How long have you lived in Hernando County, and where do you live? Where did you live previously?
I've been here 28 years, and currently I live in Spring Hill. I grew up in Pinellas County, born and raised in St. Petersburg, and graduated from Largo High School.
Who are the members of your family?
I have two girls: Jessica Adkins, who lives in Brooksville, and Jolene Weikel, who lives in Brandon.
Tell us about your career.
Originally I thought I would have a medical career. At the age of 13, I worked as a veterinarian's assistant in Pinellas County.
I first became a certified nurse's aide, and then I became a dental lab technician. Currently, I'm a counselor.
After starting my college courses to become a registered nurse at Pasco-Hernando Community College, I felt called to become a spiritual counselor and changed my major. I earned a bachelor's degree in counseling at Florida Beacon Bible College. When I started on this new career path, you only needed a bachelor's degree to be a counselor, along with many hours spent observing and being mentored by a licensed counselor. I received those hours at Hernando Christian Academy. The school eventually hired me.
When that position closed, I went to work for an evangelical ministry called World Relief, where I helped resettle refugees into the Tampa area. When Sept. 11 (2001 terrorist attacks) happened, they closed the ministry down.
Then I started ROAR (River of Anointed Restoration) Ministry in Spring Hill. After that, I worked at the Hernando Women's Prison and taught at the Florida Beacon Bible College while I was also doing World Relief work on the weekends. Holding those jobs at the same time helped me pay off my house.
Then, I went to work for Arc Nature Coast for about a year. While there, I had to take a medical leave. I later got a position at Career Central in Spring Hill, where I spent three years. I was the resume writer and taught people how to interview and fill out applications. I also was the case manager for food stamp applicants. After suffering several severe medical episodes, I am looking at partial disability. Currently, I'm volunteering for ministries in the local area.
Looking back, the doctors now say that I had a blood disorder that they were not aware of. It's hereditary, and my mother had it. She died at 49. It was after these kind of experiences that let me know what direction I needed to take my life in.
What kinds of activities are you involved in now?
I have just applied to be a board member at the Health Department and hope to know more about that soon. I have also offered my services at Mary's House and at the Health Department. I might be teaching arts and crafts or Bible studies to women at Mary's House.
At some point soon in the future, I would like to start a youth ministry to aid foster children.
Do you have any special hobbies?
I don't know if I have any, except I love making friends. I also love to cook and entertain. I'm enjoying at this point doing some home improvements. I also like to travel, watching movies and read.
What are your favorite things to do in Hernando County?
I like the many activities that are offered here in the county. I enjoy the art shows, the annual fair, the Swamp Fest, the annual Civil War re-enactment and our local parks. I think it's wonderful that we have so many opportunities to join all the many organizations here.
What do you think would make Hernando County a better place to live?
I would say assisting single women a bit more.
I once lived in an abandoned house for three weeks because I was going through a divorce and couldn't afford a new place with all the expenses of first month, last month and security deposit.
We need a place for women who are in need, but not necessarily trying to get away from an abusive partner.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know.
I really want to go to Israel and fulfil my missionary commitment. And after all I've been through, I can say that I know it's never too late. It's never too late to go after your dreams. And I've learned a lot about forgiveness and how important my faith is.
Hernando Neighbors is an occasional feature of the Hernando Times. Do you know someone who would make a good profile? We'd like to hear from you. Contact Jean Hayes, community news coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 848-1438.