Name: Beth Crain
Where were you born and raised?
“I was born in Gadsden with the rest of my family (my mom, dad and two brothers). We moved to Louisville, Kent., when I was very young for my father to pursue his Pastoral Degree and later obtain his Doctrine in Theology. I’ve also lived in Wetumpka, Waynesboro, Miss. and Martinez, Ga. as my dad pastored churches. I used to love spending summers and holidays in Gadsden visiting my grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles when we lived out of state. We moved back to Gadsden when I was 14 years old, so this is really home to me.”
What is your occupation?
“I am the Marketing and Assistant Executive Director at Cherry Creek Village, Independent Senior Living and also a nurse.”
What made you decide to work in your field?
“I think maybe God chose it for me at a young age, but I didn’t realize it until I was older. I’ve always had empathy and compassion for people of all ages. Being able to help others in need or make someone’s day a little bit brighter is gratifying for me. It makes me happy. In 2002, my dad Larry Ballard underwent emergency cardiac bypass surgery. I went back to see him in recovery and it was very scary because I didn’t know what to expect. But one nurse came over and told me I could get a little closer to him and started explaining everything to me, what they were doing, what would come next and what to expect. He told me that my dad did really well for multiple blockages. Just that nurse, taking a little extra time out to help me understand and calm my fears meant so much to me and my family. They made a difference in my dad’s life by giving him excellent care and made a difference in mine that day just by caring. The seed was planted then. I wanted to be that person who helps make a difference in someone’s life and/or their families lives. Later in 2002, my brother Mike, who is a paraplegic from a motor vehicle accident in 1991, went into autonomic dysreflexia in his sleep due to complications from his spinal cord injury. He had a heart attack, stroke and traumatic brain injury as a result. My aunt and his daughter found him unresponsive and not breathing. My aunt is also a nurse and started CPR. The medics had no results all the way to the ER. While there, someone heard my brother’s name that knew him, a respiratory therapist, who got a faint heartbeat. My brother was on a ventilator. We were told he would probably be a vegetable if he remained on the vent. We continued talking to him every chance we got. We knew it was time to make a decision about the vent, knowing the end result. After talking with my parents and my family, I talked to my 11 year old niece. After explaining everything, I told her “Let’s go tell your Daddy how much we love him and it is okay to rest now.” I told him “Mom, Dad and I will take care of her, you have no worries, I love you and it’s okay to rest now if you need to.” This is where I still get chill bumps; he squeezed my hand. I asked him “Did you just squeeze my hand? If so, squeeze it again.” He did and started waking up! After a long road of recovery, my brother is still with us. He has short term memory loss, but knows our family and a lot until that day. If you don’t believe in miracles, I can show you one! God is good! I am so thankful for my Aunt Sandy, the medics, all of his physicians and nurses who cared for him. By this time, it wasn’t too hard to realize God was trying to show me his plan for me, so I listened. I sold my house in Prattville, moved back to Gadsden, was accepted into Gadsden State’s Nursing Program, graduated and here I am.”
Tell us about your family and pets.
“My absolute best friend and partner for life, Jeffrey, is a Roadsmith Trike Representative for KD Cycle LLC by day and the drummer for Tim Dugger and several other bands. Together we have two beautiful children, Gabriel and Jaclyn.My son Gabe is attending Snead State where he plays baseball and plans to graduate in December of this year then transfer to Jacksonville State. Jac, Jeff’s daughter, my God daughter (one day my step daughter when everyone finishes college!), is married to Ejay and they are the proud new parents of a beautiful baby girl, Rylee Rae Grace.We have four dogs: Chop, an American Bulldog, at about 120 pounds, who thinks he’s a lapdog; Journey, she’s a Border Collie who found us and is mama dog; Charlie, our little Terrier, best described as “Winn Dixie” from the movie; and then there’s Prince, our Chinese Crested, a hairless dog. He’s so ugly he’s cute. He is pretty much my baby.”
Describe an average day in your life.
“I never know what’s going happen next, everyday is an adventure, and I love it! I hope for extraordinary days, and they usually are. I tend to my animals, go to work, take care of our residents, and make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible. There are times I’m so busy, when I get home, all I want to do is just relax. Keeping up with my son and Jeff is a full-time job in and of itself!”
What school or schools have you attended?
“I graduated from Gaston High School and went to Gadsden State, where I re-ceived my nursing degree. I also attended Snead State. Then there is the School of Life where you never stop learning.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“Free time is a definite luxury. It doesn’t come too often, but when it does, usually watching my son play baseball, spending time with Jaclyn, Ejay and Rylee Rae or watching Jeff and whoever he’s playing for that night. Any other free time, I love to go fishing. It’s relaxing, invigorating and challenging. There is nothing like feeling something tugging on that line, reeling it in and showing it off. I also like to Netflix binge on the weekends if I have the opportunity.”
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
“My son. Nothing else could ever compare. Having been basically a single mom most of my life, it fills me with joy to see him growing into the man he is becoming.”
Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?
“Again, my son. We have had some amazing adventures in life. Most of which involved the beach and sports. There is nothing else that brings joy to the heart of a parent than to see your child excel.”
To what do you credit your success?
“God, my parents, my family, my son and their everlasting love and support. I don’t mean to sound like a broken record here, but again, my son. He is the reason that I am who I am today. Every step, every triumph, every heartache, every day has been focused on him and this life that God gave me to raise. Even when I was going through nursing school under some very difficult circumstances, he would try and help me with my homework and actually went to classes with me sometimes. To this day, he can still name all the bones in the human body. I believe that experience has him leaning towards going into Kinesiology.”
Are you involved in any service organizations?
“Yes. At Cherry Creek Village, we just did a huge donation drive for the Etowah Baptist Mission Center. Staff, residents and their families brought in articles of clothing and household items to help those in need. Everybody really out-did themselves, so much so, we have made it annual event. I am also a member of United Way and The Chamber and support the work they do for our community and surrounding areas.”
What is your favorite thing about this community?
“Community Needs Awareness and Addiction Awareness. I worked many years in this field, inpatient and outpatient as a nurse and a supervisor. Sheriff Entrekin has done an amazing job along with the other law enforcement agencies to bring knowledge to the public about this particular crisis that is affecting our area and our country. It literally is a disease that has taken lives and families. This has hit everyone in one way or another. This disease does not discriminate nor has an age preference. It affects every race, religion, social class, economic class; no one is immune.”
What would you like to see change in the community?
“Mental health, addiction and specialty rehabs. Pregnant mothers, moms, dads, families. This is a disease that affects every walk of life and every social structure. Addiction is not prejudiced. If it has not affected some part of your family yet, it will…even mine. This is a cancer for which there is a cure, but it must come with education, patience, love and a lot of prayer. Finding the root of the problem, that, is the first step. Next is creating safe havens for families and children to re-educate and recover while parents, spouses, guardians are incarcerated. Giving them a safe environment, a source of living, growing and not becoming part of the system.”
What are three words that describe you?
“Compassionate, driven and strong.”
What is something surprising that many do not know about you?
“The deer head hanging on the wall in my son’s room, I shot. Yes, I like to hunt too.”
What is your favorite quote?
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting Life. – John 3:16. That is ultimately what matters.”
What is on your bucket list?
“Getting my Business Administration Degree, visiting Ireland and living at the beach one day.”
What is your hidden talent?
If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?
“Sandra Bullock or Julia Roberts, depending on who’s available.”
What advice would yougive yourself as a child?
“Believe and trust in yourself, who you are, and what you know you are capable of. Never judge anyone by their appearance, if they look or act a little different, always consider what circumstances they may be dealing with. Never be afraid to love when you know God is in it. And Never stop learning new things! Knowledge is power!”
If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email email@example.com or call 256-547-1049.