Carmen Diaz is a native of Puerto Rico, and she was three years old when her father joined the U.S. military in 1972. He was stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C. The family, which included a brother and a sister, traveled the world wherever her father was stationed. The U.S. Army brought the family to Fort McClellan in 1985. 

Kim Snider’s daughter, Anna, was a senior at White Plains High School, when Kim found herself without a job. She’d always worked. Even before she married her husband, Eric, 23 years ago.

Beth Rhodes was a member of the VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) at Piedmont High School in 1980. This gave her the opportunity to work at the First National Bank of Piedmont owned by Lewis Savage while also working toward her high diploma.

Christy Wilkins is probably the happiest she’s ever been, because she’s the mother of three girls. Annabell is 7, Baylee is 6 and Shelby is 5. They attend school in DeArmanville. After the arrival of Annabell, Christy realized the importance of being available for her daughters, but also realized she needed a job to add to her family’s income.

When Kyle Justice of Piedmont was 12, he picked up the guitar and never put it down. Shortly after that, he began taking lessons at Baker Music in Gadsden. After two years, the  lessons ended when his instructor told him that he couldn’t teach him anything else.

Paula Patterson has always liked helping others. That’s why she decided to be a speech pathologist. She knows she’s helping children who have trouble speaking properly, and she feels successful when she sees positive results.

The former Earlene Alley has been married 50 years to a man who has spent 45 of those years in a pulpit. Always a spiritual person, even when they were dating in their early teens, she never dreamed Jerry Starling would one day decide to dedicate his preparing others for their eternal lives.

Kerry Hyatt Turner has never ventured from her roots in the Rabbittown community. She was born and reared there and spent a lot of her time at Hyatt’s Grocery Store, which was owned by her parents, the late Allen and Alice (Thomas) Hyatt.

Former White Plains resident Mindi Wilkins-Amberson is the state’s elementary school counselor of the year. She was chosen by the Alabama School Counselor Association. Mindi is humbled and happy for the honor, but the mother of four hasn’t had much time to think about it.

Brenda Cagle Petersen intends to live in Jacksonville the rest of her life, but she’ll always be able to say that at one time she lived in Ninety-Six, S. C. That was one of the towns that her husband, Mark, Jacksonville’s superintendent of education, moved them to during his career.

Paige Webb realizes she’s still young at 22, but she has aspirations and dreams she hopes to attain in the next few years. She doesn’t mind working hard to make them happen.

Bobbie Wilson Parris grew up on Pennsylvania Avenue in Jacksonville. She lost her parents, Howard and Demmeres (Dotson) Wilson, at a young age and moved to Warner Robbins, Ga., to live with relatives to finish high school.

Loretta Montgomery Moore grew up in Lincoln, where she was the second oldest of five children. She was aware at a young age that she was a quick learner. She would frequently gather her sisters, youngest brother and a few of her cousins in a make believe classroom and “teach” them.

Tiffany Duck Beal of Piedmont didn’t know it when she had her first art class in high school in Rome, Ga., but it was a hobby that would provide tranquility for her and lend assistance to organizations that help those who are suffering with cancer and their families.

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.

Several years ago, Lisa West was asked to help with the Blue Knights band program at Piedmont High School. She had a daughter in the band and agreed to help. She had no idea what it would lead to.

She’s now president of the Band Boosters.

Tanya Harden Satcher received a bachelor’s in social work and master’s in counseling from Jacksonville State University. She worked for the Calhoun County Mental Health and Family Service Center and later opened her private counseling service.

Tonia Bodiford admits she’s in her element when working with children.

“I’ve always enjoyed teaching.” Tonia said. “When I was young I taught Sunday School classes and swim lessons as a teenager.”

Tammy Webber Borders was born in Anniston. She’s accomplished three of the things she wanted to happen in her life. She’s married to the man of her dreams, who happens to be a minister, she’s a mother and she has a job she enjoys going to every day.

Carol Catrett’s effusive personality is similar to Paula Dean’s, only her passion is not food but healthy skin. She is a skincare esthetician -- an expert on beauty. She cleans, soothes, and refreshes tired faces at Salon Alon. 

Many ministers first become a youth minister en route to becoming a senior pastor. Robbie Jenkins, decided early in his ministry that the young people in a church need a minister who is dedicated to them for more than only a handful of years.  His ministry includes serving for 25 years at churches in Tennessee; New Orleans, La.; and Tallahassee, Fla. He has been at Jacksonville’s First Baptist Church for the past two years.

Shannon Harper recently moved to Jacksonville with her husband Ray, the new basketball head coach at Jacksonville State University.  She feels at home here because she said that, at heart, she is a Southern girl. She also plans to be a cheerleader, of sorts, for the team and for Ray. She fulfilled that role when they were at Oklahoma City University and at Western Kentucky University.