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V96<br />

1123<br />

Before & After<br />

A Shoulder<br />

to Lean On<br />

A Sparkling<br />

Canton<br />


2 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 3

4 • NOVEMBER 2023

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We address what YOU really need.<br />

Call 877-8-GO-2-BLUE to<br />

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Hometown MADISON • 5

6 • JULY 2023


After the princesses and superheroes have put away their costumes,<br />

and Christmas lights begin packing the retail shelves, the “merriment”<br />

seasons are officially underway.<br />

For young families, most months have more than their share<br />

of activities and demanding schedules—but November and<br />

December carry the greatest weight for pausing.<br />

Even with schedules that scream for attention, the majority<br />

in our hometowns take time to express thanksgiving for their<br />

multitude of blessings and to celebrate the greatest of all blessings<br />

– the birth of our only Savior.<br />

Our staff hopes this issue is a reminder of your blessings and<br />

gives you warm thoughts as you pause to reflect on your own<br />

countless blessings. From my office door I catch glimpses of staff<br />

members who are dedicated to completing their assignments<br />

and who continue to help meet those never-ending deadlines.<br />

Their names are listed on the editorial page of each of our<br />

publications. I’m immensely grateful for their talents, attitudes,<br />

and willingness to work as a team.<br />

There are times that are stressful, and all will probably admit,<br />

there’s never a lot of downtime to small talk around the coffee pot.<br />

As we grow, and praise God that’s happening, additional jobs<br />

keep popping up which demand more work on everyone’s part.<br />

I’m blessed and grateful with a team like Hometown’s!<br />

As we set aside time in the next two months to share with<br />

our families and friends, let thanksgiving be at the top of each<br />

menu and gathering. We at Hometown Magazines consider<br />

our advertisers and readers high on OUR thanksgiving list and...<br />

if you are reading this, know that one more deadline was met!<br />

Let the merriment begin!<br />

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


Reader Spotlight 11<br />

The Way We Were 14<br />

Before & After 18<br />

Hometown Family 24<br />

A Shoulder to Lean On 29<br />

Holiday Gift Guide 36<br />

Daughters of the American Revolution 41<br />

Kids Who Care 48<br />

Missisippi Metropolitan Ballet 64<br />

A Sparkling Canton Christmas 74<br />

A Place Called Raymond 80<br />

The Time Coin 98<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 • 7




8 • NOVEMBER 2023<br />

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Hometown MADISON • 9


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10 • NOVEMBER 2023

READER<br />


Scarlet<br />


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

My husband was transferred to the area from<br />

Tennessee. We are both in healthcare so we<br />

needed to be near local hospitals. I loved the<br />

atmosphere, architecture, and interstate<br />

accessibility of Madison.<br />

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

We moved to the area in 2015. It feels like we<br />

have been here for much longer. It is a very<br />

welcoming area.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I am married to Rob Middleton. We have one<br />

very spoiled fur baby named Lily.<br />

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

Madison?<br />

I love live music and have attended several of my<br />

favorite concerts in Madison.<br />

Where are your three favorite places<br />

to eat in Madison?<br />

We enjoy Strawberry Café, Kristos and Primo’s.<br />

Jersey Mikes in Gluckstadt is a favorite for us as<br />

well.<br />

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

County on the weekends?<br />

I love to shop, and Madison offers so many<br />

options. They know me by name at Calloways!<br />

My husband is a cyclist, so he rides his bike every<br />

weekend.<br />

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

spare time.<br />

I love entertaining and decorating my home for<br />

the holidays. I also love a good concert and will<br />

travel to see my favorite bands.<br />

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

1. Travel to the Holy Land<br />

2. Go fly fishing in Montana<br />

3. Spend time in the Virgin Islands<br />

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

My parents! They both recently passed away and<br />

I long for just one more conversation with each<br />

of them. I would thank them for teaching me the<br />

true value of family, friends, and living life to the<br />

fullest. They taught me how to treat others with<br />

the same respect that I would like to receive. My<br />

father was known for his gentle kind spirit. My<br />

mother worked in radio so she never met a<br />

stranger. My love for music was inspired by my<br />

mother. My parent’s faith in God was strong and<br />

their lives reflected their faith. My brother and I<br />

were blessed to have two of the best.<br />

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

I am the Business Development Manager for<br />

AFC Urgent Care. We currently have two clinics<br />

in Madison County, but I hope to help them<br />

grow to have many more in the next 10 years!<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

Christmas in our home was magical. My mother<br />

decorated every room in the house. Christmas<br />

morning was spent with family opening gifts and<br />

enjoying a holiday breakfast after Santa visited,<br />

of course.<br />

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

what would it be?<br />

I have a favorite quote and a favorite scripture. I<br />

hope you don’t mind if I share both. My favorite<br />

scripture is from the book of Isaiah. “Do not be<br />

afraid, for I have redeemed you. I have called you<br />

by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1<br />

My favorite quote is: “Happiness cannot be<br />

traveled to, owned, worn, or consumed.<br />

Happiness is the spiritual experience of living<br />

every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.”<br />

Dennis Waitley<br />

Hometown MADISON • 11

& Healthy<br />


Front row: Kalai Key, Meghan Watson, Ivey Shelton, Olivia Brown<br />

Back row: Scarlet Middleton, Kim Woodward, MaryRhea Waterloo, Rosalynn Williamson, Shanika Wigley, Allyson Walker<br />

12 • NOVEMBER 2023<br />


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jacksonprep.net I 601.939.8611<br />

Hometown MADISON • 13

Lisa & Tommy Miskelly<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Lisa and Tommy Miskelly have<br />

agreed and are committed to leaving<br />

their two offspring, Anderson and<br />

Abby, the same kind of legacy that their<br />

parents have instilled in their own lives.<br />

Lisa and Tommy pledged wedding vows<br />

to each other, but they were fully aware<br />

that they were making them based on<br />

their own values, as well as on the<br />

strengths and examples of their parents.<br />

It was in a barber shop in Pearl,<br />

Lisa Hoyt’s hometown, that the future<br />

Miskelly couple first met. Tommy’s<br />

sister-in-law was the hairdresser, and<br />

even though Lisa was in the middle of<br />

a perm, complete with the curling rods,<br />

Tommy took full note of the young<br />

beauty. “I’m gonna marry that girl,” was<br />

his comment to his sister-in-law.<br />

Lisa was a student at University of<br />

Southern Mississippi at the time and<br />

needed to find a weekend job when she<br />

was home. She applied at the fledgling<br />

Miskelly Furniture store and got a<br />

position answering the phone. That’s<br />

when she and Tommy got to officially<br />

meet and have conversations.<br />

The question about their first date<br />

in 1987 came next – the couple laughed<br />

in unison as Tommy shared that Lisa<br />

had actually been the one that asked<br />

him. She called him from Southern and<br />

asked if he would like to visit her for a<br />

dinner date. That’s when God’s plan<br />

stepped in. Joyce Miskelly was walking<br />

through the office while Tommy was<br />

searching for Lisa’s phone number to<br />

call her to decline the invitation. Joyce<br />

asked him, “Why not go?”<br />

That question changed his “No”<br />

to a “Yes,” and the two shared their<br />

first date over a meal that neither of<br />

them touched. It was their evening<br />

of conversation and immediate<br />

connection that was the “main course.”<br />

When Tommy returned to his home<br />

that evening, he called Lisa and they<br />

talked for several hours.<br />

After less than a year of dating, a<br />

note was delivered to Lisa on a rainy<br />

campus day that both still remember.<br />

Tommy’s note said, “Meet me at our<br />

happy place.” Lisa knew immediately<br />

that special spot and hurried to meet<br />

him. He dropped on one knee – almost<br />

to the muddy ground – and asked her<br />

to marry him.<br />

Lisa’s college graduation was on<br />

May 7, 1988, and they were wed on<br />

May 28th of the same year at Crossgates<br />

Baptist Church in Brandon. Lisa’s mom<br />

and a group of her friends covered all the<br />

food and decorations for the reception.<br />

Mrs. Hoyt also made all eight of the<br />

bridesmaids’ dresses – quite an<br />

undertaking for the mother of the bride.<br />

Lisa and Tommy celebrated their<br />

35th anniversary this past May – still<br />

embracing the joys of marriage and the<br />

heritage of godly parents. Lisa’s parents<br />

were married when her mom was<br />

sixteen and her dad was eighteen.<br />

They’ve been married for sixty-six<br />

years. Tommy’s parents are heavenly<br />

dwellers now but lived to celebrate<br />

seventy years of marriage.<br />

There are generational business<br />

guidelines that Lisa and Tommy are<br />

continually implanting in their own<br />

children’s families. Tommy’s parents<br />

raised their two daughters and three<br />

sons in Okolona, Mississippi, in the<br />

business of a dry goods store that God<br />

blessed to supply the family’s needs.<br />

The senior Miskellys were always<br />

tithers and always closed their business<br />

on Sundays. He instilled those guidelines<br />

into his sons who, in addition, took<br />

their mom’s advice to start a furniture<br />

business in the Jackson area instead of<br />

dry goods like they had known.<br />

“Following their examples has been<br />

generational blessings for us.”<br />

Lisa still remembers how all the<br />

Miskelly families vacationed together,<br />

but one of the sons and his family<br />

14 • NOVEMBER 2023

“If you don’t have<br />

Christ, I don’t<br />

know how you<br />

will make it.”<br />

would always have to stay with the<br />

store to keep it operating. That meant<br />

juggling the times so everyone would<br />

get to vacation because the original<br />

employees were the owners and their<br />

families. Now they employ over 350.<br />

The work ethic is another attribute<br />

that was passed on to Lisa and Tommy.<br />

Tommy said, “I worked every summer,<br />

and my dad took those wages to pay<br />

for my fall college tuition. He covered<br />

my spring tuition since I wouldn’t<br />

have enough time to earn the needed<br />

amount.” Tommy and his siblings were<br />

taught to appreciate and enjoy their<br />

work.<br />

Lisa’s parents had three girls before<br />

their last child, a son. “Daddy tried to<br />

make us girls hunters and fishermen.<br />

We tried, but I’ve always been a<br />

girly-girl. Our brother saved us!”<br />

Sharing warm family memories is a<br />

part of Lisa’s early years – just like<br />

Tommy’s.<br />

Tommy gave insight into his<br />

one-of-a-kind mother with a story<br />

from his early years. “Mom would try<br />

to shake us awake to get dressed for<br />

school, and I would plead with her to<br />

let me sleep in – I was just too tired to<br />

get up.” Sometimes she would say,<br />

“Well scoot over, and she would crawl<br />

in bed and go back to sleep, too.”<br />

When Lisa and Tommy recalled<br />

their early days of marriage, Lisa<br />

nudged him and said, “Go ahead, tell<br />

them what you shared with me later in<br />

our marriage.” It was a list of at least ten<br />

“non-negotiables” that he was looking<br />

for in a wife. He named four: she had to<br />

be a Christian; she had to accept that he<br />

always worked on Saturdays, so Friday<br />

would always be his golf day; she needed<br />

a sense of humor; and her own mother<br />

had to look good because she would<br />

someday look like her. Then he added<br />

that Lisa met all ten of his criteria for<br />

the perfect wife.<br />

She demonstrated her sense of<br />

humor when she laughed with Tommy<br />

when he said that he hid her Christmas<br />

presents in the oven. She reminded him<br />

that the oven story was a bit stretched<br />

but did admit that she observes their<br />

share of Columbus nights – Go<br />

Discover Your Meal!<br />

Lisa continued discussing marriage<br />

advice. “If you don’t have Christ, I don’t<br />

know how you will make it. He’s like<br />

super glue. Today’s society makes<br />

marriage so easy to walk away from or<br />

accepts an ‘I don’t have to try’ attitude.”<br />

Both agreed that marriage has its<br />

challenges, but couples need to learn<br />

how to discuss those areas where there<br />

are disagreements.<br />

Lisa and Tommy have great<br />

memories of parenting their two<br />

children, Anderson and Abby. Tommy<br />

used his parenting role to teach them<br />

about budgets, saving, and hard work.<br />

Lisa couldn’t resist talking about the joy<br />

their offspring had given them – including<br />

the two grandchildren they’ve<br />

added to their family. “I hope every<br />

parent brags about their kids, but I can<br />

certainly brag about ours. They had<br />

every opportunity to be spoiled, but<br />

they weren’t and aren’t.”<br />

Tommy offered one suggestion to<br />

the guys who wonder about the special<br />

someone they are dating. “Ask yourself<br />

when you take her home, are you<br />

anxious for her to get out of the car or<br />

do you want her to stay.” Then he<br />

added that young couples considering<br />

marriage should agree that marriage is a<br />

forever covenant – no matter what!”<br />

It’s obvious in this Miskelly match<br />

that Tommy wanted Lisa to stay, and<br />

Lisa didn’t want to leave. Marriage<br />

confirmed that kind of love – no<br />

matter what!<br />

Hometown MADISON • 15

Dr. Jason Cox<br />

Dr. Daniel Atkins<br />

Glory to God in the<br />

highest, and on earth<br />

peace, good will<br />

toward men.<br />

Luke 2:14<br />

PHONE: (601) 919-8575 ONLINE: www.bellemeadefamilydental.com ADDRESS: 105 Belle Meade Point, Flowood, MS 39232<br />

16 • NOVEMBER 2023

save the date<br />

Presented by the Junior League of Jackson<br />

For more information, please visit<br />

MistletoeMarketplace.com or call 601.948.2357.<br />

Hometown RANKIN • 17

18 • NOVEMBER 2023

Before & After<br />

Brandye Boyd’s Story<br />

Sarah Rein<br />

You know those moments in life when<br />

all seems to be going well? There are<br />

no major issues at work, the laundry is<br />

caught up, the children are getting good<br />

grades and staying out of trouble, and<br />

more meals were eaten at home than<br />

out that week. You have that brief,<br />

illusory moment in which you think...<br />

“I might actually have<br />

life under control.”<br />

In her previous life, Brandye Boyd would<br />

have treasured that feeling. A self-proclaimed<br />

busybody who thrived on having things<br />

together, she was the woman many of us<br />

aspire to be—an involved mom to three young<br />

kids, leader of her church’s ministry to young<br />

mothers, and an adjunct college professor<br />

with a master’s degree.<br />

The first part of Brandye’s story sounds<br />

like a life many of us would have been glad<br />

to have. She was fortunate to grow up in a<br />

happy home in Clinton - with a mother who<br />

put the needs of Brandye and her brother<br />

first, a stepfather who treated them as his<br />

own, involved grandparents, and a church<br />

family. As a regular churchgoer, she knew<br />

about Jesus from an early age and, though<br />

she considered herself a Christian, she isn’t<br />

sure she understood what it meant to<br />

relinquish control of her life to God.<br />

After receiving her degree in education<br />

from Mississippi College in 1996, Brandye<br />

began teaching school and coaching a<br />

cheerleading squad at Byram Middle School<br />

and moved into an apartment with her best<br />

friend from high school. Young and single,<br />

Brandye was enjoying her freedom. When<br />

she met her current husband, Joey, she did<br />

not relish the thought of settling down.<br />

The night they met, Brandye was at a<br />

Halloween costume party at her apartment<br />

complex. She had recently been in a car<br />

accident that left her with a broken femur<br />

and was on crutches. Not wanting to miss<br />

out on the fun, her roommate decided to<br />

make the most of Brandye’s misfortune by<br />

dressing them in coordinating patient and<br />

nurse costumes. After she’d changed out of<br />

her costume, Joey, who worked at the<br />

apartment complex, approached her to ask<br />

for a date and comment on her costume<br />

choice. Brandye, who was savoring her<br />

newfound adult life, was not eager to accept.<br />

“I thought he seemed like a cute, good guy,<br />

but I wasn’t ready for a relationship,” Brandye<br />

shared. Eventually, however, Joey’s persistence<br />

won her over, and they went out for lunch.<br />

Brandye’s intuition had been correct, and<br />

the two have been inseparable ever since.<br />

When they got married just a year later,<br />

both agreed they wanted to grow up and make<br />

some life changes. They moved to Rankin<br />

County because of the excellent school<br />

district, and Brandye decided to pursue a<br />

master’s degree in education. Joey began a<br />

new career with BellSouth. Their first order<br />

of business after moving was to choose a<br />

church to attend. These were the days before<br />

your first thought was to Google church<br />

options. “We opened The Clarion-Ledger to the<br />

Places to Worship section and saw that<br />

Pinelake was near our house,” she recalls<br />

laughing. And that church is where they<br />

found their community - the people they<br />

were going to do life with.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 19

As they joined small groups and mentoring<br />

programs, they didn’t realize how vital those<br />

connections were going to be. They began<br />

having children and raising them alongside<br />

the other couples from their young adult<br />

Sunday school class. Brandye shares that at<br />

one point there were thirteen women in<br />

their church group that were pregnant<br />

simultaneously. This was a pivotal time in<br />

Brandye’s life, and you can tell she’s unsure<br />

how to explain it. “This was when I truly<br />

came into relationship with God,” she<br />

remembers. “I don’t know if I’d say it was a<br />

rededication or what, but I know that’s<br />

when I really met the Lord.”<br />

Their careers were also off to a promising<br />

start. Brandye took a job at the Department<br />

of Education, and Joey had moved into<br />

management at BellSouth. But commuting<br />

to Clinton to drop off her oldest son, Blayze,<br />

with her mother before heading to work in<br />

Jackson was wearying. And when Brandye<br />

became pregnant with their second son,<br />

Bran, she and Joey agreed it was time for her<br />

to scale down to working part-time. She set<br />

her own schedule conducting teacher<br />

training for the Department of Education<br />

and became a representative for Cheer &<br />

Dance apparel. But when their third child<br />

and only daughter, Breyle, was born, they<br />

decided to make adjustments that would<br />

allow Brandye to be home full-time…<br />

something she’d been praying for for years.<br />

Brandye thrived in the business of that<br />

season of life. “I had everything color-coded<br />

for each kid and three-ring binders with lists<br />

and schedules,” she chuckles. “I was such a<br />

control freak, and I just couldn’t sit still.”<br />

Indeed, she filled up every spare minute<br />

volunteering at Pinelake and heading up<br />

various committees and programs at her<br />

children’s schools. She was the mom who<br />

kept her kitchen stocked with children’s<br />

snacks so the neighborhood children would<br />

gravitate to their house to play.<br />

That was life before.<br />

In the summer of 2010, Brandye was<br />

training for the Watermelon Classic run<br />

when she began having regular headaches.<br />

Blaming it on the heat and the fact that her<br />

children were a handful during the summer<br />

months, she began taking Excedrin Migraine<br />

regularly to try to find relief. She’d experienced<br />

migraines off and on during her life<br />

and saw a neurologist once a year to keep<br />

them managed. But as the summer continued,<br />

feeling unwell began to take a toll on her.<br />

Brandye found herself sending the kids<br />

over to the neighbors’ homes to play and<br />

not planning her usual outings. Events she<br />

usually hosted and enjoyed, like the summer<br />

planning meeting for Pinelake’s MOMS<br />

program, she forgot to prepare for. She<br />

missed her yearly neurologist appointment<br />

without ever realizing it and unintentionally<br />

offended friends by behaving in ways they<br />

would not normally expect.<br />

In the meantime, Brandye had been<br />

reading in the book of Luke during her daily<br />

devotional time. A few days before her<br />

August 13th birthday, she wrote the words<br />

“God, increase my faith,” in the margin of<br />

her Bible. There was an upcoming church<br />

mission trip to Africa that several of Brandye’s<br />

friends were going on and that she wanted to<br />

join, but she was nervous about leaving her three<br />

young children. “That’s what I meant when<br />

I wrote that. I wanted Him to increase my faith<br />

enough to make me feel comfortable about<br />

leaving the kids,” she laughs. But He would<br />

answer that prayer in a very different way.<br />

In August, Joey planned a trip to New<br />

Orleans to celebrate Brandye’s birthday. Her<br />

brother, an Ole Miss graduate, and Joey, an<br />

LSU fan, had made a bet on which team<br />

would win when they played that year. And<br />

the couple whose team lost had to babysit<br />

the winning couple’s children for a weekend.<br />

Since LSU was victorious that year, Brandye<br />

and Joey were cashing in on the bet and<br />

planned to drop their children (ages 8, 6,<br />

and 3 at the time) off in Covington with her<br />

brother. But as they were unpacking the<br />

kids’ stuff, Brandye suddenly fainted. When<br />

she recovered, she insisted she felt well<br />

enough to continue with their plans. But it<br />

did force her to share with Joey what had<br />

been going on with her health recently.<br />

While they were alone that weekend,<br />

Joey paid closer attention to Brandye’s<br />

behavior than he was usually able to. And<br />

she didn’t seem like herself to him. Her gait<br />

was off as she walked and she was more tired<br />

than usual, so Joey insisted she see a doctor<br />

when they got home. Brandye was unable to<br />

get in to see her neurologist, Dr. Ruth<br />

Fredericks, on such short notice but she did<br />

agree to go to MEA the Tuesday morning<br />

after they returned. She was hoping for<br />

some relief from her headaches.<br />

The doctor she saw that day at MEA<br />

gave her a shot for pain relief but required<br />

that she get a ride home from the clinic. He<br />

also made a call to get an MRI scheduled for<br />

her as soon as possible. Joey, who was at a<br />

meet-the-teacher event for their daughter’s<br />

preschool program, came to pick her up and<br />

asked Brandye’s mentor from Pinelake,<br />

Susan, to come stay with their daughter. But<br />

just as Joey and Brandye were leaving MEA,<br />

the doctor informed them that the imaging<br />

center had a cancellation and asked if they<br />

could go have the MRI performed right then.<br />

The Boyds headed straight to the center for<br />

the test and afterwards were told they could<br />

return to MEA for the doctor to read the<br />

results to them.<br />

Assuming this was how the process usually<br />

worked, they returned to MEA and were<br />

taken immediately to an exam room. A new<br />

doctor, Dr. Marc Hellrung, came into the<br />

room to meet them, explaining that his<br />

colleague they’d just seen that morning was<br />

gone for the day. Dr. Hellrung began their<br />

conversation by saying, “I’ve been praying<br />

about how to deliver this news to you.” And<br />

then he shocked them by saying Brandye<br />

had a brain tumor encased in a cyst that was<br />

the size of a grapefruit. It needed to be<br />

removed immediately.<br />

Life as they knew it was over. Reeling<br />

from the news, the Boyds asked their doctor<br />

if he would pray for them. And so they were<br />

ushered into their new reality through the<br />

prayers of a complete stranger. Brandye said,<br />

“My mind immediately went to what I’d<br />

written in my Bible days before. I knew this<br />

was God answering that prayer. Joey didn’t<br />

know about that yet, but I felt at peace.”<br />

20 • NOVEMBER 2023

They went to more appointments that<br />

day for initial neuro-oncology consultations<br />

and, when they arrived home at the end of<br />

the day, they were met by a crowd of their<br />

church friends. Joey and Brandye took their<br />

boys into a bedroom to share the news with<br />

them (their daughter was too young to<br />

understand what was happening) and pray<br />

together. Brandye remembers those moments<br />

vividly. “The only hospital their boys were<br />

familiar with is the one they were born in -<br />

St. Dominic. So, Blayze prayed that I would<br />

get to go there for my surgery, and he also<br />

asked that I wouldn’t be left alone at all.”<br />

That night, their pastor, Chip Henderson,<br />

and some of the church’s elders, along with<br />

their family and friends, came to pray for the<br />

Boyds. Brandye surprised herself by being<br />

able to pray aloud. “I asked God to let me be<br />

here to finish my roles on earth - to be a help<br />

to Joey and raise my babies. I know I’ll be<br />

healed ultimately, but I do want to be healed<br />

here on earth. Still though, I trusted that His<br />

ways are higher than mine.”<br />

Over the next few days, Dr. Fredericks<br />

helped them form a treatment plan. She was<br />

immediately admitted to the hospital where her<br />

surgeon practiced—which was St. Dominic.<br />

After waiting a few days for the level of<br />

aspirin in her blood to reduce, Brandye had<br />

a five-hour surgery to remove the tumor<br />

which was then sent off for testing. And, in<br />

another answer to her son’s prayer, a kind<br />

nurse brought a cot into the ICU for Joey to<br />

sleep on so he never had to leave Brandye’s<br />

side during recovery.<br />

The initial reports were that the tumor<br />

was benign - a best-case scenario meaning<br />

no additional treatment would be required.<br />

However, further tests revealed the tumor<br />

was malignant - an aggressive grade 3 tumor<br />

that would require every form of treatment<br />

they could throw at it. So, while Brandye<br />

began undergoing radiation, their friends<br />

mobilized support.<br />

Meals began arriving that week in<br />

August and didn’t stop until Thanksgiving.<br />

She remembers offers of help coming in<br />

constantly - “One friend called about<br />

organizing a barbecue fundraiser which made<br />

me laugh because I thought…what am I<br />

going to do? Pass out red and white napkins?<br />

And then another friend asked if she could<br />

sell t-shirts at the fundraiser.” Next, someone<br />

asked Brandye to design a Christmas shirt to<br />

sell, and now, thirteen years later, the shirts<br />

have become an annual fundraiser. “I never<br />

imagined we would still be doing this thirteen<br />

years later. Or that people would actually<br />

continue to buy them!” Brandye marvels.<br />

That was largely because of the poor prognosis<br />

Brandye received after being diagnosed.<br />

They knew her life expectancy would likely<br />

be shorter. The Boyds trusted their doctors,<br />

and they knew that, ultimately, God was in<br />

control of her disease.<br />

After receiving the lifetime maximum<br />

amount of radiation, Brandye began chemotherapy<br />

to hold the cancer at bay. She is<br />

scanned regularly and her treatment is<br />

adjusted as needed when a particular medicine<br />

stops being effective in keeping the remnants<br />

of her tumor stable. But it’s not just the<br />

cancer that has to be monitored constantly.<br />

Brandye fights an even more important daily<br />

battle in her mind and heart. “I’ve always<br />

heard to take your thoughts captive but I<br />

didn’t grasp what it meant. It’s moment by<br />

moment. When my mind starts to go on<br />

trips, I have to say the truth out loud. I may<br />

have this, but God You are still good! When<br />

I got to see my sons graduate from high<br />

school, I was so thankful to live to see that<br />

day. It just changed my entire perspective.”<br />

Early in her treatment, Brandye remembers<br />

waking up at the usual 4am to spend time<br />

with God before the day started. She has a<br />

particular chair she sits in with her Bible and<br />

journal. But, on that particular morning, she<br />

lay there exhausted, trying to will herself up<br />

and into her reading spot. As she lay there,<br />

she felt God prompting her to rest and<br />

assuring her that He could talk to her right<br />

there in her bed. She believes that God then<br />

gave her a visual - a mental image she has<br />

held on to in the years since. She imagined<br />

herself on a roller coaster but knew that<br />

God was the one in charge of driving it. She<br />

shares, “It was like He told me, ‘Look, there<br />

are going to be dips and sharp turns. In the<br />

end, we are going to arrive just fine. But first,<br />

you have to get out of the driver’s seat and<br />

let me take over. Just stay behind me and all<br />

will be well.’”<br />

There have been plenty of scary moments<br />

in the last thirteen years. Her chemo has been<br />

changed twice because of tumor growth, and<br />

she experiences seizures and mini-strokes on<br />

occasion. Brandye has moments, she confesses,<br />

in which she wishes her children could have<br />

had more years with the pre-cancer version<br />

of herself. She’s been sick since her daughter,<br />

now a junior at Hartfield, was three, so she<br />

has no memories of life before her mom’s<br />

diagnosis. And yet, she knows their lives are<br />

better because of it. Brandye thinks often of<br />

the story of Mary and Martha in the Bible.<br />

When Jesus came to visit, Martha was up<br />

cooking and cleaning and playing hostess<br />

while Mary sat at Jesus’ feet to learn. When<br />

Martha complained to Jesus that Mary<br />

wasn’t helping, He told her that Mary had<br />

“chosen the better part.”<br />

Brandye remembers herself before cancer<br />

almost as a different person. She longed to<br />

be like Mary but knew her personality made<br />

her prone to Martha’s distraction and worry.<br />

She reminisces, “I don’t think my faith would<br />

ever have grown like it has otherwise. I believe<br />

God knew me and loved me enough that He<br />

knew I needed this. And, honestly, it sounds<br />

crazy but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 21

Help a child<br />

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The Friends Card cost $12 per year, 100% of which is donated to Friends.<br />

BankPlus makes a donation to Friends each time the card is used.<br />

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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 />

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Hometown MADISON • 23

24 • NOVEMBER 2023

The<br />

Coxes<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

Jason & Leah Cox – Jason is a dentist in Flowood at Belle Meade<br />

Dental and is an avid deer hunter in the MS Delta and Illinois.<br />

Leah helps with financial management at their dental office. She<br />

loves to sing, run, and work out. Leah is a servant worship leader at<br />

Pinelake Church. Jason and Leah’s hobbies have changed over the<br />

years as they spend most of their free time cheering on their boys<br />

in their sports or investing in helping their boys be better prepared<br />

as athletes. Jason and Leah share the same interests when it comes<br />

to physical activity. They spent years competing in marathons,<br />

triathlons, and Ironman before their children’s schedules became<br />

quite busy.<br />

Jonas, 18 – Jonas is a runner. He runs cross country and track for<br />

MRA. He was the 2022 MAIS 6A state champion in cross country<br />

and holds the 6A MAIS state title for the 2 mile.<br />

Fletcher, 16 – Fletcher plays football and baseball for MRA and<br />

the SBG Sox organization. When he is not training for his sports,<br />

he loves to hunt or play golf with his friends.<br />

Asher, 14 – Asher, too, plays football and baseball for MRA and<br />

the SBG Sox organization. Asher loves being outside fishing,<br />

riding 4 wheelers, hunting or playing golf with his friends.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 25

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

We are high school sweethearts! We have known each other since<br />

6th grade. We started dating in 10th grade and have been<br />

together ever since. We have been married 28 years having been<br />

together for 33 years.<br />

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

We have always made our relationship a priority through date<br />

nights even in the midst of a crazy schedule with our boys. We feel<br />

it is important that our boys see their parents date each other.<br />

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

3 John 1:4 says, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my<br />

children are walking in the truth.” That truly is our greatest joy.<br />

We find great joy when we see our children living to their fullest<br />

potential and journeying through life lessons that may be hard but<br />

come out on the other side with greater understanding. It is easy<br />

to find joy in their successes—but those are temporary. When you<br />

see character being built in them and them emulating the fruits of<br />

the Spirit, that is where true joy comes.<br />

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

It is a shared responsibility. Jason is the financial provider for our<br />

family. I am the one who pays the bills. We both are aware at the<br />

end of the day what has been spent. We always come together<br />

when large purchases need to be made. Neither of us make large<br />

purchases without discussing and praying about what is best for<br />

our family.<br />

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

philosophy?<br />

We have a saying in our home and my children have heard it from<br />

the youngest of age, “Everything you do leads to blessing or<br />

discipline, it’s your choice.” Even today as teenagers they hear me<br />

say this. This was a way in which it taught them to take responsibility<br />

for their actions—understanding that they chose either<br />

blessing or discipline with their actions. The discipline looked<br />

different for each child as their personalities were so different.<br />

One may have needed to have a lengthy discussion about their<br />

actions, one simply needed to hear how disappointed we were in<br />

their actions, and another may have needed some time alone. As<br />

they have gotten older the removal of “entertainment and<br />

communication devices” has been a go-to for discipline. Honestly,<br />

as they have gotten older, having conversations about certain<br />

actions has been the best and the most beneficial.<br />

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

family?<br />

Leading our children in their spiritual journey to learn their<br />

truest identity in Christ. It is a daily discussion and reminder at<br />

our home. Jason is a strong leader and teacher of daily disciplines<br />

for life in general. Our boys see in him a strong work ethic and he<br />

is a teacher of everyday life skills. I am the resident encourager for<br />

Jason and the boys. I take great joy in providing a home for my<br />

family. We allow the door to our home to be a revolving door for<br />

the boys’ friends, loving to be the place where they want to gather.<br />

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

And who does the cooking?<br />

Leah does the cooking and has a long list of quick-fix meals to<br />

keep from living in the Chick-fil-A drive through. The crockpot<br />

is a lifesaver for our schedule. Taco bowls in crockpot, meatball<br />

subs, grilled hamburgers and even homemade chicken alfredo are<br />

quick go-to meals for our family.<br />

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

We have lived in Madison for two years. We were lifelong Rankin<br />

County residents, but as our children changed schools in 2021 to<br />

Madison Ridgeland Academy, we moved to Madison County.<br />

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

Madison County is so clean, organized, and well put together.<br />

Development in Madison County has been thought through very<br />

well. It is a great community that offers quite a variety in shopping<br />

and restaurants. For us and where we live, we are a few short<br />

miles from our boys’ school and pretty much anything we need is<br />

a quick drive up the road. The convenience to everything is great!<br />

When making a move to a new community after living elsewhere<br />

for many years, there is always great fear of trying to find community.<br />

That is one thing that has shocked us after moving to<br />

Madison. This community is so welcoming. It has been such a<br />

refreshing blessing for us and our family.<br />

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

The last several years have been spent traveling around the<br />

southeast for baseball for our boys. It is typically a divide and<br />

conquer type approach as Fletcher is usually in one state and<br />

Asher in another. The last couple summers, Jonas has traveled<br />

to Oregon and Utah to train at altitude for his upcoming<br />

cross-country seasons. We might squeeze in a quick family trip<br />

somewhere if the schedule allows.<br />

26 • NOVEMBER 2023

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

In Jason’s career as a dentist, he is constantly solving problems for<br />

his patients. There is a sense of satisfaction in knowing that you<br />

have helped someone who is in pain or is need of restoration in<br />

their mouth. There are patients who have desired to transform<br />

their smile for many years, and it brings great joy to see their<br />

satisfaction in his completed work. Although I help at Jason’s<br />

office, I spend most of my time being the family organizer of all<br />

things for Jason and the boys. I find great satisfaction in creating a<br />

haven at home and helping Jason and the boys with anything they<br />

need.<br />


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

Jonas Our family has a great love for fireworks! Shooting fireworks<br />

on 4th of July and New Year’s Eve is so much fun!<br />

Fletcher When we do vacations, it is typically not sitting on the<br />

beach somewhere. We like adventure. We have had fun vacations<br />

to Colorado, Niagara Falls, NYC, Disneyworld and Disneyland in<br />

California, St. Louis, and MLB spring training games in Florida to<br />

name a few.<br />

Asher I love spending holidays together with all our extended<br />

family. Birthdays are a big thing in our home. My mom makes sure<br />

we are well celebrated, and I love the tradition of birthday dinner<br />

out at the restaurant choice of whose birthday we are celebrating.<br />

It’s always a fun evening out together with my family.<br />

What is your favorite restaurant?<br />

Jonas Amerigo<br />

Fletcher Koestler<br />

Asher Amerigo<br />

As the boys were asked these questions I was certain that El<br />

Ranchito or Red Samurai would have been listed because they have<br />

their own line in our family food budget!<br />

What’s your favorite TV show?<br />

We are not big TV show watching people. Never home long<br />

enough to sit and watch. The boys do watch a lot of YouTube and<br />

sporting events though.<br />

Jonas I watch a ton of videos regarding running. I keep up with<br />

the success of Lex and Leo Young from California and their great<br />

accomplishment in cross country. I enjoy laughing at The Family Guy!<br />

Fletcher Bomar Hunting, Good Good, and lots of baseball and football<br />

videos.<br />

Asher Bat Bros, Dude Perfect, Bomar Hunting and lots of baseball videos.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 27



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28 • NOVEMBER 2023

Melanie McMillan<br />

▲<br />

A Shoulder<br />

to Lean On<br />

Madison resident John Nordan met the girl who would<br />

become his wife, Laurie McKay, his senior year at Ole Miss.<br />

The two began dating, married in 1983, and just celebrated<br />

their 40th wedding anniversary. John had gotten more<br />

serious about his faith in college, and so, following a brief<br />

period working in sales and advertising, he felt called to<br />

full-time ministry. He enrolled in Reformed Theological<br />

Seminary in Jackson and earned a Master of Divinity.<br />

For the next fifteen years, John served in pastoral roles<br />

across the Southeast, and the couple added four children,<br />

Trey, Natalie, Shelby, and Oliver, to their family. In 2003, the<br />

Nordan family experienced a difficult church situation and<br />

made the decision to transition out of full-time ministry.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 29

John, Laurie, and their children moved to Madison, and<br />

John took a job with C-Spire as their corporate recruiter and<br />

employee relations director. Even in the corporate world,<br />

sharing his faith was an important part of John’s life, and while<br />

at C-Spire he began a ministry for local businessmen called the<br />

Men’s Roundtable. The group is still going strong 15 years later,<br />

with up to 75 men in attendance regularly. It was through a<br />

colleague at C-Spire that John learned about an organization<br />

called Corporate Chaplains of America (CCA), whose mission<br />

statement is to “bring care and compassion to the workplace,<br />

where it is needed most, and where it can make a meaningful<br />

difference.” All chaplains with CCA are men and women who<br />

are vetted, and seminary trained.<br />

Corporate chaplaincy seemed to be a good fit for Nordan,<br />

with his experience in the business world and his years in<br />

ministry. After 19 years at C-Spire, John took a leap of faith to<br />

become a corporate chaplain and has been in this role since<br />

April of 2022. He serves as chaplain for nine companies,<br />

ranging in size from 10 employees to over 200. “Businesses<br />

provide the service for their employees free of charge,” John<br />

says. “It’s totally confidential, voluntary, and permission-based.”<br />

It’s often said that in order to truly minister to people,<br />

you must meet them where they are.<br />

“People spend most of their time at<br />

work, so it makes sense to provide<br />

them with someone they can talk to<br />

confidentially about things going on<br />

in their life,” John says. “We’ve found that job performance<br />

tends to go up and employee retention and satisfaction<br />

are positively impacted when a chaplain is consistently on site.<br />

Employees are able to build a relationship with the chaplain.<br />

They know they can talk to me about anything - whether it’s<br />

relationship issues, bereavement, marital issues, and even<br />

alcohol and drug addiction.” When crisis situations occur in the<br />

workplace, John is able to be of help immediately, as he already<br />

has a relationship with the employees.<br />

One of Nordan’s weekly meetings is with a group of 15-20<br />

line haul drivers every Monday night. “In their line of work,<br />

it’s crucial that they not be distracted. Knowing they have<br />

someone to talk to every week can ease the stresses of life<br />

and give them peace as they head out on the road,” John says.<br />

30 • NOVEMBER 2023

John is not the only Nordan in full time ministry. Laurie<br />

has served for 15 years as the children’s ministry director and<br />

women’s ministry coordinator at Highlands Presbyterian<br />

Church in Ridgeland. Their family has grown to include two<br />

sons-in-law, Matthew Clark and Tyler Daniels, a daughter-in-law,<br />

Emelia, and four grandchildren, Ginny-Pearl, Charlotte-Anne,<br />

and Jack Nordan and Madeline Clark. John and Laurie are true<br />

partners in ministry. “We share a love for people, and do a lot of<br />

ministry together,” says John. “Throughout our life<br />

as a couple, we’ve tried to touch people’s<br />

lives in a positive way.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 31



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32 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Hometown RANKIN • 33




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34 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Unwrap your<br />

dream kitchen<br />

at<br />

2660 Lakeland Drive<br />

Flowood, MS 39232<br />

(601) 932-2926<br />

Hometown MADISON • 35

gift<br />

guide<br />

The Gallery<br />

“The Visitor” 4x4 acrylic painting - $20<br />

(inside Sulm’s)<br />

Koestler Prime<br />

All-purpose seasoning - $10<br />

Watercolor Salon<br />

Gift cards -any $$$<br />

Apple Annie’s<br />

ALT perfume. $42 - $66<br />

Open Invitation<br />

Stationery<br />

Marble and acacia wood<br />

serving/charcuterie board - $46<br />

Jackson Jewelers<br />

14k white gold sapphire and diamond<br />

art deco design ring<br />

14k yellow gold ruby and diamond necklace<br />

14k yellow gold and white gold<br />

1/2 ct diamond anniversary band<br />

House of Ora<br />

Quilted, embroidered<br />

velvet pouch - $15<br />

Flora<br />

Pharmacy<br />

Lafco candles with<br />

over 90 hours<br />

burn time - $66<br />

Linden & London<br />

luxury laundry and<br />

home products.<br />

Spongelle shower sponges - $15<br />

36 • NOVEMBER 2023

Ballet Magnificat<br />

Gift certificate for ballet lessons<br />

Ages 3-18 - $20 per class<br />

Tickets to “Most Incredible Christmas”<br />

$25-$70<br />

Brock’s Beauty<br />

& Gift Apothecary<br />

Pre-made gifts for everyone!<br />

Gift your animal-obsessed friend<br />

a photo<br />

Boondocks<br />

session with us.<br />

Gift cards -any $$$<br />

$150<br />

LaDiDa<br />

Mary Square<br />

Christmas PJs<br />

$68<br />

Fleet Feet<br />

Garmin watches<br />

Weather jacket by On Running<br />

High-performance running socks<br />

Fur on my Shirt<br />

Trust us, they’ll love you forever.<br />

Gift card for session fee<br />

Visit www.furonmyshirt.com for more details.<br />

Skin Aesthetics<br />

Even Glow Regimen product bundle<br />

by Skinbetter Science<br />

The Lost Sock<br />

Gift cards -any $$$<br />


Gina Diamonds<br />

Red Velvet Reindeer - $40<br />

Ornament Tree on Pedestal 18” - $72<br />


The Daily Scoop<br />

Gift cards -any $$$<br />

The Rug Place<br />

YASTIC rug 2’x3’ - $199<br />

Hometown MADISON • 37

Mocha Mugs<br />

Peppermint Bark Frappe<br />

Farmhouse<br />

Lauren Dunn acrylic nativity set - $85<br />

Sulm’s<br />

Musee Bath Balms - $40<br />

Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet<br />

The Nutcracker Tickets $30 - $35<br />

Land of Sweets Tickets $25<br />

Madison<br />

Marketplace<br />

Oyster Shell Nativity<br />

Merri Pennies<br />

Mid-Century dining room<br />

table with chairs- $2,995<br />

Ace of Grace<br />

The world’s softest blankets<br />

make the best Christmas gifts.<br />

Lakeland<br />

Yard & Garden<br />

CR Plastics<br />

Adirondack rocker - $440<br />

End table - $120<br />

The Emporium<br />

Snow to Go makes snow<br />

magically in your hand! - $9<br />

Ashes to Beauty<br />

16” Multi-Crystal Initial Necklace - $14<br />

38 • NOVEMBER 2023

November 16-18<br />

Friday, November 17 • 10am-7pm & Saturday, November 18 • 10am-5pm<br />

brandon city hall / 1000 municipal drive<br />

$5 General Admission<br />

Hometown MADISON • 39

40 • NOVEMBER 2023

In 1955, the National Society Daughters<br />

of the American Revolution petitioned<br />

Congress to set aside September 17-23<br />

for the observance of Constitution Week.<br />

The annual celebration was signed into<br />

law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower<br />

on August 2, 1956. Today members of<br />

NSDAR are committed to educating the<br />

public about the U.S. Constitution and<br />

the men who framed it.<br />

River of Pearls Chapter NSDAR in Madison focused their<br />

celebration and education initiative around the seven signers of the<br />

U.S. Constitution who made their livings as farmers. This idea was<br />

incorporated into the application for a Helen Pouch Grant offered<br />

to chapters throughout the country by the national society. Submitted<br />

by Mannsdale Upper Elementary School and coordinated through<br />

our junior members and Mrs. Rhonia Cupstid, the school’s librarian,<br />

a $500 grant was awarded for the outstanding program outline.<br />

Mannsdale Upper Elementary was selected because of its agricultural<br />

program, teaching suburban children the importance of farming<br />

in our country. The children use math and science skills to grow their<br />

crops in greenhouses and hydroponic stations, as well as raising<br />

chickens for their eggs. They learn entrepreneurial skills as they sell<br />

the eggs and the produce at the end of the growing cycles. The money<br />

they earn goes to pay the “loans” they received from family to begin<br />

their program. It is a wonderful way to teach all of these necessary life<br />

skills all while having fun!<br />

By focusing on the seven “Founding Farmers,” students were able to<br />

connect the past with the present and learn how farming has always<br />

been, and continues to be, a priority for a thriving community. Over<br />

six-hundred children from the third, fourth, and fifth grades attended<br />

four learning stations manned by River of Pearls chapter members.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 41

At the first station, children were greeted by George Washington,<br />

portrayed by Kathleen Schutze. Accompanying “George” were a<br />

Colonial era piper and drummer, represented by chapter members<br />

Yvonne Murray and Joan Beninati. Tammy Terry, executive director<br />

of the Madison County Library Bookmobile, sent the bookmobile to<br />

the school to be used as a backdrop and allowed each child to tour it.<br />

“George” introduced several books on the U.S. Constitution and<br />

the founding of our country. The children were briefly introduced to<br />

the importance of the Constitution signed in 1787, and how it still<br />

guides our laws today and is the underpinning of our freedoms. This<br />

book donation will encourage students to pursue their study of the<br />

U.S. Constitution and our Founding Fathers.<br />

A second educational station was located in the library, where a<br />

Colonial woman, portrayed by Saundra Dewey, and assisted by Shelia<br />

Bryson, read a book selected by Ms. Cupstid and featured one of the<br />

seven farmers.<br />

The third station introduced the children to Benjamin Franklin,<br />

portrayed by Kay Ewing. “Dr. Franklin” spoke about the various<br />

crops the seven signers produced on their farms. To bring them alive,<br />

there was a large poster with cutout pictures of Presidents George<br />

Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison,<br />

and the historic figures Benjamin Franklin and Alexander Hamilton.<br />

These men were responsible for many inventions, innovative farming<br />

techniques, and experimental discoveries that improved the production<br />

and success of growing food in America. Dr. Franklin pointed out<br />

42 • NOVEMBER 2023

where each man lived and the crops he grew. He also told the story<br />

about his love of apples and how he made it a practice to send bushels<br />

of apples ahead to every place he traveled. He wanted to be ensured<br />

of having apples because, as he always said, “An apple a day keeps the<br />

doctor away!”<br />

The final station brought the students to the cafeteria where<br />

they learned the importance of corn to the American food supply,<br />

and to compare and contrast the differences between planting,<br />

harvesting, and preparing corn in Early American times versus today.<br />

Sally Patterson, wearing Early American dress, explained the colonists<br />

were not familiar with corn before arriving in the colonies in the<br />

1600s, but were introduced to it by Native Americans.<br />

As the children ended their study of the Founding Farmers, Rebel<br />

Clark, Dianne Belton, and Frieda Hawley offered each child a Johnny<br />

cake topped with a dollop of homemade apple butter, prepared by<br />

using a 200-year-old recipe.<br />

The River of Pearls Chapter donated over 50 books to the school’s<br />

library, with subject matters covering the biographies of each Founding<br />

Farmer, farming techniques used by them, and recipes of the period.<br />

River of Pearls Chapter Regent Donna Russell coordinated the event<br />

with Mannsdale Upper Elementary Principal Dr. Nicole Cockrell and<br />

Librarian Rhonia Cupstid, as well as teachers and staff who supported<br />

this day. The teachers will continue with U.S. Constitution curriculum<br />

and further studies during the semester.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 43

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Hometown MADISON • 45

Cranberry Pecan Sweet<br />

Potato Wild Rice Pilaf<br />

• 2 cups chicken broth<br />

• 1 cup wild rice blend<br />

• ½ teaspoon dried parsley<br />

• ½ teaspoon dried oregano<br />

• ½ teaspoon dried thyme<br />

• 1 tablespoon olive oil<br />

• 1 cup sweet potato diced small<br />

• ¼ cup chopped onion<br />

• ⅓ cup dried cranberries<br />

• ⅓ cup pecans chopped<br />

In a medium saucepan, bring the<br />

broth to a boil and add wild rice,<br />

parsley, oregano, and thyme. Reduce<br />

the heat to a simmer and cover with<br />

a lid. Cook for 45 minutes or until<br />

tender. In another skillet add olive<br />

oil, sweet potato, and onion and<br />

cook until tender. Add<br />

cranberries and chopped<br />

pecans and cook for 1-2<br />

minutes. Add to the rice<br />

mixture and fluff with a fork.<br />

Parmesan Herb Roasted<br />

Acorn Squash<br />

• 2 acorn squash<br />

(small to medium sized)<br />

• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil<br />

• 1 cup finely grated parmesan<br />

cheese<br />

• 1 teaspoon garlic powder<br />

• ½ teaspoon kosher salt<br />

• ½ teaspoon dried basil<br />

• ½ teaspoon dried thyme<br />

½ teaspoon dried oregano<br />

Preheat oven to 425. Slice the top<br />

and bottom of the squash, then<br />

place it on a flat end and slice it in<br />

half. Scoop out the seeds with a<br />

spoon and slice each half into slices<br />

about 1-inch thick.<br />

Place slices on a parchment-lined<br />

baking tray. If there’s extra parmesan<br />

herb mixture in the bowl, just press<br />

that onto the top side of the slices.<br />

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until soft<br />

and lightly golden on top. Transfer<br />

the roasted acorn squash to a<br />

serving platter and enjoy!<br />

Pineapple Cheese<br />

Casserole<br />

• 2 (15 oz.) cans pineapple chunks<br />

drained<br />

• 1 cup white sugar<br />

• ¾ cup all-purpose flour<br />

• 2 cups shredder cheddar cheese<br />

• 25 buttery round crackers,<br />

crumbled<br />

• ½ cup melted butter<br />

Preheat oven to 350. Spread<br />

pineapple a 2 quart casserole dish.<br />

In a small bowl, stir together sugar,<br />

flour and cheese. Add to casserole<br />

dish. Sprinkle crackers over the top<br />

of pineapple and cheese mixture.<br />

Pour melted butter over the top and<br />

bake for 30 minutes.<br />

Cornbread Casserole<br />

• ¼ lb. butter, melted<br />

• 1 (15 oz.) can whole kernel corn,<br />

drained<br />

• 1 (15 oz.) can cream corn<br />

• 1 (8.5 oz.) package corn bread mix<br />

• 1 oz. sour cream<br />

Preheat oven to 350. Fold all<br />

ingredients together in a mixing<br />

bowl and pour into a 2 quart<br />

casserole dish. Bake for 1 hour.<br />

46 • NOVEMBER 2023

Garlic Parmesan<br />

Roasted Sweet Potatoes<br />

• 2 large sweet potatoes, washed<br />

(peeling is optional)<br />

• 3 tablespoons melted butter<br />

• 1 cup parmesan<br />

• ½ teaspoon fresh cracked<br />

black pepper<br />

• 1 tablespoon minced garlic<br />

(or garlic powder)<br />

• 1 teaspoon salt<br />

• 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning<br />

• 4 strips of bacon (optional)<br />

• 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped<br />

for garnish (or chives)<br />

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking<br />

sheet with parchment paper. Prep<br />

sweet potatoes by first cutting off the<br />

ends and slicing in rounds with<br />

a mandolin slicer or a sharp knife.<br />

In a small bowl, combine parmesan,<br />

garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian<br />

seasoning. Arrange sweet potato<br />

slices on the baking sheet, slightly<br />

overlapping. Brush with melted<br />

butter and sprinkle the parmesan<br />

mixture over. Roast sweet potatoes<br />

at 400 for 25 minutes.<br />

In the meantime, cook bacon on the<br />

stove until crispy, drain from fat, and<br />

then cut into small bits. This step is<br />

optional. Remove roasted sweet<br />

potatoes from the oven, sprinkle with<br />

bacon bits, and fresh chopped parsley<br />

or chives. Serve the roasted sweet<br />

potatoes immediately with a delicious<br />

grilled meat, or on its own, enjoy!<br />

Apple Cranberry<br />

Walnut Salad<br />

• 6 cups salad<br />

• 1 red apple<br />

• 1 green apple<br />

• 1 cup walnuts - roughly chopped<br />

• 4-6 bacon strips - cooked and<br />

chopped (optional)<br />

• ⅓ cup crumbled feta cheese<br />

• ⅓ cup dried cranberries<br />

Dressing<br />

• 1 cup apple juice<br />

• 4 tablespoons apple cider vinegar<br />

(or white vinegar)<br />

• 2 tablespoons honey<br />

• ½ teaspoon salt<br />

• ¼ teaspoon black pepper<br />

• ¼ cup oil<br />

• candied walnuts (optional)<br />

• 1 cup walnut halves<br />

• 1 tablespoon butter<br />

• ¼ cup sugar<br />

• ¼ teaspoon salt<br />

• ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon<br />

Core and chop apples (thin slices or<br />

1 inch chunks). Toss lettuce, apples,<br />

walnuts, feta, bacon (if using) and<br />

cranberries together in a large bowl.<br />

Whisk together all dressing<br />

ingredients or combine in a jar and<br />

shake vigorously. Toss with salad<br />

immediately before serving. Enjoy!<br />

Sheet Pan Roasted<br />

Vegetables<br />

• 8 zucchini, peeled and chopped<br />

• 1 eggplant, peeled and diced<br />

• 8 carrots, diced<br />

• 16 cherry tomatoes<br />

• 2 red onions, sliced<br />

• 1 red bell pepper, sliced<br />

• 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced<br />

• ½ cup olive oil<br />

• 1 tsp. dried rosemary<br />

• 1 tsp. dried thyme<br />

• 2 bay leaves, crushed<br />

• 1 tsp. dried oregano<br />

• 2 cloves garlic, minced<br />

• 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice<br />

• 1 tsp. grated lemon zest<br />

• Salt and pepper to taste<br />

In a large bowl mix zucchini, eggplant,<br />

carrots, tomatoes, onions and peppers<br />

with oil, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves,<br />

oregano, garlic, lemon juice, lemon<br />

zest, salt and pepper. Cover and chill<br />

for at least 2 hours, and preferably<br />

overnight. Preheat oven to 400.<br />

On a large pan, roast the vegetables,<br />

uncovered, for 20 minutes, or until<br />

the tomatoes have split and the edges<br />

of some of the vegetables are starting<br />

to crisp. Remove from oven and stir<br />

before returning to the oven for<br />

another 20 minutes. Reduce heat to<br />

200 and continue cooking until<br />

vegetables are tender, turning every<br />

20 minutes.<br />

The Best Mashed Potatoes<br />

• 5 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes<br />

• 2 cups parmesan cheese<br />

• 1½ cups cream cheese<br />

• 1 cup chopped fresh chives<br />

• ½ cup butter<br />

• ½ medium head garlic,<br />

peeled and minced<br />

• 1 pinch of salt and pepper to taste<br />

Peel and quarter potatoes and place<br />

in a large pot. Cover with salted water<br />

and bring to a boil. Cook until tender<br />

but still firm, about 15 minutes. Drain<br />

and return potatoes to the pot over<br />

low heat to dry for 1 to 2 minutes.<br />

Add parmesan cheese, cream cheese,<br />

chives, butter, garlic, salt and pepper.<br />

Use a potato masher to mash until<br />

smooth and serve.<br />

Easiest Eggplant<br />

• ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs<br />

• 1 medium eggplant, peeled and<br />

sliced into ½ inch rounds<br />

• 4 Tbsp. mayonnaise, or as needed<br />

Preheat oven to 350. Line a baking<br />

sheet with aluminum foil. Place<br />

breadcrumbs in a small shallow dish.<br />

Coat eggplant slices on both sides<br />

with mayonnaise, then press into<br />

breadcrumbs to coat. Place on the<br />

baking sheet. Bake until bottoms are<br />

golden brown, about 20 minutes.<br />

Flip slices over and continue baking<br />

until brown on the other side, 20 to<br />

25 minutes.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 47

48 • NOVEMBER 2023

Sims<br />


JonesSusan Marquez<br />





For an outsider looking in on her life, it<br />

seems it would be impossible for one person<br />

to do so much. But for Sims, it’s all about time<br />

management and being passionate about<br />

what she is doing.<br />

The senior at Madison-Ridgeland Academy<br />

is as accomplished as she is modest.<br />

“Sometimes I think it may be difficult to do it<br />

all, but then I think about how passionate I<br />

am about everything I choose to dedicate<br />

myself to.”<br />

Sims was named Madison County’s<br />

Distinguished Young Woman, and she<br />

placed in the top ten at the state competition<br />

last summer. “That was a big honor,” she says.<br />

“It is such a good program for young women.<br />

I learned so much in the process.”<br />

Most recently she was crowned homecoming<br />

queen at MRA. “I was a homecoming<br />

maid my junior year, and it was a total<br />

surprise for me to be crowned queen this year.<br />

It was such an exciting night!”<br />

Her mother, Allison, says that nothing<br />

about Sims surprises her. “Her determination<br />

and her drive are way beyond her age. At 17<br />

years old, she is more mature than most<br />

21-year-olds. It makes me happy to see how<br />

she is always so kind to everyone, and she has<br />

friends from every group. I’m so proud of how<br />

inclusive she is. That’s what makes her shine.”<br />

Careful about the activities she chooses to<br />

participate in, most of them lean towards<br />

service to others. She is vice president of the<br />

student body, captain of the dance team, she<br />

is on the school’s quiz bowl team, and she is<br />

on the Fellowship of Christian Athletes<br />

leadership committee. She recently spoke at<br />

one of the meetings on her own spiritual<br />

journey.<br />

Sims is also involved with the Madison<br />

Junior Civitan Club, or the Civinettes. The<br />

all-female service organization has over 200<br />

members. “The girls are from all over<br />

Madison County,” Sims says. “They devote<br />

free time to unselfish service. I’m the service<br />

chairman, in charge of philanthropy. In that<br />

role, I visit area non-profits such as Mad-<br />

CAAP and Joni & Friends Mississippi to talk<br />

with them about their needs and how our<br />

girls may be able to fill the gap.”<br />

She is also a bit of a drama queen, but in<br />

the best of ways. Sims loves participating in<br />

school plays at MRA, and this fall she was<br />

one of a few student actors in the Madison<br />

Center Players’ production of the mystery<br />

Clue. “That was so much fun. I would love to<br />

do another production with the Center<br />

Players. The company is a great asset to the<br />

community.”<br />

Sims’ dream since she was a child has<br />

been to be a pediatrician. “I plan on attending<br />

Ole Miss next fall and majoring in pre-med.<br />

I can’t wait to get going with a career in the<br />

medical field.”<br />

She will be joining her older brother,<br />

Holder, who is a freshman at Ole Miss this<br />

year. Sims is the middle child of three. The<br />

youngest, Garner, is in the seventh grade at<br />

MRA. The Jones kids all grew up in<br />

Madison. Sims’ father, Adam, is equally<br />

proud of his daughter’s accomplishments.<br />

Sims takes it all in stride. “I love what<br />

Madison County has to offer me at this point<br />

in my life, and I am grateful to be a part of<br />

such a wonderful community.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 49



Women to Women<br />

A Celebration Luncheon<br />

Guest Speaker Barbie Bassett<br />

August 31<br />

The Country Club of Jackson<br />

52 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 53


Let us lighten<br />

your load.<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

54 • NOVEMBER 2023

Cy and Natalie<br />

Parks love laundry.<br />

And no, they aren’t crazy. Because even<br />

more than laundry, they love the clients they’ve<br />

gotten to know through their business, The<br />

Lost Sock. “Our clients are so special to us,”<br />

says Cy. “We will work around their needs and<br />

schedules because we understand what it’s like<br />

to have a busy family.” Married 12 years, the<br />

couple has two young children of their own.<br />

The business started with an idea. “We<br />

were sitting outside our home one evening,<br />

not long after we got married,” Cy recalls.<br />

“We were trying to come up with ideas for a<br />

business we could start together. Something<br />

that would fill a need.” The idea they came<br />

up with was a laundry service. “Laundry is<br />

something everyone has to do, but it can be<br />

time-consuming. Today’s parents compete<br />

with everything in the world for time with their<br />

family. We like to sit down to dinner every night<br />

with our family. If we can free up time for other<br />

parents, that will help them to be the kind of<br />

parents they want to be.”<br />

But the idea was put on the back burner<br />

until their first child, Stetson, was born nearly<br />

seven years ago. “We wanted to do something<br />

that would give us a bit more freedom to spend<br />

time with our son,” says Natalie. Cy began<br />

doing research, “because I’m geeky that way.”<br />

He learned more about doing laundry than<br />

he could ever have imagined. “I already knew<br />

a bit about staying presentable from my ten<br />

years in the military, but I learned while doing<br />

this business that I’m good at laundry!”<br />

The couple took the plunge and opened<br />

their first location in Gluckstadt. “We did well,”<br />

says Cy. “We had regular clients, and they were<br />

pleased with our service.” But the location was<br />

less than ideal, with many new clients saying<br />

the business was difficult to find. Despite that,<br />

Cy says the business increased by 15 to 20%<br />

per quarter. Now the operation is relocating<br />

to Madison.<br />

“There’s a reason we’re opening in Madison,”<br />

says Cy. “It’s because of our clients. They called<br />

the mayor’s office repeatedly and said our<br />

business needs to be located here. We got<br />

a call one day from the mayor’s assistant who<br />

told us there was a place for us in Madison.<br />

We went to look at it and it is perfect for our<br />

needs.” The new location will be opening in<br />

November in what was once the Walgreens<br />

on the corner of Highway 51 and Hoy Road.<br />

Once opened, The Lost Sock will offer laundry<br />

service to anyone who wants to free up their<br />

schedule. “We have streamlined our service,”<br />

Cy explains. “Clients can drop off their laundry<br />

and get notifications on their phone. At pickup,<br />

we will bring the order to the car in a special<br />

bag that serves as a laundry bag for the next<br />

trip. Natalie adds, “we sanitize all bags each<br />

time they come in.”<br />

The interior of The Lost Sock will be inviting.<br />

“Natalie is a great decorator. We want the<br />

business to feel like an extension of our clients’<br />

homes. We want them to feel comfortable<br />

here. She does that by creating a welcoming<br />

space. I handle the business end of things. She<br />

is truly my rock.”<br />

Natalie explains that no family’s laundry will<br />

be mixed with another family’s laundry. “We<br />

even separate laundry. One of our clients,<br />

a busy mother of three, said the service was<br />

already great, but when she didn’t have to<br />

separate the children’s clothes when she got<br />

home, she was thrilled.”<br />

The Lost Sock also launders comforters<br />

and other bedding. “We even put it through a<br />

sanitation cycle,” explains Cy. “We never put<br />

them in a dryer – all comforters are line dried.”<br />

The business uses all Speed Queen washers,<br />

“the Lamborghini of washing machines,”<br />

he laughs. One unique service they provide<br />

is laundering hunting camo using scent-free<br />

detergents. Another option is laundering<br />

and vacuum-sealing bedding. “After hunting<br />

season is over, people can bring their bedding<br />

and camo into us, and we will launder it and<br />

vacuum seal it. It’s easier to store, and it will be<br />

super fresh for the next season.”<br />

The Lost Sock is different from dry cleaners<br />

and other laundry services. “Everyone’s<br />

household is as different as their laundry,”<br />

Cy says. “We work around their schedules.<br />

And rather than dictate when we are available<br />

to our clients, our clients let us know when they<br />

need us. We spot clean, flat dry, line dry…<br />

whatever a client wishes.” Natalie adds that<br />

the company uses high-end detergents, and<br />

has a variety to suit people’s preferences,<br />

including scent and dye-free baby detergents,<br />

and more. “We use Oxy products, and we<br />

have something for everyone.”<br />

In the end, it’s the personal relationships<br />

formed that mean the most to Cy and Natalie.<br />

“One of our clients has a child with Down<br />

syndrome,” says Natalie. “Cy noticed that<br />

he loved the ‘80s. So, one day Cy bought a<br />

Rubik’s cube and tucked it into their laundry<br />

bag. It’s the little things that make such a big<br />

difference. And it’s always touching to me<br />

when people buy gift cards for an expectant<br />

mother’s baby shower, or for someone who has<br />

been ill. It’s not just laundry. The Lost Sock is a<br />

gift of time and a connection with others.”<br />

Natalie adds, “Our motto is ‘Let Us Lighten<br />

Your Load.’ That’s exactly what we are doing<br />

for our clients.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 55

Unwind!<br />

Ladies’ Night Out<br />




56 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 57

58 • NOVEMBER 2023

See why Fortune ranked Nucor No. 1 in its industry on the<br />

World’s Most Admired Companies list as well as one of the<br />

Best Workplaces in Manufacturing and Production.<br />

www.nucor.com/careers<br />

Hometown MADISON • 59

15th<br />

Anniversary<br />

Vision<br />

Celebration<br />

Luncheon<br />

October 17<br />

Country Club<br />

of Jackson<br />


Jessica Breaux,<br />

Amazon Regional Leader and<br />

Sr. Economic Development Manager<br />


RSVP to collins.jan01@gmail.com by October 10, 2023<br />

60 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 61

P r o u d l y s e r v i n g<br />

M a d i s o n C o u n t y<br />

w w w . b r u n i n i . c o m 6 0 1 - 9 4 8 - 3 1 0 1<br />

62 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 63


Celebrating<br />

30 Years<br />

of Holiday<br />

Enchantment<br />

The Mississippi Metropolitan<br />

Ballet’s Nutcracker Legacy<br />

A magical holiday tradition is preparing to dance its way into the heart of Mississippi for a tremendous<br />

anniversary this December. The Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet is celebrating its 30th annual performance<br />

of “The Nutcracker.” That’s over a quarter century of delighting locals with spectacular costumes and<br />

sets, exquisite choreography featuring dancers of all ages and touching many lives with the holiday spirit.<br />

This milestone is not only a testament to the enduring appeal of this timeless classical ballet, but also<br />

a celebration of MMB’s profound artistic impact on our community.<br />

64 • NOVEMBER 2023

A Perennial Holiday Favorite<br />

“The Nutcracker” is a beloved full-length ballet that has captivated<br />

audiences worldwide since its debut in the late 19th century. Its enchanting<br />

story, based on the 1816 E.T.A. Hoffman tale, combined with<br />

Tchaikovsky’s iconic score, have made it a cherished part of holiday<br />

celebrations for generations. Each holiday season, the Nutcracker’s magic<br />

transports us to a world where toys come alive, snowflakes dance, and<br />

the Sugar Plum Fairy reigns supreme. For 30 years now, the Mississippi<br />

Metropolitan Ballet has brought this magical tale to life for the metro<br />

area. For many, attending a performance of MMB’s “The Nutcracker”<br />

has become as much of a holiday tradition as decorating the tree or<br />

baking Christmas cookies. “For all of us at MMB, ‘Nutcracker’ and the<br />

holidays are synonymous,” says Artistic Director Jennifer Beasley. “It’s<br />

wonderful to witness how attending our production has become a multigenerational<br />

experience, with parents, grandparents, and children<br />

alike entranced by the magical story.”<br />

A Local Treasure Blossoms<br />

MMB began as The Madison Civic Ballet, which was founded in 1992<br />

at the Madison County Cultural Center by Cherri Barnett. In 1997,<br />

Jennifer Beasley, a former professional dancer and dedicated dance<br />

teacher, took the reins as artistic director and in the same year the name<br />

of the organization was changed to the Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet.<br />

In 2002, Artistic Associate Crystal Skelton joined the MMB staff and<br />

since then, Skelton and Beasley have been dedicated to producing<br />

well-trained dancers and to providing quality dance performances for<br />

the Metro Jackson area. “One of the earliest MMB performances I remember<br />

took place outdoors at the Madison County Cultural Center<br />

in front of the famous red caboose,” recalls Beasley. “Just before the<br />

show was set to begin, a strong wind blew in but that didn’t stop us! We<br />

have video footage of the dancers carrying on through the weather, with<br />

their long tutus blowing every which way and things flying through the<br />

air. Talk about determination!” Beasley laughed. “It’s that kind of tenacity<br />

Hometown MADISON • 65

that has helped us achieve so much through the years.” MMB’s earliest<br />

performances of “The Nutcracker” were housed at the Madison County<br />

Cultural Center in the gymnatorium, where MMB hosted its popular<br />

Tea Party Performances. These seated the audience at tables with<br />

delectable refreshments to enjoy throughout the show. This formula<br />

proved extremely popular with audiences, and families returned year<br />

after year. In 2010, MMB moved its annual performances to the<br />

newly constructed Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center, which<br />

allowed the production to grow in numerous ways. The 800-seat theater<br />

allowed for larger audiences, and the bigger stage, professional lighting<br />

system, and full fly-loft allowed for the technical aspects of the show to<br />

grow. “The JA Performing Arts Center has become our performing<br />

home, and our show has really flourished in our time there. The JA staff<br />

has been wonderful to work with, and the central location and size<br />

of the theater seems to really appeal to our audiences,” says Artistic<br />

Associate Crystal Skelton.<br />

One Tradition Leads to Another<br />

The move to JA dramatically changed the Nutcracker MMB experience.<br />

Whereas attendees previously had a combined experience at the Tea<br />

Party Performances, watching the show while munching on gingerbread<br />

men and hot cocoa, at JA, the performance and the tea party<br />

would be separate events. MMB began hosting “The Nutcracker Sweet<br />

Tea Party” following its matinee performances, and transformed the<br />

JA cafeteria into a holiday wonderland with festive decorations and<br />

delectable treats for patrons. These proved highly successful and sold<br />

out several times. In recent years, MMB has changed the tea party<br />

concept to the Land of Sweets Tour, which also follows the matinee<br />

performances, while offering young attendees the chance to visit with<br />

the dancers, see costumes and sets up-close, collect Nutcracker souvenirs,<br />

have their individual Land of Sweet passport stamped…and still enjoy<br />

cookies and hot cocoa! “The Land of Sweets Tour has become a real<br />

hit with our attendees,” says Skelton. “We have a wonderful team of<br />

talented volunteers who have seen this idea through from inception to<br />

implementation, and it is truly a magical event to experience. The way<br />

young eyes light up when they see the Sugar Plum Fairy up close and<br />

personal is unforgettable.”<br />

Keeping It Fresh<br />

Producing the Nutcracker is a huge undertaking. When Beasley<br />

choreographed her first Nutcracker for MMB, she had 50 dancers.<br />

The current cast boasts over 150 dancers. MMB’s production of The<br />

Nutcracker has evolved in several other ways besides the number of<br />

dancers over the years. From costume upgrades to new sets and<br />

props, it’s been important to the organization to keep the production<br />

from becoming as stale as yesterday’s (ginger)bread. This year’s 30th<br />

anniversary production will feature new choreography in the battle<br />

scene between the Nutcracker and the Mouse King, as well as a new<br />

version of the Arabian divertissement in the Kingdom of the Sweets.<br />

A new growing Christmas tree prop will also tower over the mice and<br />

soldiers in the iconic battle scene. “The ability to purchase or create new<br />

sets and props every year is due in large part to the generous support<br />

we receive from sponsors and donors, as well as the loyalty of our paying<br />

audience. We are truly grateful to all of our supporters whose financial<br />

contributions have allowed us to grow over the years,” says MMB Executive<br />

Director Amanda Kibble.<br />

66 • NOVEMBER 2023

A Family Affair<br />

Aside from MMB’s professional staff, comprised of Beasley, Skelton,<br />

and Kibble, the gargantuan task of mounting The Nutcracker<br />

production each year is accomplished by countless volunteers, mostly<br />

parents of dancers. From ticket sales to costuming to pulling sets on and<br />

off the stage, MMB is supported by dozens of volunteer parents<br />

who help make the magic of the Nutcracker come alive each December.<br />

“We are so lucky to benefit from the talents of our dancers’ parents, who<br />

give so generously of their time at the most busy time of year,” says<br />

Beasley. “When people hear that our productions are completely run<br />

by volunteers, from backstage to front of house, they are blown away.<br />

It is wonderful to have our MMB families come together at Nutcracker<br />

time to form what we call ‘MMB Family’. It is amazing the things we<br />

have all accomplished together, and I am truly grateful.”<br />

Sharing the Magic<br />

What makes MMB truly exceptional is its unwavering commitment to<br />

community engagement. The ballet company actively fosters a love for<br />

the arts among Mississippi’s youth, offering educational programs,<br />

scholarships, and outreach initiatives. Before opening night, MMB has<br />

historically invited children from organizations such as the Boys and<br />

Girls Club, Sunnybrook Children’s Home, the Mustard Seed, and Big<br />

Brothers/Big Sisters to attend the final dress rehearsal of The Nutcracker,<br />

free of charge. MMB also annually brings a mini-performance into<br />

local schools, along with a mini-ballet lesson and Q&A with the dancers.<br />

MMB has also given outreach Nutcracker performances at Mistletoe<br />

Marketplace, the Mississippi Children’s Museum, and Highland Village.<br />

Giving children from all walks of life the chance to witness the magnificence<br />

of ballet and see, first-hand, why the arts are so important has<br />

been a priority for MMB since its beginning. Janet Shearer, former<br />

MMB executive director and current member of MMB’s advisory<br />

board, fondly remembers a moment when Mississippi Metropolitan<br />

Ballet performed “The Nutcracker” for 1,100 Madison County second<br />

and third graders last November. “MMB’s annual school performances<br />

provide many local students with their first ballet, even their first<br />

theater experience. They are amazed at the space, the backdrops, the<br />

costumes, the music, and especially the dancing, its artistry and its<br />

athleticism” Shearer says. “The children are always absolutely enthralled<br />

by the experience of seeing dancers on the stage. They asked so many<br />

questions after they saw the performance,“ Shearer recalls. “One of the<br />

questions asked most frequently of the dancers after the performance is,<br />

How? How do you jump so high? How do you turn so many times?<br />

How do you dance on your toes? Sharing in these students’ joy and<br />

excitement at these special, educational performances is always such<br />

a magical way to begin the holiday season,” Shearer concludes.<br />

The Magic Continues<br />

As Mississippi Metropolitan Ballet presents its 30th Nutcracker performance,<br />

it is as apparent as ever that the arts bring magic into our lives<br />

and our community. MMB’s devotion to excellence and community<br />

engagement has kept its traditional holiday production shining brightly<br />

after 30 years, filling countless hearts with the magic of the season. Join<br />

MMB, the Sugar Plum Fairy, Clara, and the Nutcracker, alongside<br />

menacing mice, waltzing flowers, sparkling snowflakes, and more, on<br />

December 2 and 3 at Jackson Academy Performing Arts Center. There<br />

are matinee and evening performances each day, perfect for either a<br />

festive family outing or a magical date night with that special someone.<br />

The Land of Sweets Tour is a perfectly sweet treat for young ones, and<br />

will follow both matinee performances. To purchase tickets and to find<br />

out more about MMB, visit www.msmetroballet.com.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 67

68 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 69

SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

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

I became a fireman because I admire all of the things that firemen<br />

represent. For example: service, patience, courage, education, and<br />

leading a healthy lifestyle. Since joining the fire service, my life has<br />

changed in many ways. I don’t take things for granted, and it has<br />

taught me to remember the important things in life.<br />

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

Since August 24, 2020. I am currently a firefighter/EMT. I am going to<br />

start paramedic school next year.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I was born and raised in Vicksburg. I was raised by my mom, Delores<br />

DeFrance, and my dad, Carl DeFrance, Sr. I have three siblings,<br />

including my twin, Terrelle. Being raised in a six-person household,<br />

you can imagine that life was hectic, but I would not change it. Some<br />

of my family traditions were going fishing and always having Sunday<br />

dinners. I attended Vicksburg High School where I was a trombone<br />

player in the band. I graduated in 2014 with my high school diploma.<br />

I met my wife, then girlfriend, while we were in high school, and we<br />

have been together since. I then attended Alcorn State University<br />

where I studied criminal justice, and I was a trombone player in the<br />

band. I graduated in 2018 with my bachelor’s degree in criminal justice.<br />

Fast forward 10 years, my wife and I are now married and expecting<br />

our first child together.<br />

Fireman & EMT<br />

Terrance<br />

DeFRANCE<br />


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

It never gets easier having to tell someone that their loved one has died,<br />

despite putting in your best efforts.<br />

What is the most rewarding part of your job as a firefighter?<br />

Aside from saving lives, I love seeing the little ones’ faces light up when<br />

they see a fireman. I love interacting with children while participating<br />

in parades, attending birthday parties, going to the daycares, and<br />

reading to them at the libraries. I also enjoy showing them around the<br />

turnout gear and firetrucks so that they are not scared if a fireman<br />

shows up at their house for some reason.<br />

70 • NOVEMBER 2023

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

Now that my twin and I are older, I enjoy our quality time that much<br />

more. In addition, I like a nice workout, being outside with my dog,<br />

traveling, reading books, and eating good food. My wife and I love<br />

going on cruises and exploring new places and countries!<br />

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

Travel to Milan, Italy, and Santorini, Greece. Milan is one of the<br />

fashion capitals of the world! From videos and pictures that I have<br />

seen of Santorini, it appears to be a beautiful place. I’d love to see the<br />

New Year’s Eve celebration in Sydney, Australia. I love firework shows!<br />

And I’d like to be in a fortunate enough place where I can give back to<br />

people in need.<br />

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

I do not admire one person in particular, but instead, I admire all of the<br />

fallen firemen who came before me. When I first became a firefighter,<br />

I was assigned the hero number, 343, as my badge number. This is the<br />

hero number because it was the number of firefighters who sacrificed<br />

their lives during 9/11. I admire these fallen heroes because they gave<br />

their lives doing something they love and were passionate about their<br />

fire service careers.<br />

What advice would you give to a young person?<br />

Patience. We live in a society where we want everything now, and we<br />

want immediate gratification. I was fortunate enough to learn this<br />

concept at a very young age, courtesy of my parents. You’re not going<br />

to be able to get everything or obtain everything that you want<br />

immediately. Life is all about timing and waiting your turn for progress<br />

and change to happen. So yes, that would be my key takeaway for any<br />

young person.<br />

What is your favorite thing about Madison County?<br />

The camaraderie of the community. I love interacting with the citizens<br />

of Madison County. Everyone you come into contact with, in all walks<br />

of life, are friendly and display a positive attitude.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 71

72 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 73


A Sparkling<br />

Canton<br />

Susan Marquez<br />

It’s more than the<br />

lights for Joann Gordon.<br />

It’s the look on the faces<br />

of the people who come<br />

to the Square in Canton<br />

each year.<br />

Their faces light up brighter than the<br />

thousands of lights that illuminate the<br />

Square with a magical glow each Christmas.<br />

Gordon is the longtime director of<br />

Canton Tourism, now on her second stint<br />

in the position after retiring in 2015.<br />

She still has a deep passion for Canton and<br />

for drawing tourists to the historic town.<br />

“There are many reasons I believe people<br />

should come to Canton,” she says. “We are<br />

the original City of Lights, and we are truly<br />

a preservation setting. People can come to<br />

spend the holidays in a little community that<br />

is listed on the National Register of Historic<br />

Places. We started our lighting program as a<br />

way to highlight our city’s architecture and<br />

beauty.”<br />

The Canton Christmas Festival began in<br />

a small way back in 1987. “We put a blow-up<br />

snowman in the gazebo on the grounds of<br />

the Courthouse,” Gordon recalls. “That was<br />

before we even had a tourism bureau. It was<br />

done through the Canton Redevelopment<br />

Authority.”<br />

Over the years the lights on Canton’s<br />

Square truly turned into a destination event.<br />

“This is an event that is built on family<br />

tradition,” says Gordon. “We want generation<br />

after generation to come back. We now see<br />

four generations come to the event. Families<br />

love to come out and see the lights on the<br />

Square. It’s an opportunity to spend time<br />

together – spend an evening together away<br />

from technology and just enjoy life. It takes<br />

people back to a simpler time, and it never<br />

gets old.”<br />

What really touches Gordon’s heart is the<br />

excitement she sees on children’s faces. “For<br />

some, this is as close to Disney World as they<br />

will ever come.” She says that families can<br />

come for the evening and not spend a dime.<br />

“There are a few things that cost money, but<br />

very little. We purposely keep the cost low so<br />

people will be able to enjoy it.”<br />

New this year to the festival are additional<br />

light displays with walk-throughs and photo<br />

opportunities. “There is a beautiful new<br />

garland on the Courthouse fence that will<br />

be absolutely electric when it’s lit up.”<br />

74 • NOVEMBER 2023

Christmas<br />

Also new this year is Santa’s Cookie Stop.<br />

Located on the northeast corner of the<br />

Square, the Cookie Stop will provide a place<br />

for people to sit down and enjoy fresh cookies,<br />

hot chocolate, and coffee. “Since Canton is the<br />

movie capital of the state, there will be a movie<br />

theme,” Gordon explains. “We’ll have two<br />

favorite Christmas movies playing inside.”<br />

The popular Animation Museum will be<br />

back again this year, with exciting Christmas<br />

scenes. Santa Claus will be on hand for<br />

photos, and Mrs. Claus will be telling stories<br />

on the Square each night.<br />

Visitors can enjoy the horse and buggy<br />

rides around the Square or ride the train or<br />

fire truck. “We are continually trying to<br />

increase our interactive activities,” says<br />

Gordon.<br />

One of the most heartwarming exhibits<br />

will be Santa’s Snow Village. “It has the most<br />

beautiful story,” Gordon says. “What started<br />

as a tiny Christmas village collection of small<br />

houses and buildings is now a sprawling<br />

metropolis of over 300 pieces.” Dorothy<br />

Raper was taken with the miniature lighted<br />

buildings when she saw them in a Hallmark<br />

store in Grenada one Christmas. Her passion<br />

for the buildings was shared by her grandson,<br />

Neal Marlow, who continued to add to his<br />

grandmother’s collection. Setting up the<br />

village became an annual labor of love.<br />

It became part of the family’s Christmas<br />

tradition for nearly 20 years. Dorothy never<br />

grew tired of the excitement of the village.<br />

Now Neal is setting the village up in Canton<br />

in his grandmother’s memory, and to share<br />

its beauty with all who come to the Canton<br />

Christmas Festival.<br />

The festival kicks off November 24<br />

through 26 and coincides with the Canton<br />

Merchants’ Open House. It will then resume<br />

December 1 through 31, from 5pm to 9pm<br />

nightly. The 16th annual Holiday Sip-N-Cider<br />

event will take place on December 8.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 75

76 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Hometown MADISON • 79



Just a short drive away, Raymond<br />

is one of central Mississippi’s<br />

best-kept secrets.<br />

For an easy day trip, Raymond invites you to shop, eat,<br />

and experience all the unique small town has to offer.<br />

Centrally located almost exactly in the middle of the state,<br />

Raymond is easily accessible from I-20 and is a short drive<br />

from downtown Jackson and the airport. From its earliest days,<br />

native Americans and early settlers were drawn to the area<br />

due to its abundant wildlife. When Hinds County was established<br />

in 1821, Raymond became the first county seat. It still<br />

remains as one of two county seats for Hinds County.<br />

80 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 81

Sadly, Raymond’s namesake,<br />

sells his premium duck calls there,<br />

I love the people. I believe visitors are<br />

up-and-coming haven for the arts and<br />

General Raymond Robinson, was<br />

and he and his wife, Ann, carefully<br />

attracted to genuineness, integrity,<br />

a place where there is never a lack of<br />

killed by Grant’s army as they marched<br />

curate leather goods and gifts for<br />

passion, and a love for what you do.<br />

something to do. Eagle Ridge<br />

his troops through the area on their<br />

those who enjoy the outdoors.<br />

Love and respect for each other’s<br />

Conference Center is nearby and<br />

way to capture Vicksburg. On May 12,<br />

Josh grew up here and has chosen<br />

talents and gifts are the key for<br />

offers a golf course, a meeting venue,<br />

1863, 12,000 Union soldiers and<br />

Raymond to locate his business and<br />

multiple businesses to co-exist and<br />

and newly renovated hotel rooms.<br />

3,000 Confederate soldiers met in<br />

raise their children. “There is a sense<br />

grow in healthy ways toward a<br />

Over 70 happenings are held in<br />

the Battle of Raymond. After the<br />

of community here that I want to<br />

greater future.”<br />

the town each year, including the<br />

battle, over 1,000 wounded soldiers<br />

sustain.” Josh and his wife, Ann, are<br />

Porch has invested all of<br />

Raymond Country Fair each May, and<br />

from both armies were cared for by<br />

raising their two children in Raymond.<br />

herself into growing the community.<br />

Christmas on the Square in Decem-<br />

residents in their homes, in St. Mark’s<br />

“I could have put my business<br />

In addition to other ventures and<br />

ber, the two largest events presented<br />

Episcopal Church, and in the newly<br />

anywhere, but I choose to be here.<br />

accomplishments in Raymond,<br />

by the Chamber. Ribbon cuttings for<br />

built Hinds County Courthouse.<br />

I believe in our town, and I want to<br />

she currently owns two growing<br />

new businesses, open houses,<br />

Stains of blood still remain visible<br />

continue investing in its future.”<br />

businesses. The Lucky Hen is a unique<br />

and meet-and-greets make up<br />

on the wood floors of St. Mark’s,<br />

Take a drive around the Square<br />

gift shop that highlights products<br />

more activities.<br />

a definite reminder of times past.<br />

and it’s easy to see both the town’s<br />

made in Mississippi with a distinct<br />

Shopping in Raymond is a<br />

Today’s Raymond is a quiet and<br />

historic background as well as its<br />

style of gifts and curiosities. The<br />

pleasure, with gift shops offering<br />

peaceful place where people come to<br />

progression towards the future. Kim<br />

White Horse Coffee Shop, situated<br />

made-in-Mississippi products,<br />

raise families and retire. Jerry Bryant<br />

Porch, who serves as president of the<br />

within The Lucky Hen, offers a range<br />

professional framing and art, a coffee<br />

and his wife, Cathryn, moved to<br />

Raymond Chamber of Commerce,<br />

of specialty coffee drinks and good<br />

shop, a shop for teas and shakes,<br />

Raymond in 1969, and for decades<br />

says, “I want to see Raymond grow<br />

vibes all around.<br />

antiques and consignments, and a<br />

he served the town as their only<br />

with integrity to honor the past while<br />

With Hinds Community College<br />

grocery store conveniently located on<br />

pharmacist. “I like seeing the progress<br />

being progressive in our thinking<br />

located nearby, Raymond has cultural,<br />

the Square. Merchants and Planters<br />

in Raymond,” he says.<br />

and vision. I have a love for Raymond<br />

recreational, and educational<br />

Bank is an anchor for the community<br />

Within the past couple of years,<br />

and the state of Mississippi. I believe<br />

opportunities often only found in<br />

and offers many services and<br />

Albert Smathers has created a fabulous<br />

visitors to our sweet city come here<br />

larger communities. The town is<br />

continually helps support the town.<br />

mural on the side of the old drug-<br />

for a genuine experience, and that’s<br />

quaint and vibrant and is focused on<br />

Little Big Store has been selling<br />

store, which now houses Raggio<br />

what they’ll find. It’s a new day in<br />

providing a good quality of life for<br />

albums in Raymond since the early<br />

Mercantile. Josh Raggio makes and<br />

Raymond. I love the history here, and<br />

everyone. It has developed into an<br />

1990s and they ship albums all over<br />

the world. Boondocks on Highway 18<br />

offers shooting ranges and training<br />

classes for the community and they<br />

routinely help sponsor events and<br />

even host events on site.<br />

Several new Airbnbs have opened<br />

in Raymond and surrounding areas,<br />

many in historic 1800s buildings, and<br />

stay booked by people who are<br />

traveling the Natchez Trace Parkway,<br />

located only three miles from the city<br />

limits. Many people also follow the<br />

82 • NOVEMBER 2023

Mississippi Blues Trail. “It’s not unusual<br />

to see people visiting here from<br />

Europe, the Netherlands, Asia, and<br />

other places,” says Porch, who credits<br />

Raymond’s mayor, Isla Tullos, and city<br />

leaders, along with town patriarchs<br />

for making the city what it is today.<br />

“They have worked for many decades<br />

and have paved the way for the<br />

possibilities and potential for greatness<br />

that we enjoy today,” Porch says.<br />

“Groups like the Raymond<br />

Garden Club keep our city looking<br />

beautiful,” says Porch. “They maintain<br />

a community garden, select the Yard<br />

of the Month, keep the community<br />

involved, and work hard to keep our<br />

Square looking nice.”<br />

The Culture Club has been<br />

meeting monthly since the 1930s,<br />

keeping the city’s history relevant and<br />

hosting speakers from all over the<br />

state. Friends of the Library board<br />

offers community events and holds<br />

weekly readings for school children.<br />

Several churches are in the area and<br />

many have fantastic architecture and<br />

histories, adding a real sense of<br />

support and resources for the city.<br />

“Everybody calls this Mayberry,”<br />

laughs Porch. “But there is something<br />

to that. There is a real genuine spirit<br />

here. We have a lot of momentum in<br />

Raymond, and we encourage folks to<br />

come spend a day with us to see all<br />

we have to offer. We don’t take<br />

anything for granted and we believe<br />

every day is a gift to be shared. There<br />

is a real sense of goodness here and<br />

that is something we strive for and<br />

want to share with others.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 83

84 • NOVEMBER 2023


Hometown MADISON • 85

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<br />

applicable Federal and State 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<br />

in its educational programs and activities. We recognize our responsibility to provide an open and welcoming environment that fosters a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion for employees and students to collaboratively learn,<br />

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

EEOC Compliance: 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 />

86 • NOVEMBER 2023

Hometown MADISON • 87

88 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Hometown MADISON • 89

Together,<br />



Who We Are and Who We Serve<br />

Who We Are and Who We Serve<br />

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

life-changing Since Make-A-Wish wishes. We Mississippi’s serve children inception the 65 southern in 1984, most more counties than in 2,528 the state, children spanning with every critical socioeconomic<br />

factor illnesses and ethnic have background. experienced We’ve life-changing never turned wishes. away a We child serve eligible children for a wish. in the A family’s 65 southern financial most status, race, or<br />

religion counties has in no the bearing state, on spanning whether a every child will socioeconomic receive a wish. factor and ethnic background. We’ve<br />

never turned away a child eligible for a wish. A family’s financial status, race, or religion has<br />

Our no continued bearing on success whether at Make-A-Wish a child will receive Mississippi a wish.<br />

only achieved with great people and great relationships.<br />

It’s through the generous support – our community of donors, staff, volunteers, medical professionals and sponsors –<br />

the Our real continued heart and soul success of the at organization Make-A-Wish – that Mississippi we will reach is our only vision. achieved As you with read great through people the information and in the<br />

Fiscal great Year relationships. 2022 annual It’s report, through please the remember generous how support important – our you are community to all the progress of donors, we have staff, made…and all that<br />

is volunteers, yet to come. Your medical impact professionals is profound and meaningful. sponsors – the real heart and soul of the organization<br />

– that we will reach our vision. As you read through the information in the Fiscal Year 2022<br />

On annual August report, 29, a kick-off please social remember for W.I.S.H. how Society important (Women you Inspiring are to all Strength the progress and Hope) we have was held made at Char … Restaurant<br />

in and Jackson. all that Twenty-three is yet to come. women Your are being impact honored is profound which means and meaningful.<br />

that twenty-five wishes will be granted for deserving<br />

kids fighting to overcome unimaginable odds right here in Mississippi.<br />

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

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

90 • NOVEMBER 2023

Mandy Baker<br />

Nurse Practitioner<br />

During my time working at Batson<br />

Children’s Hospital, I was able to see,<br />

first-hand, how much Make-A-Wish<br />

impacted the children of Mississippi.<br />

These families were given an amazing<br />

experience, making happy memories<br />

during such a devastating time. I’m honored to have such<br />

a small part in helping grant wishes!<br />

Katie Banks<br />

Tax Accountant/Grantham Poole CPA<br />

I am honored to accept the position as<br />

honoree for Women Inspiring Strength<br />

& Hope to further the mission of Make-<br />

A-Wish MS. I look forward to raising<br />

funds to assist children in our state<br />

who have been presented with difficult<br />

diagnoses and medical conditions. All children deserve hope,<br />

strength, and joy, especially as they navigate medical treatments.<br />

Natalie Baten<br />

Mocha Mugs, Owner<br />

I am honored to have been selected as a<br />

Make-A-Wish Foundation honoree. I look<br />

forward to helping raise money to fulfill a<br />

child’s wish. It is a privilege to be able to<br />

help these families and children in need<br />

and to bring awareness to Make-A-Wish<br />

Mississippi. Make-A-Wish makes a huge impact on so many<br />

lives and it is an incredible honor to be part of it.<br />

Beth Brantley<br />

After Five Designs<br />

As a mother of four children, and soon to<br />

be grandmother, I know it takes a village<br />

when caring for children. When this opportunity<br />

presented itself, I knew I had to get<br />

involved. If the love, compassion, and<br />

experience as a parent or the skills I’ve<br />

acquired through work and various volunteer<br />

positions I’ve held over the years can make a difference in a<br />

single child’s life, then I’m all in! I’m looking forward to what we<br />

can do together.<br />

Ashley Dukes<br />

Pre-School Teacher,<br />

First Presbyterian Day School<br />

When my daughter, Charlotte, was a patient<br />

at St. Jude, Make-A-Wish asked if they could<br />

meet with us. I realized how much hope they<br />

were offering to Charlotte and our whole<br />

family. For our whole family, knowing<br />

Charlotte’s wish would be granted was a God-given rainbow<br />

in our darkest and hardest days. I will always do what I can for<br />

MAW because what they gave us was simply immeasurable.<br />

Jamie Foster<br />

Event/Wedding Planner,<br />

Kendall Poole Event Planning<br />

I have long desired to work with children in<br />

need, and to make a difference in just one<br />

life would be a blessing. There is nothing<br />

more important than bringing joy and hope<br />

to a child and to families dealing with the<br />

fear associated with a life-threating illness. I would also like the<br />

opportunity to highlight the need for supporting this amazing<br />

organization.<br />

Beth Hennington<br />

The Vanillan, Owner<br />

I have a special place in my heart for all<br />

God’s children and especially those that<br />

need a little extra help. I accepted the honoree<br />

position and wanted to fundraise in<br />

order to help some of these kids’ dreams<br />

become a reality.<br />

Rae Ann Lawrence<br />

Having four children of my own, I am<br />

keenly aware to never take the health<br />

of my family or those I love for granted.<br />

I can’t imagine anything more rewarding<br />

than helping a child and their family forget<br />

their hard and heartbreaking circumstances<br />

—even if only temporarily—by allowing<br />

them to simply live in the moment and make memories with<br />

one another.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 91

Elizabeth Mehrle<br />

I am honored to accept the position as<br />

honoree and look forward to raising money<br />

for such a worthy cause. As a mother of<br />

four children, I cannot imagine the challenges<br />

involved with a child suffering from<br />

a life-threatening disease. I know that<br />

wishes become such an important part of a<br />

child’s treatment and provides them a glimmer of hope and a<br />

break from treatment. The impact of a wish for a child can be<br />

transformational. I am thrilled to be a part of this Wish Society.<br />

Kamesha Mumford<br />

Mumford Title,<br />

Closing Attorney & Owner<br />

I struggled with infertility for many years.<br />

In 2010, I lost a pregnancy at 13-weeks<br />

due to Turner’s Syndrome. After the loss,<br />

I learned that only 1-2% of babies with<br />

Turner’s survive. My motivation is to honor<br />

the babies I lost by supporting children who are dealing with<br />

critical illnesses. Life is so precious, and I feel honored to have<br />

the opportunity to create a special moment for a child.<br />

Katie Nalty<br />

Sales and Leasing Agent,<br />

Pinpoint Commercial Real Estate<br />

I am incredibly grateful to be an honoree<br />

and member of the Wish Society. For years,<br />

Make-A-Wish Mississippi has helped to<br />

bring much needed joy to children who<br />

are battling critical illnesses. Joy is such a<br />

powerful took and I hope that through these fundraising efforts<br />

we can experience the joy of philanthropy while showering the<br />

children in as much joy and love as possible.<br />

Manisha Patel<br />

Realtor, EXIT New Door Realty<br />

I feel incredibly honored for the opportunity<br />

to raise funds for Make-A-Wish and<br />

contribute to a child’s wish coming true.<br />

The decision to fundraise for this organization<br />

is simply because through the help<br />

of the community, we can all make a<br />

difference. While I can’t change the world, I believe that even<br />

a small contribution can make a significant impact in the life<br />

of a child battling illness.<br />

Ceejaye Peters<br />

Vice President and Corporate Counsel,<br />

EastGroup<br />

Over the years, I have followed several<br />

Mississippi Wish kids through updates<br />

shared by their families. The parents of<br />

these special children have experienced<br />

highs and lows that I can’t even begin to<br />

fathom. Their hearts have been broken many times over, but<br />

they remain strong and brave. The wishes granted by Make-A-<br />

Wish are life-changing for Wish Kids and their parents.<br />

Brittany Rogers, OD<br />

CEO, Optometrist,<br />

Rogers Family Eye Care<br />

I am so honored and humbled to be<br />

recognized as a 2023 W.I.S.H. Society<br />

honoree. Service to my community is near<br />

to my heart because I believe serving<br />

others, selflessly, enriches the lives you<br />

touch. I am passionately invested in partnering with Make-A-<br />

Wish to inspire hope, strength, and empowerment to any child.<br />

Bethany Smith<br />

I am excited to help bring awareness to the<br />

mission of Make-A-Wish and all that this<br />

wonderful organization does for children<br />

and families in our state. As a mama of<br />

three young children, my heart goes out<br />

to families with children battling a critical<br />

illness. The wishes granted by Make-A-Wish<br />

give these children the opportunity to make precious memories,<br />

to feel joy, to sustain hope, and to be celebrated. I am honored<br />

to play a small role in this important work.<br />

Brittany Spiers<br />

Owner and Stylist, Raymond’s Salon<br />

As a mom of three, it was easy to say yes<br />

and accept the challenge of fundraising as<br />

a Make-A-Wish honoree. I am grateful to<br />

play a small part in providing hope and<br />

happiness to the children and families of<br />

Make-A-Wish. During the most trying of<br />

times, Make-A-Wish has the ability to renew strength and restore<br />

faith by granting a life-changing wish.<br />

92 • NOVEMBER 2023

Bethany Stanfill<br />

Partner, BSS Global<br />

If I can make one child’s life a little bit<br />

better by granting their ultimate wish,<br />

then hopefully I can bring some light to<br />

their tough situation and ease the burden<br />

on their loved ones. I can’t imagine what<br />

some of these children go through, and<br />

I’m honored to be a small part of Make-A-Wish Mississippi.<br />

Make-A-Wish is the national philanthropy for my college sorority,<br />

Chi Omega, and has been near and dear to me for years.<br />

Anna Stroble<br />

Partner, HORNE<br />

Children are one of the greatest gifts in life.<br />

It is heart-breaking to see a child experience<br />

challenges to their health and even<br />

fight for their lives. Make-A-Wish serves a<br />

meaningful purpose for these children and<br />

their families as it brings light to a dark season<br />

in the lives of many. I accepted this opportunity to serve,<br />

hopeful that, alongside remarkable women, our efforts will result<br />

in numerous wishes granted for brave children in need of a<br />

ray of hope as they walk through this season of their life.<br />

Denisa Strong<br />

Manager, Wal-Mart Pharmacy<br />

I am committed to making a difference in<br />

the lives of others, including children with<br />

life-threatening medical conditions. As a<br />

two-time breast cancer survivor, I know<br />

personally how it feels to experience unexpected<br />

life altering health adversities and<br />

struggles. I will remain diligent in my commitment to supporting<br />

children facing life-threatening illnesses so that their wishes are<br />

fulfilled, and they can make priceless memories of a lifetime.<br />

Hannah Waller<br />

Account Executive, UPS<br />

My niece, Makinzi, at age four, had brain<br />

surgery due to an AVM. We spent a lot of<br />

time over the years at Blair E. Batson and<br />

had the pleasure of meeting some of the<br />

sweetest kids and families that were granted<br />

a wish and saw what a huge impact it<br />

had on their lives. Seeing how an organization can fulfill and<br />

give so much joy to the children and parents, I knew I wanted<br />

to be involved one day with Make-A-Wish.<br />

Jamie Woods-Dull<br />

Co-Owner All Pro Clean<br />

I had no idea when I attended a fundraiser<br />

for Make-A-Wish event in 2022, that I<br />

would form a bond with a precious soul<br />

and her family. Gabby Buford was diagnosed<br />

with a brain tumor in 2021. Make-A-Wish<br />

provided a trip of a lifetime in 2022 to<br />

Gabby and her family to Hawaii. Gabby’s family was able to<br />

enjoy this experience of a lifetime with her thanks to Make-A-<br />

Wish. I pray other families can experience this joy.<br />

Dr. Teneisha Wynter<br />

St. Dominic FMOLHS, Rehabilitation<br />

Supervisor – Physical Therapist<br />

As a healthcare provider, I strive to offer<br />

support, lend a listening ear, and demonstrate<br />

love, respect, and compassion to<br />

those in need. I am committed to making<br />

a meaningful difference in the lives of<br />

families and children facing life-threatening conditions.<br />

By granting a wish, I hope to provide them with a glimmer of<br />

hope, strength, and joy during their challenging journey.<br />

Chanda Yelverton<br />

Owner, Madison Nutrition<br />

It is an extreme privilege to be nominated<br />

as an honoree. I have seen how these<br />

wishes can make such a huge difference<br />

for children fighting illness. To be a tiny<br />

part of this and to get to help Make-A-<br />

Wish is all the motivation needed to help<br />

grant some wishes. I am excited to work alongside this amazing<br />

group of lady leaders in our community for a common goal in<br />

fundraising.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 93

Hometown MADISON • 95


Madison Central<br />

Madison Central High School is proud to announce its 2023-2024 National Merit Semifinalists and Commended Scholar.<br />

Madison Central, once again, has the highest number of National Merit Semifinalists in the state of Mississippi.<br />

Front L-R: Semifinalists Stephanie Ko, Samantha Wong, Chloe Spitz, Val Medina, Annalise Kirk;<br />

Commended Scholar Sneha Vuyyuru; Semifinalists Katie Farthing, Sophie Gao.<br />

Back L-R: Semifinalists Abraham Young, Colin Brannon, Adel Abdo, Soren Heydari,<br />

Andy Lu, Thomas Adcock, Camden Hood, Jordan Campbell.<br />

96 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Hometown MADISON • 97

TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

Living in Mississippi means living far from climate control.<br />

The temperature gauge can resemble a rollercoaster, and the seasons can<br />

name their own conditions – even in November and December.<br />

I recall a particular December weather pattern when we lived further north in<br />

the state. The radio Christmas station sang of winter wonderlands, sleigh bells<br />

ringing, and “Baby, it’s cold outside.” But in reality, the grass was still green, the lawn<br />

mowers still hummed, and shoppers wore shorts and flip flops to the mall.<br />

We opened lovely Christmas cards with traditional snow scenes, but our<br />

back yard actually had December blooms of daisies, begonias, and Mexican heather.<br />

My four baskets of hanging ferns shot out new growth and leafed out like they were<br />

finalists in the county fair.<br />

Meanwhile, sweaters stayed in dresser drawers, fleece jackets rested in closets,<br />

and furry boots waited their turn behind sandals. Turkey and dressing kept their spot<br />

on the Christmas menu, but grilled burgers and baked beans would actually<br />

have been the more appropriate fare.<br />

There was a lesson for me in the unseasonable December weather.<br />

Complaining and whining didn’t drop the thermostats a single degree.<br />

While I dreamed of frosty mornings and toasty firesides, those on<br />

fixed incomes were grateful for the break on heating bills, and the<br />

homeless surely rejoiced for every mild night.<br />

Nature didn’t gripe about balmy December days. Instead, they<br />

flourished in the lingering blooming climate. I enjoyed roses longer<br />

than I ever remembered because they continued to do what their<br />

Creator intended. They bloomed where they were planted!<br />

If they had followed the calendar, they would have dropped their<br />

leaves and turned into thorny stubs. Instead, they absorbed the warm sun<br />

rays and continued to add beauty to the landscape.<br />

The apostle Paul is a shining example of living free from murmuring and<br />

complaining: ”...for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”<br />

A few “blooms” added to our attitudes during a month that’s become way too<br />

frenzied could make a powerful statement on our world’s landscape.<br />

98 • NOVEMBER 2023

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Hometown MADISON • 99

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