Our Staff

Get to know the Hometown crew!

Kate Dugger- Publisher


Originally from Sarasota, Florida, it took some time to adjust to West Tennessee winters. Before taking over as publisher, Kate started out doing an article here and there for Hometown and a lot of the ad design. Now, she’s a bit busier with everything being the “Publisher” entails, but loves every minute of it.

Kate needs coffee like most people need water. She might be the only person on the planet who can drink a whole pot of black coffee right before bed and sleep like a baby. Kate works from home as a freelance photographer. She loves the convenience of digital photos, but still maintains a darkroom for film processing at her house out of nostalgia. She also practices Taekwondo in the evenings with the hope of earning her black belt someday.

She has been married to Kurt Dugger for almost a decade, but maintains her dog, Merlin, out ranks him as the dog has been around longer. Her son Patrick trumps both Kurt and Merlin. Get in touch with Kate at kate@katedugger.com or through her website www.katedugger.com  

Emily Akin- Copy Editor, Seniors Today Editor

EmilyAkin-headshot-croppedEmily Akin is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Country, The Upper Room, Evangel, Vista, and other Christian publications. Specializing in content for and about seniors, she has written for Hometown since 2001. She loves to encourage other seniors to write. She and her husband Ron have two grown children, Molly Akin of Tallahassee, FL, and Scott Akin of Monticello, AR, and two grandchildren. Visit her Web site at www.emilyakin.com, or e-mail her at akinemily@gmail.com.

Melissa France- Publishing Consultant, Contributor

John Dunker- TechKnow Columnist

John-s[1] John P. Dunker graduated from South Fulton High School in 1971 and at the age 17 joined the U.S. Navy. He retired from the Navy as a Master Chief Petty Officer having traveled to and worked in 9 different counties throughout his naval career. He specialized in aircraft maintenance and ordnance, working on aircraft several carrier flight decks and Naval Air stations. His service included being stationed in Japan for 2 years and serving 3 years on a vice admiral’s staff managing the substance abuse program for the entire Naval Air Pacific Fleet.

Upon retirement from the Navy, John returned to South Fulton in 1994 where he worked two years at a local computer service store before becoming an independent IT consultant. He has over 30 years’ experience working with computers in both the military and civilian sectors. He also has designed and manages several local area websites. 

John and his wife Pat met in San Diego, CA before moving to Tennessee. They are active members of Fulton First United Methodist Church in Fulton, KY. Together they have three married daughters and five grandchildren living in Hawaii, California and Texas. You can email John at dunkerj@bellsouth.net.

Teresa Vinson- Just A Pinch Editor


Teresa Vinson is the Health Information Management Director at Baptist Memorial Hospital and has been for many years. She has a very active role in the day-to-day operations there. She is a Member of the American Health Information Management Association, a board member of the Obion County Cancer Agency, and a Reach to Recovery volunteer with the American Cancer Society. She is a member of Calvary Baptist Church where she serves as a first grade Sunday school teacher. She also finds time to pursue interests which include: cooking, decorating, entertaining and spending time with her family. She has been married to Dale Vinson for 46 years. They have one son, Jonathan and daughter-in-law, Paige. Teresa’s grandson, Owen, recently turned 6. “Owen definitely brightens my life.”

Kurt Dugger- Sliding Scale Columnist

kurt portrait

Kurt Dugger was born in Obion County in 1982. He lived there going to school at Obion County Central until graduating and leaving for the Marine Corps. in 2000. He completed tours in Iraq and Afghanistan as an Infantryman.  During eight years in the Marine Corps, he learned a new appreciation for Family, Individual Liberty, and West Tennessee, where he returned to in 2008.

 He now resides in Rives, TN with his amazing wife and somewhat tolerable boys. His biggest aspirations are to live free and learn new things. Hobbies include (for the time being) paintball, gardening, stargazing, running, cycling, and fixing things that may or may not be broken.

Nelda Rachels- Contributor

Nelda_08Web[1]Nelda Rachels has two children and two grandchildren with her husband Jerry. They own a hardware store in Dresden, Tennessee, and attend the Palmersville Church of Christ. She has a Master’s in Education and is currently teaching Grammar, Reading, and Writing classes to international students at the University of Tennessee at Martin, in the Tennessee Intensive English Program. She is a freelance writer, having published in various national and local magazines and newspapers. In her spare time, she reads, writes letters, goes antiquing, and collects books, cardboard fans, women’s hats, Depression glass, baskets, and the occasional lighthouse. She has pretty much given up on gardening because the weeds take over in July. However, she is looking forward to retirement when she can do more of most of the above, plus sew, quilt, cross-stitch, and crochet.

Beth Brown- Health and Wellness Contributor


Beth Brown is just like every other wife/mom/employee that lives in the real world. Able to juggle several different things at one time, however, only good at few of those things at any given time! Don’t look for an excessive amount of domestic type activities. Please, come visit, but only if a messy house full of kids and dogs does not offend you. Meals may be delicious and home cooked, or they may be frozen pizza. 

She is a lover of most things four legged and all things two legged. A sometimes crazy baseball/football/basketball/livestock judging mom. A person who tries not to take herself seriously. Knowing that most things will pass and life will roll on just fine. Weekend naps are usually nonnegotiable, but so is fun and quality family time. Books make good presents, and so does the gift of silence every now and again. 

She is a little hung up on her two amazing sons and her hardworking husband. They, along with Jesus, make up her most important things in this world. Writing for Hometown magazine is a fun way to share a bit of herself with the community. 

Beth McWhirt- Contributor