Donny and Daphne Alford

Written by Kay Hubbard.

An Enchanting Mr. and Mrs. Claus

Who could possibly be more delightful, engaging, and dear to the hearts of people everywhere who love Christmas than Santa Claus and his dear wife and helpmate Mrs. Claus? Panola County’s own Mr. and Mrs. Claus, also known as Donny and Daphne Alford, are perfectly typecast for their roles—equally delightful, engaging, and dear to people’s hearts!

A few years ago, when Main Street Manager Cindy Deloney found out that the usual Santa was unavailable to ride the firetruck in the Christmas Parade, she asked Daphne, who works for the City of Carthage, if Donny might be able to serve as a substitute. “I’m sure it’s because she thought Donny fit the bill,” says Daphne. “You know, because he’s so…jolly!” After a good laugh, Donny adds, “Well, in my defense, I did have to get suspenders for those pants! They are huge!!”

Rita Herring Ledda

Written by Kay Hubbard.

An Energetic Fireball, Still Flying High at 74!

How a person could possibly have accomplished all the things—BIG THINGS—that Carthage’s Rita Herring Ledda has done in her 74 years defies the imagination! It is especially amazing that she has managed to keep such a low, under-the-radar profile in a community this small. And even more incredible that she still is hardly slowing down, keeping a schedule and pace that people half her age would find beyond challenging.

Mildred McCrary and Her Enormous Nativity Collection

Written by Kay Hubbard.

“Because the Best Thing About Christmas Is the Christ Child Being Born”

Lots of people decorate BIG for Christmas. That’s not too unusual. Maybe several Christmas trees, thousands of lights inside and out, garlands of greenery everywhere, collections displayed of Santa, reindeer, angels, nativity figures, and myriad other symbols of the season.

CISD Education Foundation Grants: ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’

Written by Kay Hubbard.

Elementary Field Trips: Bringing Learning to Life ‘On the Road’

Editor’s note: This article is the fourth in a series about some CISD Education Foundation grants from which local students, teachers, and campuses receive such great benefit. It is amazing to see what can be done with these resources donated by generous people in our community when placed in the hands of teachers who think and dream big!

Why I Love Panola College

Written by Teresa Beasley.

What is the value of Panola College to the region it serves? To the students planning to earn bachelor’s degrees, it’s a head start on completing basic courses at an affordable rate. For the ones who want to go straight to work after high school, it’s a training ground for the skills they need. For the people who want to become nurses or occupational therapists, it’s the educational opportunities and laboratory experience required for the health care profession. For the adults who never learned to read, Panola offers free adult basic education.

Jean Jernigan at 102 Years Young

Written by Kay Hubbard.

“If I’m Going to Live, I Want to LIVE!”

I have known Jean Jernigan for more than 30 years, and throughout those years I don’t think I have heard as many complimentary things about anyone as I have about her, and absolutely nothing negative.

Jason Davis

Written by Shelbye Almeida.

Shooting for Glory

Faith. Family. Firearms. When you hear those three words you might think about an episode of “Duck Dynasty,” but for Jason Davis, those three simple words exemplify the story of his life. Jason shoots for glory, but it’s not what you may be thinking. He isn’t seeking praise for his accomplishments, but for the glory of the Lord to shine through the gift he has been given.

Panola County Cancer Coalition

Written by Kay Hubbard.

 ‘Neighbor Helping Neighbor’ in the Hardest of Times

Families struggling with a loved one’s cancer diagnosis already have plenty on their minds and hearts without having to worry about having enough money for gasoline, hotels, meals, or the myriad other costs incurred traveling to doctors and treatments. There are at least as many possible financial concerns as there are people diagnosed!