Parents Corina Walker and Jason Smasal saw their daughter Nahayla Jae Smasal defy death seven times as told by Melissa Snyder in the May 5 Lifestyle article. Their daughter was the fifth known case in the world and the only one to have survived a Group B Streptococcus attack of the heart.
“Her case is being studied and documented for medical journals and textbooks,” said Corina. “The cardiologist told us that the last one with this condition was 30 years ago.” After two open-heart surgeries the resilient infant is reportedly doing well.
The month of May also saw families searching for happiness through spiritual blessings and life experiences rather than material possessions, as seen in the case of Dave and Nellie Hampton of Meigs County, reported in the May 2 Banner.
The couple said they were willing to take a loss on their property by selling their 34 acres of land along with their country home to pay off bills and live a simpler life with less stress.
“Jesus compared the Kingdom of God to a pearl so valuable that a traveling merchant sold all the things he had and bought it,” said Dave, who devotes 70 hours each month, on average, to telling others about the Kingdom.
“That tells me spiritual things are more important than all the material things I have. Jesus also said if we seek first the Kingdom all the other things we need will be added to us. I truly believe that.”
So far, the couple has been able to pay their bills, keep their country home and continue to live a simpler life with their focus on spiritual interests.
The Deepwater Horizon drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20 created an environmental disaster of epic proportions for nearly five months before the oil spill catastrophe was declared official over.
In mid-May Debbie Jones, owner of Duff Hair Studio and Susan Goodwin, owner of Foster’s Trail and Alpaca Farm in Cleveland, started donating hair and fiber clippings to help absorb the oil spewing into the Gulf and invited others to do the same. The hairy booms were floated off beaches to mop up oil washing towards the shore, as reported in the May 12 issue.
A bright spot in May came for Alex Hopkins, a local teen who was selected to star on the big screen in a love story titled, “Moonring.” The Bradley Central High School student went to Hot Spring, Ark., with his mother Jill to begin filming in June. Hopkins is still pursing his acting and modeling career.
It was also a proud moment for Estella Vashti Watson, who became the third black licensed medical doctor born in Cleveland. After learning she was on such a short list of Cleveland-born professionals, Dr. Watson said, “I was actually surprised to learn this fact but I am honored to be a part of the rich, but not well-known, African-American history of Bradley County.”
Watson completed her residency in internal medicine and pediatrics at the University of Tennessee in Memphis.
One of the most inspiring cases of faith in action took place in May when Robert Pitner had left his wife, Lakedra, at SkyRidge Medical Center with their newborn daughter to check on their other six children at home. He was suddenly called back to the hospital with news that his wife would be dead within a matter of hours.
As reported in the May 30 Lifestyles article, his wife suffered from a serious disorder in which the proteins that control blood clotting become abnormally active, resulting in hemorrhage. Nothing could stop her bleeding. It appeared she would bleed to death.
By the third hour of her uncontrolled bleeding the hospital staff prepared Robert for the worst. The family was called in and everyone, doctors, staff and family, was praying. All of a sudden her blood pressure went down. Lakedra was in ICU for seven days and in recovery for labor and delivery four more days.
Today, the family is doing fine and their faith is stronger than ever. Lakedra’s condition, disseminated intravascular coagulation, or DIC, is estimated to be present in only 1 percent of all hospitalized patients.
The month of June saw the “Wild River” festival flooding the streets of Charleston as memories of the filming of a major motion picture shot on the Hiwassee River in 1959 were remembered, honored and celebrated.
Madeline Warren of Cleveland made international news when she traveled to Italy, covering between 18,000 to 20,000 miles round trip, to seek closure and pay tribute to her brother, Pvt. John Ed Galyon, who died in combat Feb. 21, 1944, in World War II.
Galyon was buried at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in Nettuno, Italy, on Memorial Day. This was the first time in 66 years Warren had the opportunity to travel overseas and visit her brother’s grave.
A new chapter in the lives of Dr. Kevin Dansby and his, wife,, Kristen, was realized when the couple adopted Daniel Stoyan, a special needs child born Roman Gypsy in Bulgaria.
As reported by Bettie Marlowe on June 20, with his birth defects, Daniel was certain to end up a beggar on the streets of Bulgaria, had the Dansby family not adopted him, taken him to the Shriner’s Hospital in South Carolina, had his feet amputated and the bones in his legs straightened.
If you’ve never heard about the lighter side of law enforcement, talk to Kevin Felton, A Cleveland police officer for more than 25 years. His story was told in the June 23 Lifestyle feature, containing a host of his hilarious moments.
It was all smiles for Jimmy and Kimmi Cole of Cleveland when the surprised engaged couple learned on live television they won the “I Do” Dream Wedding Contest sponsored by FOX 61.
The special luxury wedding, valued at $40,000, was broadcast for the entire Tennessee Valley. According to the June 30 Lifestyles article, the fabulous wedding reception at the Sheraton Read House Hotel’s Silver Ballroom in Chattanooga included a five-string quartet with 200 people in attendance.
If you enjoy weddings you may have loved the double wedding story about Max and Sherry Cavitt and Dee and Thomas Cavitt featured in the July 11 Lifestyle article telling about when two brothers married two sisters 40 years ago.
Both couples are still happily married and shared their secrets to an enduring and endearing romance through thick and thin.
The annual Extreme Mustang Makeover Challenge selected local horse trainer Windy Hamby to train a wild mustang for the competition, as reported July 4. Hamby was one of only 100 chosen to compete in the challenge.
Local cowboy Randy Speegle was also chosen to transport a wild mustang to his ranch and train it in 90 days for the national competition. Speegle also participated in the Extreme Cowboy Race and Project Cowboy as told by Snyder in the Aug. 18 Lifestyles article.
Talent heated up the summer as “Piano Man” J. Roddy Walston of Cleveland made national news when he and his rock band, J. Roddy Walston and the Business, went on a 12-hour music marathon playing pianos at 27 locations throughout Manhattan.
The band received comparisons to James Brown meets the Replacements with some Led Zeppelin in the mix, according to Walston, 29, in his July 7 interview with the Banner.
Pop music definitely met its match in Asiah Mehok of Cleveland, a rising pop star with versatility and a voice as soulful and haunting as Sara McLachlan’s.
The Aug. 25 article on Mehok said there is a lot to savor on her debut album, “Love & the Carousel,” in which Asiah’s silky and sultry voice resonates with pop tunes that are good enough to join Katy Perry and Taylor Swift at the top of the charts.
Little Miss Hollywood, Markia Goin, said she wants to buy her disabled mother a house someday. The Aug. 1 Banner reported that the 3 1/2-year-old beauty from Cleveland competed in her first pageant when she was 8 months old and has been on track to work in commercials and runway modeling in the future.
Health took on greater importance in 2010, when professionals like Dr. Cheryl Buchwalter, an obstetrician and gynecologist in Cleveland, shared her love for gardening and its benefits in providing proper nutrition for her family, in the July 14 Banner.
Sonny and Liz Pitman also chose a healthier lifestyle by growing their own organic foods while taking a product made from the muscadine seed to promote overall good health.
A former Secret Service agent who served under four U.S. presidents in the White House shared his amazing story with our readers in the July 25 Lifestyles article.
Louis A. Mason was accepted into the Presidential Protection Division of the Secret Service at the age of 28 in 1971. The former military police officer during Vietnam served under Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan during his 17 years of service. He later moved to Cleveland, in 2006.
Another local hero, firefighter David Sims, gave readers an up-close and personal look at what a firefighter’s job is like in the Aug. 8 Lifestyles feature. The article said the first fire Sims responded to as the newest Bradley County Fire and Rescue employee went down in history as the department’s second largest.
Dr. Aaron Samuelson of Cleveland accomplished one of the most heroic acts of humanitarianism, as reported in the Aug. 4 Lifestyles, when he spent more than $150,000 of his own retirement funds to complete an orphanage for many poor and abandoned children in India.
Naming the clinic in memory of his late daughter, Mary Diana, who died in an automobile accident at age 12, the retired cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon pulled out all stops to finish a work seemingly beyond his abilities to ever start.
Aaron and his wife, Nalini, flew to India and joined in a special inaugural ceremony and celebration July 19, with hundreds of people attending, along with dignitaries.
“It was the Lord who did this, not me,” said Samuelson “I really don’t know how I finished it. Our prime mission was aimed at saving these children who are precious in God’s sight.
In August, one of Cleveland’s most precious, courteous and helpful residents, Betty Snyder, celebrated 50 years of service with a grocery store which changed hands three times, but Snyder remained its unbroken chain, according to the June 13 Lifestyles article.
“Every day my feet go out on the floor is a blessing,” said Snyder.
The courage and humility of Tom Ham both shocked and inspired many readers after learning how the 60-year-old steered his runaway dump truck carrying 66,000 pounds of stones toward a ravine before jumping off.
Ham was pulled under the rig in a tragic accident which cost him both legs on July 9. The Aug. 15 Lifestyles article said Ham, a member of Pine Hill Church of God in Bradley County, nearly lost his life in preventing a worse tragedy and said, “You don’t have to have legs to walk with God.”
But summer was about to take some surprising turns as our Year in Review from September through December will show. The three-part series will conclude in Sunday’s Lifestyles.