The Dart finds a Friend of Junior Auxiliary

Published 11:17 am Saturday, April 29, 2023

BROOKHAVEN — Kenneth Dickey was tucked away in an office at the Brookhaven Recreation Department office on north US51 close to where The Dart landed Thursday when he pointed out a great story. Dickey is the program director of Brookhaven’s Recreation Department and suggested Kail Garrett share her story because she recently won an award with JA. 

Garrett is a native of Lawerence County, she grew up in Monticello and resides on the outskirts of town on the way to Silver Creek. She said she really considers the tri-county area to be her home. 

Brookhaven Academy, Wesson and Lawerence County played a part in her education. Co-Lin Community College was her first destination after graduation before she went on to the University of Southern Mississippi to finish her degree in Therapeutic Recreation. It is a career path she chose because of her brother Damon Baldwin, who died in 2021. 

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“I knew I wanted to work with people who had disabilities. My brother had disabilities and therapeutic recreation helps through the spirit of play,”  Garrett said. “It is a really fun field. It is funny how life is. I got a job working with seniors at the senior citizen center. I also did adaptive t-ball and soccer. It’s my heart. I learned empathy towards people. Although to me, it wasn’t a big deal that my brother was disabled. I didn’t see him as anything different than he was my brother.” 

Garrett helped facilitate line dancing, card games and other monthly activities at the senior center in Brookhaven. She recently moved over to the Brookhaven Recreation Department office to handle financing and bookkeeping but keeps a hand in the adaptive programs. 

Brookhaven’s Senior Citizen Center provides fellowship and classes, Garrett said. She misses working there but has enjoyed her new role with the department. Her co-workers have been great for the past 11 years at the department and they helped her transition to the new role, she said. Dickey has been great too, she added. 

On a shelf beside her desk is a bright and colorful award she received from Junior Auxiliary. It features a crown and beautiful calligraphy which states “Friend of JA Award.” 

“I just want to say thank you to them. They do wonderful things within their community service projects,” Garrett said. “They are a great group who do a lot for Brookhaven. I just help JA when they need me.” 

A mother of three boys, the free time she has left is spent reading, watching movies, exercising, taking her sons bass fishing or going out on a lake for a boat ride. Any lake will do, she said.

Her favorite genres to read changes depending on her mood. “I just love getting lost in a good story and not dealing with reality sometimes,” she said. 

Right now, she is entering a new phase of life with one son being 17, another is 11 and the last but not least is five. They are each busy and active and keep Garrett moving. It’s a good thing, she said. 

“I feel outnumbered but I always knew I would have boys,” Garrett said. “I love being a boy mom. They are fun. I don’t know how much easier they are than girls but I have nieces too. If I need girl time I’ll get my niece.” 

Family is one of the reasons she has stuck around Lawrence and Lincoln Counties. It is home, she said. Downtown Brookhaven is one of her favorite places to be. 

“Downtown Brookhaven is really fun and energetic. I can’t pick a favorite place there. They are all really good,” she said. “We have a lot of good restaurants to pick from. We can get a burger or Mexican or good pizza. We have a lot going on. It is nice, they are doing a good job.”