Junior Service League announces 2016 provisionals and elected honoraries

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, March 15, 2016

AMERICUS — The active members of the Americus Junior Service League (JSL) are excited to announce the 2016 provisional and elected honorary members that have accepted an invitation for membership. These provisional members will be joining the league to volunteer their time and talents to better Sumter County for the next five years and nine months. The JSL of Americus was organized in 193,7 with one aim in mind: to help others. This great group of women joins an active membership of almost 50 women that continue to carry on the tradition of the original members to improve the welfare of the citizens of our community.
Elected honoraries include the following.
• Janet M. Myers is a retired art teacher who lives in Americus with her husband Dr. Lamar Myers. She is a graduate of the University of Georgia with an art education degree, and in her retirement, she enjoys creating pottery, sewing and yard work. She is an active member St. John’s Anglican Church. She has a daughter, Merritt Myers Wall, and is proud to be an elected honorary because her mother, the late Mrs. Sam (Janet) Merritt, was a charter member of the JSL of Americus.
• Dot Smith is a teacher-aide at Southland Academy. She enjoys shopping flea markets, family vacations, and time with her grandchildren in her spare time. She is an active member of Central Baptist Church and has been actively involved in the Georgia Sheriff’s Youth homes. She is married to Sumter County Sheriff Pete Smith, and they have three daughters, Hope Deriso, Amy Davis, and Kerri Ewing.
The following are the 2016 provisionals.
• Melanie Ann Aldridge is a third-grade teacher at Sumter County Elementary School. She is the wife of Scott Aldridge and she has two  stepchildren, Hunter and Kylie. She is a graduate of Americus High School and received her bachelor of science from Georgia Southern University, Statesboro. She will finish her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction this May from Columbus State University. She enjoys baking, reading, and spending time with her family in her free time. She attends Shiloh Baptist Church and is actively involved in tutoring in the community.
• Morgan Basone is currently a teacher at Deerfield-Windsor School in Albany. She is a graduate of Reinhardt University, Waleska, with a bachelor’s degree in middle grades education. While attending, she was a softball player for the university. She  still enjoys softball but is also interested in cosmetology and is actively pursuing a career in this field. She attends First United Methodist Church of Americus and is engaged to wed Jimmy Whaley.
• Shannan Blanchard is currently a stay-at-home mother, but is also a photographer with her own business, SD Blanchard Photography.  She is a graduate of Kennesaw State University in Marietta where she received her degree in secondary education. She is the mother of three, Sterling, Christian, and Walker, and is married to Paul. They attend Central Baptist Church. Her interests include traveling and sports.
• Laine Brown works as a preschool teacher at First Baptist Church Preschool, Americus. She attended Southland Academy and then went on to attend South Georgia Technical College, Americus with an interest in medical assisting. She is active in the community through her church, and also through the American Red Cross, to name a few.  She is married to Zacharie Brown and they have a two-year-old daughter, Georgia. Her interests include cooking, crafts, and enjoying Netflix documentaries.
• Lauren Covington is the owner of a new store in Americus, Rustic Charm. She attended Gordon College in Barnesville, and is married to Dustin Covington. They have two children, Reese and Blakely. Her interests include crafts, outdoor activities, and volunteering at her children’s school activities.
• Kate Fussell is a registered nurse at Phoebe Sumter Medical Center in the emergency room. A graduate of Southland Academy and Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) with her bachelor of science in nursing, she is soon to finish her nurse practitioner degree to further her career. Besides advancing her education, she currently volunteers at Magnolia Manor nursing home and through Phoebe Sumter at health fairs. She enjoys spending time with her family and her dog Rufus.
• Mandi Gibby is employed by Kobs Pools. She is also currently finishing her degree at GSW. She is involved in the Biology Club and enjoys being outside and spending time with friends and family.
• Krista Greene works at Old Biscayne Designs, Americus in the Customer Fullfillment department. She graduated high school at Southland Academy, and went on to complete her psychology degree at the University of Georgia, Athens. She is married to Mason Greene. Her interests include baking, traveling, and spending time with family.  She attends Central Baptist Church.
• Hayden Headley Hooks practices local government and education law as an attorney in Albany. She graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor’s of arts in Spanish and then went on to complete her law degree at the University of Georgia. She has been active in volunteering through the Junior League of Albany and through her church, Calvary Episcopal in Americus. She enjoys gardening, reading, Auburn football, and politics. She is married to Bardin Hooks.
• Angie Davenport Miller is a veterinarian at Americus Veterinary Hospital. A graduate of Southland Academy, she went on to complete her bachelor’s of animal science and also her doctor of veterinary medicine at the University of Georgia. She attends Concord United Methodist Church and enjoys the outdoors, traveling and horseback riding. She is married to Jesse Miller and has three fur babies.
• Jessica Carson Phillips is employed as a teacher in the Sumter County School system. She is a graduate of GSW with a bachelor’s of science in education. She enjoys reading, cooking, crafting and horseback riding. She is the wife of Preston Phillips. They attend Central Baptist Church, Americus.
• Alex Riccardi is a practicing dentist in the community. She graduated high school from Southland Academy and then went on to play softball while attending Reinhardt University. After completing dental school in Augusta she has come back to Americus to practice. She is engaged to Brandon Horne. In her spare time she volunteers as a youth assistant through her church, First United Methodist of Americus, and teaches fitness classes and pitching lessons.
• Ashley Marie Rish is a nurse at Crisp Regional Hospital in Cordele. She is married to Hollis Rish. She attended Georgia Southern University where she received a bachelor of science in nursing. Her interests include traveling, running, and clay shooting. She is an active member in the Citizens of Georgia Power Community Service Organization and her church, Central Baptist.
• Tobey Pickle Shirah works as an insurance agent. She is a graduate of Southland Academy and GSW. She enjoys spending time with her family, Jay and daughter Shelby Claire. Her interests include cooking, shopping, and gardening. She is a member of Cheek Memorial Church, Americus.
• Katie Sutton teaches at Bright Beginnings Daycare in Americus. She is engaged to marry Jake Griffith in April of this year. She attended Valdosta State University and Wiregrass Technical College in Fitzgerald. Her interests include cross stitch, calligraphy, and reading.
• Lauren Shivers Vann teaches elementary school in the Marion County School system. She is married to Brandon Vann. She graduated from Southland Academy and went on to earn her bachelor’s of early childhood education from GSW. She enjoys cooking and photography.  She attends Concord United Methodist Church.
• Elizabeth Waldron teaches third grade. She is married to Michael Waldron, and is a graduate of GSW with her early childhood education degree. Her interests include music, church camps, disc golf, and reading. She attends Smithville Baptist Church.
Jami Welch is a math teacher at Marion County High School. She is a graduate of Southland Academy and GSW. She also holds her master’s in curriculum and instruction. She is married to Josh Welch and they have a daughter, Anna Leigh. She is involved in her church, Concord United Methodist Church, and enjoys watching movies and spending time with family.