From Strawberry Hill to the seas: Tippins’ journey
Tippins is shown departing the USS Pearl Harbor.
Nikita Tippins, a Thomson native, has made a name for herself in the United States Navy as a lieutenant and commanding officer of a detachment in Japan.
Tippins said her road to the Navy as well as growing up in Thomson wasn’t always smooth sailing.
“There’s nothing like living in the country!” Tippins said. “Growing up in Thomson wasn’t always smooth sailing, but it was the stepping stone that made me the person I am today.”
Her mother was a single parent, raising four children and working hard to make sure her children had the opportunities she didn’t have growing up.
“For that I say thank you from the bottom of my heart,” Tippins said. “I always keep that thought in the back of my mind as a motivator when faced with obstacles.”

Hamilton serves her community through cooking
Ella Hamilton has been feeding the people of McDuffie County since 1949, and she became an Honorary Rotarian in 2015 for her service to the Thomson Rotary Club.
Ella Hamilton, or Ms. Ella, has been feeding the people of McDuffie County since 1949.
Born in Thomson in 1932 to Tommy West Sr. and Mary Lou Dearricott West, Hamilton worked on her parents’ farm in McDuffie County, picking peas and cotton. She went to school in McDuffie County, and as a child, she learned to cook from her mother.
“I’ve been cooking since I was nine years old,” Hamilton said. “My mother taught me how to make biscuits, and I was so small I had to stand on a stool to reach the sink.”

Eubanks’ 3rd annual Turkey Giveaway
Toni Gaines, Darius Eubanks and Stephanie Walker hold the first turkey that was given to the first person who walked through the doors of the fellowship hall of Springfield Baptist Church during the Eubanks Turkey Giveaway held Saturday, Nov. 19. The giveaway was the third time Eubanks and his family distributed more than 100 turkeys to the community. Eubanks is a Thomson native and Thomson High School alumnus.
The fellowship hall of Springfield Baptist Church became a turkey haven Saturday as more than 100 turkeys were positioned exit the doors and become the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal.
Darius Eubanks, with assistance from friends and family, distributed turkeys to the community in what has become the annual Eubanks Turkey Giveaway.
In just under 20 minutes Nov. 19, Eubanks met his goal of helping more than 100 families have a large bird on the table for Thanksgiving.

FBC Thomson opens relay center for Operation Christmas Child
Jo Montgomery cuts the ribbon to officially open the relay center at First Baptist Church in Thomson.
From now until Nov. 21, people can drop off a box of toys and other items for children in third-world countries through First Baptist Church in Thomson.
Jo and Floyd Montgomery have been spearheading the Operation Christmas Child collection efforts at FBC Thomson for at least a decade.
The church opened its Operation Christmas Child relay center on Nov. 14 in the atrium building that comprises of the gym and fellowship hall. For this year, Jennifer Cheely is the assistant coordinator for the relay center as Jo Montgomery is wanting to retire from the role.

Bowman credits Thomson for shaping his medical career
Mac Bowman, a Thomson native, is currently the medical director of cardiovascular services for University Healthcare System.
“Thomson was about the best place for a young man with attributes and who wanted great things could grow up,” Thomson native Mac Bowman said. “There’s great schools, great people and a great heritage that allowed me the arena to excel athletically and academically.”
And excel Bowman did.

Patience is key to success: Newsome gives insight into transportation department
Tammy Newsome does a little of everything at the bus barn short of working as a mechanic. She began working in the transportation department in 1988, and she has been there ever since.
Tammy Newsome is a jack of all trades at the McDuffie County Transportation Department.
Newsome said listing the things she doesn’t do at the bus barn would be easier than listing the things she does do. She is in charge of routing, bookkeeping, scheduling field trips, training, making sure there are subs on the buses when needed and all other assigned tasks.
“People don’t realize how much work this job actually is,” Newsome said. “They don’t realize how much patience it takes.”

Strouble helps put children back on a positive track
Steve Strouble currently serves as the interim principal at the McDuffie Achievement Center. He has been working in McDuffie County since 1989, retiring in 2008 and coming back to fill in.
Bringing students into a successful position for their future is a passion for Steve Strouble, interim principal at the McDuffie Achievement Center (MAC).
“Alternative education provides an opportunity to get the students back on track academically and socially,” Strouble said. “We want to move them towards graduation. There are reasons for the types of behavior that these students exhibit, and we have to look below the surface to address those needs.”

Thigpen helps protect the general welfare of Warren Co.
Michael Thigpen serves as the planning/code administrator for Warren County. He has been in the position for 10 years.
Michael Thigpen has served Warren County for 10 years, enforcing codes and ordinances as the planning/code administrator.

McDuffie County names support persons of the year for 2016-17
The 2016-2017 support persons of the year for the McDuffie County School System are: Carrie Cummings (THS), Melissa Gay (DES), Annette Harmon (TES), Lisa Johnson (TMMS), Lisa Schell (MES) and Tracy Taylor (NES). These women help with day-to-day activities at the schools.

Samuels receives national award for work and voice in community
Photo courtesy of Ella Samuels The Rev. Ella Samuels listens to the Rev. Jesse Jackson prior to her name being called as the recipient of the Trombone Award during an Oct. 21 clergy awards luncheon of Rainbow Push and 1000 Churches Connected.
The Rev. Ella Samuels was honored for her lifelong work in ministry and in the community Oct. 21 as she was one of six clergy members from across the country recognized by the Rainbow Push Coalition.
Samuels received the Trombone Award for her works in areas of the church and the community and for being a leader, a resounding voice and community pillar. She was honored during a 1000 Churches Connected “Clergy Awards Luncheon” in Atlanta. The luncheon was part of the 1000 Churches weekend conference and 75th Birthday Celebration of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, founder and president of Rainbow Push.

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress

McDuffie Progress