Each December I review the many interesting and motivational people this column has introduced over the past year. The goal of Who’s Who is to inspire our readers by the examples of others who have overcome obstacles, set good examples, or achieved the goals they strived for.

The April 14, 2021 issue featured two school teachers from Valley Head High School. Amy Lincoln and Christie Duncan teach Pre-K and were suggested as subjects for the Who’s Who column by a parent of a child with Mobius syndrome. These two teachers took it upon themselves to learn as much as they could about this disease so as to help their student become all he could become and to help other students accept the diversity of other individuals. These two teachers, like many other teachers in our community, set a great example of “going the extra mile.”

The June 9 edition shared the remarkable story of River Williamson. River was born with what is referred to as “Bubble Boy” disease, so-named after David Vetter of Houston, Texas. The disease is known in the medical community as SCID (Severe Combined Immunodeficiency). The newborn spent the first six months of his life in the hospital and was the 16th recipient of a new treatment. The clinical trial Williamson was accepted into presented a deactivated virus that has a message attached to it to tell the body’s natural defense system to kick-on. Thankfully, the young boy responded to the treatment.

Regan McClung is another teacher who was featured in the July 7th paper. McClung was one of the 85 instructors invited to go to Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. The program, instituted in 2015, is known as the Alabama Space Academy for Educators. She was able to experience the feeling of walking on the moon and she was thrilled to meet Larry DeLucas who flew aboard the Columbia Space Shuttle in 1992. The enthusiasm for learning and setting goals that this generated in McClung was passed onto her students.

Penny Benton was the subject matter for the July 14 issue as the McKinney-Vento Homeless Liaison for DeKalb County schools. Her secular position includes coordinating services to ensure homeless children are identified and enrolled in school and have the opportunity to succeed academically. This is done in spite of lack of documentation. The liaison also ensures that homeless children receive referrals to health, dental, mental health, and housing as needed. The column, as many of the Who’s Who columns, reaches out to the community making others aware of what they can do to help with donations of supplies or monetary funds.

The last year also featured artists who reached for their star and grabbed hold, stay-at-home mothers who work hard to make a happy home, couples who found love late in life, and others who found hobbies to keep their lives full despite the pandemic. Each article of Who’s Who shares a motto, the motto for today is: “You are always one choice away from changing your life.”

Previous articles may still be purchased by calling the paper at 256-845-2550 and requesting the date of the paper desired. Back issues are kept in the lobby for review and research purposes. Do you know someone who is inspirational who would be a good subject for an article? Write Marla Ballard c/o The Times-Journal @ P.O. Box 680349, Fort Payne, AL 35968 or email Marla @ bamabell62@gmail.com.

— Marla Ballard’s Who's Who appears in the Times-Journal Wednesday editions.

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