For the past 23 years, hair stylist Alene Gibson has beautified the community.
Gibson, who currently co-owns A & B Hair Co. in Lebanon with Brandin Conditt, explained her career isn't just about hair - it's about heart.
"I want my salon to be known for kind, loving hairstylists who love what they do and who can rock any hair request given to us," she said, before adding that the most rewarding part of her job is getting to know clients personally.
"To be there through their triumphs, losses - to see clients you did as children walking down the aisle, to having their own children - to be a part of so many important times in their lives. How fortunate am I to be included in their precious moments in life. No other occupation can compare to that. It's very humbling."
Gibson is a native of Wilson County. She attended Sam Houston Elementary School in Lebanon before her father purchased a dairy farm in Watertown. The family moved to Watertown when she was in the sixth grade. Gibson is a graduate of Watertown High School and attended Stylemasters Beauty Academy in Lebanon.
She has been married for 13 (or so) years to "the kindest, funniest man" known as Worm.
"The best part of married life for me is being married to someone who doesn't care if you can't remember how long we've been married or the date we were married on," Gibson said. "Those are just small things to us. Our priority is having each others' back through good and bad times - and always lots of laughs."
Gibson has four children - Anya Curtis, 29; Sasha Curtis, 28; Cole Curtis, 26; and Savannah Curtis, 19; and is a proud "YaYa" to grandchildren, Xylia, 5; Kingston, 4; and Kyiah, 18 months.
Gibson said one of her daughter's came up with her grandmother nickname.
"My youngest daughter loved the movie 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding.' The grandmother in the movie was called YaYa and she said from that time that if I had grandkids I was to be called YaYa," she remembered. "I really never had a say in it either."
Her spare time is spent with family and friends. She also has a genuine passion for helping others.
For five years she has traveled to Fond des Blancs, Haiti, building Christian schools. "Our goal and prayer is to give the children of Fond des Blancs and surrounding areas the ability to get a superior education in hopes that they will grow up with enough education to become the president of their country and be able to get their country out of being a third-world country," she said. "The average school level for kids there is sixth grade - if they are lucky enough to go to school."
Gibson has participated in building a junior high school and a high school in the community.
"Fond des Blancs holds a special place in my heart. It feels like a second home for me, and I pray that I will live long enough to see that country turn around financially," she said.
Gibson also participates in mission work locally as part of the Compassionate Hands program.
Compassionate Hands is comprised of several churches who host Lebanon's homeless one night a week. "The goal is to give a night stay out of the cold so that no one freezes during the winter months," Gibson said. "The mission starts Dec. 1 and will last until March. This is my third year, and I am so grateful to be serving these wonderful men and women."
It was challenging for Gibson to select just one woman she admires; however, she admires many "single moms who have to work two jobs so that their kids can go to college, women who sacrifice their lives for their children, women who left their families to go to war," and "any woman that has put others before themselves."
Staff Writer Sabrina Garrett may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.