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Home for a Visit

August 12, 2014

After a year-long deployment to Afghanistan, Capt. Bryant Morrison is visiting family in Kernersville before heading to his new assignment at Fort Eustis near Newport News and Williamsburg in Virginia.

As a JAG attorney for the U.S. Army, it is part of Morrison’s job to make sure both soldiers and operations follow the letter of the law regarding legal questions regarding issues ranging from estate planning here at home to operations and rules of engagement overseas.

“I love my job,” said Morrison on Tuesday morning as he talked about the years since he graduated from East Forsyth High School, always with the goal of becoming an attorney.

Morrison grew up in Kernersville, the son of James and Patti Morrison and the late Martha Pearson. He graduated from East in 2002 and studied for his undergraduate degree in sociology at East Carolina University before earning his law degree from the Charlotte School of Law in 2010. He joined the Army on July 4, 2011.

While Morrison said he knew from an early age that he wanted to be an attorney, he didn’t decide to join the military until after completing an internship with the Army in South Korea.

“I fell in love with the job, the service and the sense of camaraderie,” said Morrison.

During his internship, Morrison lived in Daegu, South Korea, where a buddy of his lived at the time. Over the course of the 10-week assignment, Morrison worked in areas of the law that included client services, labor law and military justice. Living and working in a foreign country was eye-opening for Morrison.

“It was an enjoyable experience. I really enjoyed the different cultural experience. It opened my eyes to a big world. I was always kind of quiet, and it broke my shell and let me experience what the world has to offer,” he said.

After working for the Judge Advocate General Corps (JAG) offices at Fort Carson in Colorado, where he was responsible for military administration issues and serving as an advocate for soldiers regarding issues such as estate planning and prepping for deployments, Morrison was deployed himself to Afghanistan with the 4th Infantry Division last year and spent 12 months living at Kandahar Airfield in southeast Afghanistan.

The airfield is a small city unto itself, serving a population around 30,000. Morrison spent his working hours focusing on operation law, including syncing in with operational planning and making sure our forces were following international law regarding such things as laws of conflict and rules of engagement.

“It’s a small city, but without a lot of the comforts of home,” described Morrison. It’s a small self-sustaining city, with probably the same number of people or a little more than Kernersville.”

Much of what Morrison was involved in cannot be discussed, but he did talk a little about the United States’ overall mission in Afghanistan. His perspective has been shaped by being there and seeing the work our soldiers are doing.

“My perspective is shaped by being there. I feel like we’re doing a good job there as far as supporting the Afghan security forces. It’s a capable force as far as providing security to their country,” said Morrison. “The Afghans are more responsible than they’ve ever been. They’re doing a good job.”

Morrison said one of the things he enjoys most about his job is the pride he feels in the work he did in Afghanistan.

“There’s a sense of pride and satisfaction in the work I was doing. I was doing a job and trying to help our forces and the Afghan forces better their country,” he said.

Morrison met his wife, Cassie, while both were students at East Carolina. The couple has a 16-month-old daughter, Harper, who was just under four-months-old when her father left for Afghanistan. He was greeted by both his wife and daughter when he returned to Fort Carson earlier this month. A photographer documented the father/daughter reunion, but Morrison said that with today’s technology, he was able to communicate with both quite a bit while overseas and he came home on leave in March.

As far as requesting assignment to Virginia, Morrison said he and Cassie wanted to split the difference in miles between his hometown of Kernersville and hers in Maryland.

“We knew we wanted to be on the East Coast and between families,” he said.

Morrison said he sees himself staying in the military for at least 20 years, making a career of his military service. Afterward, he envisions himself perhaps teaching.

“I plan on staying in the JAG Corps and making it a full career,” he said. “I think we’d like to settle in the Charlotte area and I would eventually like to teach one day. That’s my ultimate dream.”

The here and now is pretty good, too, though.

“I’m loving it,” said Morrison.

Finding a Great Home

August 12, 2014

When Rachel Scheopner, 15, from Oak Ridge, decided she wanted to volunteer at a local animal rescue, Finding Great Homes Rescue, she didn’t know she would be giving one of the rescues a forever home.

Rachel’s mom, Jennifer, said Rachel first started volunteering at Finding Great Homes Rescue earlier this summer.

“She wants to eventually be a veterinarian,” she remarked.

Rachel explained that she volunteers at the rescue once or twice a week.

“When I am there I walk dogs, wash them, and play with them,” she said, noting that she hopes to be able to continue volunteering on the weekends after school starts.

Jennifer said they already have a dog, a six-year-old schnoodle named Olive, but their family had been thinking about getting another dog for a while.

“We thought Rachel was ready to take on that responsibility as the main caregiver of the dog,” she said, noting they weren’t looking for another schnoodle in particular, but that is the type of dog they fell in love with. “With our first dog, we had done a lot of research and found that schnoodles were good family dogs, which you want when you have young children. They don’t shed; they’re good with children; and they’re intelligent. They’re just all around good dogs.”

Jennifer has three children, including Rachel, and two sons, Nicholas, 17, and Jacob, 10.

Rachel said she actually wanted a large adult female dog because she didn’t want to have to train a puppy.

“When I saw Elvis, he was just so cute,” she stated.

Jennifer said they also wanted to make sure Olive would get along with the new dog.

“We brought our older dog to the rescue to see if they would get along and she was afraid of some of the bigger dogs, but was indifferent to Elvis because he was small and didn’t pose a threat,” she explained.

Jennifer and Rachel said Elvis was lucky having been brought to the rescue as a puppy.

“We got there about an hour after he arrived, but it took us a few days to decide if he was the right fit for our family,” Jennifer explained. “Elvis has been home for a couple of weeks with us.”

Jennifer said with Olive they had a little bit of trouble going through housetraining, so they decided to send Elvis to a trainer for housetraining, basic obedience and how to walk on a leash.

Rachel noted that he is a very well tempered dog, just like Olive.

“He’s really gentle for a puppy and doesn’t bite. He’s cute and he’s funny. He learns fast and has already learned some tricks,” she said.

“I like that he is already blending well with our family,” added Jennifer.

Jennifer and Rachel both agreed they were glad they adopted a dog from Finding Great Homes Rescue.

“I feel that they are a lot more hands on with the dogs than at a regular animal shelter,” Rachel noted from experience.

“It’s very clean and the dogs get a lot of room and playtime outside,” Jennifer added. “The owner keeps the dogs, the cages and the yard very clean and the dogs seem to be socialized very well.”

Robin Manly, owner of Finding Great Homes Rescue, said starting the rescue wasn’t intentional.

“We opened in July of 2009, but we never really decided to open one,” she said, noting that they started out by searching for homes for 40 Jack Russell Terriers, all of which she found homes for. “People still wanted dogs when we ran out, so I started looking at a shelter for Jack Russell Terriers that needed to be rescued for people to adopt.”

Eventually, Manly branched out and began rescuing all types of dogs, though she often looks for those that are easy tempered and great for families with children.

“I still rescue Jack Russell Terriers, but not everyone can take care of them, so over the years I started taking on more and more breeds and learning about them so I am knowledgeable about them.”

Manly noted that she is licensed and inspected by the state for 25 dogs, and is glad she didn’t opt to be licensed for more.

“It’s easier to take care of 25, but it gets crazy if you take on many more than that. It seems 25 is the tipping point,” she said, adding that she lives on the premises with the dogs. “Because I live at the facility, I really know the dogs and because I am an executive recruiter that hires people for Fortune 500 companies, I am good at matching people and families with a dog that fits them really well.”

Since she opened in 2009, Manly said she has rescued 4,200 dogs.

For more information about Finding Great Homes Rescue, call 336-414-1373, send an email to or visit

Global Heart Meditation

July 31, 2014

Felicia Katsilis is offering a free four-week meditation class, Global Heart Meditation, in order for people to reap the benefits from it.

If you met Katsilis today, you would think she’s outgoing, but that hasn’t always been the case.

Katsilis explained that in the past, she suffered from social anxiety disorder and depression, but after learning how to meditate she was able to overcome those obstacles.

“After I started meditating, I was able to go up and talk to people and now I enjoy talking to people. I didn’t think I did before,” she said. “I also used to be really angry all the time and now I don’t react to people’s anger and am no longer angry.”

Not only has Katsilis noticed the change in her personality, but she said others have as well.

“People who know me have said they can see the positive changes in how I react to people (and situations),” she remarked. “It’s nice to not be a slave to your emotions. I am able to naturally control them now without any effort.”

Katsilis said she first learned about meditation from a friend in high school.

“My anxiety with tests was so bad in high school that even though I knew the material, I wouldn’t do well on my tests,” she remarked.

Katsilis said she saw one of her friends in a state of meditation one day before class and she asked her what she was doing. After trying it one day before a test, Katsilis said she actually did better.

Since then, Katsilis has taken all types of mediation classes, looking for one that worked for her, and has learned that not all meditation is alike.

“I have done Oprah’s 21 day meditation challenge, guided meditation from other teachers, and other forms of meditation,” she explained. “I have tried pretty much every type of meditation except transcendental mediation because it is so expensive. I feel that meditation shouldn’t have to be expensive, that anyone can do it.”

Katsilis said most of the meditation classes she has taken have felt nice, but none of them seemed to work for her until she found a form of guided meditation, where she could pick her guide and where she wanted to go.

After having done meditation more consistently for the past five years and seeing its benefits, Katsilis decided she wanted to share its benefits with others.

“After a couple of years of sticking with it and seeing the benefits, I thought about sharing with other people. I felt that if other people learned how to meditate, it would help alleviate their stress,” she explained. “We live in a very stressful time, and I wanted to share this with others.”

Along with some of the benefits she has experienced, Katsilis named a few other benefits of meditation: helps sleep, eases stress and anxiety, physically changes the brain, reduces depression, decreases pain, boosts cognitive function, builds focus and concentration, helps relationship satisfaction, fosters a healthy body image, boosts immune system, lowers blood pressure, and more. All of these have been backed by studies and were published in an article by the Huffington Post. The article can be found at or on Katsilis’ website,

“It can also help someone stop smoking or drinking,” Katsilis added.

Katsilis said the type of meditation she offers is for everyone who is interested in trying it.

“With this type of meditation, you don’t have to change your spirituality and you don’t have to learn a new philosophy like you do with other types of meditation,” she said. “A lot of people think of meditation as new age or Buddhist, but learning meditation can be neutral.”

Katsilis said wherever a person is in their life, the type of meditation she offers can help guide a person where they want to go in life and meet their individual needs.

“People have their individual experiences, so their meditation should be individual too,” she remarked.

Katsilis explained that during the free Global Heart Meditation class, she will ask participants to pick a place that is safe and comfortable and then she will begin guiding them from there.

“They get to decide where that safe and comfortable place is,” she said, noting she had a horrible experience in the past from someone else picking where she would begin her meditation from visually.

She also explained that during each class, she will have participants do something different and work them up to learning how to meditate on their own.

Katsilis said the reason she chose to make the class a four week class is because, according to research, it takes that long to learn a new habit.

“It takes between 21 to 30 days to develop a habit. This class will help people develop the habit of meditating on a regular basis,” she said.

The classes will be offered at the Walkertown Library, starting on Friday, August 1 as well as the following three Fridays, August 8, 15, and 22 from 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Another class will be held at the Central Library in Winston-Salem, starting Monday, August 4 as well as the following three Mondays, August 11, 18, and 25 from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

For more information about Global Heart Meditation or to register for a class, visit, send an email to or call 336-310-5828.

Quen Taylor Blood Drive

July 31, 2014

“You just don’t know how good it feels when you are laying in a hospital and see that unit of blood coming through the door. Giving blood is the most wonderful thing you can do, everyone can try. The recipient can’t duplicate the gift they have received…the gift of life.” – Quen Taylor

The 14th Annual Quen Taylor Blood Drive is one of Kernersville’s longest standing and largest blood drives, and organizers hope the community turns out to honor the words of the late Quen Taylor.

“This is one of the biggest things we do here in the community,” said Christine Duvall, branch manager of Bank of North Carolina, a founding sponsor of the blood drive. “It is an easy way to help save lives. You may never know when you’re going to need blood, and it is important to keep this drive going and that the people know it’s happening. It’s also important for the family to keep Quen’s name alive and all the work he did.”

Taylor passed away in 2001, but left a legacy that lives on today, especially regarding just how important it is to give blood.

Taylor was known as the “voice” of Wake Forest University (WFU) basketball and football, where he was an announcer for 27 years. He was diagnosed with acute leukemia in 1998. Due to the severity of the leukemia, he sometimes needed to receive four or five pints of blood a day through blood transfusions.

Despite his condition, Taylor never let it detract from his love of covering WFU games. In fact, he was even known by friends and family to convince his doctors to allow him to leave the hospital to cover a game and then return in time to finish a treatment.

Kernersville resident Wayne Mabe counted himself among Taylor’s friends. During a visit to Taylor in the hospital, Mabe asked him if there was anything he could do. Taylor replied, “Make sure people keep giving blood.”

“Quen always said people didn’t really know what it was like to see a nurse bring in a unit of blood for transfusions because he felt it was the unit of life,” Mabe said. “So he encouraged me to make sure people give blood.”

That’s exactly what Mabe decided to do, organizing the first memorial blood drive in Taylor’s honor not long before his friend’s passing in 2001. In the years since, hundreds have continued to support the annual effort, with almost 2,000 units of blood collected over the last 14 years.

This year’s blood drive will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. at First Baptist Church of Kernersville, located at 401 Oakhurst St. Its arrival couldn’t come soon enough for the American Red Cross.

On July 25, the Red Cross announced it is facing a looming blood shortage, leading to an urgent need for donors of all types to roll up a sleeve and give. Nationally, donations were down about eight percent over the last three months, resulting in about 80,000 fewer donations than expected, said a spokesman for the organization.

Platelet donors and blood donors with types O negative, B negative and A negative blood are especially needed. Type O negative is the universal blood type and can be transfused to anyone who needs blood. Types A negative and B negative can be transfused to Rh positive or negative patients.

With schools out of session and many regular donors busy or on vacation, it’s important to remember that patients don’t get a break from needing blood — the need is constant.

Donations during last year’s blood drive were down from about 175 in 2012 to 132 pints in 2013. Duvall said that this year, the drive hopes to collect between 130 and 140 pints, but in year’s past that number has been well over 200 pints.

Duvall encourages anyone planning to attend the blood drive to call and schedule an appointment. Appointments can be made by calling (336) 996-1776.

All presenting donors will receive two free tickets to either a WFU basketball or football game. There will also be drawings for two $50 Visa cards, with one taking place during the morning hours and another in the afternoon.

Operation: Back Pack

July 31, 2014

For one local doctor, seeing children unprepared for the start of the school year due to limited resources is one of the most frustrating and heartbreaking sights. That is why he is asking the Kernersville community to support the fourth annual Operation: Back Pack.

Dr. Chad McIntyre and his staff at the Triad Upper Cervical Clinic will be accepting back packs and school supplies at their office, located at 432-A West Mountain St., between now and Wednesday, Aug. 20. People can drop off their items between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

“This project is near and dear to my heart,” said McIntryre, who noted that all of the items will be delivered to Kernersville Elementary School (KES) in time for their open house on Thursday, Aug. 21. “We want our teachers and students to be focused on instruction rather then worrying about having the supplies they need.”

McIntyre said Operation: Back Pack has steadily grown each of the past three years. They collected 76 back packs the first year, 90 in their second year and 144 last year. McIntyre said the project receives support from people all across the state and region. He explained that many of his patients, who come from as far away as Wilmington, Raleigh and surrounding states, will bring materials with them to their appointments or send care packages to the students at KES.

“Last year, we had someone stop by our office and ask if this was where they could bring school supplies to help the children. When we said yes, she carried in all kinds of back packs filled with supplies,” McIntryre said. “It was overwhelming to see that kind of support from our local community. She didn’t even have children of her own.”

McIntryre said by mid-August, he hopes the floor of his office is covered in back packs and school supplies. McIntryre said these students – and their teachers – work so hard every year to outpace their goals, and he doesn’t want the lack of basic school supplies to stall their progress.

“By doing our part to help, we know every child at Kernersville Elementary is starting off the year on the right foot, and it will help put our teachers at ease too,” McIntyre said. “We want these families to know people care about them and their success.”

Some of the supplies that are needed include crayons, glue sticks, tissues, hand sanitizer and washable markers. Students also need wide-ruled loose leaf paper, composition spiral notebooks, No. 2 pencils, pencil pouches and pocket folders. The only item they cannot accept is back packs that have wheels.

“Our school district does a good job of including only the essentials on their back-to-school supply list, but for families with multiple children, this can still get expensive,” KES Principal Becky Carter said. “Receiving this kind of generosity from Dr. McIntyre, his patients and other community members goes a long way in helping our families. We distributed all 144 back packs last year and will most likely need even more this year.”

She continued.

“Thank you to everyone for their support. I know the families who receive these supplies are very appreciative,” said Carter, who noted that all of the supplies are given away anonymously throughout the school year as needed.

For more information about Operation: Back Pack, contact Dr. McIntyre at (336) 992-2536.

Songs in Their Hearts

July 22, 2014

Some of the best things in life come to those who wait. Just look at Van and Jennifer Manuel, a local couple who perform together as a popular musical duo.

“That man did not know I could sing until I was 38-years-old, even though I was singing all the time, when I was vacuuming and cleaning or cooking,” laughed Jennifer as she talked about her and her husband’s journey into music.

Music had always interested Jennifer, even as a young child. She begged her mother to let her take piano lessons, but as the youngest of five children, that ship sailed. Her mother figured the lessons would just be wasted after having watched four others try and then abandon similar interests.

“My entire life I wanted to play an instrument and I begged my mother to play piano,” recalled Jennifer.

The family did have an old chord organ, though, and whenever she had a chance, Jennifer would play using old songbooks; however, she only played when no one else was home. When her mother got rid of the organ, Jennifer protested.

“I asked her what happened to the chord organ and she said she got rid of it because no one ever played it. I told her I played it all the time,” said Jennifer.

When Jennifer’s daughter began playing the harp, she decided to pick up an instrument again, to be able to play along. This time, she chose the fiddle. When Van expressed his interest in music, Jennifer bought him a guitar and he began taking lessons. He even started playing in public.

“Van started playing at church in the praise band and I would sing a song,” said Jennifer, with the emphasis on “a” song. Just one, no more than that.

Then, the couple began playing together and one thing led to another. They were asked to perform at a sweetheart banquet at the church and when Jennifer was practicing with the praise band, she realized that getting through more than one song required speaking in between each.

“I was nervous, thinking, what am I going to say in between songs,” admitted Jennifer.

Jennifer ended up creating a character she called “Camille.” Van was “Dwayne” and the two began performing at other churches as “Dwayne and Camille.”

“That got us out further from just our church, and over the years we’ve made friends who play music,” said Jennifer. “We started playing more and more.”

Jennifer also built her song list. She said just the other day she decided to make a duplicate of her songbook, one for the couple’s home in Kernersville and another for their vacation house in Beaufort.

“There are 89 songs in there,” laughed Jennifer.

Seven years ago, Jennifer gave up the fiddle because she said she wasn’t good at it. At the urging of friends, she picked up the guitar, learning to play rhythm to Van’s lead.

“Van bought me a guitar, and with him teaching me to play I would sit on the front porch for hours,” remembered Jennifer. It also got her through what she called a dark time in her life.

“Feeling the music, singing the songs, mostly sad, I guess I was cathartically singing away the sadness,” said Jennifer. “Then my music got happy, with songs like ‘I Can See Clearly Now.’”

Jennifer said she loves playing music with her husband, and they will play just about anywhere. Van also has a combo band called Dogs Like This that also features friends Craig Burris and Mike Burris.

Today, Jennifer and Van perform throughout Kernersville. Just last weekend they provided entertainment at the downtown Cruise-In. They’ve also performed in their home away from home in Beaufort.

Jennifer related a funny story about performing at the farmers market there.

“Someone suggested we open our guitar cases for donations. We got organic chicken, apples, harvest bread and crafts. It was the best haul we’ve ever gotten,” laughed Jennifer.

For Jennifer and Van, it is about the love of music more than anything else.

“We just like playing and we have fun together,” she said.

Festival to Benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

July 22, 2014

Like nothing the town has ever seen, The Brewer’s Kettle is introducing the first Food Truck Festival in Kernersville this Saturday, July 26 from 3 – 9 p.m., to help benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

“This is something I have been planning on doing for a while, and I thought it would be something that would benefit Kernersville,” said Andy Kennedy, owner of The Brewer’s Kettle in Kernersville.

The event will feature 11 food trucks, live music from three bands, vendors, a silent auction, hosted by Belle Raisers, and craft beer and wine.

Kennedy said he chose to have the event benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation because of his connection with Mark and Jessica Hanson, whose daughter Annabelle has the unforgiving disease.

Annabelle and her twin brother, Dominick, who does not have cystic fibrosis, were born one month early on May 19, 2011. Although they were early, Mark and Jessica were given no indication that there were any health issues with Annabelle, so they were released to go home. The only thing they recalled was that Dominick was one pound heavier than Annabelle, which they noted wasn’t unusual for twins who are born early.

It wasn’t until one month later that doctors called to tell them Annabelle had cystic fibrosis. At this point Dominick was three pounds heavier than his sister.

For Mark and Jessica, the idea of their daughter having a shortened life span and a more complicated life weighed heavy on their hearts.

Jessica explained in an earlier interview with the Kernersville News that cystic fibrosis affects multiple organs in the body, most specifically the lungs.

“People with cystic fibrosis are more susceptible to bacterial and fungal infections. Things that regular people are able to cough up, she isn’t able to do as well,” she said.

Fortunately, with the help of modern medicine and medical devices, Annabelle has managed to stay relatively healthy, but Mark and Jessica know she may not be healthy forever as the median life expectancy for someone with cystic fibrosis is 37 years.

Mark noted that recently there has been a new development in the drug industry for people with cystic fibrosis that could potentially improve Annabelle’s life.

According to, “Phase 3 clinical trials of ivacaftor (Kalydeco) in combination with lumacaftor (VX-809) for people with two copies of the F508del mutation of cystic fibrosis showed significant improvements in lung function and other key measures of the disease, according to Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc.”

“Based on these results, Vertex plans to submit a New Drug Application (NDA) by the end of 2014 to FDA for review, with possible approval in 2015,” the website said. “Results from the two 24-week clinical trials mark an important milestone for nearly 50 percent of people with cystic fibrosis – specifically those with two copies of F508del, the most common CF mutation. The potential treatment is the first to combine two pills to address the underlying genetic cause of CF in people with the F508del mutation.”

“This will be a significant improvement in the quality of life for Annabelle (and others with CF), but it’s not a cure,” Mark said.

For now, though, Annabelle has to use an inhaler and wear a large “smart vest” twice a day for 40 minutes. The “smart vest” vibrates and is designed to loosen anything that might be in her lungs. She also has to take dietary supplements as well as a high fat and high salt diet in order to maintain her weight.

Mark said he is looking forward to Saturday’s Food Truck Festival fundraiser at The Brewer’s Kettle.

“I’m looking forward to having a day out with good food and having another opportunity to raise awareness and funds to help advance the science (to help patients with CF),” he said.

Kennedy said they already have a number of items for the silent auction, including local artwork, gift package for Gone Jerky, a spa package, a new grill, beer and wine, a guitar, and more. There will also be tickets sold to raffle off a unique hammock from Boonedox Gear & Tackle and a Les Paul Gibson Guitar.

The food trucks that will be featured at the event include: Bandito Burrito, Crazy Rib Man, El Azteca, Food Freaks, Frog’s Toadly Good Eats, King Creole, My Dream Cakes, The Ice Queen, Tipsy’z Tavern, Urban Street Grill, and Wright Up Ur Galley.

Music for the event will begin at 3 p.m. with James Vincent, followed by The Brothers Hermanos at 5 p.m. and Disco Lemonade at 7 p.m.

Kennedy noted that attendees should bring cash for the food trucks.

The Brewer’s Kettle is located at 308 East Mountain St. For more information, call 336-992-3333, visit their website at or find them on Facebook at: The Brewer’s Kettle Kernersville.

Benefit for Jennifer Lutz

July 18, 2014

When Tara Waite heard her long time friend Jennifer Lutz was diagnosed with colon cancer, she knew she wanted to do something to help her, so she decided to hold a fundraiser in her honor. The fundraiser will be held on Saturday, July 19 at Smokin’ Harley-Davidson beginning with a Poker Run and multiple other activities.

According to the Mayo Clinic, colon cancer is cancer of the large intestine (colon), the lower part of your digestive system, while rectal cancer is cancer of the last several inches of the colon. Together, they’re often referred to as colorectal cancers.

“Most cases of colon cancer begin small, noncancerous (benign) clumps of cells called adenomatous polyps. Over time some of these polyps become colon cancers. Polyps may be small and produce few, if any, symptoms. For this reason, doctors recommend regular screening tests to help prevent colon cancer by identifying polyps before they become colon cancer,” the Mayo Clinic stated.

Jennifer and her husband, Andy, who own Southern Smoke Eatery and Tavern, first found out she had cancer after seeking help for what Jennifer thought was a common stomach bug on Memorial Day; however, it wasn’t that simple.

“After two visits they found that she had something inside her, and after having several tests doctors found a mass in her colon,” Andy explained, noting that the next day they performed surgery to remove the mass.

Andy said Jennifer’s reaction was to be expected.

“At first, she was scared and shocked, but she is dealing better with it now,” he said.

Although having colon cancer was new to Jennifer, her grandmother, mother, aunt and uncle have all had colon cancer.

“It runs in the family. We just never thought she might get it this young,” Andy said, noting that Jennifer is only 31-years-old.

The Lutz’s have a soon to be two-year-old son.

Andy said the odds are good since Jennifer’s aunt, uncle and mother are all survivors of colon cancer, and her mother is also a survivor of breast cancer. Unfortunately, they lost her grandmother to multiple cancers.

After having surgery, Jennifer started chemotherapy last week and will stay on it for six months.

“The chemo is more of a preventative thing since they found some in five of her lymph nodes. Due to age and the size of the growth, they want to make sure it doesn’t spread anywhere else,” Andy said.

He noted that through all of this, everyone they know has been very supportive, especially Waite.

After hearing that Jennifer was diagnosed with colon cancer, Waite wanted to do something to help. So, she contacted Smokin’ Harley-Davidson to put on an event, which will be held on Saturday, July 19, with events including a poker run, poker walk, corn hole tournament, live music, and a raffle.

Registration for the poker run will be held from 9 – 11 a.m. with kickstands going up at 11:10 a.m. The ride begins at Smokin’ Harley-Davidson and heads into Winston-Salem, with the first stop on First Street, a second stop on Second and Greene Streets and a third stop at the Ole Watering Hole, before returning back to Smokin’ Harley-Davidson. The cost to ride is $15/bike and $20 for two or more riders.

The poker walk will begin once all riders are back from the poker run.

“Doug Thomas came up with the idea for the poker walk for those that don’t have a bike or cannot ride and would still like to be involved,” Andy said.

Live music will begin at 1 p.m. by Thrillbilly, followed by Double Down at 4 p.m., and Carolina Cowboys from 8 – 11:30 p.m.

Registration for the corn hole tournament will be held at 12 p.m. and the tournament will begin at 1 p.m. The cost to play is $15.00. Fifty-percent of the money from the tournament will go to the winner, with the other going to Jennifer’s medical bills.

Proceeds from the event will help pay for Jennifer’s medical bills.

For more information about the event, email Waite at

Missions Trip

July 18, 2014

The youth at Triad Baptist Church have been waiting for the past four years to take a mission trip outside of the country. This year they were finally able to do that when they visited the Dominican Republic to share the gospel and give hope to those less fortunate.

Sarah McGraw, 18, her brother, John, 15, and High School Student Pastor Jared Hoots, along with 36 other high school students and 11 other adults headed out for their trip on June 22, returning six days later on June 28.

Hoots said he had been to the Dominican Republic three times before, but he hadn’t worked with SCORE International, the organization they went with for the event mission, called Kosmos.

For Sarah and John, it was their first time visiting the country.

“We have both always wanted to go on a mission trip, our parents knew that, and they felt it would be a good opportunity for us,” Sarah said.

Sarah noted that one of the first places they worked at was Pasitos de Jesus, an orphanage for girls.

“We also gave out food, through a project called Feed a Village, in bags to certain families selected by a church in the area,” John added. “We also gave them our testimonies when we gave them the food.”

Sarah recalled how interested the families were in hearing what they had to say.

“They took the time to listen to what we had to say, and not just wanted to listen because we were giving them things,” she said.

Another place the mission team worked at was the Lily House, a rescue ministry reaching women enslaved in prostitution in the Dominican Republic.

“They would teach them different life skills, such as baking and making things they could sell so they could help their families and become self-sufficient and could get out of prostitution,” Sarah said.

Hoots said the children often stayed at the Lily House with their mothers.

“We also went to the Emanuel House, which was after school care for children,” Hoots said.

He explained that students in the Dominican Republic are only in school for a half day and they must have their birth certificate in order to attend.

“The Emanuel House is a place for children to go, where they have an extra half day to do their homework, have recreation, and devotion. It’s also a safe place for them to go,” Hoots added. “It was also available for children who didn’t have their birth certificates.”

John said there were specialized programs within the Emanuel House.

“They had groups for special needs kids and groups for deaf kids,” he said, noting that all of the students at the Emanuel House are sponsored. “The sponsorships are the way they pay for their meals and uniforms.”

Hoots said the Emanuel House hopes to have an organization built next year to provide a full day program since the Dominican Republic will be going to a full-day school program next year.

“The organization will cost them $50,000, which will help them become a school and to help them build a whole new wing,” he said.

Sarah said another day on their mission trip, they put in water filters for two families in a nearby village, while working with the Emanuel House.

“One of the ladies that took us through her house was so proud of her house even though she had so little,” she said.

“Their kitchen was half the size of a regular bathroom in the U.S. and the restrooms were pretty much a bucket on the floor,” John added, noting they were in the more poverty stricken area of the Dominican Republic. “For their beds, they just had a mattress sitting on the floor with a pillow and most of the homes had bars on the doors and windows so no one could break in.”

“A lot of the families hadn’t eaten in several days and a lot of us had snacks in our bags, so we gave them to the families, though we knew it wouldn’t be enough,” Sarah said.

Hoots said the organizations they worked with in the Dominican Republic were well run.

“They were all well run and filled a spiritual and physical need,” he said. “Our goal while we were there was to make sure we always shared the gospel with the people we met and they were very receptive,” he remarked.

John said they also passed out tracts and bracelets.

Sarah explained that since they were new to mission work, while they were at the Lily House they were taught how to do mission work successfully.

“They taught us how to do mission work so the people didn’t become dependent upon us and so they would be more receptive,” she said.

Through their experience in the Dominican Republic, John said he learned to be more thankful for what he has here in the U.S.

“The experience taught me to be thankful for what I’ve got because they have so little over there,” he said.

Sarah noted that the experience taught her to open up more about her faith.

“It helped me to be able to share my testimony better and to share my faith,” she said. “It helped me to break out of my shell.”

Sarah explained that through her experience, she also learned that God uses even the smallest of talents to help people.

“While we were at the Lily House, we came in and got some ice cream and were going to get our nails painted,” she said. “While I was getting my nails done I asked the lady that was painting my nails if I could return the favor and the woman seemed shocked by the question.”

Sarah then asked her if she had any designs. After finding out the woman didn’t have any, Sarah decided to show her a few simple designs she could use in the future.

“She was so excited because this would now allow her to charge more and make more money for her family,” she explained.

Although they had many great experiences, John and Sarah said there were challenges.

“It was hard seeing all of the children running around and their parents not knowing where they were. They would ask for food and water and just wanted to help all of them,” John said.

Sarah said her favorite part about the trip was spending time with the children.

“I enjoyed being with the kids and spending time with them,” she said.

John said during the mission trip, they had the chance to grow not only as individuals but as a youth group as well.

“Every night, we would come back to the mission conference and have a service and then have church time to talk about the day,” he said. “It helped bring us closer.”

Sarah said she and her brother also grew closer through the experience.

“I am glad I got to go with my brother. We never really got to bond like we did while we were there,” she said.

The Gift of Love

July 1, 2014

A dedicated group of quilters at Kernersville Seventh-day Adventist Church needs the community’s help in donating materials so they can continue making prayer quilts for those who are ill and in need.

And if anyone wants to join them, they can do that, too.

God’s Helping Hands Prayer Quilt Ministry first began at the church in March 2012 after member Rena Whitley heard about a similar ministry from a friend in Florida. When she got to talking to Linda Hosier about starting a group in Kernersville, Hosier mentioned another prayer quilt group that met at a church in Advance.

From there, the women enlisted the aid of several of their fellow church members and friends and a ministry was born. Since then, the group has made and then given away more than 70 prayer quilts.

“They go to people in need. We’ve sent quilts to Florida, West Virginia and Pennsylvania,” said prayer quilt ministry member Barbara Peterson, who along with her husband, Duane, himself a former pastor at Kernersville’s Seventh-day Adventist Church, volunteer their time to helping make the quilts.

Most of the people who receive a quilt from the ministry have been experiencing some type of illness. Several of the recipients have since passed away, while others are on the road to recovery. Peterson was presented a quilt from the group when she underwent back surgery.

“Most of the quilts do go to more of the elderly, but we have given some to young people who needed them,” said Whitley.

“Our first two quilts went to cancer victims,” added Peterson.

Whitley has been quilting for almost 40 years. Others in the group have varying degrees of experience. One of the newest quilters is Oloma McDowell, who started quilting four years ago, and is a regular member of the group.

On Tuesday, member Cynthia Key brought her 12-year-old granddaughter, Sierra Napier, who helped her grandmother work on a brightly colored quilt while others ironed and sewed from the machine or by hand. Church Pastor Don Davis even helped tie several of the knots to one quilt, and member Gloria Davidson sifted fabric through a table top sewing machine.

Each quilt features any number of knots that are tied by hand as a prayer is said. Sometimes, group members, like Davis and Duane Peterson on Tuesday, tie most of the knots, but the group also invites the congregation to tie them and as each one is knotted, a special prayer is offered to the recipient.

Some of the quilts have dozens of ties waiting to be knotted, while others have just a few, but not one leaves the building without each one tied with a prayer.

On Tuesday, group members worked on half a dozen quilts while they talked about their ministry. The quilts come in a variety of styles and designs either hand stitched or machine sewn. The group once made a quilt entirely from the fabric from men’s ties.

For a while, Marsha Pierce helped the group with her long arm quilting machine, but since injuring her ankle, Pierce is unable to participate anymore. She had a machine so big that it took up her entire living room, added Peterson.

Working non-stop, the ladies can make one quilt in about eight hours, said Whitley, who had always wanted to learn how to quilt growing up, but her mother never taught her. Whitley decided in 1975 that she would teach herself.

“She dreams about quilts,” laughed one of the members.

McDowell said what she loves most about the group is that they are using their talents to glorify God.

“If God can’t be glorified by the work of your hands, then you don’t need to do it,” said McDowell.

“It is for the edification of the Lord and to show we love them (quilt recipients) too. We want to spread His love,” said Hosier.

“There is no magic in the quilts. It’s a reminder to people that they’re being prayed for,” said Whitley.

While the group members use their own equipment and supplies, most of the material used to make the quilts has been donated. They could always use more, they said.

“Most of the material has been donated. Occasionally, we have to buy some materials because we may not have the right colors,” said Whitley. “Mostly, we need batting, thread and monetary donations. Of course, we could always use more material, but things we really have to have are batting and thread.”

Whitley said the group would welcome anyone from the community who is interested in joining. They don’t have to be members of Kernersville Seventh-day Adventist Church.

“We would welcome anyone who would like to come to quilt,” said Whitley.

Davis praised the ministry’s work.

“I think it’s wonderful. Anytime people have a talent and can use it to help others, that’s a wonderful thing,” he said.

God’s Helping Hands Prayer Quilt Ministry meets the second and third Monday of each Monday at 1 p.m. at the church, located at 896 Old Winston Rd.