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Lexington Brain and Spine Institute Proudly Welcomes

Johnathan A. Engh, MD Dr. Engh specializes in diseases of the brain, cranial nerves and nervous system, including brain tumors, gliomas, metastases, colloid cysts, intraventricular tumors and spinal tumors. Board certified by the American Board of Neurological Surgery, he joins Lexington Brain and Spine Institute to provide comprehensive care in the treatment of disorders affecting the brain, spine and peripheral nerves, including surgery for degenerative conditions, trauma and cancer.


(803) 935-8410

LEXINGTON Brain and Spine

155 North Hospital Drive, Suite 200 West Columbia, SC 29169

A Lexington Medical Center Physician Practice


December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 3

Dress for the Holidays Shop Local!

Happy Holidays! 1787 South Lake Dr., Suite I, Lexington, SC 29073 • • 803 359 0046 4 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 5

100,000 Birth Days and Counting Since our opening in 1971, we’ve delivered more than 100,000 babies. And with our newly expanded maternity unit and nursery, we’re getting ready to welcome thousands more. Be a part of our celebration.

Were you or your child born at Lexington Medical Center?

Submit your photo at December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 7

We’ve Got Your Back this Holiday Season

Back and Neck Pain • Headaches • Numbness • Fibromyalgia Neuropathy • Latest Pain Relief • Cold Laser • Infrared Therapy Non-Surgical Decompression for Serious Neck and Back Pain Natural Weight Loss and Wellness Programs

Success Story of the Month My Knee Pain is Gone! Hi. My name is Carmella. I came to Dr. Bigbie because my knee was causing me so much pain. I could not sleep, walk or do any of my housework. I even had to depend on family members to go grocery shopping for me. I was told by another physician that I would need a total knee replacement. I decided to try chiropractic care first. My chiropractic adjustments and cold laser therapy have gotten me out of pain and I no longer need my cane to help me walk. I am now able to go walking, shopping and even clean my house. I no longer need a knee replacement! I would recommend Bigbie Chiropractic to everyone.

My Low Back Pain is Decreasing with DRX! Hi. My name is Lynne. I have been coming to Dr. Bigbie’s office for about a month now. I came in suffering from low back and leg pain. I was unable to walk without pain or even stand up straight. I received an evaluation and found I had several bulging discs in my back. I began treatments on the DRX spinal decompression, cold laser therapy and spinal adjustments. I have gotten so much better and am only halfway through my treatments. I look forward to the remainder of my treatments and getting healthier so I can get back to the tennis courts! I would like to thank Dr. Bigbie and staff. They have been so helpful and encouraging to me.

My Neck Pain is Gone! Hi. My name is Pete. I came to Bigbie Chiropractic with agonizing pains shooting down my left arm. The pain prevented me from being able to work and to accomplish many of my daily chores. I have had several weeks of treatment with the CDRX (Cervical Decompression Machine) and specific chiropractic adjustments. I am happy to report that I am no longer in pain. Thank you Dr. Bigbie and staff. Individual results may vary.

LIMITED TIME OFFER INCLUDES: Initial visit consultation Full exam Any necessary X-Rays Normally $167, NOW ONLY $47 Federal and Medicare Restrictions apply.

943 Old Cherokee Rd, Lexington, SC 29072 |

8 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018


Recently, we had a surprise 90th birthday party for my wife, Donna’s father, Donald Frances Clark, in Myrtle Beach. 90 years is a long time. It just so happens that Mickey Mouse’s Steamboat Willie, which was the first Mickey Mouse movie with sound, was also released on November 18, 1928, which is Don’s birthday. He was very surprised as Donna and her sister Fran organized a small gathering consisting of family and some of Don’s Beachcomber Shriner friends. I have known the man for close to 25 years and this was one of the only times I have seen him tear up. Donna noticed it too and so did the kids. It was a great dinner and Don worked the room like a champ, shaking hands and telling his favorite stories that we enjoy hearing over and over. His trademark saying of, “Right On!” bellowed out across the restaurant as he and his many proud imitators got in on the action. He blew out his candles with ease and said a prayer to his wife Pat who is in heaven. Donna favors her daddy in both appearance and demeanor, while her sister Fran favors their momma. You will always know when both Don or Donna are in a room because you can hear them loud and clear. Happy Birthday Don! Thanks for raising such a special lady who I proudly call my wife. Right On! Thanks for reading Lexington Life.

Cara Hardy 803-315-9671 HOSPITALITY COORDINATOR Catharine Clark 803-800-0835

DIRECTOR OF SALES Donna Shevchik 803-518-8853

GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Jane Carter, Kim Curlee

EDITOR Katie Gantt


EDITOR EMERITUS Allison Caldwell ACCOUNT EXECUTIVES Tracy Tuten 803-603-8187

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Catharine Clark, Katie Gantt, Mary Ann Hutcheson, Jackie Perrone

Elinor Fatato 803-447-0873

CONTACT US: 5483 Sunset Blvd., Unit G, Lexington, SC 29072 • 803.356.6500

rk, arine Cla to, Cath ntt ta a Fa G r e o ti n li rdy, Ka L to R: E n Cara Ha acy Tute Tr , e e rl u R: Kim C to L ck a b

Todd Shevchik



19 Serving Lexington 26 Paul Kirby Renaissance Man 36 831MinhLe



13 Faith Matters 45 David Clark

Departments 9 From the Publisher 11 Events 15 Lexington Leaders 16 About the Town 46 Spice of Life



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10 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018


Saturday, December 1 – Tuesday, January 1 Hite Christmas Lights 200 Dupre Mill Rd., Lexington, times vary Jerry Hite coordinates this 9th annual light show to “dance” to 12 songs. Guests can watch from their cars or park to get out and watch from the sidewalk. Donations are accepted and 100% of the proceeds go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Visit hitechristmaslightshow for more information or to donate. Show times are Sun-Thurs: 6 – 10 p.m. Fri-Sat: 6 – 11 p.m. Saturday, December 1 – Friday, January 4 The Polar Express 4-D Experience SC State Museum, 301 Gervais St., Columbia, times vary You’re invited on an extraordinary 4-D adventure this holiday season on The Polar Express! The museum’s 4D theater provides a 3-D visual experience with the fourth dimension of environmental experiences like blasts of air, vibrating seats and water spray. Visit for show times and to purchase tickets. Wednesday, December 5 Lexington Community Band 5th Anniversary Concert LOPAC, Lexington High School, 2463 Augusta Hwy., Lexington, 7 p.m. The Lexington Community Band will be performing music from the movies “Coco,” “The Polar Express,” “Hook,” “Home Alone,” and more. Free admission. for more information. Saturday, December 8 – Sunday, December 16 Nutcracker Koger Center, 1051 Greene St., Columbia, times vary Nutcracker has the distinction of being Koger Center’s longest consecutively running annual arts event. With six snow-filled performances, including four matinees, Nutcracker is designed to accommodate the entire family’s holiday schedule. Visit to purchase tickets or for more information.

Saturday, December 8 Christmas Sampler Craft Show Lexington Leisure Center, 108 Park Rd., Lexington, 9 a.m. – 3p.m. Local and regional Christmas craft show. Come enjoy entertainment, door prizes and shopping. Canned food donations are accepted to benefit Lexington County Meals on Wheels.

Friday, December 14 and Saturday, December 15 Amahl and the Night Visitors Saxe Gotha Presbyterian Church, 5503 Sunset Blvd., Lexington, 7:30 p.m. Composer Gian Carlo Menotti’s “Amahl and the Night Visitors” is a warm and compassionate story that captures the essential spirit of Christmas. Inspired by the Wise Men’s tale of a kingdom “built on love alone,” Amahl offers his own simple gift to the Christ Child. And then a miracle happens. Tickets can be purchased for $5 at or at the door. Saturday, December 15 Wingard’s Family Christmas Wingard’s Market, 1403 N. Lake Dr., Lexington, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Meet Mrs. Claus, ride the Santa Train and stop in the Produce Market for hot apple cider and cookies. Don’t forget your camera for beautiful family picture spots throughout the Garden Center. Free admission. Overflow parking available at Pilgrim Lutheran Church. Saturday, December 15 Porkchop Productions: Holly & the Snowman Lexington Main Library, 5440 Augusta Rd., Lexington, 2 p.m. How can you make a snowman when it’s 98 degrees outside? Join Holly the Elf on her quest to make a seemingly impossible holiday wish come true. Will Jack Frost be willing to change his icy ways or will tropical snow be a no-go? Find out in this Porkchop original that is sure to warm even the frostiest of hearts.

Submit your event info five weeks in advance to Events will be included as space permits.



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12 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season! Come check out our huge, varied selection of carpet and hardwoods in our showroom today! • (803) 359-0507 5001 Sunset Blvd, Lexington • Hours: Mon-Fri 9am–5:30pm, Sat 9 am–12pm

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Pastor Rocky Purvis Northside Baptist Church

It’s hard to believe. We’ve finished off the Thanksgiving turkey, survived Black Friday, and now we’re getting ready for Christmas. When I was younger, it seemed as if Christmas would never get here, but as I grow older, Christmas is here before I know it. We even put up our Christmas tree on October 24th this year. Yes, I know, that’s a little strange. Perhaps you can identify with one of these. You know Christmas is almost here when: • There are more pine needles on your carpet than on your tree. • Your credit card is smoked along with the turkey and ham. • A trip to the mall and back is more challenging than a NASCAR race. • You are pulling all-nighters because of the words, “some assembly required”. • Your Christmas list is written in black but your check book is in the red. • Santa’s belly isn’t the only one shaking like a bowl full of jelly. • And finally, the infamous fruitcake returns from its 12 months of hiding. Christmas will always be one of my favorite times of the year. Remember the Andy Williams song? “It’s the most wonderful time of the year. There’ll be much mistltoeing, and hearts will be glowing, when loved ones are near. It’s the most wonderful time.” I hope it is for you! But I’ve discovered that for some, it’s a terrible time of the year. Like Charles Dickens’ character, Ebenezer Scrooge, there are “ghosts” from their pasts that keep them from experiencing the joy that Christmas brings. It may be the ghost of grief. Or the ghost of guilt and shame. Or maybe the ghost of unfulfilled dreams. All of us have things in our past that can either keep us in chains or catapult us to the future God has prepared for us. This Christmas, let the one we celebrate, Jesus, set you free from whatever it is. Paul said it this way. “Forgetting the past, I press on to the heavenly prize for which God is calling us.” And if you don’t have a church family, join us at Northside this month as we discover how to break free from “The Ghosts of Christmas Past.”

NORTHSIDE BAPTIST 4347 Sunset Blvd., Lexington, SC, 29072 803-520-5660 • Sundays: Lexington campus 9:15 & 10:45 West Columbia campus 11 a.m.

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by Jackie Perrone

Bo Busby

Dancing His Lifelong Dream Like many who make a career in the arts, “Bo” Busby knew from a very early age what he wanted to do with his life. And he had plenty of help and support from parents who saw his talent and encouraged it. The best possible start: His mother was a dance teacher in their home town of Newberry. Today, Bo is using as a teacher the skills acquired over decades of classical ballet, enjoying the satisfaction that comes from watching talent develop and thrive under his direction. “It’s very rewarding,” he says, “and I am back home after so many years away from my family.” As Bo tells it, he was a dancer by the time he was three years old. From his mother’s early tutelage, he moved on to Ann Brodie’s Carolina Ballet in Columbia, and, when he entered his teens his parents searched for a venue for more advanced training. He won admission to the prestigious Harid Conservatory in Boca Raton, Florida, and, at age 13, was living away from home and dedicating himself to a future in performing. One year of that high school term was spent in Stuttgart, Germany, at the John Cranko School. By the time he received his high school diploma, he had already won four national awards: Showstopper’s National Champion, Youth America Grand Prix Best Male Dancer, Fred Lieberman Award for Excellence, and Youth America Grand Prix Winner. No question that Bo Busby was on the right road to success. From then until now, his career has blossomed with outstanding achievements in some of the world’s most notable dance ensembles. After high school, he stepped into an assignment as a company dancer at American Ballet Theatre in New York, soon moving up into leading roles in the Corps de Ballet there. Next move: Corps de Ballet in Boston, Massachusetts, rising to the rank of second soloist there. Bo’s parents enjoyed traveling to see him perform; but, during a visit to Boston, his mother experienced a life-threatening brain aneurysm. “We were three blocks from Harvard Medical Center,” he says. “She got the best of care and is doing fine today. It helped me reaffirm how important my family is to me. I had left home at age 13 and never lived there again. I decided it was time to return to South Carolina.” He says it was naïve of him to think that he could immediately start a career teaching dance in Columbia. “This city has an outstanding reservoir of dance professionals,” he says. “Most of them depend on some teaching to augment their performing moments. There is a lot of dance here!” But, gradually, his reputation grew, and he now teaches dance in three locations: The Academy in Lexington, Columbia City Jazz Conservatory, and the Dance Conservatory of Charleston. Of course, he performs during the seasonal shows here. Watch for him in Columbia City Ballet's production of The Nutcracker this holiday season. Visit for dates. n December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 15

Kailee and Kristen


about town by Catharine Clark

On a chilly fall afternoon, our hospitality coordinator, Catharine Clark, stopped by some of Main Street’s favorite haunts to discover what was happening “About the Town.”

16 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

The Haven Coffee House Rachel Hust Q: So what are your big plans for the Christmas holiday? A: Um, I usually stay in town since most of my family lives here. So really just getting together with family nearby. Q: That’s awesome! So what is the one big thing that is on your Christmas list this year? A: Probably books. Q: I’m assuming you like to read! Not many people ask for books during Christmas time! Who is your favorite author? A: Yes, I LOVE to read…my favorite author is Elizabeth Elliott! Q: I don’t think I have heard of her before. What are some of her most popular books? A: Passion in Purity, A Path Through Suffering… Q: I’m assuming she’s a Christian author? A: Yes!! Those are my most favorite! Kailee and Kristen Q: Do y’all have any big plans coming up in December? Kailee: I’m actually going home to Ohio with my fiancé to celebrate with my family. Kristen: I’m not too sure yet what the set plans are, but I am staying in Columbia with my boyfriend for the holidays. I’m really looking forward to spending time with him and his family. Q: Oh wow, Congratulations on the engagement! What is something you hope to get for Christmas? Kailee: I’m not really asking for anything, but I think my fiancé and I have agreed to both get each other our wedding bands for Christmas. That’s all I would really want anyway. Kristen: Um, probably just an engagement ring already. A: Wow those are big gifts. Are you looking at any one in particular? Kristen: I mean yeah, I want my boyfriend to propose to me… Q: Oh no no, I meant do you have your heart set on any ring in particular? Kristen: OHH! No not really, I just want something on my finger!!

Brooke Fredette: Q: So how long have you been working at The Haven? A: About two and a half months! Q: What is your favorite part of the job? I would imagine you have a lot of them… A: Well I love all of the people that come in. I really love just getting to know the people of Lexington. I’m able to interact and meet a lot of different people that I normally wouldn’t before this job. I also get to hear a lot of different stories from customers, so it is always interesting. Q: Wow, that is awesome Brooke! What is your favorite drink? A: Oh gosh, there are so many. But probably the dirty chi latte! It sort of changes depending on the mood I’m in. Q: What is something that you are most looking forward to this Christmas season? A: I’m really looking forward to getting together with all of my family. Since my family is grown up, it’s hard to get everyone all together. Q: Aw that is so sweet, I hope you all have a good time together! Do you have any plans for New Years? A: Oh gosh, I don’t even know! I’m just trying to get through Christmas first! Q: Yeah girl I get it, New Years is a hit or miss, right? What are you asking for this year for Christmas? A: This sounds different, but I’m asking for luggage because I’m going to France and Greece next summer…so luggage is definitely a necessity for that! Jeremy Addy

Brooke Fredette

Craig Reagan Clothiers Jeremy Addy: Q: What are some big plans that you have this Christmas season? A: Well Christmas is our busiest time of the year so usually we do just low key stuff with the family. Our Christmas holiday is really only a couple of days for us so we just like to relax. Usually we will take a couple of days off right after Christmas together, and then get right back at it again after. Q: Will you be on the naughty or nice list this year? A: Haha hopefully the nice list…hopefully! I feel like I have been pretty good this year, so maybe I’ll get some nice things. Q: So what are you asking for? A: Usually we will come through the store and pick out a few things that we want. I’m kind of hard to shop for because throughout the year I will get the things I need. My mom takes care of us. So Christmas really is just low-key for our family. Q: What’s your favorite Lexington holiday tradition? A: I really like the Christmas parade. We will sit outside of the shop and watch the parade and then open up the store for a few hours to let parade-goers shop! I love the parade because it goes right through downtown.

O’Hara’s Public House Pat Walsh: Q: What is your favorite Christmas tradition? A: We actually go to Las Vegas for Christmas. Q: Oh wow, what do you do while in Las Vegas during Christmas? A: I have a lot of family and friends out there, so we go and visit them. We lived there years ago before moving to South Carolina, so that’s why it is our favorite tradition. Q: So what list will you be on this year? Naughty or nice? A: Well…naughty, I mean nice. December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 17


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CIVIC PRIDE IN A GROWING COMMUNITY During one week this past September, this writer encountered three remarkable Lexington professionals who daily go beyond the norm to enhance the lives of those they serve. Their dedication is what preserves the small-town soul of our rapidly expanding community. For that, we celebrate them. by Mary Ann Hutcheson Ken Leneve Scalemaster at Edmund Landfill Ken Leneve is a scalemaster at the Lexington County Edmund Landfill. His winning personality and well-developed sense of humor made my first visit with him memorable—and fun. During a phone call the day before my visit, I described a large wooden storage box I needed to discard, calling it a “monster wooden box.” In a deadpan voice, the unknown male voice suggested I remove the monster to avoid paying the disposal fee. I didn’t know who this gentleman was, but I liked his sense of humor. The next day, my husband and I arrived at the landfill and followed other vehicles up onto a large metal scale. “Hi,” I said through the payment win-

A comedic dialogue followed. I worked hard to keep up my end. Pointing off to the right, I asked if the wooden box should go in that direction. “If you’d like,” he smiled. “But that’s the staff parking lot.” Eventually, we added our fill to the land and drove off. It had been a fun visit for my first time at a landfill. The next week, I contacted his supervisor, Sherry Brooks, who put a name to my description of the witty gentleman at the window. She was thrilled to talk about Ken Leneve. “It is rare to encounter someone with Ken’s level of work ethic,” she began. “He has a great sense of humor and has been that way since day one. It makes the job fun.” Ken was born and raised until age 13

“We tend to think that people are replaceable. While that may be true, it would be almost impossible to find someone with Ken’s work ethic and excellent attendance record. That is just something you don’t see often.” Sherry Brooks, Ken’s supervisor dow to the man with the kind face and twinkling eyes. “We have a room air-conditioner we’d like to dispose of and a huge, monster wooden box.” “So, did you remove the monster yet?” he countered, without missing a beat. How did he remember the anonymous caller from the previous day? He returned my smile with a mischievous one of his own.

in Panama City, Florida. He earned his strong work ethic from taking part in the family’s commercial fish business. He has lived in the Gilbert area since 1964, and he revealed that he rarely missed a day of school during his childhood. Ken was a semiprofessional musician from tenth grade into adulthood, playing bass guitar in groups and working December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 19

We Wish All Our Furbabies a Very Merry Christmas!

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At Northside Christian Academy we are thankful for all the great families who have made the choice for a Christ centered education for their children. As we celebrate our 7th anniversary, we invite you to see why Northside is so special. Come see why Northside Christian Academy was voted BEST Christian School for the past 5 years!  

WE are Faithful, WE are Excellent, WE are Family, WE are Love, WE are Norrside! Thank you for Nominating us Again for Best Private School 4347 Sunset Blvd. • • 803-520-5656

20 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

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HOURS: MON-THURS 8-5, FRIDAY – BY APPTS 115 Midlands Court, West Columbia, SC 29169 (803)  908-4051 •

backup in a recording studio. A business major in college, Ken worked in the copiers and printers service industry for 25 years before landing his current job in 2011. “Treating everybody the same is what customer service is. I don’t care who lands on the scale. If they’re having a bad day, I try to make it better for them. Nobody likes to haul off garbage, so why not have fun with it?” With good reason, the folks at the Lexington County Landfill are proud of the invaluable service they provide and who they are—and they make the trip easy on their visitors. An often-unheralded team of professionals, they don’t sing their own praises. Hopefully, this story will express how deeply they are appreciated in our community. Debbie Rider Lowe’s Debbie Rider started working at Lowe’s in 2005. Initially hired as a cashier, Debbie worked in the lumber department, lawn and garden, returns, pricing coordinator assistance, and home décor before finding her niche in the paint department in 2007. Debbie initially arrived from Georgia looking for a reliable job in the Lexington area before applying to school to become an x-ray tech. Her goal since childhood was to work in a hospital like her mother before her. Once employed at Lowe’s, she was un-

information management associate’s degree from DeVry University, having maintained a dean’s list status and graduating with honors. Debbie has continued to work at Lowe’s for 13 years. She loves her co-workers, likening them to a family. “We care about one another and are there for one another during illness and loss. We’re really tight. I love them all,” she says. “We may not agree on everything, but we are still family. Those

“It’s rare that someone comes in just to buy a paintbrush. We expect the unexpected from our customers. Maybe a fuse box blew, or the upstairs bathroom was leaking. It’s something we need to be sensitive about.” Debbie Rider able to align both her work and school schedules and decided to put her classes on hold. In 2015, she earned her health

who work on the floor are usually the long-timers, and I especially admire those who just go, go, go all the time,” she says.

As a frequent visitor at the Lowe’s paint desk the past several months, this writer can attest to Debbie being one of those people. She is rarely idle and acknowledges those waiting at the counter with a smile and a kind word. I met Debbie in Lowe’s on Labor Day. The atmosphere was lively, checkout lines long, and the paint counter crowded with customers. My business wasn’t complicated, and I thought about returning during a quieter time. Debbie was in full multitask mode. I was getting ready to leave when she hustled past me in the aisle, executed an expert backup maneuver, and asked what I needed. I wasn’t exactly sure, but I told her what the paint was for. “Come down here,” she said, as she pointed to the size and color paint I would end up purchasing. “This is what you want. I’ll be right with you,” she assured me and hustled back to the counter with a customer’s half-gallon can of paint. December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 21

She soon returned, giving me her full attention. If she was stressed by the throng of customers that day, her customers never saw it. She was knowledgeable and patient—accompanying both with a smile—and treating each of us as her most important of the day. Customers left satisfied and smiling. Debbie’s sense of responsibility to her customers runs deep. Her work ethic started in childhood, like the two other exceptional subjects in these stories. She doesn’t miss work unless she’s really sick. Debbie appreciates everything Lowe’s has done for her during her 13 years. As a skilled and knowledgeable Lowe’s employee, Debbie may soon be applying for a new position as manager. Wherever she lands, Debbie Rider will do justice to the profession. Her customers are always first. Aaron Haxton Books-A-Million Several months ago, I found myself at Books-A-Million searching for packing boxes. It happened to be a delivery day, and the nice young man I met in the store

Lexington Medical Center Proudly Welcomes

CANDACE N. PRINCE, DO, and JOSHUA PRINCE, DO These board-certified family medicine physicians join Lexington Family Medicine, the newest physician practice in the Lexington Medical Center Network of Care. Dr. Candace Prince and Dr. Joshua Prince bring their practice to Lexington from Newberry to provide comprehensive family medicine services for all ages and to give their patients access to the most advanced medicine and state-of-the-art technology.

146 East Hospital Dr. Suite 500 West Columbia, SC 29169 A Lexington Medical Center Physician Practice


(803) 739-3550 December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 23

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! 215 Oak Drive, Lexington, SC 29073 (Behind the Barnyard Flea Market) (803) 996-0707 • Mon – Fri: 9:00 – 5:30, Sat: 9:00 – 4:00

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was more than happy to accommodate me. He led me to the back of the store and asked how many and what size boxes I needed. He brought out folded boxes he had tucked into larger ones, packed them onto a dolly, carried them to my car, and loaded them into my trunk. Who volunteers this in a “big box store?” I wondered. And who was this nice gentleman? I couldn’t stop thinking about his thoughtful act; this certainly wasn’t part of his job requirement. I learned that Aaron Haxton has worked with Books-A-Million for 12 years and is the assistant general manager at its Lexington store. Aaron smiles when he remembers the bookstore setting on the Ellen DeGeneres show and how interesting he thought it would be to work around books for a living. He admits to being somewhat more reserved and introspective than salesman-like, however, a possible hurdle he would have to clear. In college, Aaron had taken religion classes that he describes as “exceedingly interesting and impactful,” and he found himself searching for answers, leaving his major undeclared for two years.

“It is a little weird talking about myself,” Aaron admits. It is a touching and honest self-assessment by a warm, kind, intelligent, and humble young man. He left college around 2005. Thirteen years later, he is taking an online class while working to finish his cognate. He will earn his BA degree in religious studies this spring. “After 12 years, working around books still speaks to me,” he says. Most important for Aaron are the life-enriching connections he has made. Some of the regulars come in the same day every week and sit at the same tables. Aaron compares them to a small neighborhood. When momentarily stepping away from his table, one frequent visitor would write on a napkin, “I have not left yet,” a phrase he engraved on a desk placard in his honor after the gentleman passed away. “We like to surround ourselves with employees who like their guests, a team

that will do everything they can to enhance the visit for a shopper,” Aaron says. “Learning is an ongoing process. I rely on others’ mindsets, perspectives, and knowledge in order to know more about myself—to get to a place of general peace. I think that’s what we’re all going for in our lives. “Sitting down with you, taking part in this interview is out of character for me, so that’s important. It will better and strengthen me,” he says. “I just need to listen.” At the close of our interview, Aaron returned to the table of one of his regulars who was waiting to finish a conversation started before I arrived. I left the bookstore knowing how fortunate I am to live in a town, bursting at its seams, but with many of its small-town values deep-rooted and solid. n

December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 25

by Mary Ann Hutcheson

Renaissance Man: An intelligent man who is knowledgeable or proficient in a variety of fields. A curious risk-taker, he is creative, persevering, and self-disciplined, with a thirst for knowledge and new experiences. If you recently followed a police pursuit that ended at the entrance to the South Carolina State Farmer’s Market, you may have seen it first on Paul Kirby’s Lexington Ledger Facebook page. If you didn’t follow the story there, then it might be time to acquaint yourself with one of Lexington County’s most vocal devotees. Paul Kirby is a man of many talents, many of which he discovered by chance throughout his life. A true Renaissance Man, Paul Kirby started early, redefining himself for each new challenge along the way. After graduation from Chapin High School in 1981, Paul worked at a gas station in Chapin, changing oil, pumping gas, and checking tires. While working there, Paul remembers several local elderly women who stopped by at Christmastime to buy gas. They would send Paul across the street to the town liquor store where he bought rum for their rum balls, brandy for their fruit cakes, or bourbon for their candy. He would slip the goods into their cars without comment, earning a tip for his efforts. “I guess they made candy with it; I don’t know,” he says, shrugging with his ready grin. Fireman Days The gas station owners were volunteer firemen at the nearby Chapin Fire Station, and the firetrucks picked them up at the station on their way to fire calls. “Guess who got left at work?” Kirby remembers. “I figured out pretty quickly that I’d better become a fireman, or I’d have to stay 26 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

there while they had all the fun.” A year later, Kirby was hired as a fulltime fireman in Lexington County. You mean they pay you to do this? he marveled, when informed of his salary. “My mom always said, ‘Don’t get wet, don’t get dirty, and don’t play with fire.’ I was getting paid to do all three. The perfect job, right?” he says. Several years later, Paul transferred to the South Congaree Fire Station. “It was the wild, wild West out here,” he says, “this whole end of the county. I was running more calls; there were fires and EMS; and I was constantly on the road. Young firemen want to go to fires!” he remembers with a smile. The Boy Scouts also played an enduring role in Paul’s development. He was certified as an Eagle Scout in 1981 and named as Scout of the Year, winning a trip to Disneyworld. As an assistant camp counselor at the Boy Scout camp in Gaston, Paul honed his skills in plumbing, electrical work, mechanics, and more. When he transferred to South Congaree, the Boy Scout camp provided his living quarters. Discovering a Writing Talent While reading the State newspaper one day, Kirby learned they were assembling a food-tasting panel to review new products. A pretty good cook himself, Paul wrote an essay on why they should include a bachelor fireman on the panel. The State liked his piece and included him on the panel. An article from June 1990 shows him in his early twenties, standing among other food testers in his white lab coat. One of their first decisions? Coke in the glass bottle tasted much

better than Coke in the can. It was Paul’s first experience with the power of the written word, and he was hooked. His wrote his next piece on an early 1990’s Gateway computer at the fire station. Using Microsoft Works, he wrote a story about some boys floating leaves in a puddle in front of the station. That effort landed him a job as writer for the then four-month-old Lexington Chronicle. Owner Jerry Bellune offered Paul a job, which turned into a nine-year hitch for the young entrepreneur. Paul is a born storyteller, a must for successful writers, and something at which Paul excels. This would one day lead him to his current job or, as he describes, his passion. In the meantime, he met and married Susan Jones, a member of his Explorer Post at the fire station. They have been married for 25 years. With Paul’s encouragement, Susan became a fire-fighter, then learned how to sail and kayak, and go whitewater rafting. “If that’s what makes you happy, you need to do it,” he told his wife. And she did. The couple has three daughters and an adopted son. Over the years, they have also taken in and raised children who needed a loving home. Building a Résumé Paul had more stops along his work journey. He taught for the South Carolina State Fire Academy and was an adjunct instructor for the National Fire Academy in Maryland. He was the first public information office for the fire service. He taught custom nuclear fire brigade

training. At Paul’s suggestion, he and other trainees visited and learned alongside the students at the Oconee Nuclear Station to prepare them for teaching their future students.

He also worked in the heavy concrete business, eventually building his own business. He sold concrete pipes and boxes, among other products, but it was back-breaking work. He remembers he and his wife working on their hands and knees finishing the concrete, loading it onto the tractor trailer truck, and driving it to its destination. They worked from before daybreak to dark. The company reached over $3,000,000 in sales by 2007. The Great Recession in 2008 led to sharp cutbacks in consumer spending, and Paul’s business was one of its casualties. Illness Intervenes Around that same time, Paul started to lose feeling in his feet and began stumbling when he walked. He was diagnosed with diabetes. Health concerns kept him in and out of the hospital for a year. Diabetes took its toll, causing him to gain weight and, ultimately, landed him in the hospital in a coma. His physician had a dire warning for him when he awoke in intensive care. “You’re not going to see your daughter graduate from high school if we don’t get this under control,” he told Paul. In March of 2014 Paul had major surgery to remove his stomach. Within two days of the surgery, Paul’s blood sugar levels dropped from 520 to 120. He changed his diet to plenty of fresh vegetables and fresh food and his favorite, protein-rich tuna. December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 27


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Diabetes has left him with no feeling in his feet, and he still wears a brace to manage his balance issues. Five years into his “retirement,” Paul was expecting to die from his illness and reflecting on what he would do next. He says he never even had a hobby. This from a man with a lengthy résumé of accumulated skills and an entrepreneurial spirit like few others. A Comeback Not much keeps someone like Paul Kirby down for long, and, using an old laptop, Paul began to build a website. He decided to focus his first reporting on Pelion, where he lived at the time, managing everything on that side of I-26. In 2014, he reintroduced himself to the community by launching the Southwest Lexington Ledger. By March of 2014, 84,000 visitors were checking out Paul’s Southwest Lexington Ledger webpage. The public started calling him to report their stories. He stayed busy, sometimes getting to bed at 2 a.m., while still waking his children at 7 each morning for school. In March of 2015, Paul knew he needed to turn his “hobby” into a business, He introduced himself to Pelion resident, Frank Shumpert, telling him, “I want to do all news on the Internet.” Shumpert believed that Paul Kirby was

onto something and provided the early support Paul needed to get started. Mr. Shumpert has been a dedicated advertiser ever since. Soon Paul was back in business and building his Facebook presence, The Lexington Ledger. Paul says, “I love Lexington County. I think it’s great from the red clay and rock of

streets and neighborhoods. The next morning, his family watched his Facebook page explode. By the end of the historic flood, there were over a quarter of a million viewers following Paul’s page. “It was a monster,” he remembers, “and it ate me alive.” Soon Paul decided to start his own news program. His business was “blowing up,”

“I love Lexington County. I think it’s great from the red clay and rock of Chapin to the sandy lands of Sandy Run.” Chapin to the sandy lands of Sandy Run.” He means it, and he lives it. Anyone who knows him, or has followed him on social media, will agree. It was just what the growing Lexington County community needed. Mother Nature came to Lexington County with a vengeance in October 2015. It began to rain and seemed it would never stop. With his 13-year-old daughter in tow as photographer, Paul took to the streets of Lexington County. As Paul posted reports to his Facebook page from a small phone, his daughter snapped photos of the flooded

he remembers. Still working from his living room, Paul knew he needed an office. He landed space at the Shealy PDQ in South Congaree, furnishing it with quality state-surplus property. “It was a very grassroots startup,” he smiles. He wanted to do a news show in the morning about Lexington County. “Period,” he emphasizes. “If it doesn’t happen in Lexington County, we’re not doing it!” Paul started streaming Good Morning Lexington County in May 2016.

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A Born Reporter Scratchy dispatch communications flowed in the background during our interview, and one caught Paul’s attention. He stopped the interview and immediately posted to his page, “Traffic alert: Car fire on Interstate 20 East at the 58 mile-marker. Fire service en route. Caution.” How did his antennae focus in on one report amid so many? Paul sleeps with several radios on and the phone by his bed. Depending on how important it is, it wakes him up. He calls it selective sleeping. “I just know,” he says. After years as a fireman, Paul is especially alert for events like gunshots, working structure fires, stabbings, car wrecks with entrapments, and anything else out of the ordinary. He tells me he can sleep through heart attacks and “that kind of thing.” Paul’s wife is hard of hearing. She married a firefighter who was used to leaving in the middle of the night, so she sleeps through it unless he wakes her for something serious. The tragic Amtrak collision in February of 2018 was that something serious, and Paul has difficulty recounting that story. He was on the scene by 3 a.m. that day, reporting out to Fox, CNN, CNBC, and Canadian and German television. Twelve hours later, as he finished reporting, he

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and that’s the whole key to the Ledger.” In the end, Paul doesn’t count his wealth in dollars. If he’s happy, he’s wealthy, he says. Who knows where his next stop will be? One thing is certain: Paul Kirby has earned the right to be named a modern-day Renaissance Man. n


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Dr. Elizabeth Lambert

I quickly knew that taking care of

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uch like her parents started anew after leaving Cuba to become U.S. citizens in the 1950s, Dr. Elizabeth Lambert came to medicine as a second career. She knew she had truly found her calling during her OB/GYN clinical rotation in medical school. Besides using the most current guidelines and recommendations to treat patients at Carolina Women’s Physicians, Dr. Lambert enjoys spending time with her husband of 31 years and their two adult children, and hiking with their dog Daisy.

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831MIN Vietnam to Lexington to New York Fashion Week by Katie Gantt Minh Le owns Classy Nails on West Main Street and has done alterations and created custom clothing for private clients out of that space for years. She began to attend some of the more local fashion weeks (Columbia, Charlotte, Charleston) seven or eight years ago as a spectator. At the encouragement of her friends and clients who had born personal witness to her talent throughout the years, Le began to work on her first fashion collection in 2017. Beyond her wildest dreams and expectations, that inaugural collection would go on to show at the Spring/Summer 2018 New York Fashion Week, which was held in September of 2017. She also showed her collection at Charleston Fashion Week, one of the south’s most respected fashion weeks, that same year.

designer, Minh Le, second from left

36 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018


Backstage at NYFW

City of Stars Fashion Show

Minh Le and Claire Richards Rapp

Her NYFW show was met with rave reviews and the collection was covered by various publications including Elle. com,, The Cut,, and Washington Square News. She had store buyers contact her to purchase clothing from her collection for resale in their stores, but being a one-woman show, she was not equipped to meet the demand at that time. She took the year off from fashion week and has instead been focusing much of her attention on a boutique that she is opening on Main Street in the E.D.’s Paint shopping center. The boutique will go by the same name as her line, 831MinhLe, and will feature her original designs for purchase as well as curated selections by other designers. Once the store opens, she plans to begin work on her second collection. Le began sewing as a little girl in Vietnam. Her grandmother wanted to encourage what seemed to be an innate talent and purchased Le her first sewing machine. She spent her teenage years working for a tailor, finetuning her craft. Le recently showed her original collection at the City of Stars charity fashion show held at the South Carolina State Museum, benefits proceeding COLAJAZZ and supporting music education programs for children. Lexington Life had a photographer on assignment to capture some magical moments on the runway and backstage. Best of luck to Lexington’s very own NYFW star, Minh Le, in all of her future endeavors. n December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 37

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Stay Well Connected LMC MyChart makes connecting to your health care easier than ever. Patients have 24/7 access to their Lexington Medical Center physician practices – letting them schedule and request appointments, make payments, review test results, request prescription refills and more. And they can do it all from their computer, tablet or smartphone.

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I It’s a PERSONAL Thing

f you’ve been enough miles down the road, I’m certain you can remember a time when you looked up at the stars and realized something you hadn’t thought of before. One could almost say it was as if one had been sent a message. Some of these messages were striking in their clarity, and perhaps one has changed your life. One might be tempted to say one was spoken to by an angel. If it hasn’t happened exactly this way, you get the point of the idea. I’m also certain you’ve probably taken more than one journey that the outside observer would say was a wild goose chase. And some wild goose chases are exactly that, and one never catches the wild goose. But one can look back and plainly see that there was at least one long so-called wild goose chase that turned out to be a life-changing event, and to have missed that experience would have been to miss something really big. Many of us have seen a newborn baby of our own. We’ve experienced that sense of wonder where we are dumbfounded in awe of the miracle dancing in those little bright, inquisitive eyes. Our surroundings were irrelevant when we first saw that little baby, weren’t they? It wouldn’t have mattered if you were in the finest hospital in the land or just some old shed out back — the effect would have been the same. It would be fair to say that all of us have experienced some kind of life-journey that others have spoken about negatively. Some of those heartless people have tried to harm our journey or have placed stumbling blocks in our path.

We’ve all experienced someone trying to kill our creative efforts. Having lived through these inspirational wild goose chase moments where many others did not understand, we’ve learned to highly value the few who got it. We’ve also learned to keep our mouth shut to most people about things that matter greatly, just so we don’t give the idle negative person anything to latch onto. We may go out of our way to escape these negative forces seeking to harm us. It’s easy to remember and imagine — if we take the time to do so — how meaningful all these things have been in our life. As time goes by, these small happenstance pieces of our journey often stand out in certain ways as some of the most important things of all, even though the actual description of them might be humble and flat. The “taking of time” is the crucial thing to this whole business. If we take the time to set aside the bright reds and greens and Santas and hustle and bustle, we can easily see that the old story set out in the second chapter of an old book called Luke sounds very similar to our own life experience. If you consider this old story with enough care, you’ll find it was written just for you.

David Clark writes and works in Cochran, GA. Connect with him at

December 2018 | LEXINGTON LIFE | 45

A Festive

Christmas Breakfast Gingerbread Pancakes Ingredients: 1 1/2 cups of flour 1 teaspoon baking powder 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1 teaspoon ground ginger 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice 1/8 teaspoon cloves 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg 1/3 cup brown sugar 2 tablespoons molasses 2 eggs 4 tablespoons butter, melted 3/4 cup milk Directions: Preheat skillet to 350 degrees (medium heat). In a large bowl, whisk together all dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk, molasses, and butter. Slowly add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until combined, do not over-mix. Scoop about 1/4 of mixture onto skillet, and flip when top begins to bubble (about 2 minutes). Cook for 2 more minutes until pancakes are lightly golden brown. Top with your favorite syrup and powdered sugar. Shrimp and Grits Casserole Ingredients: 4 cups chicken broth 1⁄2 teaspoon salt 1 cup regular grits 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided (4 ounces) 1 cup shredded monterey jack pepper cheese (4 ounces) 2 tablespoons butter or 2 tablespoons margarine 6 green onions, chopped 1 green bell pepper, chopped

46 | LEXINGTON LIFE | December 2018

1 garlic clove, minced 1 lb fresh small shrimp, peeled and cooked 1 (10 ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chilies, drained 1⁄4 teaspoon salt 1⁄4 teaspoon pepper Directions: Bring 4 cups chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil in a large saucepan; stir in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir together grits, 3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, and Monterey Jack cheese. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add green onions, bell pepper, and garlic, and sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Stir together green onion mixture, grits mixture, shrimp, and next 3 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese. Bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes. Cranberry Mimosa Ingredients: Cranberry juice cocktail Orange liqueur (triple sec) Your favorite champagne Optional: Fresh rosemary sprigs and fresh cranberries for garnish Directions: Fill champagne flutes 1/3 full with cranberry juice cocktail. Add a splash of orange liqueur. Fill remaining 2/3 of glass with champagne. Garnish with fresh rosemary sprig. n

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Lexington Life Magazine-Dec18'  

Lexington Life is a premiere publication serving the residents of Lexington, SC Published since 2004, Lexington Life Magazine is a family-ow...

Lexington Life Magazine-Dec18'  

Lexington Life is a premiere publication serving the residents of Lexington, SC Published since 2004, Lexington Life Magazine is a family-ow...