Heather Lamey recalls her first day at work
Heather Lamey will always remember her first day on the job as executive director of the Benevolence Center in Piedmont. It was April 25, 2011 -- two days before destructive tornadoes hit the area.

Those new-job jitters she had that first day, were nothing compared to the jitters she would experience after the tornadoes.

“We opened up as an emergency shelter,” said Heather. “The EMA and Red Cross called us and asked us if we would do that. They brought us 50 cots, and we had everything set up for at least that many people. But, as it turned out, we only had one lady that needed to stay here. It was good to know though, that we were able to help that one lady.”

Heather said she likes a quote by one of the center’s board members, Anita Sparks.

“Mrs. Sparks said that I was tried by fire,” said Anita. “And she was right. I had to, literally, hit the ground running. My board got me through it though. They had a plan and, of course, we had the extended help of the Health Care Authority (the board that governs Piedmont Healthcare Center). Everybody came together and we got through it.”

Even as a pre-teen, Heather knew that she wanted to work in a career where she would be able to help people. Social work, she decided, would be a “natural fit” for her to do what she felt God wanted her to do. After graduating from Saks High, she enrolled at Jacksonville State University and received a degree in social work in 1998.

“I feel like what I’m doing is a calling,” she said. “I look at my job as a ministry. I get to go out and meet people and tell them all about the Benevolence Center. In fact, no matter where I am, on the ball field with my son or at one of my husband’s wrestling matches, that’s usually where my conversation goes. I tell everybody about it.”

Heather’s husband, Harley, teaches and is finishing up his 11th year as head wrestling coach at Piedmont High. Their son, Jack, is 9. Heather is the daughter of Samuel and Joyce Kirby of Saks and has a brother, Brian Kirby, who lives in Alexandria.

The Lameys attend Covenant Life Ministries in Alexandria where Heather works with the nursery.

She is a member of the Human Services Council, persons who work with non-profits that gather monthly, and is on the board for the Family Services Center for Calhoun County.

“I’m always focused on my son, my job, and my husband’s job” said Heather. “So, sometimes, we find ourselves eating out more than I’d like for us to, and sometimes I feel badly about that, but then, I make up for it with some good meals I make for us.”

Some of the dishes she makes at home are Mexican Corn Bread, Squash Casserole, Loaded Potato Soup and Fudgey Brownies.

Mexican Cornbread

3 cups self-rising meal
3 eggs
1 cup grated cheese
1 onion, grated
1 cup oil
1 T. sugar
5 pods Jalapeno peppers
½ cup sweet milk
1 can cream style corn

Mix all together and bake at 400 degrees for 45 minutes.

Squash Casserole

3 cups cooked squash
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. sweet milk
1 c. grated cheese
1 c. cracker crumbs
¾ stick butter
2 T. pimento
1 t. salt
½ t. celery seed
¼ t. black pepper
¾ c. chopped onion

Mix all ingredients together. Put in greased casserole and bake at 375 degrees for 40 minutes.

Loaded Potato Soup

4 cans chicken broth
12 medium potatoes
2 cans cream of celery soup
2 cans cream of onion soup
2 sticks butter
16 oz. Half and Half
16 oz. sour cream
2 - 8 oz. blocks Pepper Jack cheese

Cook potatoes in broth until tender. Add soup from can. Mix. Add butter. When melted, add Half and Half, sour cream Pepper Jack cheese. Lower temperature and simmer until all is melted.

Fudgey Brownies

¾ cups Hershey cocoa
½ t. baking soda
2/3 c. vegetable oil
½ c. boiling water
2 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 1/3 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
1 t. vanilla
¼ t. salt

Stir cocoa and baking soda in mixer bowl. Blend in 1/3 c. oil. Add boiling water. Stir until mixture thickens. Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining oil. Stir until smooth. Add flour, vanilla and salt. Blend completely. Pour in lightly greased 13x9 baking pan or two 8 inch square pans. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes for 13x9 or 30-32 minutes for 8 inch square pan. Cool. Frost if desired.
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