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Larry Warner, a local sports legend

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Former Warren Central star Larry Warner left a legacy that the city of Vicksburg will never forget.

From being the fourth string to becoming one of the best football players in school history, Warner worked day in and out to achieve accomplishments that he thought would never happen.

Warner grew up in the Bovina area near Vicksburg where he was raised in a two-bedroom house along with 13 other family members. Warner’s family remained close. He looked up to his two older brothers while being raised by his mother and grandparents.

Warner did not play football until he was in the eighth grade at Warren Central Junior High School where he was a very undersized running back. By the time he made it to the 10th grade and Warren Central High, he was the fourth string running back not playing any varsity games.

He would eventually get his chance to shine in his 11th grade season.

Entering that 2003 season, Warner was still not the starting running back. Being undersized, it was difficult for others to see his potential. Even when the starting running back was injured, eyes would still not turn to Warner. The Vikings attempted to place other players in front of Warner, but he would get his chance during a game against Forrest Hill where he rushed for over 100 yards and three touchdowns. Warner would finish the season rushing for 1,200 yards, and he secured a starting spot going into the his senior season.

Warner entered the 2004 season with plenty of confidence and ready to show his skills. During the Red Carpet Bowl, Warner rushed for 301 yards against Southaven including a 99-yard touchdown run. Warner ran through defenses all season leading his team to a 10-1 record and rushing for 1,800 yards and over 2,000 all-purpose yards. The Viking fell short in the playoffs, though, and did not reach the championship.

After high school football, Warner had to figure out his next move, because by then he had a daughter who was born in his senior year. No big universities in Mississippi would give him a chance because of his short height, and he did not have the grades for a Division I school. Warren Central coach Brian Oakes encouraged him to attend Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College to play football where he had to fight for another starting spot.

During his first year at Gulf Coast, Warner mostly played on special teams and as backup running back behind Dantrell Savage who went on to play in NFL. The next year, in Warner’s sophomore season, he would become the star he was born to be. Warner ended up rushing for over 1,200 yards becoming an All-American while waiting on a big Division I offer.

Warner eventually chose Southern Illinois has his next college home with the advice from coach Oaks who Warner mentions as a very important person in his life. Warner would break out in stardom at Southern Illinois even while facing hard times such as the death of his mother during his last season. Warner finished at Southern Illinois with 1,790 yards and 15 touchdowns while becoming an All-American.

By 2009, Warner finished his bachelor’s degree in recreation. He would go to coach at Carbondale High School in Illinois before becoming a graduate assistant for Southern Illinois. He would eventually follow his college coach Steve Campbell to Central Arkansas and then to the University of South Alabama, which is where he is the running backs coach today.

He also married his high school sweetheart, Dominique, and they have two beautiful daughters, Penny and Alivia.

“Do whatever it takes,” Warner says in advising young players, “and it is not all about you.”

People

Pastor Reginald Harris Celebrates 17 years at Bright Morning Star Church

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Photo by Thomas Parker

Vicksburg Daily News was on hand to celebrate a special day with Pastor Reginald Harris and his family.

Sunday, the congregation at Bright Morning Star Church honored Pastor Harris for 17 years of leading the church.

Churchgoers decorated their vehicles and took the opportunity to join in the drive-by celebration and show their appreciation to the Pastor and his family.

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People

Those who keep us safe: Sam Winchester

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Photo by David Day

For 30 years and counting, Samuel K. Winchester has been a public servant.

In 1990, prior to a career in law enforcement, Winchester enlisted in the United States Military.

“I’ve always been involved in that line of work,” he said. “I am a veteran. I was in the United States Army, so that work really centered around a career in law enforcement after that.”

After the army, he got his first start in law enforcement by working at Alcorn State University. After a brief stint with the college, he started at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in 2000.

Winchester grew up in a tiny town in Jefferson County, northeast of Natchez, called Rodney, Miss.

His upbringing resulted in him seeing first hand what it means to be a public servant.

“The person I looked up to was my father,” Winchester said. “Ironically, we both mirrored each other’s occupations. He was in the military and also he worked at the Jefferson County Sheriff’s department.”

Winchester saw that the Warren County Sheriff’s Department was hiring and he was hired in 2004.

With almost two decades with the Warren County Sheriff’s Department, Winchester wears many hats.

Winchester has worked his way up the ranks and in 2006 was named detective for the Criminal Investigation Division. He also is a hostage crisis negotiator for the department. Winchester is also called on to investigate county fires as a county fire investigator. Lastly, one of the most notable positions Winchester serves is as the primary driving instructor at the Mississippi Law Enforcement Officer Training Academy for the State of Mississippi located in Pearl.

With all these responsibilities, Winchester is a mild mannered man who enjoys being there for his community.

“My favorite part of serving on the sheriff’s department is that I get to help people,” Winchester said. “In today’s society, our job is centered around the public, so we always want the public to know we are available to them and it’s very crucial that we help everybody. If you can just help one person and touch one person’s life you can consider that a successful day.”

The people of Warren County are not the only people who recognize Winchester’s hard work. In 2017, he was recognized by Hon. Bennie G. Thompson in the House of Representatives by a Congressional Record for his service.

In the record, Thompson wrote, “I ask my colleagues to join me in recognizing, Det. Sam Winchester for his hard work, dedication and a strong desire to serve his country and community.”

After all of this success in his career, Winchester was asked to define a community hero.

“When you serve the public you dont put alot of thought into it being an individual community hero because it has so many moving parts to it,” he said. “Its a team effort. It’s not an individual effort. I look at everyone who serves the public and in law enforcement as a hero. Everyone who wakes up and puts on the uniform and risk their life to save someone else’s life or touch someone else’s life, that’s a hero.”

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Education

Mississippi native elected as Harvard student body president

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(photo courtesy Noah Harris)

A Mississippi high school graduate has been elected as Harvard University’s student body president.

Noah Harris, a 2018 graduate of Oak Grove High School in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is the first African American to serve in the role at prestigious Harvard University in Massachusetts.

“I’m really grateful that the student body is entrusting me with such a historic and unprecedented moment,” Harris told WDAM. “To make the right moves and to really bring their voices to the forefront. I just never expected that I would be in a position to run for this.”

Harris is a junior and a political science major at Harvard. He served as treasurer on the finance committee in his first two years. His vice president and running mate is neuroscience major Jenny Gan. Both plan on making a difference at the university.

Harris and Gan will be sworn in Dec. 6.

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