Here’s to my Vicksburg family

Published 9:38 am Thursday, October 1, 2015

For the past few years, Vicksburg has been my home. Now it’s almost time to say goodbye.

I could spend from now until next week and not say goodbye to everyone in Vicksburg’s who’s touched my life. Next week, instead of saying my formal goodbye before I waltz back to Texas, I’m going to look back at a few stories that have really touched me since being here.

But this week I want to say thanks for the years of allowing me to tell your stories. As journalists, we are nothing without the public whose lives we put on display every day. The list of people I want to thank could go on forever, but there are a few people I want to thank more than I know how.

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I don’t have any relatives here, had no connections and knew absolutely no one when I arrived. Yet, this has become the closest of my Vicksburg family.

First would be the first friend I made in Vicksburg — Buford “BB” Evans. I don’t think BB’s ever met anyone who doesn’t turn out to be his friend. Vicksburg residents know BB from his volunteering with Port City Kiwanis and as the voice and face of the Tomato Place.

For the past three and a half years, I spent every Thursday morning with BB and the other members of Port City Kiwanis. No matter where we met, it always felt like home thanks to BB and the other Kiwanis members. When I was feeling restless or alone, they saved my sanity.

Second is Vicksburg police Capt. Sandra Williams, who I’ve worked closely with since she became the first female captain in Vicksburg police department history. I’ll always credit Sandra with saving my life, not in any official police capacity but because she invited me to workout with her weekly exercise group. Over the past few weeks I’ve missed days because of work and church obligations, but Sandra helped me establish a good habit that will stay with me the rest of my life.

Last, but certainly not least, are Wayne and Mary Nell McMaster. They were the hardest of all to tell. The McMasters have been like parents to me ever since I arrived in Vicksburg. I went to a Knights of Columbus banquet with them Tuesday. I knew I was leaving but couldn’t bear to tell them. I’ll always remember the good times we had.

I credit them with helping save my spirit and my soul. I felt spiritually lost for years until one Sunday when Wayne invited me to church at St. Paul. Again I felt at home.

Of all the place I’ve lived since leaving Paris, Texas a dozen years ago, Vicksburg has been the closest place to home I’ve ever found. I’m going to miss you all.