By Sarah Kane
Life is like a game of Tetris. You don’t always get to pick the pieces, but you can choose how you use them. This is a concept that locals Margaret Luckett and her daughter, Holly Armstrong, have learned and are teaching granddaughter and daughter, Aubrey Armstrong.
Starting at the age of 19, Clinton, Mississippi native Margaret Luckett had to start figuring out how to handle the obstacles she was given when her mother passed away while she was in college.
“I had a 7-year-old sister and had to help my dad raise her,” Luckett said.
Therefore, she stayed in Clinton and attended Mississippi College.
Luckett finally adjusted to the obstacles life threw her, and in 1972 she married Mike Luckett. They were married for eight years and had two girls, Holly and Tobi. On Dec. 5, 1980 life threw another unwanted curve when her husband passed away in an automobile wreck, making her a widow at the young age of 28.
“I think it made me very tough but nurturing. I had a college degree, but no job. I needed a job, and I constantly had the quote, ‘You have no experience’ shoved down my throat,” Luckett said.
It was during that time that Luckett wrote a letter to the governor of Mississippi, Bill Allain. After writing the governor, she received a visit from Roy Cotton, an employee from the governor’s office. When Cotton came to visit her she was given an interview with the Department of Human Services in Raymond, Mississippi where she was hired and worked for four years.
“While I worked there I would interview people on the poverty level for Medicaid, AFDC, and food stamps. It opened my eyes to people in need,” Luckett said.
After working with the Department of Human Services, Luckett became a social worker. She said she saw things as a social worker she never thought she would see in her life.
During this time, she worked on the welfare reform team for DHS and helped implement the Faith and Families Program. She also worked in the transportation unit and in child support. She then began working at Hudspeth Regional Center under the Department of Mental Health where she worked with people with disabilities.
“It was the most rewarding jobs. I was bound and determined though to make my girls successful in case they ended up like their mom. I wanted a great future for them,” Luckett said.
Both of Luckett’s daughters are now successful women in the medical field. Her daughter and Ole Miss graduate, Holly Armstrong, is a nurse practitioner in Oxford where she raises her 14-year-old daughter Aubrey. Luckett’s youngest daughter, Tobi, said she knew she always wanted to be a nurse. Holly, however, did not.
When Holly graduated from the University of Mississippi, she received a degree in journalism. It wasn’t until her sister had an automobile accident that resulted in having to take care of her that she realized what she really wanted to do.
“I would take Tobi to her nursing classes at Hinds Community College, and it was while I was sitting in class with her that I realized that was what I wanted to be doing,” Holly said.
Holly’s daughter, Aubrey, is now carrying on this family legacy of giving back. Aubrey is currently representing Batson Children’s Hospital as the 2019 Mississippi Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals Champion. The role presents many responsibilities.
“I like to meet people and raise money. I love fundraising,” Aubrey said.
Caring for other people is something that comes natural to Aubrey.
“Aubrey will help me make lunches in the morning before school for her and her sisters. She’ll also come to the clinic and try to take care of all the nurses,” Holly said.
Aubrey said one thing she enjoys the most about life is telling people about Blaire E. Batson and how they can help her raise money. She believes that it’s important for people to give to a place that has helped her and others grow so much.
As she cares for others, she lets them know that her Down Syndrome does not define her. Holly said that people are always impressed with her and her personality and that Aubrey functions well around all people.
“Oxford is a great community that has been supportive of her and the special education community, and it’s continued to grow,” Holly said. “I think it will continue to do so, and I feel that Aubrey is a driving force for that.”