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Children pursue dads’ line of work

Fathers make an impact on their children that lasts a lifetime.Even the manner in which he holds a golf club may leave a mark thatis passed on from one generation to the next.

Whether intentionally or not, several area fathers haveinfluenced their children to continue in the same profession theyhave chosen for their own lives.

Josh Leggett followed his father’s lead in becoming aMississippi Highway Patrol trooper. His father, Johnny, startedworking as a trooper when Josh was only eight years old.

“It’s something I always had on my mind. It’s something wealways talked about,” said Josh.

Johnny became a trooper after years of working in constructionand carpentry. He wanted a way to provide insurance, retirement andother benefits for his wife, Frankie, and their children. He hadalways had a desire to work in law enforcement but never attemptedit.

“This is something I always really wanted to do. I just neverthought it was possible,” he said. “I never took the time to pursueit.”

At the age of 33, Johnny Leggett’s dream became a reality whenhe became a trooper.

“When it finally became a reality, I was glad I did it,” Johnnysaid. “I always try to be a good role model to my children.”

After Johnny became a trooper, conversations in the Leggetthousehold centered more around law enforcement.

“It was an ongoing topic. We lived and breathed lawenforcement,” he said.

Leggett says he never tried to persuade his children to do whathe does, but supported them in everything they did.

“I tried to leave that all up to them,” he said.

Leggett also tried to instill in his children that anything theydo in their lives would be a calling for them, particularly if itwas law enforcement.

“You don’t get into this for the money. It’s got to be somethingyou like to do. It’s a calling you have to have,” he said. “Thereare a lot of good times and a lot of bad times. I like the work andhopefully, I can make a difference.”

His admiration for the profession grew so much that it rubbedoff on his children. Today, Leggett leaves a legacy that his threechildren, Josh, Jesse Lee and Jason Tate, will always remember andsome follow.

In fact, when Josh graduated from Bogue Chitto, he knew that he,too, wanted to be a trooper. He went to Copiah-Lincoln CommunityCollege and earned an A.A. degree in criminal justice. Aftercompleting his formal training, Josh officially became a trooper inDecember 2000.

Now, the two are able to share experiences from the job, andJohnny often gives his son advice pertaining to their work.

“We compare notes . . . we try to see what type of day the otherone had,” said Johnny.

He says what’s most enjoyable is having his son near him.

“It makes me proud. I’m glad he was able to achieve that,”Johnny Leggett said. “I also worry about a lot because I knowwhat’s out there.”

Josh Leggett agrees that his father did have some impact on thechoice he made in becoming a trooper. With the close camaraderiebetween the officers, the duo often gets teased and picked on bythe other troopers.

“I enjoy the brotherhood between the officers,” said Josh.”Whenever I need something, I call one of them and somebody’scoming. My closest help may be in another county, but somebody willbe on the way.”

Other Brookhaven residents know what it’s like to have a fatherlaboring with them, too. Robin Tyler Faust has been “unofficially”working in her family’s funeral home business since she was in highschool.

Her father, Robert Tyler, even recalls her taking peeps in theembalming room as a young girl.

“I’m the fourth generation,” Faust says, looking with admirationto her father.

Started in 1877 by Will R. Tyler, the business has been passeddown from generation to generation over the years. Robert Tylertook over the business in 1979.

Having grown up in the family business, Tyler says theenterprise is inborn.

“You don’t have a choice in this situation,” he said, aboutgetting into the business. “It’s a need that you fulfill in thecommunity.”

Faust, the only child, agreed, saying, “Every custom, primitiveor contemporary, has a ceremony for the events surrounding life.From birth to adolescence to marriage to educational achievements,a ceremony is involved. When a grief-stricken family pulls up toour facility, it is our job to help them get through their criseswithout becoming bogged down in it through the ceremony which wehelp to plan.”

To get prepared to work in the business, Faust started herofficial training by taking the necessary college-preparatorycourses in high school.

“I started by taking biology in Dorothy Parson’s class,” sherecalled.

From there, she took basic business and science courses atCopiah-Lincoln Community College. She also graduated with anassociate’s degree in mortuary science from Northwest CommunityCollege’s Desoto center at Southaven. Additionally, Faust earned aB.S. degree in business administration from Jackson StateUniversity. Afterwards, she began working for the funeral home. Hermother, Ruby, also assists with the business.

Other than being part of residents’ lives, the father anddaughter say it’s a joy to be able to work together and sharebusiness ideas.

“It’s good to be able to pass on what knowledge I have to her,”said Tyler, “and to be able to work with someone you love everyday.”

“We have a mutual respect and admiration for one another,” Faustsaid, explaining that her father has been a great influence to her.”The greatest influence has been the caring he has shown for thefamilies that we serve and the professionalism he tries toexhibit.”