Blankenship’s heart is with Alabaster
By SANDRA THAMES / Community Columnist
Even though our subject was raised and educated in West End, she is known by most of us as a “Thompson girl.”
Her family, the Berrys, moved to the Camp Branch area for Debbie’s senior year at Thompson in 1972. That move brought her friends for life, a church home and a boyfriend (husband-to-be Tommy Blankenship).
Married in June 1974, Blankenship did not imagine what lay ahead in her life. Daughters Jennifer and Allison, along with school, community, church and extended family involvement filled the next several years for the family. Blankenship spent 10 years in the front office at Thompson Middle School and now is in her 13th year in the library at Thompson Intermediate School. This year she was honored as the “Support Person of the Year” at TIS.
In 1995 her brother, Robert Berry, was killed in a car accident. In October of 1998 her husband and her mother were diagnosed with cancer.
“Tommy and I never doubted he would recover. It seemed impossible to think otherwise,” she said. “The cancer started so mildly on the leg but soon turned into a storm of problems…spreading, causing the loss of a leg, a lung and etc. Prayers and support of so many people sustained us.”
Blankenship had lost her brother and was now trying to care for her mom and Tommy.
Tommy passed away surrounded by his loving family in March of 2000. Blankenship’s mother, Mary Sue Berry, passed away a month later. Still reeling from all that, in August of 2001 her oldest daughter Jennifer was crippled in an auto accident and her slow recovery lasted for nearly a year. She is now the mother of twins, daughter Kinley and son Kamden and son Kaden and is a registered nurse. Her husband, Zac, is a coach at Corner. Allison married THS graduate Eric Collins and they are parents to a son Parker. Three of the four grandchildren are in ball and “Mimi” loves that busy life. The whole clan now lives in the Warrior area but the Blankenship’s hearts will always be “Thompson.”