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Holiday heroes abound year-round

By Kay S. Pedrotti People who are never recognized or honored for their help to the community actually never want to talk to reporters. They can be convinced only when they understand that their actions serve to inspire others to help — and much is needed. Mildred Musick and Paul Stinson are two such people. Musick said she does most of her ‘good works’ through First United Methodist Church, but does reach out to help wherever she’s needed. Stinson is a ‘right-hand man’ to everybody’s ‘Brother,’ Jimmy Fambro of Hope Tree Ministries when most other volunteers work only during holidays. Mildred Musick: ’I helped in the church kitchen forever,’ Mildred Musick said. ‘My late husband Lamar loved washing dishes — how wonderful is that? I cooked, which I love to do anytime, especially for friends who have undergone surgery or been ill or had a death in the family. Helping in the community was just something that Lamar and I always did.’ Musick, 85, has long been president of the Adult Bible Study class and is the only living active member of the congregation who remembers the start of the group in 1958: ‘Of course, it was the ‘˜Young Adult’ Bible study back then.’ She and Lamar ‘lacked two months being married 62 years’ when he died July 25, 2013. Their son, George, lives in Lawrenceville and has two sons. Both Mildred and Lamar grew up in Grantville, moving to Barnesville in 1958 after Lamar’s service in the U.S. Navy. Mildred worked with Lamar EMC, now Southern Rivers Energy, and Lamar was a rural mail carrier — ‘it was all he ever wanted to do,’ Mildred said. The two helped start Habitat for Humanity in Lamar County, and worked to complete the first house. She said she made meals for the workers, but ‘Lamar was the one who knew how to build.’ She has contributed to or raised funds for numerous charities, including Middle Georgia Food Bank and Empty Stocking Fund. Mildred said Jeff and Jan Baker and their daughters, Julie, Jenny and Joanna, are her ‘second family.’ Jan agrees, calling MIldred ‘my second mother’ and ‘one of God’s angels on earth.’ ’She just gives and gives,’ Jan said. ‘It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are in need, Miss Mildred will help you. She’ll do whatever is needed, but baking and cooking are her forte.’ MiIdred said she is ‘blessed to be free of illness and pain, doesn’t take any medicine, and I’m not afraid when I lie down to sleep.’ She has that welldressed look of most women her age, with a touch of rebel added — black sneakers with metallic sparkles on them. Paul Stinson: Stinson is a 23-year U.S. Army veteran who retired and literally went into community services. Besides teaching Army JROTC at Lamar County high school, he started an organization called ‘Compassion Care’ which initially offered after-school child care, summer camps and help to families, especially homebound and shut-ins. ’Compassion Care Community Services’ is a component of Hope Tree Ministries, giving food, clothing and ‘whatever sustenance we can offer’ to persons who are found to be in need. Stinson is a graduate of Lamar County High and Gordon College’s two-year nursing program, and received a BS in nursing from Incarnate Word University in San Antonio while he was stationed there in the Army. He was a designated ‘combat nurse’ who served during the Desert Shield/Desert Storm conflict, supervising nurses at the 114th EVAC hospital in San Antonio. The major, whose father still lives in Milner, came to Lamar County in 5th grade and graduated from Lamar County high in 1975. His mother, Lucille Marie Smith Stinson, died last year; she operated Marie’s Beauty Shop for a number of years. His father Marvin is retired from Southern States Inc. Paul was the oldest of seven children. After his Army retirement, he became immersed in local community services with Compassion Care and other organizations. His church, Greater Spring Hill Baptist in Milner, distributes food weekly to community families in need. He has worked with the chamber of commerce and Rotary Club on local projects and is a member of the American Legion, NAACP and VFW. Paul has six adult children, two in college. His teaching abilities sprang from his experience with his younger brothers and sisters and with his children. He hopes soon to be able to re-open an Early Learning Center in Lamar, where preschoolers can start preparing for grade school. With his JROTC cadets, Stinson said he tries to ‘teach them to be respectful citizens and see themselves as leaders … I have literally seen lives changed in JROTC.’ As for his own reasons for helping others: ‘I live and do for God. God has given to me, so I want to give back.’

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