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524<br />

V103<br />

The Art of<br />

Friendship<br />

Standout<br />

SENIORS


2 • NOVEMBER 2023


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Hometown MADISON • 3


4 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 5


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6 • MAY 2024


FROM OUR PUBLISHER<br />

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s a time to reflect on the impact<br />

mothers have had throughout generations.<br />

From the nurturing embrace of our own mothers to the remarkable<br />

journey of motherhood we embark upon ourselves, there is a timeless<br />

thread of love and strength that binds us together.<br />

In life, mothers play a pivotal role. They are the ones who hold us<br />

in their arms, instill in us values that guide our every step, and teach us<br />

the importance of compassion, perseverance, and faith. Just as Jesus<br />

honored his mother, Mary, we are called to honor the mothers in our<br />

lives—those who have shaped us and those whom we now have the<br />

privilege to shape.<br />

I am incredibly grateful for the godly example set by my own<br />

mother—a woman whose faith in God has been a guiding light<br />

through both joyous moments and trials. I am forever thankful for<br />

her presence in my life.<br />

As I celebrate Mother’s Day with my own daughters, I’m grateful<br />

for the amazing moms they are to their own children. Witnessing<br />

their strength, resilience, and devotion to their own families blesses<br />

my heart. They are not only remarkable mothers, but also shining<br />

examples of God’s grace and love.<br />

To all the mothers out there—past, present, and future—I want to<br />

express my deepest admiration and appreciation. Your sacrifices, your<br />

tireless dedication, and your boundless love don’t go unnoticed.<br />

You are the heartbeats of our families.<br />

This Mother’s Day, let us honor and cherish the generations of<br />

mothers who have shaped our lives. May we continue to uphold their<br />

legacy of faith, love, and strength as we journey through life together.<br />

PUBLISHER & EDITOR<br />

Tahya Dobbs<br />

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE<br />

Amy Forsyth<br />

LAYOUT DESIGN<br />

Daniel Thomas<br />

3dt<br />

HOMETOWN STAFF<br />

CFO<br />

Kevin Dobbs<br />

ADVERTISING<br />

ASSISTANT<br />

Melissa Kennon<br />

STAFF<br />

PHOTOGRAPHER<br />

Othel Anding<br />

CONSULTING EDITOR<br />

Mary Ann Kirby<br />

ADMINISTRATIVE<br />

ASSISTANT<br />

Alisha Floyd<br />

STAFF<br />

ASSISTANT<br />

Debby Francis<br />

ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE<br />

Barbie Bassett<br />

CONTENT MANAGER<br />

Susan Wolgamott<br />

COPY EDITOR<br />

Jodi Jackson<br />

IN THIS ISSUE<br />

Reader Spotlight 9<br />

The Art of Friendship 12<br />

Madison’s Red Carpet 29<br />

Young Professionals 40<br />

Hometown Family 48<br />

Kids Who Care 54<br />

Standout Seniors 59<br />

Spring Showers Bring May Flowers 72<br />

Ellen Skrmetti – Making People Laugh 80<br />

The Time Coin 98<br />

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

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

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

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

Hometown MADISON • 7


8 • MAY 2024


READER<br />

SPOTLIGHT<br />

Lane<br />

MILTON<br />

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

I grew up in central Mississippi and relocated<br />

back home in 2011. At that time in my life, my<br />

children were school age, and Madison provided<br />

the education systems that we needed. To me,<br />

Madison provides a small-town vibe with things<br />

to do.<br />

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

Nearly thirteen years.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. My<br />

parents are no longer with us, but growing up,<br />

they instilled great morals and values equipping<br />

me for my own journey as a parent. My siblings<br />

are my best friends. I am a mother of seven<br />

children. When I got married, I knew I wanted<br />

a family, I just did not know what God’s plan<br />

for my journey through motherhood would<br />

look like. My family is multi-cultural. I have two<br />

biological sons and five adopted children. Some<br />

of the children were adopted as a sibling group,<br />

and some were single adoptions. The wonderful<br />

part about all of it is that I was never on an<br />

adoption agency list or a foster parent. They<br />

were all word-of-mouth, and special situations.<br />

They are all unique individuals, and I am<br />

honored to be called their mother.<br />

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

Madison County?<br />

My favorite memories are watching the children<br />

with all of their school activities: football,<br />

basketball, school events, and all of the things<br />

that go with raising them.<br />

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

in Madison?<br />

Local 463 and Sombra are definitely some<br />

favorites, but when Keifer’s opens, it will be my<br />

number one!<br />

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

County on the weekends?<br />

Madison County has some great parks. I tend to<br />

prefer more outdoorsy activities. I like the bike<br />

trail, riding bikes, and walking dogs.<br />

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

spare time.<br />

I have a few favorite things I like to do. I love to<br />

visit the small towns in Mississippi and learn<br />

about their history. Part of that is learning where<br />

my ancestors lived throughout the state and<br />

learning how I ended up in central Mississippi.<br />

I am also a small breeder of standard poodles<br />

and giant schnauzers. I love training them and<br />

watching the puppies grow, mature, and move on<br />

to bring joy to families. Lastly, I love to garden.<br />

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

I want to visit every state in the United States<br />

and learn about each state’s unique qualities.<br />

I would like to visit a few select countries. I have<br />

a few bucket list concerts I would like to see<br />

including Imagine Dragons and One Republic.<br />

Ultimately, I want to leave a lasting impact on<br />

society.<br />

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

This is so hard. I have been so blessed with the<br />

people in my life, and they all have done things<br />

I am proud of. In all honesty, I would say my<br />

grandmothers. They both were born in the early<br />

nineteen hundreds and lived in a time when<br />

women did not have careers. They both worked<br />

full-time; one was a beautician and the other<br />

worked in a ticketing office for the railroad.<br />

They have been very inspiring to me.<br />

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

I hope I am retired by then, enjoying my<br />

grandchildren, and spending some time traveling<br />

and walking on the beach.<br />

What is your favorite childhood memory?<br />

My most consistent and fondest memory as a<br />

child is growing up on Lake Bruin in Louisianna.<br />

We had a summer lake house there. We would<br />

ski, float in the water, cook out, tell stories, and<br />

play games with friends and family. I miss those<br />

times!<br />

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

what would it be?<br />

“You must be the change you wish to see in the<br />

world.” – Mahatma Gandhi<br />

Hometown MADISON • 9


BE HEARD<br />

IN YOUR<br />

HEALTH<br />

What’s on your mind matters in your care. And sometimes, it’s hard<br />

to know the right questions to ask or a simple way to ask them. It’s<br />

our job to make that conversation easier, to stay with you for longer,<br />

to be there when you need us — to listen. That’s our priority and our<br />

promise. So, tell us what concerns you. Tell us your story. The doctor<br />

will hear you now. Learn more at stdom.com/listen.<br />

10 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 11


The Art of<br />

Friendship<br />

Melanie McMillan<br />

It’s no secret that lasting friendships are often formed<br />

through shared experiences, as common interests tend to<br />

draw people together. For a group of Madison County artists,<br />

it was their love of painting that drew them together and<br />

forged a deep friendship that has grown over the years.<br />

12 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 13


Christie Mandy Sarah<br />

It was in January of 2019 that local artist<br />

Mandy Ellard first invited Christie Farese, Beth<br />

Dean, Peyton Hutchinson, and Sarah McTaggart<br />

to her studio. “We had known each other<br />

for years through painting and life in general,<br />

but that was the first time we had gotten<br />

together to paint,” says Christie. “We had a ball<br />

and knew this was something we wanted to do<br />

again. The next time we got together, we met at<br />

Sarah’s studio. Beth said we needed a name for<br />

our group and suggested ‘The MAD Artists’<br />

because we all live in Madison, and we are all a<br />

little ‘mad.’ It’s silly and just for fun, but the<br />

nickname stuck, and here we are almost five<br />

years later.”<br />

Each of the MAD Artists is a successful,<br />

professional artist in her own right, and the<br />

friends make time to get together every few<br />

months to share new mediums or techniques<br />

with one another. They take turns hosting in<br />

their respective studios. “We give critiques and<br />

advice to each other on paintings we are<br />

working on,” says Beth. “We are safe, non-competitive<br />

sounding boards for each other.”<br />

Last fall, four members of the group had the<br />

opportunity to paint together in Italy for ten<br />

days. “Beth was a great resource for the rest of us<br />

as she’s been to Italy dozens of times and speaks<br />

Italian,” says Christie. “We stayed in a villa in<br />

Tuscany and painted ‘plein air’ or ‘in the open<br />

air.’ It was truly magical.” Peyton agrees, saying,<br />

“Traveling together has been my favorite thing<br />

we’ve done together as a group. It was absolutely<br />

amazing, and we made so many memories. This<br />

spring, we are staying a little closer to home and<br />

going to my family’s hunting camp to paint<br />

along the Big Black River.”<br />

The MAD Artists recently had the<br />

opportunity to collaborate on a project to<br />

support the Friends of the Mansion, a group<br />

dedicated to the preservation of the historic<br />

Governor’s Mansion. “Each April, the First<br />

Lady hosts a garden party for the group at the<br />

Mansion,” says Christie. “I have live-painted<br />

at the party the past two years, donating my<br />

painting to be auctioned off to raise money for<br />

the organization. When I received the call to<br />

live-paint at the garden party for the third<br />

year, I thought it would be fun to have five<br />

live-painters instead of just one. It was a great<br />

night, which allowed us to share our love of<br />

plein air painting with our fellow Mississippians,<br />

while raising funds for a good cause.”<br />

MAD Artist Sarah McTaggart will soon<br />

realize her dream of opening a studio space on<br />

the square in Flora, and her fellow MAD artists<br />

will be there to help. The friends know and<br />

appreciate that what they have is special.<br />

“Many people share similarities in their hobbies,<br />

which make their friendships work, and I feel so<br />

blessed that ours just happen to be art. The fact<br />

is though, when we are together, we don’t even<br />

have to paint. Sometimes we read good art<br />

magazines, and sometimes we learn and share<br />

new artist techniques or strategies.” Christie<br />

agrees, saying, “As we continue to meet and<br />

support one another’s careers and deepen our<br />

friendship through art, we are extremely blessed<br />

in Madison County and the tri-county area to<br />

have a very open and supportive artist<br />

community. It’s not that way everywhere.<br />

We love each other sincerely and genuinely.”<br />

14 • MAY 2024


Beth<br />

Peyton<br />

FOR MORE<br />

INFORMATION<br />

Christie Farese<br />

www.christiefarese.com<br />

Instagram @christiefaresefineart<br />

Mandy Ellard<br />

Instagram @mandyellardart<br />

Sarah McTaggart<br />

Instagram @mctaggartfineart<br />

Beth Dean<br />

www.bethdeanstudio.com<br />

Instagram @bethdeanstudio<br />

Peyton Hutchinson<br />

www.peytonhutchinson.com<br />

Instagram @peytonpaintings<br />

Hometown MADISON • 15


Friends<br />

of the<br />

Mansion<br />

Friends of the Mansion was started back in the late 1970s<br />

by Governor Winter and First Lady Elise Winter. It began as<br />

a way to generate support and interest for the preservation of<br />

the historic section of the Mansion. Our Governor’s Mansion is<br />

the second oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence<br />

in the country. It is a real treasure. Through the different<br />

administrations, first ladies could embrace the FOM or choose<br />

to focus on other initiatives. Luckily for us, our First Lady Elee Reeves<br />

chose to resurrect the Friends of the Mansion.<br />

After meeting with the executive director of archives and history,<br />

we made some updates to what the purpose of the FOM<br />

organization was and our goals that we would like to achieve.<br />

$50 tax-deductible membership dues annually go directly to<br />

archives and history. Money that we raise through events like<br />

the garden party go directly to refurbishing furniture,<br />

rewiring old lamps, etc., in the historic section.<br />

Our goal now is to refresh all of the draperies. We cannot<br />

change the fabric as it all has to remain period/era authentic, but<br />

we can refresh the fabrics. It seems as if there is always something<br />

that needs attention. The carpets are also on our list to address.<br />

We handle what we can with what we have.<br />

Ann Beard, Chief of Staff, Office of the First Lady<br />

16 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 17


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18 • MAY 2024


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Hometown MADISON • 19


20 • MAY 2024


Thank You<br />

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for voting Brick City Drugs as<br />

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Hometown MADISON • 21


22 • MAY 2024


ADVERTISER SPOTLIGHT<br />

The Village<br />

at Madison<br />

Melanie McMillan<br />

The city of Madison has long been known for its thriving<br />

economy, highly-rated schools, low crime rate, and outstanding<br />

quality of life, making it a top choice for families<br />

and businesses looking to put down roots. Located off<br />

Main Street in the historic heart of the city is The Village<br />

at Madison, a unique twenty-five-acre residential and<br />

commercial development. Featuring restaurant, retail, and<br />

professional office space, as well as homes and lots for sale,<br />

The Village at Madison is gaining the attention of residents<br />

and business owners alike.<br />

Mark Castleberry and his partners at Main Street Investors<br />

first began work on the development in 2018, and the first<br />

business, Half Shell Oyster House, opened in 2020. “Half<br />

Shell opened right before Covid,” says Castleberry, “and<br />

while the pandemic slowed things down, we have continued<br />

to develop the property as planned. The second commercial<br />

site is a 12,000 square-foot, mixed-use space, which is fully<br />

leased and should be completely occupied by the end of the<br />

year.” Construction is set to begin in May or June of this year<br />

for a 25,000 square-foot space, which will be anchored by<br />

Watercolor Salon. According to Castleberry, two additional<br />

commercial sites are planned and are currently being<br />

marketed. One will be a mixed-use space, while the other,<br />

located by the lake, will most likely be an office building.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 23


24 • MAY 2024


The residential community at The Village at Madison offers<br />

zero-lot-line home sites within walking distance to nearby<br />

businesses. “Being from Madison and growing up in Madison,<br />

I love that there is a neighborhood like this in the historical<br />

district right off Main Street,” says Jessie Haley, owner of<br />

Haley Properties, exclusive marketing agent of the residential<br />

section of The Village. “The architecture mimics the New<br />

Orleans Garden District, featuring several home designs<br />

buyers can customize.” With a dog park and common-area<br />

green spaces, homeowners can enjoy the outdoors without<br />

the yard work, within a neighborhood which backs up to the<br />

historic Montgomery House. The city is planning renovations<br />

to the Montgomery House, as well as the development<br />

of a beautiful botanical garden on adjacent land, and eight of<br />

the planned homes will overlook the garden. With walking<br />

trails for easy access to the Village, the residential community<br />

is much sought after for those wanting walkability and a<br />

New Orleans-inspired neighborhood. The proximity to the<br />

Madison Police Department, Visitor’s Center, and local<br />

churches, as well as businesses, adds to the appeal of the<br />

development. The Village of Madison is also home to the<br />

2022 St. Jude dream home. “We feel strongly about supporting<br />

St. Jude,” says Mark Castleberry, “and we were honored<br />

to be a small part of the tremendous work they do.”<br />

While The Village at Madison offers larger floor plans,<br />

empty nesters wishing to downsize can also find a home plan<br />

perfect for their changing needs. “Often, the square footage<br />

minimum requirement for homes in a new development<br />

makes it impractical for couples who are looking to downsize,”<br />

says Castleberry. “With a minimum of 2,000 square<br />

feet under roof, The Village at Madison is an ideal location<br />

for those home buyers.”<br />

For more information about The Village at Madison,<br />

visit TheVillageatMadison.com or find them on<br />

Facebook @VillageatMadison.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 25


26 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 27


28 • MAY 2024


Madison’s<br />

BEST OF<br />

THE BEST<br />

In March, Hometown Madison rolled out the red carpet<br />

to recognize excellence in business throughout Madison<br />

County. The event spanned two nights and celebrated<br />

forty-four categories as the winners in each category<br />

were honored among their peers. Bridlewood of Madison<br />

provided the perfect backdrop as the champagne flowed<br />

for this inaugural event.<br />

Thank you to everyone who came. And congratulations<br />

to everyone nominated! We’ll see you all again next year<br />

at Madison’s Red Carpet Best of the Best!<br />

And the winner is...<br />

Hometown MADISON • 29


Dining<br />

BEST BAR<br />

Caet [seafood | oysterette]<br />

Half Shell Oyster House<br />

Koestler Prime<br />

The Briar Patch WINNER<br />

Two Rivers Restaurant & Catering<br />

BEST BARBEQUE<br />

Angelo's BBQ-Pizza-Italian<br />

Boo's Smokehouse BBQ<br />

Burgers Blues Barbecue WINNER<br />

Dickey's Barbecue Pit<br />

Full Moon Bar-B-Que<br />

BEST CATERER<br />

Bless This Food Catering<br />

Madison Graze<br />

The Strawberry Cafe<br />

Two Rivers Restaurant & Catering WINNER<br />

Your Personal Chef<br />

BEST COFFEE SHOP<br />

Cups Expresso Cafe WINNER<br />

Fusion Coffeehouse<br />

Kudzu Coffee & Bakery<br />

Mocha Mugs<br />

Parkway Perk<br />

BEST LUNCH<br />

Aplos Simple Mediterranean<br />

Mama Hamil’s WINNER<br />

Primos Cafe & Bake Shop<br />

The Strawberry Cafe<br />

Trace Grill<br />

BEST MEXICAN<br />

Cazadores, Ridgeland<br />

El Ranchito, Madison WINNER<br />

El Sombrero, Gluckstadt<br />

Fernando's, Ridgeland<br />

Plato Feliz, Livingston<br />

BEST PIZZA<br />

Lost Pizza<br />

Pizza Shack<br />

Railroad Pizza Company WINNER<br />

Sal & Mookie’s<br />

Soulshine Pizza<br />

BEST SHAKES/SMOOTHIES/<br />

NUTRITIONAL TEAS<br />

Madison Nutrition<br />

MissiSIPPi Nutrition (Sipp) WINNER<br />

Smoothie King<br />

Stadt Nutrition<br />

The Blend Nutrition<br />

BEST STEAKHOUSE<br />

Bill's Creole and Steak Depot<br />

Ely’s Restaurant & Bar<br />

Koestler Prime WINNER<br />

Shapley's Restaurant<br />

Two Rivers Restaurant & Catering<br />

Health & Wellness<br />

BEST SKINCARE SERVICES<br />

Body Anew Spa & Aesthetics<br />

Faces, PLLC<br />

Gluckstadt Aesthetics<br />

MAD Esthetics Medspa<br />

SKIN Aesthetics WINNER<br />

BEST DENTAL CLINIC<br />

Center for Contemporary Dentistry<br />

Murphey Dental Aesthetics<br />

Olde Towne Dental<br />

The Winning Smile WINNER<br />

Tracey Douglas, DMD, PA<br />

BEST FITNESS CENTER<br />

Baptist Healthplex<br />

Burn Boot Camp WINNER<br />

Flora Fit - CrossFit Flora<br />

Gluckstadt Fitness<br />

Orangetheory Fitness<br />

BEST MEDICAL CLINIC<br />

AFC Urgent Care<br />

Baptist Medical Clinic-<br />

Gluckstadt Primary Care WINNER<br />

MEA-Madison Primary Plus Clinic<br />

Merit Health Medical Group, Canton<br />

Trustcare Medical Clinic, Highland Colony Pkwy<br />

BEST OPTOMETRY/<br />

OPHTHALMOLOGY CLINIC<br />

Crawford Eye Care<br />

Eye Group of Mississippi<br />

Jackson Eye Associates WINNER<br />

Northeast Eye Care<br />

Professional Eyecare Associates, Madison<br />

BEST ORTHODONTIC CLINIC<br />

Boleware | Vassar Orthodontics<br />

Dr. Eugene Brown, DMD WINNER<br />

Jolly Orthodontics<br />

Moffett & Walley Orthodontics<br />

SmartSmile Orthodontics<br />

BEST PHARMACY<br />

Brick City Drugs WINNER<br />

Flora Pharmacy<br />

Saver Express, Ridgeland<br />

The Corner Pharmacy and Market<br />

Uptown Pharmacy<br />

BEST PHYSICAL THERAPY<br />

CLINIC<br />

Elite Physical Therapy WINNER<br />

Healing Hands Rehabilitation Services<br />

Performance Therapy<br />

Professional Therapy Solutions<br />

TherapySouth<br />

Retail<br />

BEST CAR DEALERSHIP<br />

CIA Autoplex<br />

Hallmark Hyundai North<br />

Mac Haik<br />

Mercedes-Benz of Jackson<br />

Patty Peck Honda WINNER<br />

BEST CLOTHING BOUTIQUE<br />

Ace of Grace Boutique<br />

CoatTails<br />

Monkee's of Ridgeland<br />

Pink Possum<br />

West of Fifty Five WINNER<br />

BEST FLORIST<br />

Bellini Blooms<br />

Gina Diamond's Flower Co. WINNER<br />

Green Oak Florist<br />

Mostly Martha's Floral Designs<br />

Wisteria Lane Florist & Gifts<br />

BEST FORMAL WEAR<br />

Elle James Bridal<br />

Once Upon a Dress<br />

Prim and Proper<br />

The Bridal Path WINNER<br />

Tuxedo Junction, Ridgeland<br />

BEST FURNITURE<br />

& HOME DECOR<br />

Farmhouse WINNER<br />

Interior Spaces<br />

J.Allan's<br />

Relish Home Accents<br />

SummerHouse<br />

BEST GIFT SHOP<br />

Apple Annie's WINNER<br />

Impromptu<br />

Lagniappe Gifts<br />

Madison Marketplace<br />

Persnickety<br />

30 • MAY 2024


BEST MARKET/<br />

PLANTS/PRODUCE<br />

Callaway's Yard & Garden Center WINNER<br />

Freshway Produce<br />

Madison Garden Center<br />

Martinson's Garden Works<br />

Two Dog Farms<br />

BEST NAIL SALON<br />

Best Nails, Madison<br />

Euro Nails<br />

4 Seasons, Gluckstadt<br />

Sandals Day Spa & Nails<br />

Serenity Nails, Gluckstadt WINNER<br />

BEST SALON/BARBER SHOP<br />

Canvas Salon<br />

Salon Honey<br />

The Glossary Salon<br />

The Tonsorium of Flora<br />

Watercolor Salon WINNER<br />

Professionals<br />

BEST ACCOUNTING FIRM<br />

GranthamPoole, PLLC<br />

Harper Raines Knight & Company, P.A.<br />

HORNE WINNER<br />

Matthews, Cutrer & Lindsay, P.A.<br />

Weems McDonald, LLC<br />

BEST ARCHITECTURAL FIRM<br />

Dean Architecture P.A., Ridgeland WINNER<br />

Design Studio Inc., Ridgeland<br />

Greg Ainsworth Architects, Madison<br />

Joseph Orr Architecture P.A., Madison<br />

Seabold Architectural Studio, Ridgeland<br />

BEST AUTOMOTIVE SERVICE<br />

Big 10<br />

Car Care Clinic WINNER<br />

European Auto Repair<br />

Madison Motor Werks<br />

Mavis Madison Tire & Brakes<br />

BEST EQUIPMENT<br />

RENTAL SERVICE<br />

Big River Rentals<br />

Deviney Rental & Supply WINNER<br />

Hartley Equipment Company<br />

Mississippi Tent & Party Rental<br />

Puckett Rents<br />

BEST FINANCIAL INSTITUTION<br />

BankPlus WINNER<br />

Cadence Bank<br />

Origin Bank<br />

RiverHills Bank<br />

Trustmark Bank<br />

BEST HOME BUILDING/<br />

RESTORATION COMPANY<br />

Cedarstone Construction<br />

Ellard Properties<br />

Servpro of Jackson & Madison County<br />

Tate Properties<br />

Watkins Construction & Roofing WINNER<br />

BEST INSURANCE AGENCY<br />

Allstate, Amy Edwards and Derek Tortorich<br />

Nationwide Insurance, Rusty Healy<br />

Shelter Insurance,<br />

Bradford Foster and David Thames<br />

State Farm, Robin Covington WINNER<br />

Summit Insurance Group, Sarah McCurdy<br />

BEST LANDSCAPING COMPANY<br />

Burleson Lawn Service<br />

Kinkade's Lawn and Landscape<br />

LawnScape Solutions<br />

Pro-Lawn Landscape & Maintenance<br />

Turf Solutions, LLC WINNER<br />

BEST LAW FIRM<br />

Baldridge Law Firm, PLLC<br />

Butler Snow WINNER<br />

Elliott Law Firm, PLLC<br />

Luckett Land Title<br />

Wells Marble & Hurst PLLC<br />

BEST REALTY AGENCY<br />

The Chandler Group<br />

Haley Properties WINNER<br />

Hometown Property Group<br />

Keller Williams New Beginnings<br />

Polles Properties<br />

BEST TRAVEL AGENCY<br />

AAA Travel<br />

Allen Travel Planners<br />

Elite Travels<br />

For Travelers Only<br />

Magnolia Travel Group WINNER<br />

BEST VETERINARY CLINIC<br />

All Creatures Animal Care Center<br />

Canton Animal Hospital<br />

Flora Animal Hospital<br />

Gluckstadt Animal Hospital<br />

Mannsdale Animal Clinic WINNER<br />

Community<br />

BEST ASSISTED LIVING<br />

FACILITY/NURSING HOME<br />

St. Catherine's Village<br />

Sunnybrook Estates<br />

The Blake At Township<br />

The Orchard WINNER<br />

The Waterford on Highland Colony<br />

BEST CHEER/DANCE STUDIO<br />

ACE Cheer Company<br />

Encore Dance Studio<br />

JAM Athletics<br />

Mississippi Metropolitan<br />

Dance Academy WINNER<br />

Victory Sport<br />

BEST PLACE TO WORK<br />

- SMALL<br />

1-49 EMPLOYEES<br />

Flora Pharmacy WINNER<br />

Morris Transport & Moving<br />

MS Neurology Care Clinic<br />

Repeat Street<br />

SmallTown Hunting Properties<br />

& Real Estate<br />

BEST PLACE TO WORK<br />

- MEDIUM<br />

50-100 EMPLOYEES<br />

AccentCare Home Health<br />

Georgia Blue<br />

Origin Bank WINNER<br />

Sullivan's Marketplace, Gluckstadt<br />

Watkins Construction and Roofing<br />

BEST PLACE TO WORK<br />

- LARGE<br />

101+ EMPLOYEES<br />

C Spire<br />

City of Madison<br />

Madison County School District WINNER<br />

Merit Health Madison<br />

Nissan<br />

BEST NON PROFIT<br />

Hope Hollow Ministries<br />

Junior Auxiliary of Madison County<br />

MadCAAP<br />

Sunnybrook Children's Home WINNER<br />

The Lily Pad<br />

Hometown MADISON • 31


32 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 33


34 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 35


36 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 37


38 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 39


Madison County Young Professionals<br />

Seeds have the ability to grow where they are planted, whether that is on purpose by a farmer or accidentally by<br />

a bird or even the wind. People have the same ability as seeds. They can flourish where they are planted, dropped,<br />

or have fallen. Although a lot of young adults dream of moving out of their hometown upon college graduation,<br />

Madison County has been blessed with many young professionals who have decided to plant their businesses or<br />

trades here and grow within the community.<br />

40 • MAY 2024


By taking advantage of the opportunities they have in their lives, they have been able to establish their roots here.<br />

These steps will help build a foundation to launch the next chapter in their lives and the community. With their skills<br />

they will care for us, make us beautiful, comfort us, and give us hope for the future. These young professionals are<br />

the future and upcoming business leaders and health providers who have chosen to make Madison County a better<br />

place and call it their home.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 41


Amber Young<br />

Employer - Madison County School District<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - The progress the community<br />

continues to make with new businesses and organizations<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Aplos<br />

Hobbies - Travel, shop, and spend time with friends and family<br />

Wes Neely<br />

Employer - Guaranty Bank<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - Being a part of the Pinelake Madison Campus<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Aplos<br />

Hobbies - Playing golf, hunting, and going to MSU sporting events<br />

Margot Collins<br />

Employer - Madison County School District<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - I believe the schools are what make it stand out<br />

the most. I knew there was no better place to pursue my career in teaching than the place<br />

that shaped me into who I grew up to be.<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Cazadores, Aplos, and Caet<br />

Hobbies - Dancing, shopping, reading, working out, and spending time on the boat<br />

with family and friends<br />

Katie Hutson<br />

Employer - Harper Rains Knight & Company, CPA<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - The Natchez Trace trails and public parks<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Strawberry Café<br />

Hobbies - Being outdoors, gardening, yoga, hiking, reading, listening to music, drawing,<br />

traveling, and spending time with family and friends<br />

42 • MAY 2024


Mary Morgan Agostinelli<br />

Employer - AnderCorp<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - The strong sense of community.<br />

Residents are engaged and actively participate in local events, initiatives,<br />

and volunteer efforts.<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Amerigo<br />

Hobbies - Cooking dinner with roommates, reading, spending time with<br />

friends and family typically watching sports and grabbing a bite to eat<br />

Bradford Blackmon<br />

Employer - Blackmon & Blackmon PLLC & The State of Mississippi<br />

Alma Mater - University of Pennsylvania<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - Being close to family and knowing everyone<br />

you run into while out and about in the county<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Anjou and Two Rivers<br />

Hobbies - Hunting, being outside enjoying the land, spending time with dog, playing<br />

video games, and bowling<br />

William Collins<br />

Employer - Mississippi Office of the Attorney General<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi College School of Law<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - Madison County is filled with great<br />

and caring people<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Local 463<br />

Hobbies - Jogging, hiking, hunting, fishing and attending college sporting events<br />

with my wife<br />

Ellis Wise<br />

Employer - Madison County Business League & Foundation<br />

Alma Mater - Mississippi State University<br />

Favorite thing about Madison County - Strong leadership; Madison County is<br />

continuously growing and attracting businesses and industries to locate here, enhancing<br />

our overall quality of life<br />

Favorite place to eat in Madison County - Caet<br />

Hobbies - Traveling, shopping, cooking, listening to live music, reading books and<br />

spending time with family and friends<br />

Hometown MADISON • 43


44 • MAY 2024


WE’RE HONORED BY<br />

YOUR APPRECIATI N<br />

Many thanks to our community for voting us the top place to work<br />

in Hometown Madison Magazine’s Best of the Best Awards.<br />

Personal relationships are the most meaningful part of our work,<br />

and we look forward to serving you further in the years to come!<br />

MEMBER FDIC<br />

NMLS# 455990<br />

www.Origin.bank<br />

Hometown MADISON • 45


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48 • MAY 2024


The Godfreys<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

We met in our last semester of college in a capstone marketing<br />

class at Mississippi State. I, (Kaitlin) had a job lined up back home in<br />

Birmingham with no plans of staying in Mississippi after graduation.<br />

Brad is from Madison and planned to work for his family business,<br />

Airflo Sales. Long story short, within a year-and-a-half, we were<br />

married and living in Madison. By our first anniversary, we were<br />

about to have our first son, Wyatt (12), followed by Ann Kirk (9)<br />

and Owen (4). This year, we will be married fourteen years.<br />

Wyatt may look like his mama, but he is reserved like his dad.<br />

He is kind and generous and truly a gift from God. He loves trying<br />

new things–like pickleball with his grandfather! We had our first<br />

taste of school sports when he played soccer for the MRA JV<br />

team this year as a sixth grader. It was freezing, wet, and a lot of<br />

fun! This is our second year at MRA, and we are truly enjoying<br />

the community and fellowship it brings to our lives. Knowing that<br />

our kids are loved and prayed for by their teachers and friends’<br />

parents is invaluable to us.<br />

Ann Kirk is in third grade and she never meets a stranger.<br />

She is the boss of our home and loves to “mother” her little brother…<br />

and really everyone. She is finishing up being on the gymnastics<br />

team as she has decided she wants to just have fun playing softball<br />

Hometown MADISON • 49


and trying even more new sports. Both<br />

Wyatt and Ann Kirk take piano lessons,<br />

and Wyatt just started guitar. Music is<br />

important to our family–I was in the<br />

choir at MSU and sing in the choir at<br />

Madison Methodist on special occasions.<br />

Owen was our sweet surprise, and he<br />

really leans into being the third child. He<br />

is hilarious and mischievous and often<br />

called the “class clown” by any teacher he’s<br />

ever had. Owen brings laughter and levity<br />

to our home on a daily basis. He is truly<br />

the best surprise we could have ever<br />

hoped for.<br />

What brings you the greatest joy<br />

as a parent?<br />

Our greatest joy in parenting is<br />

discovering our children’s individual<br />

personalities and watching them grow<br />

into who they are. It is amazing to us how<br />

three little people could come from us<br />

and be so very different yet each wonderful<br />

in their own ways.<br />

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

spouse for a date night?<br />

We are learning that we need to make<br />

more time for ourselves as a couple after<br />

coming up for air from raising little<br />

children. It is not any less busy, but it is<br />

more manageable now that they are all<br />

at the same school and the big kids can<br />

do some things for themselves. During<br />

Covid, we sent the older kids to St.<br />

Augustine, a classical Christian school.<br />

They attended two days in person and<br />

the other days were homeschool. It was a<br />

sweet time, but Wyatt missed the time<br />

with friends and different activities as he<br />

had been in a traditional school previously.<br />

Our family craved more structure. MRA<br />

was a great fit for us.<br />

What are some of your favorite things<br />

about Madison County?<br />

The thing we love most is our church<br />

community. We have been members of<br />

Madison Methodist Church for almost<br />

eleven years. The family we have gained<br />

from our church is hard to even explain.<br />

As a Mississippi transplant without my<br />

family close by, it is truly the reason I love<br />

Madison. Our Sunday school class started<br />

with a few families and those core<br />

families are our best friends. Our kids are<br />

growing up with each other, and we really<br />

do life together. We know it is special and<br />

do not take for granted that not everyone<br />

has a community like this. Both of us are<br />

involved in the church through different<br />

committees and volunteer positions. It<br />

brings our family joy and fulfillment to<br />

use our gifts and serve the Lord in this way.<br />

Brad enjoys playing golf whenever he<br />

gets a chance and is loving that Wyatt is<br />

now interested in playing with him. He<br />

helps Ann Kirk with softball and tries to<br />

get the kids into fitness. He also loves to<br />

go to concerts whenever he gets a chance.<br />

We love to get outside and garden or do<br />

yard work. Mississippi weather is perfect<br />

for us because you will find us on our back<br />

patio grilling out several times a week<br />

with friends as soon as it warms up. We<br />

love live music and watching Mississippi<br />

State football— well, that is a bit of a love/<br />

hate actually!<br />

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

fast food?<br />

A delicious, easy weeknight meal<br />

we enjoy is baked salmon. It is so easy!<br />

Drizzle salmon with avocado oil, lemon<br />

pepper seasoning, salt, and lemon slices.<br />

Cook on 400 for 13 minutes. We add<br />

whatever veggie we have on hand-preference<br />

for this is asparagus cooked at the<br />

same temperature. Heat a bag of Uncle<br />

Ben’s Jasmine rice, drizzle with coconut<br />

aminos, and you are good to go!!<br />

How do you spend summer breaks?<br />

We spend any free minute we get in<br />

the summer with my family at Lake<br />

Martin, Alabama. It is beautiful. Brad<br />

and the kids love wakeboarding and being<br />

on the boat. There is nothing better than<br />

relaxing on the wrap-around porch<br />

drinking coffee and reading a good book.<br />

What drives you to have the job<br />

that you have? And what do you do<br />

for a living?<br />

After working for the family business<br />

for several years, Brad went back to school<br />

and got his mechanical engineering degree<br />

through the University of Alabama. He is<br />

now a part-owner at Airflo Sales. They<br />

supply HVAC materials to mechanical<br />

contractors.<br />

I started working last summer for<br />

the first time full-time since having kids.<br />

I am the director of development at<br />

Wesley Biblical Seminary. It has been a<br />

big change but in the best way. I felt the<br />

call to work outside the home but not<br />

unless it was meaningful. The mission of<br />

developing trusted leaders for faithful<br />

churches is an easy one to get behind.<br />

The growth at the seminary is exciting<br />

to be a part of and the faculty and staff<br />

really care for the students and one another.<br />

In this position, I get to build relationships<br />

with people in the community who<br />

want to further God’s Kingdom through<br />

supporting the education of future pastors.<br />

There is nothing more important.<br />

To leave the home for the first time,<br />

WBS has been a perfect fit. Going back<br />

to work has created other opportunities<br />

like becoming a diplomat for the City<br />

of Ridgeland Chamber of Commerce.<br />

I also serve on the board of directors<br />

for Redeemed Women Gathering, a<br />

non-profit aimed to encourage Christian<br />

women of all denominations to be strong<br />

disciples of the Lord Jesus through events<br />

designed to help women grow in their<br />

faith and understanding of God’s word.<br />

50 • MAY 2024


QUESTIONS FOR THE CHILDREN<br />

What is your favorite thing to do<br />

as a family?<br />

Wyatt I love watching movies as a<br />

family and having game nights.<br />

Ann Kirk I like going to the movie<br />

theatre and getting popcorn,<br />

Skittles, and root beer.<br />

Owen I love going to pizza shops<br />

and Strawberry Park.<br />

What is your favorite restaurant?<br />

Wyatt Full Moon. I love barbeque.<br />

Ann Kirk La Guadalupe<br />

Owen La Guadalupe<br />

What is your favorite TV show?<br />

Wyatt Fast and Furious Spy Racers<br />

Ann Kirk Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn<br />

Owen Sonic Boom<br />

Hometown MADISON • 51


Thank You!<br />

for voting Elite PT Best of<br />

the Best Madison County<br />

We are proud to provide physical<br />

therapy services to Madison County<br />

and look forward to continuing to serve<br />

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locations:<br />

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740 Highway 49, Suite F<br />

Flora • P (601) 401-5073<br />

Madison<br />

1022 Highway 51, Suite 300<br />

Madison • P (601) 572-3818<br />

Ridgeland<br />

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Ridgeland • P (601) 899-0002<br />

Request an appointment at ElitePT.com<br />

52 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 53


54 • MAY 2024


KIDS WHO CARE<br />

Celia Lane<br />

Susan<br />

Marquez<br />

CELIA LANE SUPPORTS<br />

THE WELL-BEING OF<br />

EXPECTANT MOTHERS<br />

Since an early age, Celia Lane has known she<br />

wanted to be a doctor. The high school junior is<br />

particularly interested in the neonatal and<br />

maternal fetal area of medicine, especially after<br />

learning that Mississippi has unusually high<br />

infant mortality rates.<br />

Celia has been a student at St. Andrews since<br />

the seventh grade. She spent time shadowing at<br />

the Women’s Clinic and the high-risk clinic at<br />

UMMC. After her first-hand experience, Celia<br />

felt compelled to start a non-profit to address the<br />

needs of expectant women.<br />

Nourish is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit<br />

organization dedicated to providing resources and<br />

support for pregnant patients and mothers for<br />

every step of their journey. According to the<br />

Nourish website, the organization combines<br />

science with service, seeking to aid expectant<br />

women by ensuring they obtain the necessary<br />

nutrients for fetal development. “We want to<br />

make sure new mothers leave the hospital with<br />

needed resources to take care of their child in the<br />

best way possible,” says Celia.<br />

To that end, Celia developed the Baby Box<br />

Initiative. “I was inspired by a story I saw on the<br />

news,” she says. “Providing expectant mothers<br />

with boxes full of items to take care of a newborn<br />

is a common practice in Finland. Each new<br />

mother there receives a baby box from the<br />

government.”<br />

Celia decided to do her own version of a baby<br />

box for expectant mothers in the central<br />

Mississippi area. She began talking to people from<br />

health clinics around central Mississippi to get<br />

ideas on what to include in her baby boxes. She<br />

raised funds for the project by baking and selling<br />

bundt cakes. She also reached out to various<br />

businesses for donated items.<br />

When it was time to fill the boxes, Celia<br />

recruited the help of her classmates. The boxes<br />

included onesies, socks, blankets, towels, a<br />

thermometer, pads, toothbrushes, soap, diaper<br />

cream, and a booklet filled with recipes that are<br />

also found on the Nourish website.<br />

“The recipes came from my research on<br />

what nutrients are beneficial for mothers and<br />

developing babies,” explains Celia. “I searched<br />

for recipes that included the right nutrients,<br />

and I also searched for recipes from different<br />

cultures. I wanted to be sure everyone found<br />

something they liked.”<br />

Celia did the test-cooking of most of the<br />

recipes with her grandmother. “I love to cook,<br />

and I enjoy doing it with my grandmother.”<br />

Altogether, Celia’s nonprofit donated fifty<br />

Baby Boxes to the Tougaloo Clinic, where half<br />

the boxes were distributed to their patients, and<br />

the other half was given to Central Hinds Clinic<br />

to distribute to patients there.<br />

“Nourish expands the knowledge of<br />

neonatology in both our members and the greater<br />

community, fostering a growing love of service<br />

and appreciation for the importance of caring for<br />

those who choose pregnancy,” says Celia. While<br />

she intends to do more baby boxes, she is<br />

focusing on legislative change as well.<br />

“Our agenda includes community-based<br />

changes through recurring baby box drives as well<br />

as expansion goals regarding the implementation<br />

of legislation in support of pregnant people and<br />

their healthcare, ensuring the government stands<br />

strongly with us behind our mothers.”<br />

Celia is the daughter of Colby and Erin Lane,<br />

neither of whom is in the medical field; although,<br />

they wholeheartedly support Celia’s efforts. “My<br />

mom is a lawyer, and my dad works in software,”<br />

she says. Celia also has three siblings. Her older<br />

brother, Patten, is a freshman at Rice University,<br />

and she has two younger sisters, Mary Emily and<br />

Eliza Kate.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 55


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56 • MAY 2024


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artisans, entrepreneurs and manufacturers.<br />

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Inpatient and outpatient treatment<br />

components can include:<br />

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• Family therapy sessions as needed<br />

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• Alcoholics Anonymous ® and Narcotics Anonymous ® meetings<br />

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Walk-ins are welcome and most<br />

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3531 Lakeland Drive<br />

Flowood, MS 39232<br />

601-936-7886<br />

Model representations of real patients are shown. Physicians are on<br />

the medical staff of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare, but, with limited<br />

exceptions, are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents<br />

of Brentwood Behavioral Healthcare. The facility shall not be liable for actions<br />

or treatments provided by physicians. For language assistance, disability<br />

accommodations and the nondiscrimination notice, visit our website.<br />

240334-0517 3/24<br />

Hometown MADISON • 57


BUYING, BUILDING,<br />

OR REFINANCING<br />

Your Home is<br />

Our Priority<br />

58 • MAY 2024


Standout<br />

SENIORS<br />

What event in the life of a teenager could<br />

be more epic than<br />

high school<br />

graduation?<br />

It marks the end of one important period<br />

of your life–and the beginning of another.<br />

It’s exciting and full of anxious anticipation.<br />

But you’ve made it!<br />

Whatever you decide to do with your life after graduation–<br />

remember to follow your dreams with confidence.<br />

What feels like the end is just the beginning.<br />

We pray that wherever life takes you next,<br />

it is sure to be a great adventure!<br />

Congratulations and best wishes<br />

for your continued success!<br />

Hometown MADISON • 59


Lynley<br />

BLACKWELL<br />

TRI-COUNTY ACADEMY<br />

Lynley will always remember her sophomore year of high<br />

school playing as a second baseman for the Tri-County varsity<br />

softball team. That year, the team won first place in the district<br />

south state game as well as the state championship. Lynley<br />

names her senior softball season as the highlight of her<br />

senior year. “This may have been my last season with my best<br />

friends, but it will be a season that I will never forget.” During<br />

this season, Lynley and her teammates won the district<br />

championship, placed second in south state, and placed third<br />

in state. She says this season will always hold a special place<br />

in her heart.<br />

Lynley’s favorite teacher throughout high school has been<br />

Mrs. Heather Jones, her math teacher. “She is supportive,<br />

connects with all of her students, makes learning fun, and<br />

truly cares for all of her students’ success,” says Lynley.<br />

The best advice Lynley has ever been given are wise words<br />

from her mother: “Do not let that steal your joy.” She says this<br />

is great advice because it reminds her to focus on the<br />

positive things and not let the negative things in life bring her<br />

down. The advice Lynley herself gives to incoming freshmen<br />

is: “Stay organized, manage your time effectively, and do not<br />

be afraid to ask for help when needed. Also, do not be afraid<br />

to step out of your comfort zone. High school is a time of<br />

growth and exploration, so make the most of it!”<br />

Lynley would not go back and change anything about high<br />

school because everything she experienced during the past<br />

four years has made her who she is today. However, if she<br />

had to change something, she says she would not be so hard<br />

on herself. She has a tendency to be her own toughest critic,<br />

but she also believes that it is okay to make mistakes and<br />

says, “It’s how we learn.”<br />

After graduation, Lynley will attend East Central Community<br />

College to play softball on an athletic scholarship. After East<br />

Central, she plans to pursue a bachelor of science degree in<br />

nursing before going to CRNA school. In ten years, Lynley<br />

hopes to have successfully completed the necessary<br />

schooling to be practicing as a certified registered nurse<br />

anesthetist. She also hopes to have started a family and be<br />

living a purposeful life.<br />

60 • MAY 2024


Salaria<br />

CHESSER<br />

VELMA JACKSON<br />

Salaria recalls two different memories from her high school<br />

years that she holds dear. Salaria will always remember when<br />

she joined the band. She did not enjoy it initially but decided<br />

to try anyway. To her surprise, she gained many skills, both<br />

musical and mental, and she became section leader her<br />

junior year. During her senior year, Salaria won first place for<br />

Future Technology and Engineering Teacher in TSA. She<br />

says, “It was a wonderful moment where all my hard work<br />

paid off.”<br />

Salaria’s favorite teacher throughout high school is Mr.<br />

Muhammad. He taught Salaria many life lessons and helped<br />

build her into a strong individual with his encouraging words.<br />

Salaria has her own encouraging words for incoming freshmen.<br />

She wants them to know that their high school experiences<br />

will be what they make them. She adds, “Work hard now<br />

because it pays off later. Nothing in life is easy, so don’t quit<br />

when things get hard.”<br />

Advice that Salaria clings to is from the following quote:<br />

“When you give one hundred percent, that’s all you can do.<br />

You’re not going to always like the outcome. You have to<br />

have tough skin. It’s a part of life that everyone has to adapt<br />

to, but never give up.”- E. Thompson<br />

She learned some of these lessons the hard way. Salaria says<br />

if she could go back and change one thing, she would attend<br />

face-to-face her ninth-grade year instead of choosing to<br />

attend virtually.<br />

After graduation, Salaria will attend Belhaven University to<br />

pursue a degree in accounting. In ten years, she sees herself<br />

holding a master’s degree and owning a successful business.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 61


Anna<br />

Claire<br />

MABRY<br />

CANTON ACADEMY<br />

“Focus on what you can control, and let God take care of the<br />

rest.” This is the best advice Anna Claire has ever been given.<br />

She goes on to say with great confidence that she would<br />

not change a thing about her high school experience and<br />

provides meaningful advice to incoming freshmen: “Don’t<br />

blink. Enjoy and appreciate every moment that you get<br />

from now until senior year. It goes by so fast. Follow God’s<br />

guidance, cherish your friendships, and work hard.<br />

I promise it all pays off.”<br />

Anna Claire has many fond memories of her high school<br />

years and names being crowned Miss Canton Academy as<br />

the highlight of her time there. She also says she will always<br />

remember the feeling of a Friday during football season.<br />

Some of her favorite memories are riding in the spirit train,<br />

cheering at pep rallies, and performing at half-time.<br />

Her favorite teacher throughout high school is Mrs. Kathleen<br />

Penn. Mrs. Penn has pushed Anna Claire to be her very<br />

best and has never failed to remind her of her potential.<br />

Anna Claire is grateful for Mrs. Penn’s guidance and the<br />

goals she set for her.<br />

After graduation, Anna Claire will attend Mississippi State<br />

University and pursue a degree in marketing and a minor in<br />

communications. In ten years, she hopes to be involved in a<br />

women’s ministry, married, and working as a marketing and<br />

communications director.<br />

62 • MAY 2024


Caitlin<br />

NELSON<br />

CANTON HIGH<br />

The highlight of Caitlin’s senior year was playing point guard<br />

on the varsity basketball team and going to the “big house”<br />

to play in the state championship. She speaks very fondly of<br />

her coach, and favorite teacher throughout high school,<br />

Melissa Word. “She was a firm, yet caring, teacher and coach.<br />

She possesses a personality that students cherish long after<br />

they have left the classroom.” Caitlin will always remember<br />

Coach Word’s influence, her experiences as a high school<br />

athlete, and how those experiences taught her discipline,<br />

determination, and leadership.<br />

Considering all her great memories, Caitlin says there is<br />

nothing she would change about her high school experiences.<br />

Each one taught her something valuable. She believes in<br />

working hard to change the things that need changing to<br />

reach her goals. The best advice she has ever received is<br />

simple: “Hard work beats talent when talent fails to work hard.”<br />

So, her advice for incoming freshmen is: “Don’t be afraid to<br />

work towards making a change. If you don’t, then who will<br />

be that voice?”<br />

After graduation, Caitlin will attend the University of Mississippi<br />

and pursue a degree in kinesiology. Caitlin prays that in ten<br />

years she will be happy, healthy, and have successfully fulfilled<br />

her aspiration to become physical therapist.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 63


Zoe<br />

THIGPEN<br />

GERMANTOWN<br />

Zoe will always remember being a part of homecoming court<br />

her junior year but recalls one hilarious memory in particular.<br />

While standing on the field during halftime, a bug landed on<br />

her forehead. “I started to freak out,” she says, “I turned to my<br />

dad so he could flick it off. Instead, he smushed it right on my<br />

face with his finger. I was so embarrassed, but luckily, no one<br />

ever brought it up. I didn’t talk about it to anyone after that.”<br />

The highlight of Zoe’s senior year was mentoring at her<br />

elementary school. She has thoroughly enjoyed forming<br />

relationships with her mentees. Zoe says that while she is<br />

pouring into their lives, they are pouring into hers every time<br />

she sees them. Working with those students brings her so<br />

much joy.<br />

Zoe’s favorite teacher is her choir teacher, Ms. Jordan<br />

Langworthy. Ms. Langworthy taught Zoe for three years, and<br />

Zoe says each day she walked into Ms. Langworthy’s class,<br />

she knows she was safe and loved. Ms. Langworthy’s passion<br />

for music and her students makes the choir room the place<br />

everyone wants to be. Zoe adds, “She has such a bright<br />

personality and never fails to bring her students joy, even on<br />

our worst days. My high school experience would not have<br />

been the same without her!”<br />

Zoe says the best advice she has ever received is: “Practice<br />

doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect.” She<br />

believes in order for people to succeed at their goals, they<br />

must work hard at them behind closed doors and practice<br />

the way they want to perform.<br />

Zoe has both sentimental and practical advice for incoming<br />

freshmen: “Embrace and enjoy every moment because it goes<br />

by fast. Also, try to get as many elective credits completed as<br />

possible while you’re an underclassman so senior year isn’t<br />

too stressful.” In hindsight, if she could go back, Zoe says she<br />

would have taken AP World History in the traditional classroom<br />

setting instead of virtual learning. “It was a difficult class<br />

to do online!”<br />

In the fall, Zoe will attend the University of Mississippi and<br />

major in allied health studies. In ten years, she sees herself<br />

living in the suburbs with her husband and maybe two kids<br />

working at a pediatric clinic.<br />

64 • MAY 2024


Camden<br />

HOOD<br />

MADISON CENTRAL<br />

“The one who fails and gets up is stronger than the one who<br />

never tried. Do not fear failure, but rather, fear not trying.”<br />

This quote by Roy T. Bennett is important to Camden.<br />

As someone who is academically driven, Camden always<br />

feels like he needs to get things perfect the first time; however,<br />

he has learned that failing at things has allowed him to learn<br />

more. If he could change anything about his high school<br />

career, he would take in every moment and spend more time<br />

doing things he enjoys and less time stressing about school<br />

and the future. His advice to incoming freshmen is: “Find<br />

what you enjoy doing, and stick to it.”<br />

The highlight of Camden’s senior year is growing closer with<br />

his classmates by getting more involved in school activities.<br />

Travelling to sporting events, parading, and going to pep<br />

rallies with his class has allowed him to bond with his peers.<br />

Camden will always remember the trips he took with the<br />

show choir and cross-country team. Staying up late talking<br />

with his friends and playing games on the long bus rides are<br />

fond memories he will always cherish.<br />

Mr. Logan has been the most influential teacher Camden had<br />

during his high school career. Not only did Mr. Logan make<br />

the curriculum fun by adding in personal stories, but he also<br />

went above and beyond to make the class entertaining.<br />

Camden’s favorite memory of Mr. Logan is when he<br />

challenged Camden to learn fifty country flags, but instead<br />

of just learning the assigned fifty, Camden decided to learn<br />

every country’s flag...just for fun.<br />

After graduation, Camden will major in accounting and minor<br />

in French at the University of Mississippi. Then, he plans to<br />

go to law school and pursue a career in business or tax law.<br />

He has always loved connecting with different people and<br />

experiencing new places and cultures; so, in ten years,<br />

Camden hopes to be an international business lawyer and<br />

helping people around the world.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 65


Srila<br />

ANUGU<br />

RIDGELAND HIGH<br />

The highlight of Srila’s senior year has been soaking up all<br />

her last firsts and enjoying the time with her friends and her<br />

graduating class. Srila will always remember the memories<br />

she made over the past four years and the lessons and skills<br />

she has learned. She says high school has been the most<br />

transforming time in her life thus far, and all of her experiences<br />

have helped shape her.<br />

Her favorite teacher throughout high school is Mrs. Davidson.<br />

From attending PSAT class and AP Language and Composition,<br />

to simply hanging out in Mrs. Davidson’s room while she<br />

proofread all of Srila’s college essays and applications, Mrs.<br />

Davidson has been there for a large part of Srila’s high school<br />

career. “She has motivated me and guided me in so many<br />

aspects and is truly one of the best teachers I have ever had.”<br />

The best advice Srila has been given is: “Focus on your<br />

perspective.” She believes that depending on how she sees any<br />

situation, there is always a solution. Perhaps that perspective<br />

has informed her advice about balance for incoming freshman:<br />

“Give yourself time to do everything.” She encourages them<br />

to focus on school, but she also says they should make time<br />

to relax, go out with friends, attend a sporting event, and<br />

anything else they enjoy.<br />

If Srila could change one thing, she would change the way<br />

she believed she had to do everything as an underclassman<br />

such as join every club, sign up for every volunteer event,<br />

take every class, etc. She realized, well into high school, that<br />

doing her best and putting all her effort into just a few things<br />

that she really enjoyed was more beneficial in terms of a<br />

college application and even her own satisfaction.<br />

Srila’s plans after graduation are to attend the University of<br />

Mississippi and major in biological sciences on the pre-med<br />

track with minors in chemistry and psychology. In ten years,<br />

Srila sees herself graduated from medical school and in<br />

residency at a top program in her chosen specialty.<br />

66 • MAY 2024


Ben<br />

HORNER<br />

MADISON-RIDGELAND<br />

ACADEMY<br />

Ben names attending Passion Conference 2024 with his<br />

fellow seniors as being the highlight of his senior year. He<br />

says, “Being able to worship and grow relationships with my<br />

classmates during this time was invaluable. I feel like Passion<br />

held messages that, in some way, we all needed to hear and<br />

were able to be present with each other for.” Ben’s friends are<br />

important to him, and he will always remember laughing with<br />

them. He says, “I can’t think of anything more rejuvenating<br />

and life-giving.”<br />

Mr. Austin Fortenberry is Ben’s favorite teacher throughout<br />

high school. Mr. Fortenberry was Ben’s 10th and 11th grade<br />

English teacher, who challenged Ben’s ability to think critically<br />

and helped him grow into an effective analyzer and writer. On<br />

a more personal level, Ben credits Mr. Fortenberry with<br />

helping him grow his relationship with Jesus through knowledge<br />

of scripture and application of Jesus’s teachings. Ben<br />

says what he most appreciates about Mr. Fortenberry is that<br />

he challenges Ben both intellectually and spiritually. He adds,<br />

“I have seen such a positive change in my spiritual life as a<br />

result of the Bible study he hosted.” Ben values the opportunity<br />

Mr. Fortenberry provided for Ben and other group members<br />

to openly discuss issues with one another and gain<br />

scriptural knowledge together.<br />

Ben would not go back and change a thing. He believes that<br />

without having had certain experiences, he would have<br />

missed out on learning the valuable lessons that have helped<br />

shape him into who he is today and who he wishes to<br />

become. Ben says the best advice he has ever been given is:<br />

“Don’t approach life and relationships asking yourself ‘How<br />

can this help me?’ Instead ask, ‘How can I help others?’”<br />

“Allow yourself to fail,” Ben advises incoming freshmen. “Don’t<br />

put unrealistic pressure on yourself. Failure is inevitable in all<br />

facets of life, so learning to grow through such failure and into<br />

a greater version of yourself is key, especially in these<br />

exciting years of your life.”<br />

After graduation, Ben will attend Mississippi State University<br />

and major in biomedical or chemical engineering. In ten<br />

years, the only certainties that Ben wishes to have in life is a<br />

stronger relationship with Jesus and the feeling that he is<br />

making a meaningful contribution in the lives of many. He<br />

believes that if he holds those two things together, life will<br />

unfold. He sees himself continuing to endure challenges in<br />

order to grow in whatever season of life he is experiencing.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 67


Paige<br />

LOYACONO<br />

ST. JOSEPH<br />

CATHOLIC SCHOOL<br />

The highlight of Paige’s senior year has been deepening<br />

relationships with all her classmates. She is incredibly lucky<br />

to be in a highly intelligent, ambitious, and well-rounded class<br />

that has pushed everyone to be their best. Everyone in the<br />

senior class gets along, and she has enjoyed growing her<br />

friendships with them. Being with her classmates brings Paige<br />

a lot of joy that she will definitely miss next year.<br />

Paige will always remember the sense of community she<br />

feels at St. Joe. “Every day, I feel loved by every teacher and<br />

student. The teachers have connected with me personally,<br />

and I have felt not only educational support throughout my<br />

years at St. Joe but personal backing from them as well.”<br />

Paige loves that all the students know each other because<br />

it strengthens the sense of community within the school.<br />

Paige has been very fortunate to have so many teachers who<br />

have helped her grow so much academically, spiritually, and<br />

personally. “It is very difficult to choose a favorite, but I think I<br />

would have to pick my honors chemistry teacher, Mrs. Dianne<br />

Waldon. She was very challenging, but I knew she always<br />

wanted the best for me. She works extremely hard and has<br />

a passion that I hope to possess in my future career.” Paige<br />

also wishes to acknowledge Mrs. Cooper, Mrs. Brock, and<br />

Mrs. Dickson.<br />

Paige claims she has always been someone who plans far<br />

into the future and thought she had to have her career picked<br />

out for herself at the age of ten. One day, in a conversation<br />

with her grandmother, Paige was given this valuable lesson:<br />

“If you choose a path that you are truly passionate about,<br />

every day won’t feel like work. Instead, your days will be<br />

enjoyable because you are doing what you love.” These<br />

words continue to resonate with Paige as she begins making<br />

important career decisions.<br />

Paige has simple advice for future St. Joe freshmen: “Get<br />

involved. St. Joe is small enough that you really can get involved<br />

in whatever you want.” She goes on to say that her activities<br />

have helped shape her into who she is today. Through getting<br />

involved in numerous teams, clubs, committees, and arts,<br />

Paige has found her true passions and encourages incoming<br />

freshmen to test the waters in numerous areas to do the same.<br />

If Paige could go back and change one thing, she would<br />

ensure that she lived in the moment. She says that she would<br />

sometimes catch herself going through the motions. “High<br />

school goes by very fast, and you only get to live through the<br />

experiences it offers once.”<br />

After graduation, Paige will attend Auburn University to study<br />

biomedical sciences on the pre-med track and will eventually<br />

attend medical school. In ten years, Paige hopes to be in her<br />

residency and says, “I have wanted to be a doctor since<br />

elementary school, and it feels surreal that I am starting to<br />

take the first steps to get there.”<br />

68 • MAY 2024


Justin<br />

LINDSAY<br />

ST. ANDREWS<br />

The highlight of Justin’s senior year has been hanging out<br />

with his friends and trying all different types of food throughout<br />

the state. He says they have made efforts to make the<br />

most of the time they have had together because they know<br />

they will all soon be going their separate ways. Justin also<br />

cherishes being inducted into the Cum Laude Society last<br />

year and celebrating that accomplishment with his family.<br />

Justin’s favorite teacher throughout high school has been<br />

Mrs. Marty Kelly. He says, “She has not only helped me<br />

improve as a student. She has been an amazing advisor to<br />

me during the college process.” Justin says if he could go<br />

back and change one thing, he would read more books and<br />

explore nature more often. He recalls being “too happy with<br />

being inside during quarantine early on in high school,” but<br />

now, he loves to be outdoors.<br />

Justin says he has been given two very important pieces of<br />

advice: “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and “Worrying never<br />

accomplishes anything.” He advises incoming freshmen to<br />

work hard in and out of the classroom and find a way to enjoy<br />

every moment because it only lasts for a short time. He wants<br />

them to find their passions and get out of their comfort zones<br />

and insists, “You won’t regret it.”<br />

After graduation, Justin will attend either the University of<br />

Alabama at Birmingham or Mississippi State University and<br />

major in kinesiology/pre-medicine. In ten years, Justin sees<br />

himself practicing medicine as a sports medicine physician or<br />

perhaps another type of doctor. He adds, “Hopefully, I’ll be<br />

giving back to the community that raised me.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 69


70 • MAY 2024


Registration<br />

NOW OPEN<br />

Hometown MADISON • 71


72 • MAY 2024


Submitted by The River of Pearls Chapter of National Society Daughters of the American Revolution<br />

Service to our community and conservation<br />

are two important drivers for Donna Yowell and<br />

the River of Pearls Chapter of Daughters of the<br />

American Revolution. Yowell and the members<br />

of the chapter came together to combine these<br />

two goals in several ways throughout Canton,<br />

Gluckstadt, and Madison schools.<br />

Donna Yowell, the executive director of the<br />

Mississippi Urban Forest Council, has dedicated<br />

her career to assisting people and communities in<br />

understanding the importance of trees and plants.<br />

Born in Brookhaven and raised in Jackson, Donna<br />

holds a bachelor of science degree in horticulture<br />

from Mississippi State University. She began her<br />

career as a floral designer but found her true love<br />

was in planning events that raised environmental<br />

awareness throughout Mississippi. Donna has<br />

spent the last two decades working with the<br />

Mississippi Urban Forest Council. The MUFC<br />

acts as an education and advocacy group and<br />

meets with policy makers and citizens to promote<br />

the importance of native Mississippi trees. In her<br />

experience with the MUFC, she has worked<br />

with FEMA, the National Association of State<br />

Floodplain Managers, Mississippi Wildlife<br />

Federation, Mississippi Department of Environmental<br />

Quality, and the Mississippi Department<br />

of Marine Resources as well as numerous City of<br />

Madison officials.<br />

Yowell is also proud of her national appointment<br />

as an advisor to the USDA secretary of<br />

agriculture. She was one of only three women<br />

appointed to this position. Presently, Donna is<br />

involved in helping communities throughout<br />

Mississippi to develop arboretums, particularly<br />

in conjunction with trails. There are now<br />

twenty-seven certified community arboretums<br />

throughout the state.<br />

Ms. Yowell also sponsors forums around the<br />

state with the Flower Growers of Mississippi and<br />

teaches individuals how to establish flower farms<br />

as a business. Many of the flowers used in the<br />

floral industry could be grown right here in<br />

Mississippi as our climate and soil are perfect for<br />

such endeavors.<br />

She says her proudest accomplishment was<br />

the establishment of the Madison Children’s<br />

Memorial Garden located in Strawberry Patch<br />

Park, at 271 St. Augustine Drive in Madison.<br />

This garden was made in memory of her<br />

granddaughter.<br />

Yowell says her favorite students are youth.<br />

She says “When students care about how their<br />

campus looks, they will take pride in it.” She<br />

believes instilling a passion for nature and the<br />

responsibilities we have in taking care of our trees<br />

is important for children to know. Recently,<br />

Hometown MADISON • 73


74 • MAY 2024


she teamed up with the River of Pearls Chapter,<br />

NSDAR, to participate in the national “Read<br />

Across America” program with two books.<br />

I Can Name Fifty Trees Today! – a book from The Cat<br />

in the Hat’s Learning Library series by Bonnie Worth<br />

– was presented to children at Mannsdale Lower<br />

Elementary, Madison Avenue Upper Elementary,<br />

Madison Crossing Elementary, Canton Elementary,<br />

and Germantown High School (Super-<br />

MAVS Class). Courtney Creel, special education<br />

teacher stated, “Our gentle flowers bloom to be<br />

astonishing individuals that spread love and joy<br />

to all.”<br />

Oh Say Can You Seed?, also by Worth,<br />

introduced the students to the parts of flower<br />

bulbs, how they bloom, and how the wind and<br />

bees carry pollen from flower to flower to ensure<br />

pollination continues the cycle of plant life.<br />

After reading the book, each student was given<br />

the opportunity to plant a narcissus bulb in the<br />

pollinator garden designated areas on each<br />

campus. Additionally, each child was given a<br />

bulb to take home to plant. The students will<br />

witness, firsthand, and how spring showers do<br />

bring May flowers to their communities.<br />

All bulbs were donated by Yowell.<br />

School administrators were thrilled by the<br />

program offered at their campuses and shared<br />

their thoughts. Debra Houghton, principal of<br />

Madison Crossing Elementary School, stated:<br />

“Madison Crossing was so excited to participate<br />

in the conservation and bulb project. Giving back<br />

to and taking care of this beautiful planet we live<br />

on is so important. Planting these bulbs is our<br />

start in doing just that.” Bethany Berry, library<br />

media specialist at Madison Avenue Upper<br />

Elementary shared, “Conservation and beautification<br />

can be cultivated in a student through the<br />

lens of a simple book.” Shalondia Washington,<br />

principal of Canton Elementary believes, “Taking<br />

care of the earth’s natural resources through<br />

conservation will ensure our survival needs for<br />

today and into the future.”<br />

Donna Russell, regent of the River of Pearls<br />

Chapter says, “The help and guidance Donna<br />

Yowell has given to our chapter has been<br />

tremendous and has made it possible for us to<br />

take our conservations projects into Canton,<br />

Gluckstadt, and Madison schools, where we<br />

have been able to teach and provide hands-on<br />

experiences for hundreds of children, showing<br />

them the beauty and value of preserving nature in<br />

our schools.”<br />

The chapter will present the prestigious DAR<br />

Conservation Medal to Ms. Yowell later this year<br />

as a token of its appreciation of her outstanding<br />

efforts in establishing the arboretums, youth<br />

leadership, and conservation-related education<br />

programs for our community.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 75


76 • MAY 2024


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Hometown MADISON • 77


78 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 79


80 • MAY 2024


Ellen<br />

Skrmetti<br />

BORN<br />

TO MAKE<br />

PEOPLE<br />

LAUGH<br />

SUSAN MARQUEZ<br />

Some people were born to be on stage. There is no<br />

doubt that Ellen Skrmetti is one of them. She has always<br />

loved performing, from school plays and singing in the<br />

church choir, to the Miss Mississippi pageant where she<br />

represented her hometown of Ripley. Backstage at the<br />

pageant is where Ellen had her first-ever bout of stage<br />

fright. She began praying in earnest, promising God that if<br />

He would help her get through the evening, she would<br />

never get on stage again. She went out on stage and hit<br />

the high note from a song from the Guys and Dolls musical:<br />

“Adelaide’s Lament.” “I thought I had packed up my drama<br />

clothes for good,” she laughs. Evidently, God had other<br />

plans for Ellen’s life.<br />

Ellen lived in Madison for thirteen years, working in media<br />

sales. “I was never the kid who knew what she wanted to<br />

do when she grew up. I wanted to do everything! I worked<br />

at The Everyday Gourmet for a while, and Donna Barksdale<br />

was a consultant for the store. One day, she came in, and<br />

we talked. She said, ‘Ellen, you are going to have to find<br />

your cliff and jump.’” Not long after having that conversation,<br />

Ellen saw an ad in the paper for a magazine sales rep.<br />

“I went for it. I got the job, and I loved doing ad sales –<br />

I was able to use my degree from Southern Miss in fashion<br />

merchandising and marketing.”<br />

Now, she uses her skillset in her own out-of-the-box<br />

business, which started by accident and has grown<br />

organically. Using her Southern charm and quick wit,<br />

Ellen is making millions of people laugh at a time when<br />

laughter is needed more than ever.<br />

Ellen and her husband moved with their two children to<br />

Nashville, then Birmingham. She tried standup in Nashville,<br />

which was a big turning point for her. “When I moved to<br />

Nashville, I didn’t know anybody there. I realized that I could<br />

make strangers laugh, so maybe I was on to something.”<br />

When she turned forty-one, her husband Tim paid for<br />

standup writing classes from a local comedy club in<br />

Birmingham. “That was right before everything shut down<br />

for COVID. In a way, it was a good thing for me, because<br />

places like Second City in Chicago, which had previously<br />

only offered in-person classes, began offering classes<br />

online.” Ellen developed a community of comedy mentors.<br />

“I follow several comedians online.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 81


I HOPE THE TAKEAWAY<br />

IS THAT ANYONE CAN<br />

CALL JESUS AT ANY TIME<br />

AND TELL HIM ANYTHING.<br />

HE DOESN’T MIND<br />

BEING BOTHERED.<br />

During COVID-19, she wanted to bring some joy into the dark<br />

struggles she saw the world facing. “I thought of all the times Jesus<br />

has walked me through pain and heartache (and even during hot<br />

flashes), so I decided to share that message with others.” She began<br />

making thirty-second videos and posting them to Instagram. In the<br />

videos, Ellen holds a television remote control in her hand and “calls”<br />

Jesus with comments and questions as well as her request not to<br />

make her an “advanced maternal age mama – again.” Her humor<br />

came out more and more with each “call.” She asked Jesus to bless<br />

her food to someone else’s body and advice on what nursing home<br />

plans to make when she was just eight years past her first “geriatric<br />

pregnancy.”<br />

“Jesus has a sense of humor,” Ellen asserts, “and He wants us to<br />

come to Him for all things. So many people say they don’t know how<br />

to pray. I tell them to just start talking to Jesus like they’d talk to a<br />

friend because Jesus is the best friend they’ll ever have.”<br />

In January 2022, Ellen posted her first comedic reel, which was<br />

a combination of many of her Instagram posts. “I prayed that the<br />

Lord would do something so big with this that it could only be God.<br />

I wasn’t as concerned with numbers – I wanted my message to<br />

reach the right people,” she says. She quickly reached 25,000<br />

followers, and she was contacted by Shannon Marven, president<br />

of Dupree Miller, who asked if she had ever thought about writing a<br />

book. “Shannon has a lot of high-profile clients on her roster. She told<br />

me it is fun for her to discover new talent on the internet.” Shannon<br />

helped Ellen sculpt her proposal, and it was not long before Ellen<br />

got a book deal. “I signed with Hatchette on their Worthy imprint.”<br />

The book is called Hey Jesus, It’s Me, and it will be published in<br />

September. “I’m proud of the book,” she says. “I started with my most<br />

viral videos. I took those sketches and wrote the meat behind the<br />

stories. I hope the takeaway is that anyone can call Jesus at any time<br />

and tell him anything. He doesn’t mind being bothered. The book was<br />

inspired by my Mississippi life and my adventures of moving from<br />

Madison to Nashville to Birmingham. I talk about a lot of Southern things<br />

including funerals. My agent said it’s a book that makes Southern<br />

women proud to be Southern, and others will wish they were.”<br />

Now, Ellen has a manager, and she works hard to keep her social<br />

media current. “It’s like putting together a puzzle,” she laughs. Ellen<br />

will be doing a book tour when the book comes out, including a<br />

big launch in the Jackson area. “Oh, it’s going to be big. It will be<br />

a celebration with a cocktail party, and I’ll do a Q&A session.”<br />

Meanwhile, Ellen has had time to get back on the stage at a<br />

comedy club in Birmingham called Stardom. “I rented a room just<br />

to see how it would go, and I sold out four shows!”<br />

Learn more about Ellen on her website. www.ellenskrmetti.com.<br />

Links to all her social media sites are found on the website.<br />

82 • MAY 2024


APRIL 11<br />

BELHAVEN<br />

TOWN CENTER<br />

Hometown MADISON • 83


84 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 85


Strawberry Lemonade<br />

• 1 lb. strawberries,<br />

plus more to garnish<br />

• 1½ cups granulated sugar<br />

• 2 cups fresh lemon juice,<br />

strained and divided<br />

• Ice<br />

• Lemon slices for garnish<br />

Hull and quarter the strawberries.<br />

Place the strawberries in a large<br />

bowl, stir in the sugar and ¼ cup<br />

lemon juice. Allow to sit covered for<br />

30 minutes. In a countertop blender,<br />

blend the strawberry mixture until<br />

pureed. Strain the mixture<br />

through a fine mesh<br />

sieve to get remove<br />

seeds. In a large bowl,<br />

combine the strawberry<br />

puree with the remaining<br />

1¾ cups of lemon juice<br />

and 4 cups of water. Add<br />

up to 1 additional cup of<br />

water to taste if the mixture<br />

is too sweet or strong.<br />

To serve, stir the lemonade,<br />

and pour over ice. Garnish<br />

with sliced lemon and<br />

strawberries.<br />

Easy Pasta Salad<br />

• 3 cups uncooked fusilli pasta<br />

• 2 heaping cups halved<br />

cherry tomatoes<br />

• 1½ cooked chickpeas,<br />

drained and rinsed<br />

• 2 cups arugula<br />

• 1 cup cucumbers, sliced<br />

into thin half moons<br />

• 1 cup crumbled feta cheese<br />

• 1 cup basil leaves, torn<br />

• ½ cup minced parsley<br />

• ½ cup chopped mint<br />

• ¼ cup toasted pine nuts<br />

Prepare pasta according to package<br />

directions. Drain, toss with a little<br />

olive oil (so that it does not stick<br />

together), and let it cool to room<br />

temperature. Transfer to a large bowl<br />

with tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula,<br />

cucumbers, feta cheese, basil,<br />

parsley, mint, and pine nuts. Add<br />

dressing and toss to coat. Season to<br />

taste with more lemon, salt, pepper,<br />

and/or drizzle olive, if desired,<br />

and serve.<br />

Dressing<br />

• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil<br />

• 3 Tbsp. lemon juice<br />

• 1 tsp. Dijon mustard<br />

• 3 garlic cloves, minced<br />

• 1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning<br />

• ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes<br />

• ¼ tsp. sea salt<br />

In a small bowl, whisk together all<br />

ingredients.<br />

Southern Pimento<br />

and Cheese<br />

• 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese<br />

• 8 oz. cream cheese, softened<br />

• ½ cup mayonnaise<br />

• 1 4 oz. jar diced pimento, drained<br />

• 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded,<br />

and minced (optional)<br />

• ¼ tsp. garlic powder<br />

• ¼ tsp. ground cayenne pepper<br />

(optional)<br />

• ¼ tsp. onion powder<br />

• Salt and black pepper to taste<br />

Mix all ingredients until thoroughly<br />

combined. Season to taste with<br />

black pepper. Enjoy with your<br />

favorite crackers!<br />

86 • MAY 2024


Deviled Eggs<br />

• 12 whole boiled eggs<br />

• ½ cup mayonnaise<br />

• 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard<br />

• 2 tsp. dill pickle juice<br />

• ¼ tsp. kosher salt<br />

• ¼ tsp. black pepper<br />

• Hot sauce, optional<br />

• Ground paprika, for sprinkling<br />

• Chopped chives, optional<br />

Peel eggs, and cut in half lengthwise.<br />

Remove yolks from the egg halves,<br />

and place them into a bowl. Mash<br />

yolks with a fork until they are broken<br />

up. Add mayonnaise, mustard, pickle<br />

juice, salt, pepper and a few drops of<br />

hot sauce, if desired. Stir to combine;<br />

mixture should be mostly smooth.<br />

Spoon mixture into a zip-top plastic<br />

bag, and snip ¼ inch of one of the<br />

bottom corners. Pipe the mixture into<br />

the egg white halves. Sprinkle eggs<br />

with paprika, and chill the eggs in an<br />

airtight container until ready to eat.<br />

Chef’s Salad on a Stick<br />

• 4 hardboiled eggs<br />

• ½ English cucumber<br />

• 2 oz. deli ham, thick cut<br />

• 2 oz. deli turkey breast, thick cut<br />

• 2 oz. deli roast beef, thick cut<br />

• 8 oz. Swiss cheese block<br />

• 1 head red lettuce<br />

• 16 grape tomatoes<br />

• 8 large green olives<br />

• 8 12-inch skewers<br />

• Ranch dressing<br />

• black pepper<br />

Cut each egg into four pieces. Slice<br />

cucumbers lengthwise, then cut into<br />

half circles, about a half inch thick.<br />

Cut ham, turkey, and roast beef slices<br />

lengthwise into 1-inch-wide strips.<br />

Roll each strip into a pinwheel. Cut<br />

Swiss cheese block into 16 squares.<br />

Alternating pieces, place two pieces<br />

each of cheese, cucumber, tomato<br />

and egg; 1 pinwheel each of ham,<br />

turkey, and roast beef; and three<br />

pieces of lettuce, each folded up into a<br />

bundle, on each skewer. Finish each<br />

skewer with one green olive. Serve on<br />

a platter drizzled with ranch dressing<br />

and sprinkled with black pepper.<br />

Ham Sandwiches<br />

with Quick Pickles<br />

• 2 small to medium Kirby<br />

cucumbers<br />

• ½ cup distilled white vinegar<br />

• ½ cup sugar<br />

• 2 tsp. pickling spice<br />

• 1 Tbsp. kosher salt<br />

• Pinch of cayenne pepper<br />

• 8 large slices of crusty white bread<br />

• ¾ cup Miracle Whip<br />

• 4 large leaves iceberg lettuce<br />

• 1 lb. country ham<br />

• Freshly ground black pepper<br />

Pickles<br />

Cut off the tops and bottoms of the<br />

cucumbers, then slice the ¼ inch<br />

thick. Put in a small heatproof bowl.<br />

Bring vinegar, sugar, pickling spice,<br />

salt, cayenne and ½ cup water to<br />

simmer in a medium saucepan over<br />

medium heat, stirring occasionally to<br />

dissolve the sugar. Remove from the<br />

heat, and pour over the cucumber<br />

slices. Press the cucumbers down so<br />

they are completely submerged. Let<br />

cool to room temperature, about 45<br />

minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and<br />

refrigerate until cold, at least 1 ½<br />

hours and up to 5 days.<br />

Sandwiches<br />

Lay four bread slices on a cutting<br />

board, and spread each slice with<br />

2 Tbsp. Miracle Whip. Top with a<br />

lettuce leaf and some ham. Drain<br />

pickles, and pile on top of the ham.<br />

Season generously with black pepper.<br />

Corn Salad<br />

• 4 large ears of yellow corn, shucked<br />

or 4 cups of drained, canned corn<br />

• 2 plum tomatoes, chopped<br />

• 1 avocado, peeled and chopped<br />

• 1 cup chopped red onion<br />

• 1 jalapeno stemmed and chopped<br />

• ½ cup chopped cilantro,<br />

plus leaves for garnish<br />

• ½ cup crumbled queso fresco,<br />

plus more for garnish<br />

• Lime wedges, for serving<br />

Salad<br />

Add corn to a large pot of water,<br />

season generously with salt and boil<br />

for three minutes. Let cool to room<br />

temperature. Slice kernels off the<br />

cobb. (You should have about four<br />

cups of corn). In a large bowl, gently<br />

toss corn, tomatoes, avocado, red<br />

onion, jalapeno, chopped cilantro,<br />

and queso fresco. Drizzle with<br />

dressing, and toss gently to coat.<br />

Sprinkle more cilantro, queso fresco,<br />

and chipotle chili powder. Serve with<br />

lime wedges.<br />

Dressing<br />

• ¼ cup sour cream<br />

• 2 Tbsp. mayonnaise<br />

• 2 Tbsp. lime juice<br />

• 2 tsp. hot sauce<br />

• ¾ tsp. kosher salt<br />

• ½ tsp. chipotle chili powder,<br />

plus more for garnish<br />

• ¼ tsp. ground cumin<br />

• ¼ tsp. black pepper<br />

In a small bowl, whisk all ingredients<br />

with 1 Tbsp. water.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 87


ADVERTISER SPOTLIGHT<br />

Like it never<br />

even<br />

happened.<br />

To see more<br />

of what<br />

SERVPRO of<br />

Jackson & Madison<br />

County offers,<br />

follow the QR code<br />

below<br />

SERVPRO of Jackson<br />

& Madison County<br />

Local Experts with Local Roots<br />

When disaster strikes, you need a<br />

partner who understands the value<br />

of home and community.<br />

88 • MAY 2024


SERVPRO of Jackson & Madison County is<br />

not just a business. We are an operation rooted<br />

in central Mississippi, and family-owned and<br />

operated by Robby and Gisele Hansbrough,<br />

who raised their three daughters in the area<br />

and know firsthand the importance of keeping<br />

a home safe and comfortable. This personal<br />

experience drives their commitment to helping<br />

others during times of crisis.<br />

With a comprehensive range of services<br />

- from fire and water damage restoration to<br />

mold remediation - and substantial equipment<br />

to handle any size project, SERVPRO of<br />

Jackson & Madison County is ready to tackle<br />

any emergency. We also offer construction<br />

services to rebuild and renew, ensuring your<br />

home or business returns to its best shape.<br />

When you choose SERVPRO, you’re not just<br />

hiring a service - you’re gaining a partner who<br />

genuinely cares about your well-being and<br />

peace of mind.<br />

SERVPRO of Jackson & Madison County<br />

Your partner in restoration and construction<br />

We are Mississippi’s - and a leader<br />

nationwide - choice for cleanup, restoration,<br />

and construction and offer 24/7 emergency<br />

response for residential and commercial<br />

properties. Our comprehensive services<br />

include:<br />

• Water Damage Restoration<br />

• Water removal and drying<br />

• Assistance with insurance claims<br />

• Prevention of further damage and<br />

mold growth<br />

Fire Damage Restoration<br />

• Assessment of fire and smoke damage<br />

• Removal of water from firefighting efforts<br />

• Cleaning smoke and soot from carpets<br />

and upholstery<br />

Storm Damage Restoration<br />

• Cleanup of storm debris and floodwater<br />

• Board-up to secure the property<br />

HVAC Duct Cleaning<br />

Commercial & Residential<br />

• Removal of dirt, debris, allergens, and pollen<br />

• Regular duct maintenance of HVAC systems<br />

• Improved air quality and system efficiency<br />

• Odor removal and deodorization<br />

Construction<br />

• Debris removal and site cleanup<br />

• Repair and reconstruction services<br />

• Remodeling and renovations<br />

Specialty Cleaning<br />

• Biohazard and crime scene cleanup<br />

• Vandalism and graffiti removal<br />

The SERVPRO of Jackson & Madison<br />

County team is led by Alyssa and Joseph Gray,<br />

the Hansbrough’s daughter and son-in-law,<br />

who bring a unique blend of family values and<br />

professional expertise. Alyssa and Joseph<br />

ensure every customer feels like part of the<br />

SERVPRO family. This culture of compassion is<br />

reflected in everything they do, from restoration<br />

and construction, to community involvement.<br />

The franchise actively participates in local<br />

events, school events, and charitable activities,<br />

reinforcing its deep ties to central Mississippi.<br />

With a history of serving the community since<br />

1967, they have earned the trust of countless<br />

residents and business owners.<br />

If you ever need restoration or construction<br />

services, SERVPRO of Jackson & Madison<br />

County is just a phone call away at 601-353-2286.<br />

We are committed to ensuring a seamless<br />

transition from damage mitigation to reconstruction,<br />

making any disaster “Like it never<br />

even happened.”<br />

Hometown MADISON • 89


90 • MAY 2024


Cochon de laroti<br />

APRIL 25<br />

Celebration on being named<br />

Best Independent Living by US News.<br />

Here are a few facts that set us apart from others<br />

across the United States…the fact that 98% of our<br />

residents would recommend The Orchard to their<br />

friends and family is outstanding.<br />

98% of our residents feel confidence in the<br />

Licensed Nursing staffs knowledge and skills in<br />

medical care. And 94% of our residents are satisfied<br />

with the quality and consistency of the food.<br />

“ We love what we do here at The Orchard and<br />

it shows. We are fortunate to have the best staff,<br />

their love and compassion is the reason why we<br />

are the best. It takes a team and we all have the<br />

same goal in mind, providing the best care<br />

possible for our residents.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 91


SALUTE<br />

to First Responders<br />

What made you decide to work as a first responder?<br />

When I was in college, I was drum major. During the award ceremony<br />

at a competition we hosted, one of our band members had a medical<br />

emergency and the band instructor advised me and another drum<br />

major. We went to the member and stayed with him until EMS arrived.<br />

This sparked my interest in the emergency medical services.<br />

How long have you been with Pafford EMS?<br />

One year as an EMT and two years as a paramedic.<br />

Tell us about your family.<br />

My mother was the county attorney for Alcorn County until she<br />

suffered a heart attack that resulted in her retirement. My father owns<br />

a machine shop in Corinth. His work ethic keeps me motivated and<br />

inspired to work to the best of my ability every day. My younger<br />

brother is twenty-one and is currently a student at Ole Miss, where<br />

he studies music education and is a member of the band.<br />

What is the toughest thing you have experienced<br />

in your job?<br />

The hardest thing I experience are calls that involve children.<br />

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

I deeply enjoy going to a shooting range for target practice, working out<br />

at the gym, experimenting with recipes and new foods, and socializing<br />

with friends and family.<br />

Drew<br />

Paramedic<br />

PHILLIPS<br />

PAFFORD EMS<br />

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

I would like to go to Europe, be a mountain search and rescue medic,<br />

and take my dad hunting for big game in Montana.<br />

SPONSORED BY<br />

92 • MAY 2024


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

I admire my father. He works very hard to provide for his<br />

family and gives great life advice. He will give the shirt off his<br />

back to help someone in need. Overall, he is the kindest, most<br />

polite, and most knowledgeable man I know.<br />

What advice would you give to a young person?<br />

“Find something you love doing, and you will never work a day<br />

in your life.” - Glen Phillips. My father quoted this to me growing<br />

up, which has helped me find my employment today.<br />

What is your favorite thing about Madison<br />

County?<br />

My favorite thing is how easily accessible everything is here.<br />

Hometown MADISON • 93


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94 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 95


L IKE US<br />

THANKS TO ALL OUR READERS & ADVERTISERS.<br />

WE APPRECIATE YOU!<br />

96 • MAY 2024


TheTime COIN<br />

Camille Anding<br />

The topic was Heaven, and the conversation was lively;<br />

it usually is when people take time to consider the next step after death.<br />

There is always the customary list: Will we know our family and friends? Will we get to eat? What will our<br />

new bodies be like? How about work and jobs?<br />

The questions from Sunday school members were kindled during the tape series recorded by a respected<br />

and notable pastor in our denomination. His facts were authenticated by scripture, so the lesson was interesting<br />

and beneficial.<br />

A forever body is more than my imagination can capture, but living eternally in one that will never ache,<br />

break, or wrinkle is wonderfully fascinating. I once read in one of those near-death-experience books that our<br />

eyes will see added colors with greater brilliance. The book of John describes Jesus in a post-resurrection<br />

appearance to His disciples in His forever body, but the doors are locked in the room where He appears.<br />

Does this suggest there are additional dimensions that our new bodies will experience and navigate?<br />

The following Monday, I walked around our back yard looking for signs of resurrection in some of my<br />

dormant plants and perennials. I planted a small dogwood before the last frigid temps, and I stopped to<br />

examine it for signs of life. Near the base of the sleeping dogwood was a tiny, three-inch oak tree. I bent over,<br />

and with a jerk, pulled it from its earthly mooring. There it was! The Lord was giving me a living interpretation<br />

concerning our “corruptible bodies being raised incorruptible,” and “It is sown a natural body;<br />

it is raised a spiritual body.”<br />

Attached to the base of the tiny tree was an acorn – the tree’s original body, but the small<br />

tree had no resemblance to it. The acorn had to be buried and die an acorn to be “resurrected”<br />

as a living oak tree.<br />

If any of our neighbors happened to witness me inspecting that tiny phenomenon, they<br />

would never imagine the theological breakthrough I was making. Certainly, it was a simple<br />

prototype of something much more complex, but it brought clearer meaning to the picture of death.<br />

Death! O, yes. It is the stalking enemy, the dark prerequisite for leaving this world. Death is a fact that<br />

always comes attached to every life. It always has its turn. However, the believer has a resurrection verse from the<br />

apostle Paul who asks death a question it can’t answer: “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?”<br />

Then Christians resound, “But thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”<br />

98 • MAY 2024


Hometown MADISON • 99

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