Melody and Mary Laurence Vowell
Melody and Mary Laurence Vowell
The Wyatt V. Courage Run is just 10 days away and no one is more excited than Craig and Melody Vowell.

The race is named in memory of their son Wyatt, who was born on March 21, 2016,  with congenital heart disease. After undergoing numerous surgeries, Wyatt died on Aug. 15.

The race will be along the Natchez Trace, with proceeds going to fund research and treatment programs in Mississippi.

There are several options for running the race including 25K, 50K or a 30-mile relay.

The relay will change runners at different historical sites along the Trace. Both Melody and Craig will run in the relay along with team members, Carrie Haggard, Matt Jones and Tracie Jones.

All runners join in the last 1.6 mile leg of the race.

There are already 156 runners registered.

While she had never been a runner, Melody took the challenge after the death of her precious son.

“I started training,” she said. “It was very therapeutic. It was a good way to get my anger and frustration out. It’s the most terrible thing to lose a child.”

Melody sees the annual race as a special way to do something for her son.

“He won’t have a birthday party but he will have a race every year,” she said. “Wyatt is very present in our lives.”

The couple has established the Wyatt V. Courage Foundation “to benefit families of children affected by congenital heart disease and to fund CHD research and treatment programs in Mississippi.”

Over time, the family hopes to give back numerous funds to the heart center at Blair E. Baston Children’s Hospital.

Melody, the daughter of Bill and Janice Griffin of Philadelphia, is an occupational therapist, having graduated from the University Medical Center.

She plans to return to work in April at Neshoba Outpatient Rehab in the pediatric department.

Craig, the son of David and Brenda Vowell, works in sales at Thomasson Company. He is a graduate of Mississippi State University.

The couple is in the process of building a new house off Highway 15 south in the Laurel Hill area, much to the delight of 5-year-old Mary Laurence, because there will be plenty of space for her to roam.

She is a student at Leake Academy.

The Vowells attend First United Methodist Church.

Most of Melody’s free time centers on Mary Laurence, as they enjoy doing numerous things together.

Melody likes to grow flowers and vegetables. Spring is her favorite time of the year as she loves the outdoors.

She also enjoys reading and yoga.

Mary Laurence loves to paint and draw. She also likes to go with her dad to see the deer captured on their hunting camera.

Craig loves working with their cows and on his tractor. He also likes to hunt and fish.

“He really loves to be outside,” Melody said.

When they have time away, the Vowells like to vacation on the beach. Melody also likes to accompany her husband on business trips.

Luckily for them, there are two sets of grandparents in Philadelphia!

But for now, their main concentration is on the March 25 race. People who can’t run but would like to donate may do so online at, by searching for the Wyatt V. race. Checks may also be mailed to the Wyatt V. Courage Foundation, P. O. Box 329, Philadelphia, Miss.

For more information call 601-416-1194.


2 cups milk

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup cocoa

1/4 cup butter

1/3 cup cornstarch

pink of salt

1 teaspoon vanilla

Cool Whip (topping)

Put milk in double boiler with butter. Mix sugar, cocoa and cornstarch. Slowly stir in milk. Stir mixture until it thickens. It takes a while. Add vanilla. Put in crust and refrigerate six to eight hours. Top with Cool White.


1 pound chicken strips


1 1/2 cups self rising flour

garlic salt to taste

pepper to taste


Marinate chicken strips in buttermilk overnight in refrigerator. Mix flour, garlic salt and pepper. Dip chicken strips in dry mixture. Fry on each side seven to 12 minutes.


2 cups self rising flour

1 1/2 sticks butter, melted

8 ounces sour cream

Mix together and drop in muffin tins. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.


1 bottle ginger ale

1/2 gallon box of lime sherbet

1 large can pineapple juice

1 1/2 gallon orange juice

Pour liquids over sherbet in a punch bowl and enjoy!


2 cups self rising flour

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup Crisco oil

2 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix dry ingredients together then mix in liquids. Drop by the spoonful on baking sheet. Cook until brown about five to 10 minutes.