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Caleb Collins: A story of clearer vision

Imagine a chilly, nearing brutally cold - barring the right clothing - night in a small town of East Texas. You’re sitting in the stands of a high school stadium watching a soccer game. About 10 minutes into the game, you hear the student section start to roar. This is kind of odd to you considering this student section appears to be larger than normal for a soccer game.

You glance over to hear them cheering and chanting something that you can’t quite make out. Your eyes quickly jump to the field, and you see a guy on the sidelines getting warmed up about to go in. Little do you know, this is his first time to play in a soccer game in two years, and he is the reason the stands are full.

Caleb Collins has attended The Brook Hill School in Bullard, Texas, his entire life and is currently a junior involved in student representatives and athletics. He grew up with a soccer ball at his feet partially because his dad was a collegiate soccer player who went on to coach a back-to-back national championship winning team at East Texas Baptist University.

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Hornsby Farms: Digging a career on the land

Ten miles from downtown Auburn, in the Little Texas community, is a long stretch of dirt road. At the end of that road, two curly-headed, muddy-faced brothers, age 6 and 2, and their 1-month-old baby sister are growing up on a farm.

The parents of these kids are Auburn University alumni Josh and Beth Hornsby. For the past three years, they cultivated nearly 300 acres of land called Hornsby Farms.

To the Hornsbys, it is fundamental for them to teach their kids from a young age the importance of farming locally and working hard to produce a quality harvest and products from their farm.

Beth brings her children out to the farm every chance she gets. Whether it is to spend the night in the loft above their barn, ride their miniature four wheelers around the muddy gravel or try to help Josh as he works to fix irrigation issues or build fences.

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Strength in the midst of trial

Outside in the corner of a garage is a refrigerator shelf sitting on the ground full of perishable food items. Earlier in the day, her refrigerator stopped working and, as her last resort, she decided that the coldest option was the garage floor.

Inside her home in Opelika, Alabama, is cozy furniture, a large bouquet of dried hydrangeas in shades of pink, gold and blue and framed pictures of her family. Adjacent to a woven rocking chair sits her open Bible all alone on her kitchen table that still has four seats around it, even though it is only her left living there.

Ilze West has been an American citizen for 67 years now. Serving in the college ministry and being a part of a widows’ group at Lakeview Baptist Church in Auburn keeps her busy.

She travels around sharing the story of her family’s escape from Latvia near the end of World War II. Because she was so young when her family fled their home, the stories that she shares are ones that her parents and siblings have shared with her. The first memory that she has is their first night of freedom.

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