by Hunter Dawkins

Reviewing the discourse of one person’s life story seems to be rather mundane from the outside; yet when we read writings about individuals of significance (celebrities, politicians, athletes), personal adrenaline begins to rise because of how their narrative relates to ours. As an individual that has been blessed by having great parents, a good family, and a solid community, my story is no different than yours; including the experiences we have been through.

This is not to say that I do not work hard and value my work, due to the fact that I own one of the best weekly newspapers in the state and have earned several accolades across the region. However, I do not hold my struggles greater than this community because I am a firm believer everyone in West Harrison County is a part of the paper.

The plan is to provide you with several unique circumstances in my life; which may have seemed tragic at the time, yet something good came out because of this community input.

At an early age, my parents moved down to the Coast when I was two, we briefly lived in a railroad shack (both parents may not find this funny, but I’ve seen it and feel secure in making this claim) near Memorial Hospital. We resided in this domicile for a little more than a year until a Hurricane blew a tree into the middle of the house, not exactly livable for any three year old. The end result of this situation was that we moved into a house off Menge Avenue in the Pineville community six months later, where we stayed until I graduated from high school and became a regular part of the Pass Christian/Pineville/Long Beach area.

Right before graduating college in 2005, I was involved in a serious car wreck outside of my campus in Washington, D.C. Suffering from a traumatic brain injury (TBI) that left me blind in my left eye, deaf in my right ear, and lung disabilities for the rest of my life, I endured a three-month coma where several doctors believed that I may not get past a nursing home. Fortunately for me, the Lord Almighty had different plans for me and with time, strength, and determination, I got back on my feet and headed home.

I had been home for a few weeks before the worst hurricane of my lifetime hit and destroyed my beautiful community physically and emotionally, but not spiritually. After moving up to Jackson and fulfilling my rehabilitation requirements, I moved back to Washington for graduate school and a congressional aide career that helped me change a few dynamics of my hometown community following the destruction of Katrina. Nowhere was this anywhere close to the help others provided, but I was happy to be a part of assisting some relief from the outside looking in.

Years later, my five year old son (Colby Jay) and his mother moved to Northern Arizona to prepare some relief for the family and I had just finished my 6th year teaching. Although I do talk to him a few times a week and see him once in a while, I do severely miss him everyday and my educational career. The end result was it brought me to the newsroom and I found my true niche in this industry with the help of my great community.

One person that I should single out who has been with me through thick and thin is the valiant and courageous former State Senator Deborah Dawkins, aka my mom.  Although there have been backstops through numerous moments in my life, she has always been constant and believed in my abilities, no matter what I chose.  As Arnold Schwartzanaeggar said in a recent graduation speech, “there is no such thing as a self-made man.”  I firmly agree with the Terminator on this one because with out her support, there is no paper from me.

Finally, 2020 has come upon us and doesn’t appear to be leaving soon, but receiving the award for top community service among weekly newspapers is a reflection of you, the reader, subscriber, and taxpayer of this county. Even with my story being touching and somewhat fascinating, it is not more important than anyone in this community. Thank you for reading and your support.