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Tommy ‘Air’ Curtis serves his community of Vicksburg

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Tommy “Air” Curtis has played many active roles in the community starting with his days at Vicksburg High School as a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and track.

Today, his work and service is reflected throughout the city.

Curtis was born and raised in Vicksburg. When he was 10, his dad died in a car accident.

In the fifth grade, Curtis began playing football at the YMCA for the Redwood Rockets. Then, as Curtis was still trying to find his role as a football player at Vicksburg Junior High, he quickly showed his skills in track.

Curtis began finding his football role toward the end of his junior year at Vicksburg High School in 1996. During the summer before his senior year, Curtis participated in a lot of 7-on-7 tournaments, and he continued to work hard.

During his senior year, Curtis earned the name “Air” after Steve McNair, a football player he looked up to at the time. Curtis had a breakout season that year, throwing for 2,506 yards and 19 touchdowns in 1997, which would set a single-season record in Warren County.

“I had a great group of wide receivers,” he said.

Curtis had plenty of receivers to choose from, including Bunkie Perkins, Roderick Stirgus, Larry Wright, Greg James and Robert Williams. Curtis also mentioned his running back, Lester Martin, who had over a 1,000 yards rushing in addition to all the passing Vicksburg was doing.

Curtis went on to play football at Hinds Community College where he would play corner back alongside Fred Smoot, a future NFL player.

In his sophomore year at Hinds, Curtis suffered an injury, and he transferred to Delta State University where he would gain a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice in 2003. He went on to earn a master’s degree in public administration from Ashford University, and a master’s of art and religion from Liberty University.

In 2004, Curtis joined the Vicksburg Police Department as a patrolman. Over the years, he has had many roles with the VPD, including school resource officer, juvenile investigator, internal affairs investigator, and as sergeant and head of the juvenile division where he is today while also assisting in adult criminal cases.

Curtis has always had a special place for youth in the community. He coached youth sports and helped out with Vicksburg Street Ball Program during the summer.

He is also an entrepreneur. Curtis is CEO at All Around Training, a workout facility in the Vicksburg Mall, where his wife, Rebecca Curtis, is his go-to person and wellness coach.

Curtis credits his wife and family, especially his mother, Elmira Curtis, and his faith in Jesus Christ, who he thanks the most for his success.

“You will only go as far as your education,” Curtis advises young athletes. “… Be a student before an athlete.”

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Jerdon Hardiman: VDN boy’s basketball Coach of the Year

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Jerdon Hardiman (photo via Facebook)

Vicksburg Junior High School head basketball coach Jerdon Hardiman led his team to become the greatest that the city of Vicksburg has seen in a while, leading him to be named the Vicksburg Daily News boy’s basketball Coach of the Year.

Hardiman led the Gators to a successful 18-1 season and an appearance in the Little Six Championship game. The Gators had some big victories along the way including beating Clinton and South Delta who were both undefeated until they played the Gators.

As he held his team to a high standard throughout the year, Hardiman never took it easy on his team at practice. Given the news about this award, Hardiman knew that his hard work was paying off.

“It is a tremendous honor to be recognized as boy’s basketball Coach of the Year,” he said in a statement to the Vicksburg Daily News. “I am graciously humbled by this prestigious award, and I would like to give credit to an incredible assistant coach, DeAndre King and a tremendously talented team of young men whose dedication and diligent work ethic allowed our team to finish the season with an outstanding record of 18-1.

“While this year has been successful for our team, it has been a challenging feat. I would like to thank Vicksburg High School’s head coach Kelvin Carter, the athletic director, Vicksburg-Warren School District and most importantly, my wife and family for all the tremendous support throughout the season. I recognize the importance of a strong support system, and I would like to extend recognition to the community and all the basketball fans who support our efforts.

“Growing up, basketball was a positive outlet for me both physically and emotionally. I learned many important lessons from playing the game. Among the most important was the inevitability of failure. I learned early on through the game that life is not about how many times you get knocked down, but about how many times you get back up. Basketball has always been a passion of mine, and I feel blessed and honored every day for the opportunity to not only coach but act as a role model and influencer in the lives of promising young athletes.

“I was a former assistant coach at Rolling Fork’s South Delta High, head coach at Warren Central and now as a head coach of the VJHS for the last four years, and I am more eager than ever to share my knowledge of the game with a goal of becoming next year’s champions.”

Vicksburg Junior High basketball has always had a big name around the state, and with Hardiman’s leadership, the Gators will continue to be successful on the court.

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Jabari Bowman: VDN male basketball Player of the Year

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Jabari Bowman (photo via Facebook)

Averaging 17.3 points per game, Warren Central’s Jabari Bowman is the Vicksburg Daily News male basketball Player of the Year.

Bowman has played power forward and center on the Viking’s varsity team for the last three seasons. This is the second season where Bowman has led the Vikings in points. He put up 13.2 points per game last year as a junior.

He also leads the Vikings in rebounds, averaging nearly eight per game, and is responsible for 13 blocked shots against his opponents.

Bowman has continuously worked hard to accomplish a goal like this one that acknowledges he is the best player in the city.

“I would like to thank God, my family, my coaches and trainers for making me the player I am today,” Bowman said, “and I would also like to thank Vicksburg Daily News for choosing me for Player of the Year.”

During his 2017-2018 sophomore season, Bowman helped the Vikings to a 22-7 record under head coach Bruce Robinson. Bowman’s senior season came to an end on Feb. 14, with a 77-66 loss to Clinton.

Although his high school basketball career is over, Bowman will continue to do great on the court at the college level. He has announced that he will play basketball at Jones Community College next season.

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Culkin Chief Frederick a critical part of Satartia rescue team with Briggs and Garrard

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Fire boss Jerry Briggs and Culkin Fire Chief Lamar Frederick train new Warren County fire fighters Monday night.

Culkin Fire Chief Lamar Frederick was with Jerry Briggs and Shane Garrard when they rescued the three unresponsive men in the Satartia gas leak disaster last weekend.

The original report did not include Frederick. Today, Fire Coordinator Jerry Briggs confirmed that not only was Frederick with them, his help and expertise made all the difference in the rescue.

“There is no way Shane and I could have gotten all three of those guys out,” Briggs said. “Thank the powers that be Lamar was there. This would be a tragic story otherwise.”

Dozens of vehicles near the scene of the pipeline explosion stalled on the roadway due to a lack of oxygen leaving the occupants in deathly danger. Several people were rescued running away from their vehicles and the deadly gas cloud.

Frederick, Garrard and Briggs were searching the blast area for people who may have been stranded. They were riding in a Ranger utility task vehicle, each wearing a self-contained breathing apparatus. The rescuers turned down Perry Creek Road near Satartia to check on a house at the end of the road. Just over the last hill, they noticed vehicle lights and went to inspect the scene. Garrard saw someone slumped in the passenger seat and recognized the signs of respiratory distress. Shining the flashlight the team saw the driver and the back seat passenger.

All three of the young men in the vehicle were in bad shape. They were non-responsive and had white foam covering their mouths and noses, a sign that they were near death from oxygen deprivation.

A Ranger UTV similar to the one driven by Lamar Frederick.

Frederick was piloting the UTV and was challenged to keep it running because of the lack of oxygen in the air.

Frederick maneuvered the sputtering vehicle next to the car and then assisted Garrard and Briggs to retrieve the three young men, all while keeping the UTV running and ensuring they all had air. The rescue team also began to provide oxygen to the distressed men.

Frederick drove the crowded and overweight UTV with the extra breathing tanks, the rescue team and the three victims safely back to the staging area some four miles from the recovery site.

Lamar Frederick was as vital in saving those young men’s lives as Briggs and Garrard. He is one of Warren County’s finest, and we, as a community, are blessed to have him as the Chief of the Culkin Fire Department.

Lamar and Shondail Frederick (photo from their social media)

 

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