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December 21, 2011     The Florala News
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PAGE 2 THE FLORALA NEWS- WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 21, 2011 The Mitchells: 2011 Christmas Family by Jan Allred Matthew and Christa Mitchell have been selected as The Florala News Christ- mas family. The family re- cently purchased a home in Paxton, FL and play a vital role in the tri-cities. The Mitchells' very honored and humbled at being chosenas the Christmas family and said they didn't feel worthy. It was very important to place this year, chances are they will be in Matthew's man cave (his Alabama room) in front of their Ala- bama Christmas tree count- ing down the minutes until the Crimson Tide gets to redeem themselves against LSU. Christmas morning the family will wake up to pres- ents and a traditional break- fast casserole and French HOLDEN organizing the choo the tree. child's life," said Mitchell. In addition to" serving as president of the Paxton Di- xie Youth League, Matthew also served as district direc- tor for the past three years of the Dixie Boys Baseball, 13- and 14-year-olds, which covers Pensacola, FL to the Holmes County line. Christa has also served as president of the Paxton Dixie Youth League in the past and for three years served as District Director for District 2. Currently, she is a National Director 06 Dixie Youth Baseball, a position no woman has ever held in its history. Even .though the facili- ties at the park have greatly improved over the past five years, the Mitchells plan to continue their hard work to ensure the children of the tri-cities have access to the same top notch facilities and opportunities as children from larger communities. Christa has played a vital role in the tri-cities' Christ- mas Angel Tree and next year she will take over the reigns as president of the Tri-Cities Chamber of Com- merce. Matthew also volun- teers in other areas work- ing with the United Way, Loop the Lake in DeFuniak Springs and Chelco's Day of Caring. The Mitchells definitely lead busy lives but despite the Mitchells that everyone know their commitment and love for children and the community is the driving force behind all they do and they do not seek nor want praise for anything they have or will do in the future. Christa said one of her fa- vorite sayings is, "Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think. Generosity is giv- ing more than you can and pride is taking less than you need" and that is how they try to live their lives. The Mitchells, who have been married for nine years, both have full-time jobs, Matthew with Chelco and Christa as owner/realtor with Merrifield & Pilcher Realty, as well as two chil- dren, Holden and Anah. The couple were raised in the tri-cities, Ma'tthew graduat- ed from Florala High School and Cl~rista graduated from Paxton High School. After completing their education and Matthew's service in the Navy, the couple decided they wanted to make the tri-cities their home and decided as a cou- ple they would give back to the community they felt had given them so much grow- ing up. Despite the demands of family life and work, the Mitchells find time to be very active in the commu- nity and their church Al- though they are active in many organizations, their passion is the Paxton Di- xie Youth Baseball League. They were instrumental in securing funding for up- choo train that runs under mined to make sure things will be ready when Santa comes. Christmas is divided be- tween spending time with her family and Matthew's family. It is rare for Mat- thew's family to be in town during Christmas but this year they will be here and they are so excited at the fact they will get to spend Christmas with their entire family. On Christmas Eve the family will visit with Chris- ta's side of the family where they will eat great food, en- joy just being together and then exchange presents. When they return home Oreo balls are left for Santa and a couple of carrots for Santa's reindeer. This year the family is extremely excited because for the first time they will have a chimney for Santa to come down. In Christmases past they have left a "special Santa key" outside for Santa to use to get into the home but this year he will come down the chimney. Before putting the chil- dren to bed, the family will exchange presents with one another then Matthew and Christa will enjoy some.qui- et time on the couch sip'ping grades at the ballpark but are quick to say when they all they do within the com- see the improvements they: munity they manage to see what a group of commit- maintain tight family bonds. tsdpeopie canclo, '~enwe This Christmas things are look at that ballpark we see a little hectic because the everybody, we see the corn- family is moving into a new munity," Christa said. home but they are deter- Matthew, who has served as presideni of the Paxton Dixie Youth League for the past two years, said there was no way they could do things they do if not for the help and support of the parents, coaches, board and players. According to Mat- thew, baseball is his passion and he has coached as well as held several other posi- tions within the league. "One of my greatest joys is watching the kids I have coached in the past playing varsity football, basketball and baseball and knowing Matthew, Holden and Christa that I had an impact on that Christmas and ROLL TIDE!!! hot chocolate. The couple spends most of their time discussing an- other one of their greatest passions, Alabama football. Matthew has tickets and will actually be at the game as Alabama plays for the National Championship. In fact, rather than snug- gle up in front of the fire- say, "Thank You, Merry Access to information is the public's most valuable tool when it comes to protecting your homes, your communities, and your government. Newspapers have the unique ability to reach a broad audience, regardless of the socioeconomic status, by providing public notices both in print and online. The public notices appearing in your newspaper provide important information on issues such as rezoning for landfills, government contracts, and even traffic detours. It's your right to know how your tax dollars are spent and what could be coming to your neighborhood. And when it comes to shining the light on government, public notices deliver. toast casserole prepared from Christa's grandmoth- "BEHOLD," I bring you good tidings of great joy " Luke er's recipe. 2:10. That was the verse featured in the Christmas card~ Following a morning of putting toys together and church they will enjoy a lunch of eye of round roast, twice baked potatoes, and sauteed mushrooms before heading to the home of Mat- thew's parents, Wayne and Wanda Mitchell. They will exchange presents, catch up with one another and enjoy a prime rib steak dinner be- fore returning home. Chris- ta said they don't prepare the traditional Christmas dinner because by the time Thanksgiving is over they have had their fill of turkey and ham with all the trim- mings. The Mitchells are mem- bers of First Baptist Church in Florala and are extreme- ly excited that this year Christmas will fall ona Sun- day. Christa said they were thrilled at getting to spend Christmas morning with their church family because they want their children to know what Christmas is truly about. The Mitchells spend their lives in service to others and working to make a difference in their community. Their passion is children and the chance to make a difference in the life of a child. Both repeatedly stressed they do what they do to be a bless- ing to others not for recog- nition or a pat on the back. They obviously love children and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to make the life of every child they can better. As with most couples who dedicate their lives to' serv- ing others, both are very modest and are one anoth- er's 'biggest fans. Matthew glows with pride as he tells of his wife's dedication to the kids of the tri-cities and of all of her work to better their lives. Christa gets that twinkle in the eye of a newlywed as she describes the support and encouragement Mat- thew gives her and describes the sacrifices he makes for the kids he loves. It is very difficult at times to balance a life filled with public service. There is no paycheck and the majority of the time there is not even a thank you but that doesn't stop this community-mind- ed couple from continuing to give back to the community they love. we received from my sister and husband, June and Bob ~ McDurmont of Pensacola. The scene on the front was spectacular - the angel looking down on Mary and Jo- seph and baby Jesus lying in the manger. The star was shining bright over Bethlehem. The scene itself just a tad out of focus, except for the angel and the star, each highlighted with a dusting of silver glitter. June, knowing how much we love cats, sent me a pho- to of their cat, Midnight. Is it any wonder they named him Midnight. He is so black the only thing you can see on his face is his bright yellow eyes. June said, "He thinks he is hid behind the bush. He is a 'throw. away, but shows up regularly for his meals!" I think Bob feeds him for the most but June certainly wouldn't let him go hungry. LARRY AND I sure did enjoy our tour of homes Mon- day night. All the lights makes one feel all warm and cozy inside, knowing they honor the birth of our Lord and'Savior Jesus Christ. LARRY'S MOTHER, the late Lucile Kimbro Wood- ham McRae would be happy to see that the holly bushes she planted to some day completely cover the old barn, with the rusty tin top, is now a reality. When com- ing down the drive, all you can see are the giant holly bushes. You would never know there was a barn behind them. Not me! I've always loved an old barn. June and I use to play in the loft of our barn. Once, we found some of the most beautiful white kittens I have ever seen. They looked to be nearly twice as long as most kittens. We just marveled at them. Later when we climbed the ladder to check on our monster kittens, they had been eaten by a wild animals. We were heart broken. IT WAS FUN to see someone's gardens. Master Gar- dener, Alton Wooldridge, invited us to stop by his and Sarah's garden week and found out we've a lot to learn. MULCH, MULCH, MULCH. is where we seem to be lacking. We do some mulching but not as much as does Alton. He says he is at it sun up to sun down. I see ROSE page 5