actually saw<br />

the project going,” she says.<br />

Once the bags were complete, Makinley and<br />

Nicole began to give them away to homeless<br />

people on their routes through Jackson. “I will<br />

keep three or four bags in the car and pass them<br />

out as needed,” says Nicole. “We now distribute<br />

them all over the Jackson area, from Lakeland to<br />

Northpark.”<br />

Makinley says that the comprehensive<br />

success of the endeavor, and the heart of her<br />

inspiration, stems from her mother. “My mom<br />

works at a non-profit agency, the Center for<br />

Pregnancy Choices (CPC). She helps so many<br />

people and she inspires me so much.” Nicole, in<br />

turn, says that Makinley volunteers alongside<br />

her at the CPC, stuffing envelopes and sweeping<br />

floors, completing tasks around the office,<br />

further proof of her daughter’s willingness to<br />

work hard and serve others.<br />

Aside from her service ventures, Makinley<br />

has a great affinity for playing soccer and the<br />

saxophone in her spare time. In school, she loves<br />

math and would like to be a doctor or a nurse one<br />

day. Over the summer, she is looking forward to<br />

church camp, and potentially, repeating the<br />

process of collecting bag items, once more<br />

recruiting involvement from others who want<br />

to ease the burden of those experiencing<br />

homelessness.<br />

Ultimately, Makinley wants people to help<br />

any way they can. As Nicole says, “Service<br />

doesn’t have to be big. Because truly, everyone<br />

can do something.”<br />

If you would like to donate items to Makinley,<br />

please email Nicole at: finnegan24@gmail.com<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 23

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24 • 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 CLINTON • 25

Habitat for Humanity<br />

Re-Stores The Community<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

26 • 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 CLINTON • 27

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 />

28 • MAY 2023

Hometown CLINTON • 29

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 />

30 • 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 CLINTON • 31

32 • MAY 2023<br />

Like Us!

Hometown CLINTON • 33

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 />

34 • MAY 2023

Hometown CLINTON • 35

36 • 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 CLINTON • 37

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 />

38 • 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 CLINTON • 39

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

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

Honestly, for as long as I can remember, I have wanted to be a detective!<br />

Growing up watching Scooby Doo and The Adventures of Mary Kate<br />

and Ashley probably had some influence, but I’ve always enjoyed solving<br />

puzzles. But it wasn’t until I took a forensics class, taught by my volleyball<br />

coach at Clinton High School, that I made the conscious decision to<br />

pursue the career. So, I got my Bachelor of Science in Forensics with an<br />

emphasis in criminal justice from the University of Southern Mississippi.<br />

I was hired by the Byram Police Department and was the very first<br />

female they ever sent to the police academy. I moved on to the Richland<br />

Police Department where I became their first female detective. And now<br />

I’m home at the Clinton Police Department.<br />

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

I came to Clinton PD in October of 2021 and it has been one of the best<br />

moves I’ve made in my career. Chief Hayman is one of the most<br />

supportive chiefs I’ve worked for and encourages his officers to pursue<br />

the things they have a passion for. I am currently a detective in the<br />

criminal investigation division and recently became a crisis negotiator.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I grew up right here in Clinton, so it was like coming home for me. My<br />

parents, Ray and Karen Johansson, still live in Clinton in the house my<br />

older sisters, Heather Lee, Anna Craig, and I grew up in. It never gets old<br />

being recognized as one of the “Johansson girls” from someone around<br />

town. But I consider myself lucky to have a family that goes beyond<br />

blood relation. My first responder family, and now my pageant family,<br />

are always there when I need them. And my family grows every day!<br />

Officer<br />

Amanda<br />



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

I have experienced a lot in my 10 years in law enforcement. I work cases<br />

involving special victims which consist mostly of women and children.<br />

I think the toughest thing for me is having to accept when someone isn’t<br />

ready to be helped. When it comes to victims of crimes such as domestic<br />

violence or human trafficking, you can’t make them leave their situation.<br />

You can’t “save” them. Trauma bonds are real and they are strong! A<br />

victim has to save themselves and, as for my job, I just need to continue<br />

to be there until they are ready. Unfortunately some victims never make<br />

that decision.<br />

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

Spare time? That’s a good one! I am always busy doing something, but<br />

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am the co-founder and current<br />

president of Bikers Against Trafficking MS. We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit<br />

that promotes education and awareness about the realities of human<br />

trafficking as well as raise money for victims’ assistance. Oh, and did I<br />

mention we all ride motorcycles? I ride a 2019 Indian Scout Bobber and<br />

love every second of it! Motorcycle people are the friendliest people to<br />

strike up a conversation with. And they’re very generous too. I also train<br />

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

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

40 • MAY 2023

in Japanese Jiu Jitsu at the Florence Martial Arts Academy in Florence.<br />

I don’t get to train as much as I would like but I know that this training<br />

is important and could very well save my life one day.<br />

But my most recent endeavor would have to be competing in the Miss<br />

Mississippi for America Strong 2023 pageant…and I won! I grew up<br />

helping backstage at the Miss Clinton and Clinton Jr. Miss pageant, so<br />

this was a bucket list thing for me. I had an absolute blast, made some<br />

amazing friends, and now get to compete again in August at the Miss<br />

for America Strong National pageant in Las Vegas, Nevada. I never<br />

knew how fulfilling it would be to have the opportunity to represent<br />

the state of Mississippi in this way!<br />

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

Competing in a pageant was definitely on my bucket list! I don’t get<br />

many opportunities to put on a fancy gown working in law enforcement.<br />

It’s kind of funny to mention the second thing on my bucket list right<br />

after talking about being in a pageant…but I would like to build an<br />

AR-15. In January I decided I was going to mark this off my bucket list<br />

in 2023! I’m getting help from a few of the guys at work and I think<br />

they are enjoying it just as much as I am. I think the third thing on my<br />

bucket list would have to be to become a supervisor in CID. I will never<br />

forget the lessons I learned from my supervisor when I was a detective<br />

at Richland PD. In fact, I still call him all the time to run stuff by him.<br />

I would love to be able to pass on the knowledge and be that sounding<br />

board for someone else.<br />

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

This was actually a question I prepared for during pageant interview<br />

prep. There is a little girl from one of my cases that showed me what it<br />

truly means to be courageous, being unapologetically herself, and have<br />

a forgiving heart.<br />

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

would it be?<br />

A piece of advice I was recently given by a close friend was “figure out<br />

what you want and learn how to ask for it.” This advice might have<br />

been taken from a Reese Witherspoon movie but it is great advice!<br />

Everyone should do more of what makes them happy, do less of what<br />

doesn’t, and take stock of the mistakes they’ve made. They should go<br />

after what they want, admit when they need help, and persevere<br />

through the inevitable challenges of life.<br />

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

Clinton is the ever-present opportunity for growth. Clinton has always<br />

looked towards the future while preserving a little piece of the past to<br />

remind them of where they came from. Clinton is a city filled with<br />

history and a very promising future!<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 41

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 />

42 • 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 CLINTON • 43

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 />

44 • 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 CLINTON • 45

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46 • MAY 2023

Hometown CLINTON • 47

Fighting for<br />

Mississippi’s Veterans<br />

Poppy Williams<br />

“Sometimes the hardest wars<br />

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

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

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

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

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

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi, Cheryl has<br />

shaped the lives of hundreds of Mississippi<br />

veterans.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

returned was admittedly different than the<br />

Dustin who first deployed.<br />

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

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

hundreds upon hundreds that came back with<br />

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

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

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

said Cheryl.<br />

Through her experience seeing Dustin<br />

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

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

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

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

Though Cheryl initially raised money for the<br />

national Wounded Warriors project, she decided<br />

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

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

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi came to life<br />

and is thriving nine years later.<br />

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

nonprofit organization that supports Mississippi<br />

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

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

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

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

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

prevent veteran abuse.<br />

48 • MAY 2023

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

different for every veteran and their specific<br />

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

put their words into action for Mississippi<br />

veterans are through organizing events where<br />

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

together, by providing physical assistance with<br />

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

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

dog, and much more.<br />

Some days serving Mississippi veterans looks<br />

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

providing physical therapy or counseling,<br />

providing financial advisement sessions, or even<br />

helping to provide Christmas gifts for their<br />

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

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

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

priority.<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wounded Warriors of Mississippi speaks<br />

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

because not every warrior can speak for<br />

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

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

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

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

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

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

amplified with collective action. They continuously<br />

welcome others to join their mission of<br />

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

veterans through volunteering, donating, or<br />

learning more about the organization at<br />

www.woundedwarriorsofms.com.<br />

Hometown CLINTON • 49

TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

“They don’t make them like they used to.”<br />

How many times have we heard that statement? But that’s the appropriate description of the<br />

salad bowl I got as a wedding gift some fifty-five plus years ago. I was closing out my days as a<br />

student/employee at the Ole Miss infirmary. It was a great experience working in the lab and<br />

sorting files along with making sweet friends among the nurses and doctors.<br />

They celebrated my engagement by giving me a shower on my last day with them. It’s a mystery<br />

how our minds work because I can’t remember any specific gift I opened except for the apple<br />

salad bowl that the senior doctor gave me. For some reason it has stayed in our kitchen cabinets<br />

wherever we’ve lived. If you were to eat salad at our table now, you would almost positively eat<br />

from that salad bowl painted in red apples. It’s very lightweight - not exactly plastic but a cousin.<br />

Anyway, it’s been more than serviceable and still is perfect for what it was designed.<br />

Another go-to item in our kitchen is a set of aluminum measuring cups with handles. They’ve<br />

rested in a kitchen cabinet drawer since the wedding day gifts. I have several other measuring cups<br />

– various sizes, made from a variety of materials. However, the one cup container is washed more<br />

than all the others combined. Its measurement is accurate; it’s lightweight and easy to pick up with<br />

its handy handle.<br />

Last week I reached for it, and it wasn’t in its usual place in the drawer. I scanned the<br />

countertops. Not anywhere. Then I checked the dishwasher. Wasn’t there either. Where<br />

could it be? Surely, I wouldn’t have put it in the refrigerator, but I looked! No, I hadn’t<br />

been that confused, yet. I went on with my cooking wondering where it could be and<br />

wondering where I could go to replace it. It was just a very plain aluminum measuring<br />

cup but so convenient for me.<br />

The next day I was baking and stirring and reached under the counter for my flour<br />

container. There peeping through the floured glass was my measuring cup. I was elated.<br />

Inadvertently when measuring for my last baking episode, I had left it in the container.<br />

It’s just a very old aluminum and very plain measuring cup, but it’s very valuable to me.<br />

Sometimes as a Christian I have wanted God to use me in ways I would know, ways that would<br />

benefit others, ways when I felt like I wasn’t just “waiting on a shelf.” My apple salad bowl and<br />

aluminum measuring cup answered all those questions. God is not so much interested in our<br />

abilities as He is our availability. My bowl and cup are readily available and always meet my needs<br />

for what they are designed. They are both lightweight – easy to use without necessary care or fear<br />

of my hurting them in use. And they are always ready, just waiting to meet their owner’s specific<br />

needs.<br />

I know God is never limited in what or who He needs. However, isn’t it an endearing thought to<br />

think He would always have a need for us and for that specific need He would know just where we<br />

were - ready, willing, and available.<br />

50 • MAY 2023

Hometown CLINTON • 51

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