Renee Taylor has always considered Jacksonville to be her home town. She was born in Calhoun County, then lived in Scottsboro, Oxford, and California, but she eventually came home. In short order, she graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1987, married and had three children. In 2000, she and her children moved back to Jacksonville, where she earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice at Jacksonville State University in 2002. During that time, she also worked for her parent’s business, Warren Ace Hardware.

She began working when she was 14. At that time, her parents, Calvin and Ruby Warren, owned West Hardware on the Square. For a while during that time, she was also an optometric technician for then partners Drs. David Chandler and Terry Bonds.

It was a busy time for the single mother, but her degree took her to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, where she worked with the junior high and high school students to sign pledges to be drug and violence free. Renee also recruited local businesses to sponsor this program by offering discounts to the students who made the pledge.

From 2003-04, Renee attended 480 hours at the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Academy and became an APOST Certified (Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training) deputy sheriff for Calhoun County, working part-time in the investigations division for six years. In 2006, she met her husband, Tony, and quit her job as a deputy sheriff to be able to spend more time with him.

“When he and I became engaged, I didn’t want to give up my weekends to work anymore,” she said. “Tony and I wanted to spend as much time together as we could, especially since our daily lives with work and children were so busy.”

Also in 2003, she was employed full time by the Department of Homeland Security at McClellan as a research technical writer. Her office of 12 employees used first responders from across the country to test equipment and then wrote “consumer report” type reports that eventually went to the government level. This office was no longer funded as of 2009. After that, she “almost” retired.

She volunteers several hours a week now for her sister and brother-in-law, Debbie and Chuck Tomlinson at Warren Hardware. The Tomlinsons bought Warren Ace Hardware from Debbie and Renee’s parents and renamed it two years ago.

“Debbie and Chuck have high school and college students who work for them, just like mom and dad did from the time they owned West Hardware, and I help out in between their schedules,” Renee said. “I help with the weekly stock order, or do whatever they need that they don’t have time for. I just like helping them out. She’s my sister.

Not being employed full time now allows Renee time to help her husband out with work projects, take her parents to their doctors’ appointments, prepare meals, and spend time with them. She’s also going to be volunteering with the newly opened “For the City” service center at First Baptist Church’s Eagle Point campus.

Renee has another sister, Donna Shamblin, who lives in Jacksonville, and a brother, Keith, who lives in Louisville, Ky, with his wife, Dee.

Renee and Tony have four children together. Joshua Taylor is in chiropractic school in Georgia. Army Sgt. Jason Trull and his wife, Heaven, are stationed at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. Hannah Trull lives in Golden Springs, works at McClellan Assisted Living and attends Gadsden State. Casey Trull is a freshman at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Renee, Tony, and her family attend First Baptist Church, where she sings in the choir, the praise team, and plays in the hand bell choir. She also serves on the personnel committee.

Renee said she’s ready to help her husband, Anniston’s Fire Chief, in any way she can during his next four years as a newly elected member of the Jacksonville City Council.

“He hasn’t just been with the Anniston Fire Department for over 30 years, he’s worked multiple part time jobs,” she said. “Most firefighters work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. That’s their main job, but many of them have part time jobs on the side to make ends meet. Tony has had a variety of jobs, working in several different fields. He can repair just about anything.”

She said she’s confident that he will be able to work well with other councilors and the mayor to help Jacksonville grow. Renee said she’s also confident that her husband will be an asset to the city.

“I’m really proud of him,” she said, adding that the next four years, with his leadership, qualities, and experiences, Jacksonville should prosper.

“He already receives many weekly after-hour calls from the fire department,” she said. “He has to make decisions and handle anything that unexpectedly comes up. I’m prepared for him getting more calls at home now.”

When it comes to cooking, Renee likes to cook well-known family dishes, as well as experiment with new ones, but she seldom measures anything.

“It’s a running joke that I might or might not be able to recreate dishes,” she said. “It always works out though, and I’m able to prepare dishes that my family likes. Tony and I eat healthy. We eat a lot of fish, chicken and vegetables.”

The Taylors like to work in the yard and garden -- both vegetables and flowers -- and most of their vegetables come from their garden.

(Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com)

RECIPES

CHICKEN-RICE CASSEROLE

4-6 oz. uncooked boneless, skinless chicken, cubed

1 10 1/2 oz. cream of mushroom Heart Healthy soup

1 10 1/2 oz. cream of chicken Heart Healthy soup

1 10 1/2 oz. cream of celery Heart Healthy soup

8 oz. light sour cream

1 soup can of water

Sprinkles of cumin

1 c. brown rice

1/2 stick butter

Ritz crackers

  Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Spray 2 or 3 quart dish with olive oil spray. Mix soups, rice, sprinkles, and water and add chicken. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Cook 3 hours. Remove casserole and remove foil. Turn up heat to broil. Mix melted butter and crushed crackers together and add to the top. Place back in oven to toast crackers.

SHRIMP FETTUCCINI

1/2 stick unsalted butter

Self-rising flour

Salt and pepper,

Pinches of nutmeg

  Add self-rising flour a little at a time to make a rue. Immediately add 1/2 and 1/2 or cream to smooth the sauce. Just before serving, add peeled, deveined shrimp to the sauce for 2 minutes, or until shrimp is pink. Serve immediately.

MACARONI CASSEROLE

1 can Cream of Heart Healthy Mushroom

I can cream of Heart Healthy Cheddar

6 oz. Light sour cream

1 c. shredded sharp cheddar

  Pre-heat oven 400 degrees. Cooked al dente (your choice) macaroni noodles ( I prefer spiral). Mix all together and bake for 15+-20 minutes until bubbly. Top with extra shredded cheddar, and melted butter and Ritz crackers to the top and bake for extra crisp until golden brown.

PILLSBURY JAM CAKE

  Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Either use Bisquick dough mix or Pillsbury dough mix for the foundation. Mix 8 oz softened cream cheese and 1 oz. sugar. Roll dough mix out into oblong shape and place into a baking dish. Spread cream cheese mixture down the middle of the base. Cut diagonal slices and wrap over each other, like a weave. Bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and spread preferred jell or jam over the top and place back in oven 5 minutes to finish baking. Serve warm for a breakfast treat or an afternoon snack.

Renee Taylor has always considered Jacksonville to be her home town. She was born in Calhoun County, then lived in Scottsboro, Oxford, and California, but she eventually came home. In short order, she graduated from Jacksonville High School in 1987, married and had three children. In 2000, she and her children moved back to Jacksonville, where she earned her bachelor’s in criminal justice at Jacksonville State University in 2002. During that time, she also worked for her parent’s business, Warren Ace Hardware.

She began working when she was 14. At that time, her parents, Calvin and Ruby Warren, owned West Hardware on the Square. For a while during that time, she was also an optometric technician for then partners Drs. David Chandler and Terry Bonds.

It was a busy time for the single mother, but her degree took her to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Department, where she worked with the junior high and high school students to sign pledges to be drug and violence free. Renee also recruited local businesses to sponsor this program by offering discounts to the students who made the pledge.

From 2003-04, Renee attended 480 hours at the Jefferson County Law Enforcement Academy and became an APOST Certified (Alabama Peace Officer Standards and Training) deputy sheriff for Calhoun County, working part-time in the investigations division for six years. In 2006, she met her husband, Tony, and quit her job as a deputy sheriff to be able to spend more time with him.

“When he and I became engaged, I didn’t want to give up my weekends to work anymore,” she said. “Tony and I wanted to spend as much time together as we could, especially since our daily lives with work and children were so busy.”

Also in 2003, she was employed full time by the Department of Homeland Security at McClellan as a research technical writer. Her office of 12 employees used first responders from across the country to test equipment and then wrote “consumer report” type reports that eventually went to the government level. This office was no longer funded as of 2009. After that, she “almost” retired.

She volunteers several hours a week now for her sister and brother-in-law, Debbie and Chuck Tomlinson at Warren Hardware. The Tomlinsons bought Warren Ace Hardware from Debbie and Renee’s parents and renamed it two years ago.

“Debbie and Chuck have high school and college students who work for them, just like mom and dad did from the time they owned West Hardware, and I help out in between their schedules,” Renee said. “I help with the weekly stock order, or do whatever they need that they don’t have time for. I just like helping them out. She’s my sister.

Not being employed full time now allows Renee time to help her husband out with work projects, take her parents to their doctors’ appointments, prepare meals, and spend time with them. She’s also going to be volunteering with the newly opened “For the City” service center at First Baptist Church’s Eagle Point campus.

Renee has another sister, Donna Shamblin, who lives in Jacksonville, and a brother, Keith, who lives in Louisville, Ky, with his wife, Dee.

Renee and Tony have four children together. Joshua Taylor is in chiropractic school in Georgia. Army Sgt. Jason Trull and his wife, Heaven, are stationed at Fort Benning in Columbus, Ga. Hannah Trull lives in Golden Springs, works at McClellan Assisted Living and attends Gadsden State. Casey Trull is a freshman at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Renee, Tony, and her family attend First Baptist Church, where she sings in the choir, the praise team, and plays in the hand bell choir. She also serves on the personnel committee.

Renee said she’s ready to help her husband, Anniston’s Fire Chief, in any way she can during his next four years as a newly elected member of the Jacksonville City Council.

“He hasn’t just been with the Anniston Fire Department for over 30 years, he’s worked multiple part time jobs,” she said. “Most firefighters work 24 hours on and 48 hours off. That’s their main job, but many of them have part time jobs on the side to make ends meet. Tony has had a variety of jobs, working in several different fields. He can repair just about anything.”

She said she’s confident that he will be able to work well with other councilors and the mayor to help Jacksonville grow. Renee said she’s also confident that her husband will be an asset to the city.

“I’m really proud of him,” she said, adding that the next four years, with his leadership, qualities, and experiences, Jacksonville should prosper.

“He already receives many weekly after-hour calls from the fire department,” she said. “He has to make decisions and handle anything that unexpectedly comes up. I’m prepared for him getting more calls at home now.”

When it comes to cooking, Renee likes to cook well-known family dishes, as well as experiment with new ones, but she seldom measures anything.

“It’s a running joke that I might or might not be able to recreate dishes,” she said. “It always works out though, and I’m able to prepare dishes that my family likes. Tony and I eat healthy. We eat a lot of fish, chicken and vegetables.”

The Taylors like to work in the yard and garden -- both vegetables and flowers -- and most of their vegetables come from their garden.

(Contact Margaret at pollya922@gmail.com)