Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Woman of Wilson: Mandy Pryor

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Mandy Pryor with her family

Mandy Pryor is the first to admit she has the "greatest occupation in the world."

No she does not commute to the city to run a large company - but that does not mean her job is small. "I am a mama," she told The Wilson Post. "I run the Pryor household."

The Pryor household consists of husband, Aaron, a dentist, and three children, Owen, 16, Olivia Ann, 12 and Evan, 8. Being a wife and mother, she believes, is the job she was born to do.

"My mother, Pat Coots, was the perfect stay-at-home mom. She cooked, cleaned, made our clothes, volunteered at our school and she helped care for her grandmother and father, who were in poor health," Mandy said. "All while having a hot meal ready for my daddy when he got home from work."

Mandy was born in the naval hospital on Parris Island, S.C. but her parents relocated to Lebanon soon after - so she considers herself a Lebanon native. She attended Tuckers Crossroads School through the eighth grade and then attended and graduated from Lebanon High School.

Mandy and Aaron married 18 years ago - but their connection goes back to elementary school.

"We have known each other since we were kids out at Tuckers Crossroad. We even played on the same softball team in the first grade," she said. However, it wasn't until her senior year at LHS that they became a couple. "He asked me to go bowling one Friday, and we have been the dynamic duo ever since."

The newlyweds moved away from Lebanon for three years after Aaron graduated dental school and joined the Air Force. "By that time we had a new baby and a feisty 4-year-old son. We had never been away from home before and truly had to depend on each other," she said. "Those were three of the hardest, most awesome years of our marriage. I will treasure them forever."

They returned to Lebanon to grow a business, Pryor Family Dentistry, and plant roots for their family.

"We always try to support our local schools, ball teams, church missions, cheerleaders and little dancers however we can. We are also honored to support our alma mater, Cumberland University," she said.

Mandy graduated from Cumberland with a degree in Education. Her mother, Pat, and husband also attended Cumberland. "She enrolled in classes during the same time that I was there. We had classes together - she took great notes too," Mandy said. "She graduated the same year as Aaron. She and I actually taught first grade for one year together before she went on to achieve her dream of being an art teacher."

The Pryors gave back to Cumberland by hosting the Patrons Party prior to the Phoenix Ball in 2012.

"We were so honored to be asked to host the Patrons Party... We were both just thrilled to have the opportunity to support them on that level," Mandy said.

The couple also regularly participates in Sherry's Run to benefit those affected by cancer. Mandy lost her grandmother a few years ago to cancer and said it is a charity that is very dear to her heart.

Her motto is "Hard work always pays off, always."

This is something she said she learned from her uncle, Chip McFarland. "It is the best advice I have ever received in dealing with my hearing disability and in life, in general," she explained.

Mandy has struggled with a hearing disability throughout life, but said it has gotten worse with age.

"I read lips. I do hear, but not well enough to talk on the phone - and that certainly is not the bane of my existence, I assure you - but it has gotten worse over the years. It is why I do not teach school anymore," she said. "It has caused me to shy away from new things in the past few years because I am afraid I'll be embarrassed if I cannot hear new people."

Still, "You don't need ears to work hard ... If I want to be successful at something I have to work hard and get after it."

Ears are certainly not needed for her latest endeavor, a blog titled "Crafty Southern Mama."

On the site, she shares craft tutorials, southern recipes and mama-tried tips. Check it out at www.craftysouthernmama.blogspot.com.

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