By Stephanie Rebman/NEMS Daily Journal
Every day when Anna-Liesa Hussey goes to work, she has the chance to make a new friend or two.
As a waitress at Stables Downtown Grill for the past three years, Hussey keeps up with regulars and chats with new customers – all with a big smile.
“I like to get to talk and get to know people around town,” she said. “I like to meet new people, and I get to eat good food all the time.”
If you take a minute to chat, you’ll learn the 28-year-old has done some interesting things so far in life, including nurture an interest in art and join the Navy.
After Hussey graduated from Mantachie High School and Mississippi State University in 2008, she returned to Itawamba County to teach physical education at Dorsey. She taught kids ranging from kindergarten through eighth grade. She also coached seventh- and eighth-grade basketball and fast-pitch softball.
One of her biggest moments coaching was when the seventh- and eighth-graders finally beat Fulton and won a tournament. They were one of the only teams to beat Fulton that year and wound up with a 29-5 record.
A competitive athletic nature was helpful when Hussey decided to join the Navy in June 2010. The first time she ever saw her dad shed a tear was when he retired from military service, and that meant something to her.
“My dad was in the National Guard for 42 years,” she said. “I thought maybe I could join the military and enjoy it if he loved it that much – that it could be something I could try.”
Hussey is now currently an active reserve, training in Millington, Tenn., and based out of Seal Beach, Calif. She’s a master at arms, which is the Navy police.
Boot camp and Master at Arms “A” school in San Diego, Calif., were no problem because she said it was exciting to travel somewhere new. And, shooting M9s and M16s with paint bullets wasn’t exactly boring.
“They travel more than anyone, and I just heard a lot of really cool stories from a friend who was in the Navy,” she said. “I joined because I would get to meet people from all different kinds of places and do stuff there that I would never get to.”
While Hussey has never been deployed, she said she would be proud to serve, which is a family tradition.
“My grandpa and my great-grandpa were in the Navy as well and they both were on Normandy Beach in World War II,” she said. “My uncle was in the Navy as well, which kinda makes me fourth-generation Navy.”
For now, Hussey’s challenge is working on a master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Mississippi.
One day, one particular customer helped fund her tuition bill with a friendly bet at Stables.
“A customer bet me one day that I’d be married within two years, and I said, ‘How much?’ So we bet $1,000 and I wrote it down and we both signed it and I taped it behind the bar. I got paid in October 2012,” she said with a smile.
When not at Stables, Hussey is also working at Oscar’s, raising her 5-year-old daughter, Allie, and working on acryllic and oil paintings. She’s currently painting something that will be auctioned at a GumTree Museum of Art fundraiser.
Keeping fit is also important and she likes to wakeboard, hula hoop, run in races like the Warrior Dash and other fundraiser races around town.
Another piece of art she’s working on is a tribute to her favorite singer, Jimi Hendrix, that’s filled with his song titles. Maybe someone would like to make a bet on how many titles she can fit on there.