2016 teaches us all life is precious

Published 6:42 pm Friday, December 30, 2016

What a year 2016 has been, definitely one that has been transformative for me.

My youngest child left for college, and I found out the price I would have to pay to straighten my hair —two hospital visits and several prescriptions of steroids!

However, becoming an empty nester and having a love-hate relationship with keratin (the product used on my hair), I also had an eventful year working at The Vicksburg Post.

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It is not everyday a girl gets to experience the waters of the Mississippi River like I did when I rode alongside Stan Collins as he searched for his son, Michael, who had plunged into the river with a dump truck. 

The experience of being on that grand body of water was inspiring, but it paled in comparison to the determination I witnessed of Stan.

The grit in that man’s heart was overwhelming.

As much as I would like to say I would do the same for my child, I am sure the sheer grief of the accident would have bedridden me or the fear of what I discovered send me to an asylum.

But not Stan, he stayed strong, focused and fortified in finding Michael.

And when he talked about Michael, it was apparent that this was a father who loved his son dearly.

His eyes would light up when he spoke of Michael, and he would laugh when he talked about some of his son’s shenanigans.

I will also remember the night a candlelight vigil was held at the city riverfront. Family and friends had gathered to pray for Michael’s return.

Before the vigil began, Stan rolled in driving Michael’s beloved truck and revved the motor up, surely like his 22-year-old son would have done if he had been behind the wheel.

Rest in peace. Michael.

The day Rafael McCloud’s reign of terror ended was another memorable assignment I covered.

Days after he had escaped from jail, we were all extra ardent when it came to listening to the police scanner that is in the newsroom, and on several occasions, when it was thought they may have found him, out we went.

At the time, we did not have a designated photographer, so all of the reporters filled in.

When we got word of McCloud’s demise, I along with a couple other reporters went to the scene. I took my camera, and for hours I waited outside the house where McCloud had held a family prisoner for hours.

As the rain began to come down harder, most of the media began to leave except for Justin Sellers and me. He had previously worked as a photographer at The Post before taking a job in Jackson, and the two of us had dug in to get a picture.

I needed visual closure to McCloud’s horrific acts, and I knew locals needed it, too.

Obviously, there were other assignments I covered this year, but none that seared in my memory as much as these two.

If I didn’t know before, certainly this past year has taught me that life is precious, and we should live every moment to its fullest.

My plan is to try and live by this motto. The only thing I have to decide now is if my life will continue to include frizz-free hair.

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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