August 11, 2018 10:18:20 PM
A rose to Col. Samantha "Combo" Weeks, who took the reins at Columbus Air Force Base Monday morning during the Change of Command ceremony. She takes over command from Col. Douglas Gosney, who is retiring after his two-year stint in Columbus. Weeks' arrival marks the second time a female has served as Commander at CAFB in 20 years. Interestingly, she was a student pilot during the tender of the base's previous female commander, Col. Marne Peterson. Although Weeks takes pride in her achievements as a female officer, her focus is on the broader mission of CAFB - preparing Air Force pilots at a time when there is a shortage of pilots. In addition to that mission, Weeks said she is eager to build on the strong relationship between CAFB and the community. We congratulate Col. Weeks and wish her every success in her new role.
A rose to Kait Nolan of Starkville, the latest in a long line of award-winning authors from Mississippi. Nolan has 27 titles to her credit and her work was recently recognized with a RITA Award from the Romance Writers of America in the Short Contemporary Romance category for her novel, "Second Chance Summer." Nolan's work focuses on small-town romance where the setting becomes a character in her stories, emphasizing the things that make Mississippi and the South great, she says. In that sense, she follows the trail blazed by earlier generations of Mississippi writers such as Eudora Welty and William Faulkner, whose works were noted for their "sense of place." Keep writing, Kait, and we'll keep reading.
A rose to Lt. Christian Smith, the new commander at the Columbus Salvation Army. Although this is Smith's first command, he has a lifetime exposure to the Salvation Army. In fact, his parents - Majors Mark and Chiffonia Smith - were commanders in Columbus from 1995-1998. Smith also served as a Salvation Army corp assistant in Columbus three years ago. So, while he is "new" in one sense, he's a familiar presence here. Smith replaces Lt. Jennifer and Lt. Damon Graham, who served in Columbus for a year before leaving town last month to return to Alabama to take care of a family member. Welcome back, Lt. Smith!
A rose to Mississippi State University for a successful completion of an effort that began more than four decades ago. Last week, the university was notified that it had been granted a chapter of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, one of the nation's oldest and most prestigious academic honor societies. This distinction comes 42 years after the university first attempted to bring a PBK chapter to the university in 1976. That effort, like subsequent efforts in 1982, 1985, 1988, 2000 and 2003, failed. To achieve the distinction is a break-through moment for MSU's academic reputation and is the culmination of the hard work of administrators, faculty and students. MSU now joins Millsaps College and the University of Mississippi who have Phi Beta Kappa chapters. It's a proud moment for higher education in our state.