Board Members

Andy Carter

Andy Carter is the Head of School at Tupelo Christian
Preparatory School, and has been involved in education as a
teacher, coach, and administrator for 20 years. Leading
students, in partnership with Christian families, to know Christ
and make Him known is the purpose and passion of Andy's
work at TCPS. He has a bachelor's degree in secondary
education from Sheldon Jackson College in Sitka, Alaska and a
master's degree from the University of Mississippi in Oxford,
Ms in educational leadership and administration. He has been
married to Rebekah for 22 years, who is a teacher at TCPS, and
has one daughter, Sydney, who is 17 years old and is a senior at
TCPS. He also serves as a minister at Providence Church in
Falkner, MS of which he was a founding member in 2006. Andy
plays multiple instruments and enjoys all kinds of music, loves sports of all kinds, and
enjoys traveling with his family.
"I believe we owe an incalculable debt to our veterans that have defended the freedoms we
enjoy everyday in this great country. I am proud to have the opportunity to work with Scott
Burns and 7 Days for the Troops to support the brave men and women that have answered the
call and stood in the gap for us."

DeAnna Boyett Woods

DeAnna grew up in Sulligent, AL. She received her Doctor of
Pharmacy from Auburn University and works for Thomas Street
Compounding and Family Health Pharmacy as a prn pharmacist.
DeAnna works with Appendix Cancer 5K helping raise awareness
and research opportunities for appendix cancer as well as with
Aiden’s Army to help provide amputees with running blades.
Having a father-in-law that served in the Philippines and a brotherin-law that served in Iraq, she is honored to have the opportunity to
serve 7 Days for the Troops to help meet the needs of our veterans.
DeAnna currently lives in Tupelo, MS. She is married to Wesley
Woods and has 4 children, Tyler (15), Weston (12), Aiden (9), and
Carter (5). They attend Harrisburg Baptist Church.
“I have watched Scott Burns pour his heart into meeting the needs of others, especially
veterans, for years. There is no doubt 7 Days for the Troops will change the lives of many
heroes who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. I am so grateful for the opportunity
to be part of this mission.”

Emily Burns

Emily is the daughter of an Air Force Veteran and wife of a Marine
Corps Veteran. She has a Masters of Arts degree in Teaching and
Learning and is a National Board Certified Kindergarten teacher.
She and her husband, Scott, have been married 16 years. They
live in Tupelo, MS, with their 3 children, Hannah, Jace, and
Hudson. She is an active member of West Jackson Street Baptist
Church, where she serves on the preschool leadership team, choir,
and praise team. Emily brings the perspective of caregiver to the
board. As the wife of an amputee, she is able to give insight to the
struggles and issues many caregivers for disabled veterans face on
a daily basis.
“I hope to use my position on the 7 Days for the Troops Board to not only make a
difference in the lives of veterans, but also to provide support and help for the
caregivers and families of these veterans.”

Hannah Burns

Hannah is the daughter of a disabled Marine Corps
veteran. She has lived in Tupelo, MS, for all of her 23
years. She has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in
Psychology and a minor in sociology. She is currently a
first grade assistant teacher. Some of her hobbies and
passions include serving on mission trips in Mexico and
teaching children in her church, West Jackson Street
Baptist Church. Hannah loves to travel, with one of her
favorite places to visit being Washington D.C. Being the
daughter of an amputee, Hannah has a unique view of
disabled veterans because she has seen first hand,
not only the physical but psychological trials that disabled veterans
“ I am honored to have been selected to serve in a capacity that will
allow me to be a small part of giving back to those that have given so
much for this country”.

Kathy Hackshaw

Kathy grew up in Greensboro and graduated from
Page High School. For college she chose Wake
Forest and graduated with a degree in History.
After college she began her career as a 10thgrade History teacher. After seven years of
teaching she decided that there was much more
she wanted to accomplish in life and so began her
very eclectic career. Kathy’s career has been
varied and interesting. Along with teaching,
professional modeling, retail and non-profit management, various
senior leadership positions with large corporations, Kathy has over 25
years of experience in real estate management.
Kathy and her husband Robert have moved 11 times. They adopt
and embrace each new city and Kathy dives into the community. She
has been on the Boards of Directors for Rotary Clubs, Chambers of
Commerce, Convention and Visitors Bureaus and the March of
Dimes. She loves using her positions in the community to help
children and Veterans.
Kathy and Robert currently reside in Plantation, FL. And have no
plans of living anywhere else. They have four children and five
grandchildren along with two dogs, a Great Pyrenees named Alex
and a German Shepherd named Tallinn. One of the few things she
would change about her life is the distance she lives from her children
and grandchildren.
Kathy met Scott Burns in Pearl, Mississippi when her Center, the
Outlets of Mississippi, hosted a 7 Days for the Troops event to benefit
Purple Heart Homes. She is honored to become a Board Member for
7 Days for the Troops and looks forward to working with everyone
with all of the organization’s fundraising projects to help our veterans.
Certainly Kathy has developed a recipe for happiness. Professionally,
she loves what she does. She keeps healthy by swimming, walking
the dogs and eating well. She enjoys reading historical novels and
biographies and cooking with Robert. Her motto: Be yourself,
everyone else is taken!


Colonel McDonald, a native of Pontotoc, MS, entered the Air Force via ROTC
in 1988 upon graduation from the University of Mississippi. Upon completion
of the Minuteman III Combat Crew Training Course at Vandenberg AFB, CA he
served with the 90th Missile Wing at F.E. Warren AFB, WY. Following his tour
in missile operations, he cross-trained into the intelligence career field
serving with Deployable Ground Station-1, Langley AFB, VA deploying
multiple times to Southwest Asia. His subsequent tour was as a member of
Headquarters (HQ) USAF where he functioned as the lead for the AF
Distributed Common Ground System program. Following his headquarters
tour he transitioned to HQ US European Command in Germany serving in a
variety of positions culminating as Deputy Commander, US National Intelligence Cell in Sarajevo,
Bosnia. In July 2003 he was assigned to 12th Air Force, Davis-Monthan AFB, AZ as the 612th Air
Intelligence Squadron Director of Operations. After his tour with 12th Air Force Colonel
McDonald transitioned to the 480th Intelligence Wing where he served as the Wing’s Assistant
Director of Operations deploying as a member of JTF-Katrina. In June 2006 Colonel McDonald
assumed command of the 303rd Intelligence Squadron, the largest U.S. intelligence organization
on the Korean Peninsula, conducting surveillance and reconnaissance operations in support of
U.S. Forces Korea and 7th Air Force in the defense of the Republic of Korea. Following his
squadron command tour Colonel McDonald was assigned to the Air Force Targeting Center at
Langley AFB, Virginia, where he served as the Deputy Commander. While at Langley he
deployed with the 451st Air Expeditionary Wing in Afghanistan. Colonel McDonald was assigned
to US Joint Forces Command in July 2010 serving as the Chief of the ISR Integration,
Experimentation, and System Support Division and leading the Office of the Under-Secretary of
Defense (Intelligence) Empire Challenge Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
integration and experimentation event to date. In July 2011 Colonel McDonald moved to
Barksdale Air Force Base, LA where he was initially the Director of Intelligence, Surveillance and
Reconnaissance, Eighth Air Force and moved to become the Director, Intelligence, Surveillance,
and Reconnaissance, Air Force Global Strike Command in July 2012, serving in that capacity until
March 2016. Colonel McDonald’s final service assignment was as the Special Assistant to the Air
Force Global Strike Command Vice Commander. Colonel McDonald retired from active duty 1
June 2017 and is currently a Program Manager with Raytheon Technologies in Dallas, Texas. He
is married to the former Dawne Taylor, also of Pontotoc. They have three grown children, a
grandchild on the way and two incredibly spoiled dogs.

Patty Mekus

Patty grew up in Memphis, TN, and attended Memphis State
University. She is the President of the Southern Heritage Air
Foundation, founded by the late MS Gov. Kirk Fordice and his
son Dan Fordice. In her role as President she shares her Public
Relations, Marketing, Management, Fundraising and Grant
writing skills with the Foundation. She has served on many
boards and committees. She is a member of the Public
Relations Association of Mississippi, River City Chapter, the
Southern Public Relations Federation and the Chairman of the
Board for 7 Days for the Troops. Her past positions include
Public Affairs for the City of Vicksburg including Manager of
TV 23 Government Access TV, Grant Writer for Gouras Urban Planning,
Executive Director for Drug Free-Communities through Warren-Yazoo Mental
Health and the White House ONDCP, and Development Director for Vicksburg
Catholic Schools. Patty has a deep respect and love for all who have served and
serve this great country we call home. Patty currently resides in Vicksburg, MS.
She is married to Mike Mekus and they have two grown children, Victoria and
Nick. They attend St. Michael's Catholic Church in Vicksburg
"Meeting Scott, literally by Divine Intervention and circumstances, was the
beginning of journey for me. I've always had a huge respect for Veterans.
Learning about 7 Days for the Troops snd hearing Scott's story and the passion in
his voice made me want to be a part of what he was doing. I was so honored when
he officially asked me to be on the Board. "

Sherry Grimsley

Sherry was born in Jackson, MS. Her father served in an
Amphibious Tank Division in the Philippines during World
War II. She attended the University of Southern Mississippi.
She lived most of her adult life in Memphis, TN. Sherry has
worked in the banking and aviation industry for over 50
years and has a love of traveling. She is now retired from
ILS and volunteering full-time at the Southern Heritage Air
Foundation Museum, where she gives tours, helps with
bookkeeping and the donor database. She is a member of the
Knights of Columbus Ladies Auxiliary. Sherry has two
grown children and currently lives in Vicksburg, MS where
she attends St. Michael Catholic Church. Sherry has a deep respect for America’s
veterans and those currently serving and is now on the Board of 7 Days for the
Troops where she can do even more to honor these brave men & women.
“Meeting Scott and seeing his passion was so refreshing. All of the hard work for
7 Days for the Troops inspired me and when he asked me to serve on the board I
immediately agreed. This is such an honor for me.”

Valerie Dean Anderson

Dean is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi. She attended Hinds
Community College, received training in Child Psychology,
grant writing and is a certified Zumba Instructor. Currently,
she is a teacher at Agape Christian School and she is the Office
Administrator for Shiers Communications, her family's
business. Dean serves on many Boards including: Vicksburg
Riverfest, Vicksburg Main Street, S.T.O.R.M., the Southern
Heritage Air Foundation’s Advisory Board, and on the Board
of Directors for 7 Days for the Troops.
Dean is involved in many community activities and has been a
volunteer for the Southern Heritage Air Foundation and the
Warrior Bonfire Program. She is married to Chuck Anderson,
a Marine Corps Veteran and has 5 children, Veronica, J, Ilona, Landen, and
“I have been asked to serve on several boards and immediately said yes when
Scott asked me to serve. The main reason I agreed was because I had been a part
of the event he did in the Vicksburg area and was so impressed with his
commitment and passion. I cannot wait to see all that we accomplish for
America’s Heroes!”

Sydney Carter

Sydney is the 17 year old daughter of Andy and
Rebekah Carter. She is a Senior at Tupelo Christian
Preparatory School where she is a member of the
track team and captain of the volleyball and
basketball teams. She also is a member of National
Honor Society and maintains a 4.0 GPA. She is very
involved in her community and loves to lead in the
activities she is a part of. She plays 2 instruments
and loves any kind of music and performance.
Sydney is always involved in some form of fun whether it be traveling,
sports, or entertaining others. She is a member at Providence
Primitive Baptist Church and strives to put Christ first in the many
things that she does.
Quote: I am both excited and honored to be a part of this
organization as well as very proud of what it stands for.

Scott Burns

Co-Founder Scott Burns joined the Marines after
graduating from high school in Jackson, MS during
the height of the Gulf War. Although he never made it
to a combat zone, then Lance Corporal Burns served
as a motor transport specialist for four years at New
River Air Station, Jacksonville, NC and Okinawa,
Japan before injuring his ankle during a training
exercise which cut his military career short. He later
lost his leg to an amputation. Unsure of what to do
with his civilian life, Burns used his earlier experience
as a disc jockey to open is own DJ business in 2003, which is when
he found his inspiration to found 7 Days for the Troops.
Scott Is Married with 3 children. Scott has used his Life experiences
to help mentor others. Scott has spent the last 16 years promoting
veterans and volunteering at a Tupelo Christian Preparatory.
“I know 1st hand what it is like to have limitation due to an injury, and
I want to do what I can to help others, work past their limitations and
be the best them, they can be.”


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1020 N Gloster St #230

Tupelo, MS 38804

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