This week on The Mark White Show, we’ll be focusing on heroin addiction. Joining me will be Danny Molloy with Addiction Prevention Coalition, Leslie Reagan Plaia, M.Ed., LPC with Recovery Resource Center, & Patty Carter Sykstus with Not One More Alabama. We’ll be discussing resources that are available from these three organization in our state as well as the upcoming End Heroin HSV Walk! taking place on August 18th in Huntsville. During The Mary Faye Headrick Good Deed Segment, I will be talking to Sandy Russell Hicks about her successful recovery from drug addiction and how she is now trying to help others on their journey to recovery.
This week, The Mark White Show takes an ocean theme. I will be talking to Fabien Cousteau, the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, John Jackson of Hartselle, Dr. Ken Heck of the Daulphin Island Sea Lab, and Joel Holt who preaches in Puerto Rico.
This week’s show takes us a few places including Ukraine. Joining me in studio is Hartselle Intermediate School teacher Jonathan Bragwell and writer/storyteller Melissa Thornton. During my interview with Jonathan, we have a special call from Shane Pack of Boaz, Alabama, who is currently in Ukraine with his family. In the third segment, I’ll be talking to nurse Jane Cavanaugh about a special program to help babies who are born addicted to drugs. In the final segment, I’ll be talking to Melissa Thornton about her mother’s suicide and her efforts to help others who are suffering with thoughts of suicide.
Live from Children’s of Alabama for Bryant Lay’s 8th birthday! Also joining me were Nichole Hughes the founder of Water Guardian’s Levi’s Legacy, Jason Wilder, who is the great great nephew of Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Alabama/Gulf Coast Executive Director Regan Goldberg and campaign managers Tricia Center, Julie Moon, and Kate Siqueira.
This edition of The Mark White Show focuses on Lyme Disease. Joining me on the show are Dianna Strickland, Maryandra Kendall-Ball Wiser, and Tina Neathammer with the Alabama Lyme Disease Association. During The Mary Faye Headrick Good Deed Segment, I was joined by William Flippo and Neal Clark with the Paint Rock Volunteer Fire Department. They were in on the effort to rescue a blind puppy named Toffee who was stuck in hole 50-60 feet deep.
This week’s show is focused on MPS awareness. Joining me are National MPS Society President Terri Klein. Amy Holland, and Mieke McPherson Embry. During The Mary Faye Headrick Good Deed Segment, I’ll be talking to Sarah Piebes who is looking for her daughter’s organ donor recipient in Alabama.
Justice For Connie Ridgeway with Austin Williams, Decatur American AAA Rookie All Stars Good Deed, Pancreatic Cancer Awareness with Steve Cook, Our Backyard Homes for the homeless with TK Devine, and The Line – WYDE co-host Jessica Borklund Discusses Daughter’s Cancer Journey.
Athens, Ala. – In emergency situations, we depend on first responders to help us. Many times, first responders are unsung heroes. They simply do their job. On March 4th, one of those unsung heroes passed away, Connie Green. Connie was a retired paramedic at Athens-Limestone Hospital. One of Connie’s friends described her as having “a heart of gold.” Friend, Wendy Wright, said, “Connie was loved her family and loved her ‘kids.’ She was loyal, she was kind, and would give you the shirt off her back or her last twenty bucks. She always listened, she always gave advice, she never had a problem telling you like it was if she needed to do it.”
Right now, because of issues with insurance, the community is coming together to take care of Connie’s funeral expenses. A GoFundMe has been set up to give people a way to contribute. If you would like to help, go to the link and donate.
Athens, Ala. – I received a call of a stranded motorist, so I headed to Clark’s Restaurant to help them out. When I pulled into the parking lot, there were my dear friends Tammy Breasseale Woodward, Connie Breasseale Waldron, and Doris West Breasseale talking outside. After assisting the motorist, I went over to talk to my friends. After the conversation, I asked the ladies if they wanted me to take a picture of them together. I snapped a couple of photos and we said our goodbyes. Little did I, or the family, know that just a few days later Tammy would be re-diagnosed with cancer, a battle she fought and won just a few short years ago.
On March 7th, I received the call from Tammy’s husband, Pete. I had first met Pete when he was working at U.G. White’s on the Athens Square and my wife and I owned Tortillas Blanco. We became fast friends as I made deliveries of our chips to the store where he worked. Pete called and thanked me for the picture that I had taken when his wife, sister, and mama at Clark’s Restaurant. After a couple of minutes, Pete began talking about the news that they had been given. It was cancer and it was aggressive.
Sadly, I had heard those words before. After dealing with my granddaddy’s cancer in 1998 and my daddy’s cancer just this past August, cancer is something I am familiar with. Like so many, I know what it does and how it affects loved ones. It’s unmerciful. Pete wanted me to know what was going on and I wanted him to know that I would do whatever I could to help as they face this battle together. With that, the “Together With Tammy” idea was created. Through the challenges, Tammy not only wanted to be encouraged by friends and family around the country, she wanted to be an encouragement to others as well. When Tammy was diagnosed with breast cancer in January 2011, she not only became one of the survivors, but she also became an advocate for other women who were facing cancer.
Anytime someone hears the word “cancer” there is the fear of the unknown. Tammy’s husband, Pete, was by her side the first time Tammy was diagnosed with cancer and he will be there again. As an owner of a small business, the diagnosis presents a new set of issues. At this time, Pete needs flexibility when it comes to time and finances. This is how the YouCaring “Together With Tammy” fundraiser came to be. I know there are friends and strangers alike who are willing to help. In the past 24 hours, we have already seen it as people have contributed and shared the fundraiser and Tammy’s Facebook and Twitter pages. Together With Tammy is a group of caring people coming together to help bear another’s burdens. It is with that thought in mind that I would encourage you to like Tammy’s Facebook and Twitter pages along with sharing Tammy’s fundraiser. The family needs you. Tammy needs you! The long journey has just begun, but Tammy remains positive. As she sat the chair at her home describing the blessings of the day, the emotions came out. As Tammy faces this battle, her motto is “Let’s just do today.” That is something we should all consider as we wake up and begin each new day. At this time, I would like to encourage you to join our effort and “Let’s just do today”, together, with Tammy.
Fundraiser: Together With Tammy
Facebook: Together With Tammy
Twitter: Together With Tammy
Athens, Ala. – As representatives from the Huntsville Rockets football team walked into Applebee’s to come on Applebee’s Tailgate Talk, I noticed an older gentleman was with them. After the show was over, I went over to the table where he was sitting and introduced myself. We shook hands and he said, “I’m Robert L. Boykin.” As soon as he began talking, I knew I wanted to sit down and talk to him so I pulled up a chair. The conversation that day interested me so much that I wanted to talk to Mr. Boykin more, so I arranged a visit at his home in Huntsville. I wanted to know more from this man who served in WWII.
Robert L. Boykin was born in Woodland, Alabama, in Randolph County in 1923. Mr. Boykin described his family as “cane farmers.” Boykin said his grandfather, Mack Boykin, was a tough man, but a hospitable man. Being a successful farming family in first half of the 1900’s in the south, brought its share of challenges, but Boykin said his father, John W. Boykin, and grandfather, Mack, stood their ground. Boykin said his family was friends with both whites and blacks. When it came to his friendships, he said they respected each other.
Mr. Boykin attended Woodland High School and was a successful baseball player. Unfortunately, Mr. Boykin was sent to war before he could finish school. After finishing basic training in Ohio, Mr. Boykin served his country in the European Theater in Paris, France, during WWII. For a black man in the U.S. Army, life was different. Mr. Boykin spoke of having to stay on the bottom of a military ship and not being allowed to go to certain levels because of the color of his skin. On a positive note, Mr. Boykin told the story of becoming the driver for an Army general. He said that he was at his post when the general walked in. The general told him that he had seen him driving a truck and liked the way he drove. The general told Boykin that he wanted him to drive for him. Boykin said that he told the general he would have to get permission from the officer above him to leave his post. When he spoke with his ranking officer he told him that the general was above him, so he needed to do what the general requested. At that time, Boykin became the driver for the general and he would be the general’s driver throughout his time in the service.
During our conversation, Mr. Boykin described both good and bad experiences during WWII. At one point, he took out his billfold and pulled out a picture of him and a young boy. He said the boy was a young German he had come in contact with during the war in Europe.
These many years later, Mr. Boykin still expresses great sadness when talking about fellow comrades who were lost in battle. Like so many, the war had an powerful affect on Mr. Boykin’s life.
When Mr. Boykin came back to the States, he made his home in Ohio. With a love of baseball still in his heart, he said he tried out for the Detroit Tigers. Ultimately, he played some ball for a team in Dayton before finding success in small business. During our conversation, Mr. Boykin had held up his left hand to show me the affect of wearing a poorly made glove while playing third base. Of his small business, Boykin said he did very well selling cars and operating a car wash in nearby Pennsylvania.
During his time in business, although he still faced some adversity simply for the color of his skin, he said he provided many jobs to people both black and white. In spite of the times, Mr. Boykin was a fair man. Mr. Boykin attributed his treatment of others to the way that he was raised.
Mr. Boykin eventually found his way back to Alabama. He and his wife of 41 years, Merle, now call Huntsville home. At 93, Mr. Boykin enjoys watching the teams his son, Jason, coaches.
Whether it’s J.O. Johnson or the Huntsville Rockets, Mr. Boykin says he likes to talk to young people and encourage them. Mr. Boykin has much to share if people are willing to slow down and just pull up a chair.