Thomasville Magazine Summer 2023

Page 1

All in the Hands

Beach Reads

Focus on Children


Please Take One
Maynard is making a name for herself as an artist with her line of McKenzie Pottery Extra Ordinary Sarah D. Shearer releases her memoir
helping is a SUMMER, this
to save lives
awareness efforts continue
Everything you need to enjoy your time off this summer
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THOMASVILLEMAGAZINE.COM | SUMMER 2023 | 5 8 All in the Hands McKenzie Maynard is making a name for herself as an artist with her line of McKenzie Pottery. 20 Focus on Kids Childhood cancer awareness efforts in Thomasville continue to raise money and save lives. 28 Teaching Teachers Thomasville History Center uses a special grant to provide programming for teachers across the country. 34 Naturally Sweet Recipes for baked goods without all the guilt. 40 Business Spotlight The Bookshelf is among Thomasville’s most popular shops and its offerings go well beyond retail. 47 Beach Reads Annual round up of suggested titles for long summer days. 55 Like a Pro Stephanie Rice shares tips that will have you food prepping like a pro in no time! 66 Beautiful Healing Columnist Felicia Dilbert leads readers through a wonderful journey of self-healing. 72 Local Author Sarah D. Shearer shares the news of her recently published book Extra Ordinary – A Memoir. 79 Bridging the Gap Lawson Neel MedBank assists residents with getting crucial medications. IN EVERY ISSUE 6 Editor’s Letter 50 Downtown Guide 91 Events 96 Social Scenes CONTENTS p.34 p.66 p.97 p.72 p.8

There are many reasons to love living in a small town like Thomasville. And while The Rose City is extra special on many levels, one characteristic that stands out is the willingness to help one another.

This issue explores several opportunities for area residents to help and be helped. From the efforts to raise money for childhood cancer awareness to the assistance for those in need of vital medications, “help” is often a lifesaving action.

Many of you are involved in, or at least aware of, Hands on Thomas County, which this year celebrates its 20th anniversary. Their mission is to connect volunteers to non-profit and community agencies, needs, and service opportunities. Reach out to them, find your role as a volunteer, and help them make their anniversary goal of 20,000 service hours in 2023.

During the week of June 5-9, they will offer a unique opportunity for students to earn volunteer credits. Open to rising 6th-9th graders, Project IMPACT is a week of fun and hands-on volunteer service. Students may earn up to 20 community service hours for their participation that may be applied to the upcoming school year. Cost is $100 per camper, which includes a t-shirt. Space is limited, so first come, first served. Learn more at

Whether you’re a helper or in need of help, Thomasville is a city that embraces everyone. Just look around you―it’s easy to see!

Happy summer!

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Baked lemon cheesecake, recipe on page 36


In 2019, McKenzie Maynard taught herself potterymaking basics by watching YouTube videos. She’s since expanded her talents through one-on-one training in a Texas studio where she was eventually invited to teach.


STORY BY Kathy Nolan · PHOTOS BY Emily Tucker Photography

Amazing magician or mad scientist?

Thomasville ceramic artist McKenzie Maynard feels like she is a little bit of both, with the ancient soul of an artist. The talented creative recently set up a permanent brick and mortar studio to officially make her mark as a potter. In 2019, McKenzie began watching YouTube videos to satisfy her curiosity, creating an even larger fascination with Greek red figure pottery, Minoan pottery and chinoiserie. The aspiring artist began testing her skills by hand-building pieces after watching the online demonstrations. The magic of the mud compelled her to continue on the red dirt road.

McKenzie’s healthcare career gave her the opportunity to pursue her passion for pottery and to learn more about her craft while working as a traveling nurse during the recent pandemic. McKenzie and her fiancé accepted positions in Tyler, Texas and spent seven months working in the industry. It was there that the burgeoning artist met Jeff Clements, her artistic advocate. After taking a few classes at Adjusting Sails Dirt Works, McKenzie’s natural artistic ability and enthusiasm resulted in her accepting a role as an art teacher in

the same studio.

The healing art provided therapeutic benefits from the stressful pandemic environment, but more importantly it fueled Maynard’s desire to tap into ancestral connections from her Cherokee heritage, learning about the historic significance of the artform.

“I’m simply amazed that the same process of creating pottery has transcended thousands and thousands of years. We have motor-powered wheels and electric kilns now, but the bones are still the same. My two hands are involved in the same ancient process that civilizations long gone used. My pieces will outlive me and all the generations that come after me. It makes every little piece that I create just that much more special,” says Maynard.

Pottery is one of the oldest human inventions, originating before the

Creating a dedicated pottery studio has been inspirational.

Neolithic period, with ceramic dating back to 29,000–25,000 BC. Pottery is made by forming a clay body into objects of a desired shape and heating them to high temperatures (up to 2200°F) in a bonfire, pit or kiln, inducing reactions that lead to permanent changes, including increasing the strength, rigidity and appearance of the object. Much pottery is purely utilitarian, but master potters create ceramic art, whereby functional and sculptural pieces are carved or decorated before or after their firing.

Pottery is traditionally divided into three types: earthenware, stoneware and porcelain. All three types may be glazed or unglazed and decorated by various techniques. Historic pottery is often grouped as either “fine” wares—relatively expensive and wellmade, and following the aesthetic taste of the culture concerned—or alternatively “village” wares, mostly undecorated and simple pieces.

The Catawba Nation has the longest pottery-making tradition

in North America and influenced Cherokee pottery making. Women were traditionally the potters in both Catawba and Cherokee cultures. Cherokee pottery was made using a coil building method, imprinted with designs using carved wooden paddles, and polished using stones. Correct clay preparation, construction, and polishing were all necessary for the pottery not to crack or be rough-sanded. Cherokee pottery is unglazed, fired in pits using native woods, and waterproofed using corncobs and bran.

Like her Cherokee ancestors, McKenzie started hand building her pieces, but later became quite

proficient after teaching herself to use a pottery wheel to throw clay. The entire process can take up to one month to complete one finished piece. After shaping the clay, it must be allowed to dry until leather-hard. In the next phase, handles are created and attached to the form, and it is decoratively carved. The piece must again be left to become bone dry before the bisque figure is fired to reach 1888°F. Once properly cooled, a glaze is added and the piece must be fired again, this time reaching a temperature of 2200°F to transform the simple mud.

“I really want consumers to understand that this is a long artistic process and that the pricing of original Continued, p.17

Maynard loves to see how heat transforms the glazes she uses, creating one-of-a-kind pieces.
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works is a result of that time-intensive creative endeavor,” she says. “When buyers purchase a piece of original pottery, they receive a custom-crafted, one-of-a-kind work of art that may not be duplicated on the shelves of a big box retail store.”

Inspired by nature and obsessed with science, McKenzie’s art is influenced by the magical process that transforms a lump of clay into a shiny work of art. “Glazes are basically liquid glass with oxides and colorants added that when fired to certain temperatures undergo a chemical reaction to create the vibrant glazes you see on finished pieces. It’s as close to magic as we can get,” she says. “A dull, red-looking liquid glaze

applied to bisqueware, for example, will come out of the kiln as the most beautiful shiny blue finished piece. The chemical reaction between two different glazes on top of each other can be even more spectacular. It’s always a surprise when you open the kiln. You can’t be a potter without feeling a bit like a chemist as well.”

McKenzie Maynard is currently developing a new line of pottery called the Red Dirt Road Collection, inspired by South Georgia’s natural environment and Thomasville, her chosen hometown. Her father’s Army

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Employed as a traveling nurse during the pandemic, Maynard found working with clay to be therapeutic.


Maynard’s functional pottery pieces are regularly shared on her Instagram account and can be purchased by messaging her there.

career included moving to several cities when McKenzie was growing up. Perhaps those red dirt roads connected her spiritual journey from Oklahoma to Georgia to her artisan Cherokee ancestors, who once shaped pots, and their culture, using the magical mud. Maybe it was magic or maybe it was destiny. Thomasville was McKenzie’s favorite stop along the way, and she returned to build a life here after attending college at East Carolina University in North Carolina. Maynard’s gallery includes works created using B-mix (a white-toned base) and speckled buff (another light-toned base with small black manganese flecks). The Red Dirt Road Collection will feature a red stoneware base sourced from the local region. McKenzie’s studio is private, but pottery collectors can see more work by following the artist on Instagram @mckenziepotteryco. Maynard will post new works that are available for sale, and patrons can message her if interested in making a purchase. TM

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Starting in June, Thomasville will be all tied up in big, poufy golden bows from the downtown business area to the residential district to signify Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Childhood cancer is the number one disease killer of children in the country but remains the least funded of all types of cancer research, says Sharon Johnson, team leader of Families for a CURE, a Thomasville group of parents, survivors, family members, and friends affected by a child or children fighting cancer. They realize the importance of giving back.

Sharon and her husband, Jeff Johnson, are the parents of leukemia survivor Julia Johnson. The couple began raising awareness and funding for childhood cancer in 2010, when the nonprofit organization CURE Childhood Cancer asked them to participate in their September “CURE Kids” online fundraising project.

“Of course, we said yes,” says Sharon. That was 10 years ago when their daughter was a patient at Children’s Egleston Hospital in Atlanta. Today, Julia, 22, is cancer free and just graduated Georgia Tech, where she majored in public policy with a minor in biology.

Julia’s online fundraising page evolved into the local Families for a CURE and has grown every year since. “We raise childhood cancer awareness and funds for two nonprofit organizations—CURE Childhood Cancer and Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation—that focus on funding cures and better treatments for childhood cancer and also provide financial assistance to those families facing a childhood cancer diagnosis,” says Sharon.

Last year, proceeds from their fundraising events resulted in donating $55,355 to CURE and $9,763 to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, she says, pointing out these organizations

Difference MAKERS
TCCHS baseball players placed gold bows downtown last year. STORY BY Leila Sisson Case SUPPORTING FAMILIES FACING CHILDHOOD CANCER

rank the highest by Charity Navigator, a website that analyzes non-profits and their use of donations.

“I’m amazed at the money and support that comes from our local community. Over the past years we have expanded to include more children in the Thomasville area that have been diagnosed with cancer. Contributions have grown every year and we’re grateful,” says Sharon. “We hope and pray these numbers increase every year.”

Fundraising efforts begin in June and July when the small and mighty group of volunteers begins tying gold bows, the color for cancer awareness. “We tie almost 1,000 bows and sell them to businesses to tie on their doors and to homeowners for their mailbox or front door. We also put them on business signs and park benches. Thomasville’s landmark Big Oak even sports a huge gold bow around its trunk,” says Susan, noting bows are $10, $20 and $50, depending on the size.

Volunteer Kathy Pipkin with some of the gold bows she helps tie and sell.
Difference MAKERS

Top of page: Last year Mayor Jay Flowers (wearing bowtie) declared September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Pictured with him are Joy and Alex Suarez, with Sharon Johnson and Nick Brinson at the podium. Bottom left: Marranda Coleman, childhood cancer patient, and friend Dezmond Jones distributing gold bows.


Difference MAKERS

Fundraising events also include a car wash, bake sale and lemonade stand in the parking lot of Dudley Moore’s, a raffle, an online silent auction, and a BarbeCURE event. Local schools raise funds through “Caps for a CURE” and coin drives, and individual businesses also do fundraising.

This year’s BarbeCURE will be held July 29 at the fairgrounds on Pavo Road. All other fundraising events will take place in September.

“With every bow we tie, every car we wash, every cup of lemonade we sell, we’re chipping away at childhood cancer a little at a time,” says Sharon.

Visit the group’s Facebook page, Childhood Cancer Awareness-Families for a CURE, or contact Sharon Johnson at 229-226-6927 for more about the varied events. For details on the two receiving organizations, visit and

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Cancer survivor Tee Bridges, CFO of Stone’s Home Centers, is on the lawnmower raffled in prior years, joined by Wil Snipes, a local CPA and one of Families for a CURE’s BBQ experts.

teaching the

Discovering HISTORY

This July, the Thomasville History Center (THC) will host 62 educators from across the country as they experience a weeklong place-based learning opportunity. These workshops were funded through a National Endowment for the Humanities grant awarded to the center last October. The grant will provide $198,000 to cover expenses and a travel stipend for each educator.

So, who will take part in these workshops? The group will include kindergarten through grade 12 educators and museum educators from 17 states, arriving in Thomasville in two groups, each staying for one week. The educators were chosen from a field of over 100 entries who indicated their desire to learn about the African American experience in Southwest Georgia, from the time of Reconstruction through Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.

THC was awarded this grant along with nine other institutions from places as far as way as the Solomon Islands. The National Endowment has provided their Landmarks in American Culture grant for over 20 years. Its purpose is to support a series of one-week workshops for educators across the nation to enhance and strengthen humanities teaching at the K-12 level.

History center staff were excited to hear they would be hosting the educators while

they learn about the unique history of Thomasville and Thomas County. These are individuals who applied to the program and expressed a desire to come to Thomas County and participate in what the NEH refers to as “place-based learning.”

The attendees will visit locations throughout the region where historical events occurred or where there are available resources to learn more about the events that helped shape this region. THC applied for this grant with two other partners, Dr. Kurt Piehler from Florida State University, and Dr. Gregory Mixon from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Piehler and Mixon will be joined in the workshop by five other scholars, Dr. Maxine Jones, Dr. Julia Brock, Dr. Le’Trice Donaldson, Dr. Jennifer Brooks, and Wes Singletary.

The educators chosen for this program will enjoy a week of learning and exploring across Southwest Georgia, meeting with other noted subject matter experts and visiting places that share and represent the uniqueness of the area.

THC often refers to its main interpretive theme of “A Place Apart, a Part of Place,” and this workshop will build on that concept. The events and people of this region are in many ways one-of-a-kind and in other ways they are representative and reflective of the entire community.

Previous pages: Tall Timbers Research Station; above: Thomasville History Center Collection, 1994.14.05 Austin Family of Pebble Hill Plantation, 1911; at right: Pebble Hill Plantation

The groups will explore the ways in which the African American community interacted with other groups—racial, religious, civic, educational—in ways that were at times confrontational and at times copacetic and productive. There was a definite African American middle class that came to be in Thomas County after Reconstruction, and why that happened remains a unique story.

In addition to the educators’ learning opportunities during the week, the public will also be invited to two different events to share and learn with the educators and scholars. Thomasville History Center is honored to be the host of this workshop and the recipient of this prestigious grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. THC encourages everyone to join them this summer as they welcome educators from across the country to their backyard. TM

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Discovering HISTORY
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natural bakes



Peach, Nectarine & Ginger Crumble


3 peaches (about 1 lb 5 oz)

3 nectarines (about 1 lb 5 oz)

1 tbsp cornstarch

1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger

1 orange, juiced and finely zested

cream, crème fraîche or thick yogurt, to serve


2/3 cup quinoa flakes

½ cup pecans, roughly chopped

½ cup flaked coconut

1/3 cup puffed wholegrain rice

1 tsp ground ginger

2¾ oz butter or virgin coconut oil, melted

2 tbsp rice malt syrup

Preheat the oven to 320°F. Halve the peaches and nectarines, remove the stones and cut into wedges. Toss with the cornstarch and ginger in a large bowl, and then with the orange zest and juice. Pile into a 34 fl oz baking dish or four 1 cup ramekins.

For the crumble topping, combine the quinoa flakes, pecans, coconut, puffed rice and ginger in a large bowl. Drizzle with the melted butter or oil and the rice malt syrup. Stir until well combined.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture over the fruit. Bake for 35–40 minutes or until the fruit is bubbling and the top is golden and crisp. Cover with foil if the top is browning too quickly. Serve with a dollop of cream, crème fraîche or thick yogurt.

Indulge your sweet tooth with healthier baking options. This new cookbook, Natural Bakes: Everyday gluten-free, sugar-free baking, relies on whole fruits and other natural ingredients to create sumptuous desserts. Reinventing many timehonored classics, Caroline Griffiths shows how you can have your cake and eat it too!


Baked Lemon Cheesecake

SERVES 10-12

1 almond pastry crust (recipe below)

3½ oz Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped

¼ cup boiling water

12½ oz fresh firm ricotta

12½ oz cream cheese, softened

3 eggs, separated

1 tbsp finely grated lemon zest, plus extra shredded zest to serve

¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped

1½ tbsp cornstarch pinch of salt

figs, fresh berries or other fruits in season, for decorating rice malt syrup, for drizzling (optional)

For Almond Pastry Crust

2 cups almond meal

2 tbsp coconut flour

½ tsp monk fruit extract powder (optional)

2 oz virgin coconut oil, chilled to solidify then roughly chopped

1 egg

2–4 tsp iced water

Preheat the oven to 320°F. Grease an 8-inch springform cake tin and line the base with non-stick baking paper.

For the almond pastry crust, place the almond meal, coconut flour, monk fruit extract powder (if using) and solid coconut oil in a food processor and pulse until the coconut oil is mixed evenly throughout the mixture – you will still see small flecks of the solid coconut oil. Add the egg and, with the processor running, add enough water for the mixture to form coarse crumbs. It should cling together when pressed between your fingertips.

For the Cheesecake

Press the almond pastry crust firmly into the base of the prepared dish and bake for 10–12 minutes or until just starting to brown around the edges. Set aside to cool and reduce the oven temperature to 265°F.

Put the dates in a small heatproof bowl and add the boiling water. Set aside for 5–10 minutes to cool, stirring occasionally. Blend

the soaked dates, including their soaking water, in a food processor until smooth. Add the ricotta, cream cheese, egg yolks, lemon zest and juice, and vanilla seeds, and process until smooth. Sprinkle over the cornstarch and blend again until combined. Spoon the mixture into a large bowl. Beat the egg whites and salt with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold into the cheese mixture in two batches.

Pour the mixture over the prepared base and bake for 30–35 minutes or until lightly browned and the center is just set—it should wobble slightly. Turn off the oven and leave it to cool with the door closed for 1 hour. Chill the cheesecake in the fridge for 3 hours or overnight.

Remove from the baking dish. Just before serving, top the cheesecake with the figs, berries or fruits of your choice, and drizzle with rice malt syrup if you like. The cheesecake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 2–3 days.

Summer is fig season and the perfect time to create this elegant dessert.
This recipe creates six individualsized galettes for easy serving. THE THOMASVILLE KITCHEN

Pear & Chocolate Frangipane Galettes


1 batch gluten-free rough puff pastry (see below)

gluten-free flour, for dusting

2 bosc or corella pears

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp rice malt syrup, warmed

crème fraîche or creamy natural yogurt, to serve


3½ oz butter, softened

2 tbsp rice malt syrup

2 egg yolks

4 oz almond meal

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder

2 tbsp cornstarch

2 tbsp amaretto (optional)

For Rough Puff Pastry

9 oz gluten-free flour pastry blend (see below), plus extra for dusting

½ tsp salt

7 oz cold butter, cut into ½ inch pieces

1/3 cup ice water, plus extra if needed

1/3 cup cold whole milk

Gluten-free Flour Pastry Blend

5½ oz sorghum flour

3½ oz glutinous rice flour

1 oz potato starch

1 oz tapioca flour (tapioca starch)

1½ tsp xanthan gum

To make the gluten-free flour pastry blend, sift the flours and xanthan gum into a large bowl, then sift again (or whisk) to ensure the ingredients are evenly combined. You will need 9 oz of flour for the rough puff pastry. There will be enough left over for dusting. Mix the flour blend and salt together in a large bowl. Add the butter and toss through the flour with your fingertips until the butter is coated. Add the water and milk and mix to just combine, then press the mixture together to form a rough dough, taking care to leave the butter in lumps. Add a little more water, if necessary, just to bring the dough together and to stop it cracking. Do not knead. On a clean work surface lightly dusted with some of the remaining flour blend, press the pastry into a rectangle about 1¼ inch thick. Roll it out to an 8x12 inch rectangle, ensuring that any patches of butter are dusted with a little more flour before they become exposed. It will seem very messy but don’t worry, it will all come together. If you’ve made regular rough puff pastry before, you will note that this is a slower process with gluten-free flour.

For the Frangipane

Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line two baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thick. Cut six 5½ inch circles from the pastry. (I use a small, upturned bowl as my guide to cut a template from card. Be careful not to squish the edges of the dough as you don’t want to impede the rise.) Gently transfer the circles to the prepared trays and bake for 10–15 minutes or until puffed, starting to brown and the base is cooked when you peek underneath. You should have lots of lovely flaky layers. Remove from the oven and use a clean tea towel to gently press the pastry to flatten it slightly. Set aside for 15 minutes to cool.

Meanwhile, to make the frangipane, beat the butter and rice malt syrup with an electric mixer until pale and creamy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Add the egg yolk and beat until combined. Sift in the almond meal, cocoa and cornstarch, then mix on low speed until combined. Stir in the amaretto (if using).

Divide the frangipane mixture between the pastry circles and spread out evenly, leaving a ½ inch border around the edge. Core and slice the pears very thinly and brush them with the lemon juice to stop them browning. Arrange the pear slices on the galettes so they slightly overlap. Bake for 15–18 minutes or until the pear begins to curl and the pastry is a deep golden color. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool on a wire rack, then brush with the warmed rice malt syrup. Serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of crème fraîche or yogurt.


The Bookshelf

Where Readers Become Friends

“Books are for everyone!” Owner of The Bookshelf, Annie Jones, says enthusiastically.

This sentiment echoes her overall mission of creating a community gathering place for children and adults alike. For a passerby strolling through beautiful downtown Thomasville, there are treats galore in store for them and all who enter The Bookshelf. While selling books is at the top of the list, customers will also find a generous offering of interesting and creative events and activities for those who love to read.

On a base level, visitors can browse the chic, aesthetically pleasing storefront and find the pleasure of a new read to enjoy while nestled in a comfy oversized chair. But the fun doesn’t stop there, because The Bookshelf wants you to feel welcome. They’d love to learn your name and hear what kind of books you enjoy in the hopes they might recommend one you haven’t read yet.

If a connection sparks from there, said reader may be intrigued to sign up for a Shelf Subscription, a monthly subscription service whereby members receive a newly

released book recommended by The Bookshelf staff. Visitors often strike up a conversation with one of the store’s friendly booksellers, and now they are interested to see what Erin or Olivia or Caroline or Nancy might be reading. Each unique bookseller hopes to connect with customers and help them find a book they can’t put down.

Now, this once nonchalant customer is hooked, like a reader in an intriguing plot. Their own home bookshelf is burgeoning with treasures, and they want someone to share their delight with. This is where events come into play. From snazzy and delicious Pen to Plate dinners, to Reader Retreats which unite readers from all over the country, to Saturday Morning Story Time for the littlest readers, there is truly

The Bookshelf is the area’s only independentlywoman-owned bookstore.
Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf, believes the role of a bookstore is to foster community.

something for everyone.

“The role of a bookstore is to foster community,” Jones says with passion. And she and her team are doing just that.

By setting the table and hanging the twinkle lights, so to speak, Jones creates an atmosphere where people of all ages can gather and connect with one another. Books provide a unique outlet for fostering this environment, because “books are a safe way to tackle difficult conversations,” she says. Books can bring people together and help them consider new and unique perspectives on important topics.

Even children are adding their voices to the narrative. In a group called Dumbledore’s Army, children in middle grades can read advance copies of books in their age bracket and provide their own official handwritten feedback on brochures displayed in the store for all to see.

Thomasville as a whole seeks to be both a welcoming haven and an unforgettable destination, but why stop after the brick streets come to an end? Why not consider the world attainable and welcome readers from near and far? This is what The Bookshelf does with online sales. For those beyond the city limits, the invitation remains. Locals might be surprised to learn that The Bookshelf does a huge volume of sales online. Customers are becoming friends in every state and even far-off countries.

Online Sales Manager Erin Fielding hopes long-distance customers will feel welcomed as though they were shopping in person.

“We hope to make customers feel like we know them. If we know a reader likes James Patterson, we want to be able to reach out to them and let them know we have the newest of his in stock.”

Through artfully curated packages and a sleek and easy to browse website, people in different states or even those deployed overseas can feel as though they’ve entered their

Annie supports a Little Free Bookshelf, where anyone can take a book to read or leave one for others.

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Gynecologic Oncology A Division of Edwards Cancer Center THOMASVILLEMAGAZINE.COM | SUMMER 2023 | 45

own Narnia when they open a package from The Bookshelf. Helping customers find their next great read “is our joy,” Fielding conveys. From Georgia all the way to snowy Minnesota, The Bookshelf’s paper heart beats for community. In a place like Thomasville, already so invested in making itself a welcoming place, The Bookshelf is a bright light, drawing people in with its endless options for readers and community participation. Even those who would not consider themselves readers are bound to find a beautiful gift for someone they love. From aromatic candles to Herschel backpacks, cozy mugs and even a counter space of mouthwatering chocolate truffles, interesting finds abound here. Whether a person is a lifelong Thomasville native who frequents downtown, or perhaps they are new to the area and hoping to connect with new friends, The Bookshelf is not to be missed. Bookmark it for your next downtown visit! TM

Keeping the promise. Thomas County Farm Bureau 2376 GA Hwy 122 | Thomasville , GA 31757 | 229-226-04 31 Home • Auto • Life • Bank Qualit y Car Insurance Coverage 46 | THOMASVILLEMAGAZINE.COM | SUMMER 2023
First-time visitors to The Bookstore are delighted to find more than they expected.



For me, the phrase “summer reading” brings connotations of personal pan pizzas and required book lists, gold stars and journal entries. After school let out each summer, I’d head to the library or to Barnes & Noble, armed with my teacher’s preferred list of books. For some students, I’m sure that list felt like homework. For me, it felt like adventure.

I think for adults, summer reading can feel like an outdated, childish concept, wrapped up in those memories of a dreaded list on the last day of school.

At The Bookshelf, our goal is to inspire a love of reading in readers of all ages, in your kids, yes, but also in you. Reading in adulthood doesn’t have to feel like a checkmark on a to-do list. There are no more gold stars. Now reading can be for information or for adventure, whatever you need, whenever you need it.

So, this isn’t a reading list. It’s just a few recommendations, books the staff and I think will keep you invested and reading all summer long. Whatever summer reading once meant to you, let’s change it into something that means excitement. Freedom. Joy. Happy reading!


IF WE’RE BEING HONEST BY CAT SHOOK I love a dysfunctional family novel, but most of the books I find in that category are set in New York or New England. How delightful to encounter a debut novel about a Southern family that doesn’t read like a caricature! If We’re Being Honest is set over the course of one week—starting with a funeral and ending with a wedding—and the characters are multi-faceted, deep, and funny, just like the Southerners I know.


KAUR JASWAL Now You See Us is told from the perspectives of three domestic workers from the Philippines who immigrated to Singapore for work as cleaners, maids, and caregivers. When one of their fellow workers is accused of murdering her employer, the book becomes quietly suspenseful as the women band together to prove her innocence. Readers of The Help and Crazy Rich Asians will find a lot to like about these spunky women.



Christians will be familiar with the name Beth Moore. She’s known in Christian circles for her Bible studies and preaching prowess, but it’s her writing that will blow you away in this new memoir. All My Knotted-Up Life is Southern Gothic literature at its core. Yes, Moore writes eloquently about her faith and her complicated relationship to the evangelical church, but the book would really best be compared to The Glass Castle or Memorial Drive


T.J. Newman’s debut novel Falling was an immediate hit two summers ago, a breathless thriller set on an airplane, perfect for fans of 1990s Harrison Ford movies. Now the former flight attendant is back with another thriller—equally breathless—about an airplane that sinks to the bottom of the ocean with a group of passengers trapped inside. Three of us on staff have read this one, and we can’t stop talking about it. If you need a onesit-read this summer, this is it.


Remember when Where’d You Go, Bernadette took the world by storm? Even the most reluctant readers bought a copy, and publishers have been looking for a breakout novel in the same vein ever since. I think The Second Ending, about a former child prodigy, is that novel. As a little girl, Prudence’s piano-playing talents captured awe and attention. Now Prudence is an insecure emptynester, until a series of unfortunate events leads her to a competitionstyle TV show.



Georgia author

Anissa Gray’s sophomore novel is even better than her debut. In Life and Other Love Songs, she tells the story of Ozro, Deborah, and Trinity, a family torn apart by Ozro’s disappearance on his 37th birthday. Told across timelines and through different characters, the novel is about family secrets, trials, and trauma, but it’s also about unconditional love, forgiveness, and hope. If you loved The Many Daughters of Afong Moy last year, I think you’ll love this one.


E A S Y & C O N V E N I E N T

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Key making

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Knife sharpening

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H O M A S V I L L E f


A t A C E o f T h o m a s v i l l e , w e o f f e r c u r b s i d e p i c k u p , d e l i v e r y a n d a s s e m b l y A n d , w h e n y o u c o m e t o o u r s t o r e , y o u c a n e x p e c t t o f i n d t e a m m e m b e r s w h o a r e k n o w l e d g e a b l e , h e l p f u l a n d c a n h e l p y o u f i n d e x a c t l y w h a t y o u n e e d . W e p r i d e o u r s e l v e s o n b e i n g t h e h e l p f u l h a r d w a r e f o l k s !

O R D E R O N L I N E , P I C K U P I N S T O R E ! N e e d s o m e t h i n g u n i q u e ? O r d e r f r o m y o u r h o m e w i t h t h e c o n v e n i e n c e o f o n l i n e s h o p p i n g , a n d p i c k i t u p f r o m o u r s t o r e . Y o u c a n a l s o r e t u r n i t e m s f r o m o n l i n e i n - s t o r e . O r , c o m e i n a n d w e c a n p l a c e a n o r d e r f o r y o u !

O R D E R O N L I N E A T A C E H A R D W A R E . C O M , P I C K U P I N S T O R E A C E o f T h o m a s v i l l e 2 7 3 0 E P i n e t r e e B l v d 2 2 9 - 5 1 6 - 8 5 9 0

Downtown Doings

Saturday Afternoons

Cocktail Classes

Join in the mixology lessons at 1861 Distillery each weekend. Learn cocktail making basics while they demonstrate how to make their monthly cocktail special. The class is $15 and includes a cocktail of your choice. For tickets, email

314 Smith Avenue

Pre-Father’s Day Wine Specials

In anticipation of the release of a new Knockout Red Blend for Father’s Day, Farmer’s Daughter is offering promos on the existing Knockout. Go check it out! 106 N. Broad Street

June 17

Knitting Classes

“Building Blocks” is a series of fun patterns that will build your knitting skills. Newcomers can join the series any month. Classes are $32/person and planned for 10-11am. For all the details, visit the classes page at

July 22

Family Movie Night

Enjoy a free family movie night at The Ritz Amphitheater. Kid-friendly activities start at 6:30pm. The movie begins at 7:30pm, featuring Disney’s Moana. Bring your chairs, blankets, and the whole family for an evening of fun! For more information call 229-228-7977.

Come taste our Southern style breakfast and lunch! We are known for our mouth watering cathead biscuits, completely made from scratch. Catering options available.

122 North Broad Steet Thomasville


Tues-Sat 7-2

Café CAJUN EATS WITH A Southern Attitude! 420 W. Jackson St., Thomasville 229-236-6006 •
FIELD GUIDE OUR BRANDS · Voted Thomasville's #1 Furniture Store. Come shop unique selections! 101 N. Broad St., thomaSville 229-236-8697 tueS-Sat 10am-6pm Pool Party Essentials!


DOWNTOWN THOMASVILLE FIELD GUIDE DOWNTOWN THOMASVILLE 115 N Broad Street Store + Outlet Exclusive to Thomasville Thomasville Center for the Arts invites the public to a couple free events during their weeklong workshops funded by a grant from the Endowment for the Humanities National Endowment July 27 at 7pm First Missionary Baptist Church Dr. Jennifer Brooks of Auburn University presents a lecture, “The Black Veteran Returns Home, 1945.”
12th, 7pm Thomasville Center for the Arts Wes Singletary of Lawton Chiles High School presents a lecture, “Baseball as it Relates to Thomas County.” For more information, call 229-226-7664. You’re Invited

A little planning, a little shopping and a little prepping can result in a week’s worth of healthy meals for your family.


Food Prep Like a Boss

For Your

Let’s talk about setting yourself up for success when it comes to your health and wellness goals. A couple years ago I put out an article that gave you all the ways to crush your meal prep because one of the best ways to reach your goals is to stop eating out!

Typically, when I advise someone to start cooking at home, they’ll say they only eat salads when they eat out or they don’t have enough time to cook every night. Listen, I am the mom of two little kids with a third on the way. I hear you!

Dining out is one of the worst things you can do when you’re trying to get your health back on track. First, you have no idea how the food is being cooked. Damaged oils, also known as seed oils or even more well-known “vegetable oils,” can lead to multiple health issues, including weight gain. Even if you are trying to be “good” and eat a salad, most of the dressings are made with these cheap oils. All of this leads to a meal that spikes your inflammation and makes your weight loss and health goals even harder to achieve.

Next, most of the food you are eating out isn’t fresh. It’s been sitting in a warehouse for months, if not years, until it meets your stomach … yuck. You also don’t know the source of the food. Meat that is raised in feed lots, aka not grass-fed and/or grassfinished, is very inflammatory, pumped with antibiotics and hormones, and can lead to weight gain and inflammation.

If you have no idea what to cook or don’t have the time, solving this issue can


B.S. Exercise Science, Jacksonville University

ASCM, Certified Personal Trainer

ACE, Weight Management Specialist

Balanced Body Pilates Instructor

MBG Functional Nutrition Specialist

Fit Fab Life – Owner;

seem like a black hole with no solution in sight. Let’s talk about easy meals that you can make ahead of time, eat for a couple meals, then freeze the rest for another time. Easy to double to feed the family, the recipes included on the next few pages will have you out of the kitchen in no time.


It’s time to take a new approach to meal prep and meal planning by talking about how to utilize freezing your meals and leftovers. If you’re anything like me, you love a leftover, but only once. I typically use an hour or so on Sunday afternoons to cook a couple meals for the week, usually following my meal prep steps or by following tried and true recipes like the ones here. I pat myself on the back and think, “Oh, man, my family and I are set!” Then what happens? Life.

I don’t want to eat the leftovers or my kids are sick of the leftovers and all we do is end up throwing perfectly good food away. Then I got smart and started investing in some essential and helpful freezer bags and storage containers.

What I have found works best for my family is to freeze leftovers after we have eaten them one time. This usually allows for at least two more servings, and it’s quick to grab out of the freezer the night before or the day of. If you have a large family, double the recipe. Remember, it’s also OK to serve a couple different meals if all you have to do is reheat them.

Here are my essentials for easy meal prep and freezing:

• - and on Amazon

• - and on Amazon or

• Ziploc - gallon size

• Cling’n Seal by Glad - not regular cling wrap

• Aluminum foil

• FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer - these can be pricey, and you don’t need one if you store your food properly with the

other items listed above. However, they can be a great addition to your kitchen appliances and help food last longer.

Kitchen staples you can make ahead of time and freeze include rice, pasta, quinoa, sauces, soups, cooked vegetables, etc. Believe it or not, making any of these ahead of time, freezing, and thawing for meals is super quick and easy. Just follow the cooking instructions, portion serving sizes in either your Souper Cubes, Stasher bags, or Ziploc bags, and label the outside with freeze date and a reminder for how to reheat it. Most meals last three to six months, unless they are egg-based, which should be eaten within one to two months before they get mushy.

If you are freezing meat and vegetables for a meal, I would store them separately. You can always reheat them together, but I am a fan of reheating my meat in the oven. Once thawed, you can reheat any meat in the oven in a glass dish. Add a little bit of water or broth to the bottom, cover with aluminum foil and reheat at 350 for 10-20 minutes. Vegetables can easily be reheated on the stovetop or in the oven. Casseroles store great in the freezer. Just portion them out so you’re not trying to defrost a giant casserole all at once.

Make sure you always let your food cool down before you put it in the freezer. This helps the liquids not expand so much, which can break your containers, and prevents food contamination.

To reheat your freezer meals, simply defrost it in the fridge overnight or dunk the wrapped freezer meal in a bowl of water. Once defrosted, reheat it the way it was cooked—in a pot, or you can fry up in a pan or even re-bake the item for a short amount of time, usually 350 degrees for 10 - 20 minutes is perfect. I don’t recommend microwaving food just because you don’t get the same texture. It can get mushy and rubbery but in a pinch works just fine.

Having food storage products developed specifically for freezing foods can be a gamechanger.

For Your Health

Super Slow Cooker Roast Beef

2-3 lb chuck or shoulder beef roast

1 chopped onion

3/4 bone broth, water, or red wine

sea salt to taste

1 tsp pepper

1 tsp granulated garlic

1/2 tsp turmeric

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

1/2 tsp cumin

1/4 tsp allspice

Wash beef roast and season with sea salt, pepper, granulated garlic, turmeric, oregano, thyme, cumin and allspice. Add chopped onion to the slow cooker. In a skillet, brown roast on medium high for 2-3 minutes per side, including edges. Transfer roast to slow cooker. Turn off the skillet and add 3/4 cup of chosen liquid to the pan. Scrape bottom to remove any stuck bits and then pour into the slow cooker. Put the top on the slow cooker and set on low for eight hours or desired cooking time. Serve with rice or potatoes. From


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Bacon CasseroleCheeseburger

½ lb bacon

2 16oz bags of frozen cauliflower florets

¼ cup nutritional yeast

½–1 tsp salt

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp white pepper

2 eggs

2 lbs ground beef

½ yellow onion

2 garlic cloves

½ cup ketchup

¼ cup mustard

¼ cup mayo

salt and pepper, to taste

chopped green onions, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grease a large baking dish. Cook bacon until crispy, chop into small pieces and set aside. Steam cauliflower until fork tender. Add to a high-speed blender and blend to combine. Then add nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, white pepper, and eggs and blend until super smooth. Set aside.

Place ground beef, onion and garlic in a large pan and break meat into small pieces until meat has browned. Add a bit of salt. Then add ketchup, mustard, and mayo. Mix then add a bit more salt and pepper and half the bacon. Pour beef mixture into the greased baking dish and spread evenly throughout. Pour cauliflower mixture on top and spread evenly throughout. Top with the rest of the bacon and a bit of black pepper.

Place in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top has slightly browned. Top with green onions before serving. From

For Your Health
Whitehurst, Blackburn has given the personal attention to our clients that we would want our own family members to receive. We continue that legacy of commitment to our clients... no matter what storm you are facing. Estate Planning Real Estate Divorce & Family Law Civil Rights Personal Injury Workers’ Compensation Bankruptcy DUI & Criminal Defense General Litigation 809 South Broad Street Thomasville, Georgia 31792 229-226-2161 Request a Free Consultation –No Cost, No Obligation Se habla Español

Taco Pasta Soup

1 tbsp olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

1 red bell pepper, diced

1 lb ground beef

1 tsp salt

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tbsp chili powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried oregano

64 oz beef bone broth

14 oz fire roasted tomatoes

2 tbsp tomato paste

1 tsp red pepper flakes

8 oz chickpea pasta (or lentil pasta or paleo pasta)

14 oz unsalted cooked black beans, drained


Your favorite garnishes – sour cream or coconut cream, shredded cheese or dairy-free cheese, fresh lime, cilantro, jalapeno, etc.

Place a pot over medium heat. Add olive oil along with the onions and peppers. Cook for 5 minutes, until onions become slightly translucent. Add the ground beef along with the salt, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, and dried oregano. Break into small bites and cook until ground beef is browned and no longer pink. Use a spoon to remove ingredients from the pot and set aside in a bowl. Add beef broth, tomatoes, tomato paste, and red pepper flakes. Whisk to combine. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Once the broth is boiling, add the pasta and cook for 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is al dente.

Once the pasta is cooked, add the beef mixture back into the pot along with the black beans and cook for another 5 minutes. Top pasta soup with your favorite garnishes. From

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For Your Health
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sonja_clark Sonja Clark

Beautiful Healing


Sometimes wisdom arrives while we’re just sitting still and listening to our internal voice.



Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines perspective as the capacity to view things in their actual relations or relative importance, a point of view.

The phrase “proceed with caution” is universally known. The words “proceed with wisdom” came up for me while journaling recently. I’ll paint the scene: I was sitting in my comfy chair with the windows open, enjoying the sunshine (a wise decision), and the words slid onto the paper. Considering brevity, I liked this. Wisdom feels certain. Confident even. What is your perspective on wisdom?

I believe wisdom is a gift. Some people have way more than others, though. Wisdom is demonstrated as a willingness to think deeply about something. For example, what steps can a person take to experience more meaningful days of their lives? Now, that is a wise question. Do you agree?


Do you ever feel like the days are just flying by? Have you wondered, “Where is the time going?” You are not alone. Life is busy. The world is so noisy. I’ve made proceeding with wisdom a part of my daily lifestyle; therefore, significant changes are in full effect. I simply got tired of feeling overwhelmed. I realized social media was to blame. Mental exhaustion is real. I audited how I spent my time and noticed several superfluous commitments and unrealistic expectations from friends. One can only do so much. I gracefully bowed out of all engagements that were not absolutely necessary. Proceeding with wisdom is a commitment, and I am worth it!

Self-care makes some women feel guilty, but to take care of others, we must first take care of ourselves.


Women can benefit from learning to proceed with wisdom, proceed respectfully, and proceed peacefully.

I so yearned for a meaningful, softer existence. The first thing I changed was my mindset. I realized that I wasn’t respecting myself. Respect is defined as an act of giving particular attention or consideration. I started writing out my daily reflections to be serious about my decision to proceed with wisdom. The list included everything and everybody but me. Welp, I had to practice; however, I soon started thinking of what I needed. I talked to a person I trust to help me. After experiencing a breakthrough, I liked how free I began to feel! I kept going.

As I continued my audit, I noticed I felt jittery two hours or so after breakfast. Hmm, my coffee wasn’t that strong. Then I realized that due to hopping on my cell phone early in the morning, my brain was overstimulated before it could even wake up. A girl needs to let that brain wake up calmly. Don’t we all? I nixed the early scrolling, email, and other non-sensical things that could wait. Guess what? I no longer feel frazzled.

Even though the world is chaotic, my inner world does not have to be. I’m proceeding with respect, which is also proceeding with wisdom. In what areas of your life can you benefit from proceeding with wisdom? Consider your job. What would it look like to proceed with wisdom?


Since respecting myself more, I am more mindful of others. It’s incredible how one favorable decision can benefit your life and begin to spill over into the lives of others. I’ve noticed that I say hello to people more often. My mind is at peace, and I enjoy being in the present. I never realized how exhausting it is to be wired “on,” always thinking about the next goal. Mental rest is essential. I stopped trying to remember everything. Ideas were meant to be written down. Lightening up is a beautiful thing! Having more peace means more laughs, joy, and good vibes. And less stress. I make time for a daily peace check-in with myself. Checking in settles my spirit. I take deep intentional breaths. I considered it a reset—10 out of 10. I highly recommend it!


Proceeding with wisdom is a new way of life for me. It is incredible how much power words have. Due to the rush culture, I had grown accustomed to saying words and phrases like “hustle,” “running errands,” “the grind,” “push through,” “running myself into the ground,” etc. This language is not life-giving; I feel tired just reading it. How did I get here? The only part that matters now is that I’m not staying in the mindset of using this language. Life is meant to be lived, not rushed, and certainly not worked away. I speak life now. I approach every new day with a peaceful perspective. Oh, what an adventure!

I would love to hear about your journey of proceeding with wisdom. Send me an email at TM

Follow Felicia on IG @feliciadilbert.

Beautiful Healing

FELICIA DILBERT earned a bachelor’s in speech communication from Valdosta State University and a master’s in education from the University of Phoenix. She serves as the community manager at The Bookshelf in Thomasville, where she coordinates the Local Author’s Collective, Files from the Bookshelf fireside chats, and the quarterly community Literacy Shopping night, and co-hosts The Bookshelf’s fireside chats, along with Annie B. Jones, owner of The Bookshelf.

When You Shop Local… Everyone Wins!

More than just a clean and friendly gas station, Susie Q’s proudly offers high quality products from Wingzone along with top quality gas and the merchandise you need. Headquartered in Thomasville since 1999.

Visit us at our new location 1527 East Jackson Street!

Thank you to our loyal customers!



COVID-19 has tested us – mind, body and soul. We have experienced pain, tragedy and sorrow. But, our deep commitment to care for those we serve has brought us through the darkest days. We celebrate triumph with those who battled the disease and won. We remember those we’ve lost, with memories of them propelling us forward. Today, we rise to the challenge as champions – better equipped and more determined than ever to fight for the health, safety and peace of mind of our residents and their families.

CAMELLIA GARDENS OF LIFE CARE 229.226.0076 • 804 S. Broad St. • Thomasville, GA 31792 • 144376


Sarah D. Shearer is a proud Thomasville native, wife, mother of two, and author. She has had the privilege of spending her life in Thomasville, attending Brookwood, graduating from Valdosta State University, and now she and her husband are happily raising their children in their family farmhouse in Boston.


Within humanity lies a deep, often suppressed desire to be extraordinary. We want to live a life of significance and purpose. We want to be remembered. We want that zing and glitter we see in the movies for our own lives. Yet so often we feel as though our lives are inescapably mundane, and we trudge through our everyday existence wondering what it’s all for and whether anyone will remember us at all.

After all, we are so very ordinary.

I decided to explore that topic in my debut book, Extra Ordinary, a memoir. As a lifelong Thomasville native who has loved my small-town life while simultaneously wondering if I needed to leave to really do something and make something of myself, I relate all too well to this feeling of being ordinary.

In Extra Ordinary, I seek to remind readers that an extraordinary life is usually found in everyday, forgettable moments with those we love. It is possible to live a truly exceptional, meaningful life in a small Georgia town. Students often flee Thomasville after graduation, thinking they will find meaning elsewhere. But I have lived here long enough to see many of them trickle back home when they, too, realize that what matters most is not the things you possess but rather the people around your table.

Extra Ordinary is a collection of stories about friends and family who have had a profound impact on me, and many of them are right here in Thomasville. It is a reminder to us all to consider our own existence and find the magic that already exists.

You can find Extra Ordinary, currently the #1 inspirational book on Amazon, at Rayann’s Christian Book Store and The Bookshelf. You can find Sarah on Instagram at @sarahdshearer. TM


“This is not a good book. This is a GREAT book. This is a book club book. A study group book. Honestly, this is a book that can change your life in some VERY fun ways if you’re in need of these lessons.”

“I just loved this autobiography of Sarah Shearer, hometown gal raised in Thomasville, Ga. by a loving adoptive family. Miles away in a Russian orphanage, as a child she was deemed unadoptable because of her physical disability and “perceived” mental disability. I love her journey of seeking to be an ordinary person, who we learn from her writing is anything but ordinary, but Extra Ordinary. Her faith is deeply rooted in everything she does. Her glass is not just half full but overflowing. This is a wonderful read for anyone, especially for a teenager or young adult trying to navigate their way. Sarah lays out her own vulnerabilities, mistakes, and how she soldiered on through those tender years. She addresses bullying straight on with eventually finding her inner forgiveness. Through learning Spanish, she makes a difference in other’s lives. In adulthood, she finds that which is so ordinary for others but has eluded her for so long, her very own special person. Highly recommend this inspirational book.” -D.

A local author is excited to share her memoir with readers.

A 60-Year Search ·

After children’s book author Cody Patterson’s father, Patrick, was placed for adoption in 1959, he spent the rest of his life wondering who his biological mother was and what her story was. When Patrick passed away in 2014, Cody took it upon himself to finally track down answers to these questions.

In 2019, Cody and his wife adopted their first son at birth, and the search agency Cody was working with to find his grandma picked up a serious lead. Using a list of potential DNA relatives identified through 23andMe, as well as state-sanctioned access to birth records, the search agency found his grandma—and she was alive.

“I was stunned when they called. I burst

into tears and immediately thought of my dad,” Cody says.

Following a series of required legal steps, his grandmother was located in Georgia and wanted to connect with him.

“Words simply fail to capture the beauty of the first time I heard my grandma’s voice. It was even better than I imagined: soft, humble, warm and full of love,” Cody shares. Inspired by this experience, Cody wrote his debut children’s book, The First Day, a simple and relatable story about the first-day experiences we share with our loved ones. The book is available at TM

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Family Style Buffet
Cody Patterson found a great sense of pride and love in finally making a connection to his father’s family after searching for years.
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Those who haven’t experienced the challenges of purchasing prescription medication might be shocked at some of the prices.

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Arecent federal study says that an estimated 18 million Americans or roughly 7 percent of the population are unable to afford prescription medications, and that 10 percent report skipping doses to save medicine and, therefore, cost.

In response to this increasing problem, members of the Lawson Neel Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church of Thomasville established the Lawson Neel MedBank in 2001 with the help of many stakeholders and community leaders. Twentytwo years later, the MedBank has made a strong impact on Thomas County and residents in the surrounding areas. They’ve served over 5,800 clients in 43 counties in Georgia and have helped obtain over $29.5 million in medication.

The class chose to name the organization in honor of Lawson Neel, or “Mr. Thomasville,” as he was often called, due to the indelible mark he had left on the community. He had been a hometown hero in his early years, a successful business owner as an adult, a civicminded community supporter, a friend to all, active in his church, and a good husband.

The Lawson Neel MedBank is a unique and powerful concept that helps people procure the prescription medications they need. MedBank is a nonprofit organization that assists people of all ages who are uninsured or underinsured to obtain the drugs they

Lawson Neel was well-known around Thomasville, and his peers from Sunday School named the local MedBank for him in 2001.

Next page: Executive Director Lisa Knapp assists a client.

need—free of charge—from participating prescription assistance programs. Their mission is to “make medications available for persons who are unable because of financial circumstances to purchase their maintenance medications. By assisting with the provision of these medications, MedBank helps people to be compliant with their medical treatment plan and benefits local hospitals, healthcare facilities and healthcare providers’ offices by reducing incidences of unnecessary admissions or visits.”

Lisa Knapp, executive director of MedBank, explains how it works. “We get a referral from the patient’s doctor, then we research the medications to see if they’re available on the free programs. If they’re not available on the free programs, we research coupons and discount pharmacies, which we refer the patients to, but our main goal is to get them the medications for free.”


Volunteers are crucial to the success of Lawson Neel MedBank, including the board of directors.


There are no fees for the work they do. Knapp estimates it takes about six weeks for a person to go through the approval process.

For physicians, it’s easy to become a MedBank provider. Knapp says all the healthcare provider is required to do is fill out a form and sign an agreement stating they will submit necessary prescription information about the patient in a timely manner. Also, some medicines are delivered directly to the doctor’s office, so the provider must also agree that they will ensure the medication gets to the correct patient. Knapp says, “It’s our goal to do as much as we possibly can to make sure the process is as uncomplicated as possible for the provider.” MedBank currently works with approximately 80 providers.

Besides medication procurement, MedBank offers a couple of additional services. They help clients get eyeglasses through a nonprofit located in Bainbridge. Participants must get their own eye exams completed, but the organizations help with the cost of the lenses and frames. Basic eyeglasses start at $40, with specialty lenses costing a little more. MedBank also has a closet with medical equipment such as walkers, canes, wheelchairs, and bedside toilets that they give away free of charge on a first come, first served basis to anyone who calls needing them.

The Lawson Neel MedBank is a nonprofit agency and does not receive any state or federal support. They are funded entirely through personal donations and grants from local family foundations that have been tremendously generous throughout the years. However, there are lots of nonprofits and charitable organizations

in Thomasville, and they are all competing for the same dollars, so its budget planning is often stressful.

The organization does rely on a few volunteers who work in the office on clerical tasks and client followup. MedBank is always looking for enthusiastic people whose skills match what they need. Those interested in volunteering can contact Lisa Knapp at or 229-226-8114 ext 154.

Volunteers are also what drive the organization’s board of directors. Paul Blough recently took over the role of president. In his everyday life, Blough is CEO/Founder of Blough Tech and a retired pastor. He and his wife also have been active in the fostering of children for over 30 years. He first became connected with MedBank as an IT consultant and, as the relationship developed, became a volunteer.

Blough explains the board helps overcome any roadblocks the organization may be facing. “I work with a lot of healthcare clients in my business and the geography is about the same,” he says. “I felt like I could leverage some synergy between my everyday job and my role on the board to help MedBank

The organization is funded solely by private donations and foundation grants.
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Paul Blough serves as chairman of the board for Lawson Neel MedBank.

and I feel like I’ve done that.”

Blough also recounts a story that he feels makes his work on the board especially meaningful on a personal level. “In foster care the goal is to reunite parents and children. In my work in this area, I’ve often seen situations where parents had to choose between medicine and food or paying the rent. This obviously doesn’t help their situation.”

He says MedBank is a valuable community service. “If we didn’t have something like this in Thomasville, we’d have to go to Albany or even to Dothan, Alabama. That just isn’t sustainable in the long term.”

MedBank client Stan Womble is sure he wouldn’t be here without MedBank. He’s been a MedBank client since 2009. He suffers from ulcerative colitis, which requires him to take at least one medication costing approximately $18,000 per month. When asked what his alternative would’ve been without MedBank, he declares, “I’d be dead.” He goes on to

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Patient Advocate Jennifer Jackson (left) with Executive Director Lisa Knapp

explain that he’d never be able to afford the medication and the only outcome would’ve been to remove his colon. Life expectancy after that is only a few years.

Womble and his wife, Leigh, sing the praises of the staff at MedBank and remark on how easy the process is for them. They also discuss feelings some may have about disclosing personal financials or asking for help. “We’ve talked to people who don’t want to use the service for these reasons, but they’re missing out on a great opportunity. MedBank asks for minimal financial information and you’re not really asking for help. Especially if these medications can save your life. We’re so thankful for MedBank.”

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Anyone interested in more information about becoming a MedBank client can visit them at and fill out a self-referral form. Or call Knapp directly at 229-226-8114 ext 154. Your healthcare provider may also complete a referral and send it to MedBank on your behalf.

Knapp declares about her 14-year career with MedBank, “It’s more than just a job; it’s a mission to me.” TM

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June, July, August & September

June 2-3

Little Mermaid

South Georgia Ballet presents The Little Mermaid on stage. This family friendly production will bring the story of King Triton’s youngest daughter, Ariel, to life with beautiful set design and costumes. Tickets are $15-$25 and are available at Showtimes are 7pm Friday and 2pm and 7pm Saturday at Thomasville Municipal Auditorium, East Jackson Street. 229-228-9420

June 2, 9 & 23

Movie at the Library

Stop in for an afternoon movie and just hang out. The summer brings the heat, and we have A/C, so chill out with your friends or make new ones. Intended for ages 12 – 17. Movie titles TBA. 3:30pm. Call the Teen Dept. at the Thomasville Library for more information, 229-225-5252.

June 2, August 4, September 1

First Friday Sip & Shop

Starting at 6pm, enjoy dinner, grab an adult beverage from your favorite downtown restaurant or venue, and shop ‘til you drop. Participating shops will have extended hours, with many bars and restaurants open until 10pm. Live music at the amphitheater begins at 8pm. Bring blankets and chairs.

June 5-9 & July 31-August 4

Junior Golf Camp

Children ages 7 to 14 can learn proper grip and posture, fundamentals of the golf swing, pivot and swing plane, and golf etiquette. $125 per child. 9amnoon. Participants can attend one or both weeks. Call 229-225-4333 to register. Country Oaks Golf Course, Georgia 122, Thomasville

From outdoor sports to trips to the beach, summer is full of fun.

June 5-9

Project IMPACT

Open to rising 6th-9th graders, Project IMPACT is a week of fun and hands-on volunteer service. Students may earn up to 20 community service hours for their participation that may be applied to the upcoming school year. Cost is $100 per camper, which includes a t-shirt. Space is limited. First come, first served. Learn more at

June 5-9

Camp Dawson

Open to rising kindergarten through rising 5th grade students, Thomasville History Center’s Camp Dawson will include adventures around the community and across the center’s property. Camp is 9am4pm, with early drop-off and late pick-up available upon request. Cost is $175/members, $200/not yet members. Register at

June 10, July 8, Aug. 12 & Sep. 9

Adult and Family Art Workshops

Join Thomasville Center for the Arts for Adult Art or Family Make & Take workshops on the second Saturday of every month. Workshop focus changes from month to month, as does the non-member cost (typically no more than $15 and free to members). Family Make & Take activities are $5 for up to four people, and free for members. All workshops are from 11am to 1pm. Kids PLAYce is also open on 2nd Saturdays from 10am to 2pm and is always free. Visit to learn more and to register.

June 16

Mini Drive-In Movie

Experience a miniature drive-in movie screening in the library’s parking lot. A family friendly, newly released movie will be featured (film TBA) and delicious movie theater popcorn will be handed out. Watch from inside the car, lie back on the hood or even bring a camping chair and pop up close to the screen. Intended as a family program; all ages welcome. 6:45pm, free. For more information, speak with the Marketing Dept. at the Thomasville Library, 229-225-5252.

June 17

Juneteenth Celebration

This free community-wide event is held to unite and educate. From 1-5pm, the event will also include kids’ activities, art exhibit, live entertainment, a car show, African dance, health fair, vendors, and more. For info, email or call 229-221-6265. Celebration will be held at the fairgrounds, 2957 GA 122, Thomasville.

Kids can take art classes or earn volunteer hours this summer.

June 20-22

Camp LPH

Calling all aspiring architects, historic preservationists, and designers - Camp LPH is perfect for you. Rising 6th through rising 8th grade campers will design and construct a tabletop historic district under the guidance of staff from Thomasville History Center and Thomasville Landmarks, with special help from other community members. No previous design or construction skills are required. Camp is 9am-4pm, with early drop-off and late pick-up available upon request. Cost is $130/ members, $175/not yet members. Register at campsandworkshops.

June 24

Miss Thomasville

Join us for the annual Miss Thomasville Pageant and see the new winner crowned. Doors will open at 6:30pm. Tickets and sponsorships are available at

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The Annual Miss Thomasville Pageant is set for June 24.

July 4

Independence Day Show

Join the City of Thomasville and CNSNext as we celebrate Independence Day with fireworks at Remington Park. Fireworks will start at 9pm. Please note the following rules for this event: pets are not allowed, golf carts will not be allowed on the grass or fields at Remington Park, and personal fireworks (including sparklers) are not allowed. For more information, call 229-227-7001.

July 22

Summer Family Movie

Join in for a free family movie night downtown. At 6:30pm, enjoy kid friendly activities. At 7:30pm, the movie begins with a showing of Disney’s Moana at The Ritz Amphitheater. Bring your chairs, blankets, and the whole family for an evening of fun. For more information, call 229-228-7977.

August 20

Pollinator Count

You can be a citizen scientist for the University of Georgia’s Great Georgia Pollinator Count. Count the pollinators on one plant for 15 minutes and submit your results to You can also find lots of information on pollinators and instructions for the count at that website. 2-4 pm. For info, email

September 23

Movie for a Cause

Gateway Cinemas in Thomasville will donate 100 percent of the proceeds from all movies and all concessions to charity on this day only. Locally, this benefits United Way of Thomas County. Come out to see a great movie for a great cause. Gateway Cinemas 7, 15023 US-19, Thomasville

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Hands on Thomas County


Hands on Thomas County connects citizens as volunteers to non-profit & community agencies, needs and service opportunities. Cheers for Volunteers is their annual event honoring our Hands On Heroes volunteer award nominees and winners!


Pebble Hill Plantation

Presented by Parker Poe Charitable Trust, the Pebble Hill Polo Classic featured a women’s polo match, pony rides, parading of the Live Oak Hounds, and children’s activities. The inaugural year of this annual event was held in honor of the memory of Mrs. Elisabeth Ireland Poe, the first woman to earn a rating with the United States Polo Association. PEBBLE HILL POLO CLASSIC

Excellent orthopedic care



At TOC, all our physicians are fellowship-trained – specialists in a specific area of care. With Centers of Excellence in Florida and Georgia, including one in Thomasville, our orthopedic team offers comprehensive treatment and ease of access so your needs are met quickly with expert guidance. Perhaps that’s why so many physicians rely on us when referring patients. Excellence defines our mission so we offer lower costs, higher quality, and accessibility to the region’s leading orthopedic specialists.

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(229) 226-6074

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