Faye Williams Byford likes all kinds of crafts. Crocheting happens to be her current favorite. She also likes to cook. Coming from a long line of women who could turn out a lot of good food, Faye said that enjoyment and talent rubbed off on her. And she’s happy about it.

When Sandra “Sandy” Fitzpatrick Ford went to work for the Piedmont Housing Authority in 1961, there were only 36 units. Now, there are 211. Sandy was there when most of the units were added.

Hannah Davis has completed her student teaching and, since December, has been the proud owner of a diploma from Jacksonville State University. That diploma says that she has a degree in early childhood and elementary education.

While some might not like Dani Rogers’ work schedule, it’s the right one for her, she said. For the past five months, she’s worked at Citizens Hospital in Talladega, where, as a computed tomography technologist, she performs CAT scans and diagnostic imaging on patients.

Tina Russell found herself a single mother at a young age. She left Piedmont High School when she married at 17. Soon Tina was having to support herself and her children and found that the only way to do that was to hold down two jobs.

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.

Lauryn Vines is doing something she’s wanted to do for a long time. She’s an ICU nurse at Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome. She describes her job as fulfilling and satisfying, yet stressful and challenging. The most challenging part is working the long night shifts.

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.

Retirement doesn’t seem to be in Gail Mallett Blankenship’s vocabulary.  In 2013, she retired from the Alabama State Department of Education after 25 years with the department and having held several positions from accountant, payroll supervisor and finally human resource manager.

Like many girls, Sandra Ledbetter learned to cook by watching her mother prepare meals. Her mother didn’t allow her just to watch, she let Sandra actually prepare much of the food the family ate. Sandra did the same thing for her daughter, Tasha Roberts. To Sandra’s delight, Tasha has turned out to be a good cook and can prepare nutritious meals for her children.

Teri Lee Kalus’ first trip to Piedmont was memorable. It was in 1994, the year the Palm Sunday tornado hit Goshen Methodist Church killing 20. Her soon-to-be husband, Jeff, had brought her here to meet his parents. From Jeff’s parents’ home in Spring Garden, they could see debris flying all around and golf ball size hail. They had to run under a bridge for cover.

Amanda Studdard married her sweetheart, Barry Cooper, after she finished her first semester at Jacksonville State University. Marriage, though, didn’t deter her from getting her degree so she could fulfill her lifelong dream of teaching.

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.

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.

Keena Warren Cox came home six years ago. And she brought with her two non-Piedmont natives, her husband, David, and her daughter, Hannah.

After Keena graduated from Piedmont High School, she left Piedmont to attend Samford University in Birmingham. After receiving a bachelor’s in human development and family studies, she moved to Cleveland, Tenn., to attend Pentecostal Theological Seminary, where she received a master’s of divinity. After a year’s residency at a hospital in Charlotte, N. C., she walked out as a hospital chaplain.

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.

Picking up black walnuts in the fall reminds me of childhood when my mother and grandmother loved for us kids to locate a tree full of these flavorful treats. Cracking and picking out the nuts from the shells were jobs for only adults. We children had the joy of tasting the baked goods Mother and Grandma made, and Mother made a nut bread I especially loved. 

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.

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.

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.

Christa Neyman was 16 when one of the most destructive tornadoes ever recorded hit Goshen United Methodist Church. She remembers her frightened mother forced her under a pew that Sunday in March 1994.

Christa remembers sitting at the front of the church on the right side. She, like others there, didn’t know it was a tornado. When she left her hiding place and stood, she thought everyone was gone.