Lee University honors alumni
Andrew and Tori Smith were named Lee University's 2012 Distinguished Alumni during recent homecoming activities. The Chattanoogans received degrees in history from Lee in 2009.
According to campus officials, the Smiths were recognized for their bravery and sacrifice in military service.
In March, Andrew Smith was serving with the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division in Afghanistan, when he was severely injured in an explosion while engaged in combat. He was on his first patrol mission when he and his fellow soldiers were fired upon.
They sought shelter in a nearby ditch, where he was hit by a hidden improvised explosive device. The explosion claimed both legs and left him with severe injuries to his abdomen, university officials said in a news release.
Since the injury, he has undergone several surgeries and numerous hours of physical therapy at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center near Washington, D.C. The Smiths will stay in the Washington area until he completes his rehabilitation.
"Although what happened was tragic, we know that God will use it for his glory," said Tori Smith. "Even through all the hard times he can use our life as a testimony to his faithfulness and provision."
Upon graduation from Lee, Andrew Smith accepted a job as a manager at Target, working there one year before enlisting in the U.S. Army in November 2010.
Tori Smith taught history for one year at Hamilton Heights Christian Academy. In 2011, she enrolled in Michigan State Law School to pursue a second degree.
Piphus wins Miss Black Tennessee
Megan Piphus was named 2013 Miss Black Tennessee USA during a competition among seven young women on the campus of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
During the pageant, six noncompetitors were honored -- Iyonia Boyce, Honorary Miss Black Tennessee Preteen USA; Nicole Brown, Sarah J. Woodson-Early Award; Faith Edwards, Ida B. Wells Award; Carolyn Jones, Madame C.J. Walker Award; Angel Ulmer, Carolyn R. Patton Award; and Dr. Elenora Woods, Harriet Tubman Award.
Preliminary awards were presented to contestants Ariel Smith, Miss Black Nashville USA, Marketing Star Award; Kayla Moore, Miss Black Davidson County, Shining Star Award; and Montrice Hampton, Miss Black Shelby County, People's Choice.
Piphus is a ventriloquist who was featured in 2008 on an episode of Oprah Winfrey's television show about talented kids.
She was valedictorian of her high school class and is currently a junior at Vanderbilt University, where she is a member of the Vanderbilt Policy Debate Squad and also is on the boards of the Black Student Alliance and National Pan-Hellenic Council.
She was a summer intern with NBC Universal's Spanish broadcasting network, Telemundo, in New York City.
Stallings singing at 'Christmas in Washington'
Janie Elizabeth Stallings of Fairfax, Va., formerly of Flintstone, Ga., will sing for President Barack Obama, his family and honored guests at "Christmas in Washington," which will air Dec. 16 on the TNT Network.
She is part of a choir comprised of 120 high school students who were selected by audition from the Washington, D.C. metro area.
The singer is the granddaughter of David and Peggy Plummer of Flintstone and of Jo Ann Stallings and the late Dennis Stallings of Rossville.
Mainx24 names chili winners
Kamesha Good and her team, the Groundbreakers, beat 17 other competitors to win Habitat for Humanity's fourth annual chili championship during the Mainx24 block party.
Good entered the contest because she loves to cook and also to complete the required volunteer hours necessary to build her first home through Habitat for Humanity. Good's white chicken chili with fire-roasted corn won her bragging rights.
Alchemy Spice Co. won the People's Choice award with its meat and veggie chili, which contained the company's Happy Day Chili Powder.
Team Santa No Kill Chili was presented the Most Spirited Award. The team came attired in Santa hats and elf accessories.
Susan Palmer Pierce is a reporter and columnist in the Life department. She began her journalism career as a summer employee 1972 for the News Free Press, typing bridal announcements and photo captions. She became a full-time employee in 1980, working her way up to feature writer, then special sections editor, then Lifestyle editor in 1995 until the merge of the NFP and Times in 1999. She was honored with the 2007 Chattanooga Woman of ...