By Bobby Harrison
Daily Journal Jackson Bureau
JACKSON – As a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives, Randy Mitchell is accustomed to facing difficult issues.
But nothing in life had prepared Mitchell and his wife, the former Cindy Pugh, for the difficulty they faced this past summer.
On June 11, their now 19-year-old daughter was involved in a life-threatening auto accident. Milly Mitchell, who was preparing to enter the University of Mississippi, suffered numerous injuries, many of which she is still overcoming.
“Life can just change all of a sudden,” Mitchell said late last week on the floor of the House chamber with his wife and daughter by his side and a number of well-wishers coming by to speak. “That is why it is so important to have your priorities in order.”
Mitchell, a Democrat from New Albany, was speaking only minutes after introducing his daughter, who received a standing ovation in the 122-member House chamber. Then after the session ended for the day, many of the House members came by to greet Milly and her mother.
“I enjoy coming down here to watch them,” Milly Mitchell said. She said she was not expecting a standing ovation. “It was a lot of fun,” she said, explaining she had never been introduced as she was Friday.
The introduction seemed appropriate, though, after the support Mitchell said legislators displayed after his daughter’s wreck.
“They (legislators) called continuously,” Milly Mitchell said. “They sent flowers and gifts. Many of them came to visit.”
And they responded quickly, the Mitchells said. Within minutes of learning of the wreck, Randy Mitchell called Reps. Steve Holland of Plantersville and Billy McCoy of Rienzi. Not long after that, legislators from throughout the state were calling to check on Milly.
“The House of Representatives is a bunch of ladies and men who are so close,” said Mitchell, who also has a 16-year-old son, Jed. “We can fuss and fight with each other, but we are kind of like family.”
And what is next for Milly Mitchell? She continues to recover and hopes to take a semester at Blue Mountain College soon and then enroll at Ole Miss – maybe as early as next fall.
But recovering from the wreck – a one-car accident on old U.S. 78 west of Sherman – has been a struggle. She suffered a crushed heel that has required 16 surgeries, a severe cut on the other foot, a crushed sinus cavity, broken nose, broken ribs, lacerated liver, punctured spleen, bruised lungs and a broken right arm to name a few of her injuries.
But Cindy Mitchell said her daughter’s wreck did show the family how much everyone cared.
“We have felt humbled by all the love we felt.”