(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Farm Bureau secretary Jennifer Sistrunk.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born April 16, 1982, in Hattiesburg.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I attended East Marion, then I went to Jones College and Pearl River Community College.
Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.
A: I’m a front desk secretary for Farm Bureau Insurance. I take payments and answer phone calls.
Q: What led you to your profession?
A: I needed a job and had experience working as a front desk secretary.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: I get to meet new people, and I get the opportunity to help the insurance agents and other secretaries.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: Having to answer billing questions and clarifying the questions for our customers.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
A: Be nice to everyone because you never know what they’re going through.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I wanted to be an X-ray technician. I was in a car wreck when I was little, and I remember the man and woman were extremely nice to me and kept me calm when I got my X-rays. They were really nice to me, and that’s when I decided I wanted to be one.
Q: What was your first job?
A: My first job was working afterschool daycare right after I got out of high school.
Q: Who is the person who has been most influential in your life?
A: My grandparents, Ronnie and Betty Tolar. They taught us work ethic and were always there for us. They didn’t just give us what we wanted; we had to work for it. That taught us how to work hard for what we want.
Q: What is your spouse’s name?
A: Shane Sistrunk. He is a driller at Challenger Deepwell Servicing here in Columbia.
Q: Do you have children?
A: We have two children. Braydon is 17 years old, and Kaden is 13.
Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A: It would be probably be homemade tacos or taco salad.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: I’d want to go somewhere in the mountains because it’s quiet, peaceful and pretty. It would have to be in a cabin. We’re not going camping.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I just like spending time with my family. I really don’t have many hobbies. I watch TV and play on my phone.
Q: What do you enjoy about Columbia and Marion County?
A: It’s a small town, and you know everybody. You get to see friendly and familiar faces everywhere you go. Everybody helps each other. Like when the tornados came, everybody came together and pitched it for each other, just being neighborly. You don’t have to drive far to get anywhere.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?
A: It would be my momma, Janie Polk. She passed away three years ago. I’d just want to talk to her about life in general and tell her about her grandkids.
Q: If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do all day?
A: I would do a lot of shopping at the little boutiques here in town.
Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
A: Getting married because it changes your whole world. It changes it for the better because at that point I had no direction in my life and didn’t know where I was going to be at until my husband came back into my life. You have to grow up faster, too.
Q: What is one thing you want to do that you’ve never tried?
A: I want to fly in a real airplane. I’ve flown in a little plane around Columbia, but that was it. I used to want to skydive, but I don’t want to do that anymore.
Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?
A: Honesty, respectfulness and kindness.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: I want to be remembered as a loving mom, that I cared and was a nice person.
— Joshua Campbell