Person of the Week: Jennifer Lafferty

By BRITTNEY MANGUM,

“I encourage everyone to live for Jesus, be kind, and love others,” advised Jennifer Lafferty. “Let’s choose to be different from the rest of the world in our small corner of Mississippi. Let’s continue to make Quitman and Clarke County a place where people feel at home and safe.”

Jennifer Lafferty truly has a love for Clarke County and everyone she meets, and she makes sure to follow her own advice and love and treat others in the best way possible.

She grew up in Quitman, and she has fond memories of her time growing up.

“We moved to Quitman when I was two years old for my dad to coach sports at Quitman Junior High; Coach Pettigrew, or ‘Coach,’ as he was called by many, stayed 28 years until he retired, so Quitman has been home the majority of my life,” recalled Jennifer. “I represented our school as a cheerleader, soaking in the Friday night lights. Yet, I’ve always been a nerd at heart, so to speak, and graduated at the top of our class in 1993.”

After she graduated high school, Jennifer decided to both work hard and continue her education. With her love for others and desire to help those in need, she pursued an education in the field that is most rewarding for her: nursing.

“While in high school, I worked at a local pharmacy, Everitt Drugs. In September 1994, I went to work for Rush Foundation Hospital while attending college. I started working in the Rush Wellness Center until I entered the Associate Degree Nursing program and then transferred to work as a student nurse,” said Jennifer. “I obtained my ADN from MCC in 1996 and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1998 from USM.”

She was able to nurse in various areas in the hospital, and although she loved her job nursing, she still felt that there was more she could do in the medical field. She desired to further her education so that she could benefit people even more.

“I started my career on a medical-surgical unit but continued on in various settings, including Orthopedics, Oncology, Critical Care, and Cardiovascular Recovery,” stated Jennifer. “Then while serving as Director of Critical Care Services, the desire to further my education returned.”

Her selfless love and care for others reflects the same values that she witnessed in her mom as she was growing up, and she had the privilege of being able to achieve continuing her education alongside her mom.

“Pursuing a career in nursing always felt natural to me; I was following in my mother’s footsteps. My mama stayed home with us until my brother and I were both in school, selflessly waiting to go to college and then graduating from nursing school when I was 11,” explained Jennifer. “My mama and I continued down similar paths and ultimately graduated together from the University of Southern Mississippi’s Masters of Science in Nursing and Family Nurse Practitioner program in 2007. She will soon retire after 35 years with Rush, and now in my 26th year, my journey with Rush Health Systems will continue.”

As a Nurse Practitioner, Jennifer is able to form a relationship with her patients, and she does everything she can to help everyone who comes through the doors of her office.

“I can honestly say my current position as Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) at Marion Primary Care Center is probably my favorite and most rewarding job in my life!” exclaimed Jennifer. “I am able to build a bond with my patients, show them how much I care, and help them improve their overall health and well-being. I truly love what I do! I think it is so important in any career to be passionate about what you do, but especially in healthcare with the trying times we have been experiencing with COVID-19.”

Although Jennifer is passionate about her job and does an outstanding job taking care of her patients in the community around her, she also has a family that she loves to be with outside of work. In fact, after going to college for a while she returned to Quitman in 1999 during a difficult time in her life and met the love of her life: Glenn Lafferty.

“A little over a year after returning to Quitman, I married my husband, Glenn, and naturally with him pasturing a local church, we chose to raise our family here,” stated Jennifer. “We have four children together: Caleb, a Physical Therapist at Watkins Hospital who was recently married to his wife Rachel; Joshua, who is in full-time ministry and resides with his wife Sasha in Quitman; Lauren, who will be started her second year of nursing school in the fall and is getting married to Chase Stephens of the Clarkdale community on June 27; and Jordan, who will be attending the eleventh grade at Quitman High School to pursue a career as a Pediatrician after graduation.”

She loves her family, and although it has been difficult to gather together the way they would like thanks to the pandemic, she is able to have an optimistic view and focus on the lessons learned during this time.

“There is nothing I love more than being surrounded in a house full of family and friends,” said Jennifer. “During the Coronavirus quarantine, the slower pace of life has been nice, but it has also very much highlighted how much we need each other! Human interaction is vital to our well-being, and it has been challenging not being able to gather with family and friends any time we want to.”

With her husband being a pastor, the church is an important part of her life, and Jennifer loves being able to help at the church and be around her church family. She truly feels blessed with the church family she has and loves being able to have her family members able to attend church with her.

“My husband continues to pastor at Bethany Church in Quitman where I am an active member. I try to support him and help in the church wherever I’m needed,” explained Jennifer. “I never envisioned myself as a pastor’s wife, but I’m thankful the Lord saw differently for me because the people of our church are like family, and I can’t imagine life without them. We are also blessed to have all four of our children continue to attend and serve in the church.”

Jennifer has a heart that desires to help and serve others whenever she is able to. She has been and will continue to serve the Lord and love and help everyone around her.