Thursday, May 3, 2012
Buffington joins tourism
By SUE WATSON
She’s friendly and upbeat and high on Holly Springs.
Lakisha Mitchell Buffington, originally from the Laws Hill community, is the new office manager at the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreation Bureau. She also handles group tour sales.
She took the job March 5 and loves what she is learning about the hospitality and tourism business.
Prior to accepting this post, Buffington was admissions officer for J&J Hair Design College in Holly Springs. Before that, she worked as childcare clerk at ICS Head Start before the department officially closed in February this year.
Buffington graduated from a nine-month certification program in office management, billing and coding from Remington College, Memphis, Tenn., in February 2010.
She is a lifelong resident of Marshall County and the daughter of Anna Mitchell of Laws Hill and Abraham Reynolds.
She attended Galena Elementary School and graduated from Byhalia High School, Class of ’96.
She has a book under contract with Tate Publishing Enterprise, Mustang, Oklahoma.
A mother of three – Martavis, Mario Jr., and Kaici Buffington -– she is the wife of Mario Buffington, who is employed as a facility maintenance operator in Memphis.
The Buffingtons have resided in Holly Springs seven years.
“I feel my job is to make visitors of Holly Springs, Mississippi, feel welcome and feel good about their decision to visit us,” Buffington said.
Tourism executive director Stephanie McKinney said Buffington, “is doing a great job helping us get some group tours.”
The office has four new group tours, if they materialize (sell enough tickets).
“Everything depends on how well you treat them,” McKinney said. “First impressions are important. Tour operators are trying to stay in business and they want to visit communities that treat their customers well.”
Networking and attending training with other area organizations has paid off in new contacts, McKinney said.
“Lakisha is good at calling people who have visited before and helps get people to come,” she said.
A recently developed Self-Guided Tour of Hill Crest Cemetery is expected to be a big boon to the cemetery tour, McKinney said. The brochure is designed by Chelius Carter and lists 22 stops in the historic cemetery, ranging from the late Sen. Wall Doxey’s grave to the Yellow Fever Martyrs gravesite and the “Our Charlie” Wells, a monument to a 4-year-old who succumbed to an unknown illness. He died when he laid down for his daily nap on his faithful dog, but never woke.
The full cemetery tour text is available on the tourism website, www.visithollysprings.com/hill-crest-cemetery.
“South Center Printing gave us a sweetheart deal,” McKinney said of the first 200 cemetery tour brochures printed.
Those interested in finding a particular grave may visit www.findagrave.com.
“A film crew came through to tour the cemetery last week,” McKinney said. ‘They are really impressed with our cemetery – a pretty impressive cemetery. They asked, “What’s with it with the boy with the dog?”
Many Mississippi senators and U.S. senators from the state are buried in Hill Crest. The cemetery also is noted for the burial site of 10 Confederate States generals, including Maj. Gen. Edward Cary Walthall, artist Kate Freeman Clark’s uncle who is the highest ranked general buried at Hill Crest. He was also a senator from Holly Springs.
Audio tours of the Cemetery Tour on CD are available at the tourism office for $3.
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