Meet Heidi Ferguson. Heidi moved to Hall County when she was 13 years old and has loved it ever since. She met her husband Todd, who was born and raised in Gainesville and knew that Hall County was the perfect place for them. Together they have a son, Palmer who is 17. Heidi loves spending her time watching golf from her porch, watching Palmer play basketball, and spending time on or near the lake.
When Heidi was 36 she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Despite the double mastectomy she had, the cancer came back three years later as stage four. Heidi says she most thankful for the medical care we have in Gainesville.
“It’s amazing the type of medical care we have here in a small town. I love the medical care here and I am so grateful for what it has done for me and others,” she said.
Through her breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, Heidi says she has gotten to know and help other people going through it as well.
Recently, we had the chance to sit down with Heidi and talk to her about her life and love of Hall County.
Question: What’s your favorite book and why?
Answer: “‘Unbroken’ best book EVER! It should be required reading in high school in my opinion. I literally could not put it down. My older sister convinced me to read it and it’s one of the best gifts she’s ever given me. You might not think it’s your kind of book. Give it five minutes and you’re hooked. There are so many reasons to list of why I am obsessed with this book. Just do yourself a favor. Borrow it, get it from the library, download it, JUST READ IT!”
Q: What is your favorite restaurant in Hall County, and what do you love there?
A: “For a Special Night Out : Antebellum in Flowery Branch. Their Foie Gras Creme Brulee is the most delicious starter you’ve ever experienced! For my entree I get the same thing every single time, it’s THAT good: Grilled Atlantic Salmon. It’s served on a grit cake with a tomato vinaigrette, pepper jelly, local greens and a country ham chip! For a casual dinner, you cannot go wrong with Little Italy Pizza!It’s true NY style thin crust. My family has our own pizza that we came up with: pepperoni, feta cheese and garlic pizza. For a great Brunch on Sunday: 2 Dog Cafe. They have the most delicious homemade English Muffins. They always have a herbed butter and house made jelly!”
Q: How long have you worked or lived in Hall County?
A: “I was born in Texas, lived in Arkansas and lived in Louisiana until I was 13. My father was in the poultry industry so naturally we ended up in the Poultry Capital of the World. I’ve lived here for 32 years and always say that Gainesville has my heart as I love it here the most! Gainesville is also where I met and married my husband of 21 years.”
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? And why?
A: “Africa has always been on my bucket list! A dream safari would include seeing a lioness with her cubs, a leopard lounging in a tree, a huge herd of wildebeest (which are usually accompanied by zebra and antelope) trekking across the Serengeti. Seeing these magnificent animals in all in their natural habitat would be jaw dropping!”
Q: What is your favorite movie or what is the first movie you remember seeing in a theater?
A: “‘Out of Africa’ is my favorite movie. First of all, the scenery is breathtaking. The soundtrack is one of the most moving instrumentals ever. Just listening to the music by John Barry literally takes you back in time. I can daydream about Africa, too.”
Q: What advice would you give a crowd of people?
A: “These might sound cliche however, here they are: (1) Be yourself. My high school yearbook quote was this one by Henry David Thoreau: ‘If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.’ I still fully believe in this way of thinking. (2) Be kind. Rarely will your day be a bad one if you are kind. (3) Be generous. Generosity sometimes blesses you more than the receiver. It feels so good to give. Generosity doesn’t have to be monetary, sometimes just complimenting a stranger can be the most meaningful of gifts. If you see something nice in someone, tell them. (4) Start a conversation. Believe that you are worthy of a conversation. God created you uniquely. There’s no one else out there the same as you. (5) Truly listen when others are talking to you. (6) Always do the right thing even if it’s uncomfortable. You will feel better for it.”
Q: What is something on your bucket list?
A: “I’ve always wanted to learn how to ride a horse. I was on my Uncle’s horse as a child. My grandfather was leading the horse in a slow walk. The horse got spooked and literally ran off with me on it. Truly, like something from the movies. I finally fell off landing on my back on the ground. My parents were so wise to make me get right back up on that horse. As a result, I have an interest in horses, I want to ride with confidence and maybe even gallop with the wind in my hair.”
Q: What is your favorite music/ three bands you would like to see (dead or alive)?
A: “Elvis, Air Supply, and Hillsong United.”
Q: What current/ former local business makes you the most nostalgic about Hall County?
A: “Dipper Dans at Lakeshore Mall – oh, the ice cream!”
Q: Choosing anyone alive and a non-relative: with whom would you love to have lunch? Why? Where in Hall County would you have lunch?
A: “I’d love to have lunch with my favorite author, Lauren Hildebrand. She’s written two of my favorite books, ‘Unbroken’ and ‘Seabiscuit’. I have lots of questions for her about the books she wrote! I’d take her to my local favorite for lunch: Mellow Mushroom.”
Q: What is your favorite thing or something unique about Hall County?
A: “Lake Lanier has truly made Hall County a destination in itself. It’s like a whole other world you’ve discovered once you go out on the lake and it’s in your backyard! The lake offers so much from boating, fishing, jet skiing, wakeboarding. Family time and memories are two of my favorites that have come from being out on the lake. I’ve enjoyed all of the wildlife that the lake has nurtured. I’ve watched a bald eagle eat it’s lunch on the shoreline in my backyard before Entire communities have been created here because of all that the lake has to offer. Obviously, Hall County has benefited in so many ways because of our lake.”
Q: Where do you see yourself in five or 10 years?
A: “I see myself cured of cancer! My life is a miracle. My breast cancer was stage IV four years ago and now my body shows no evidence of disease. God continues to bless our family with good news over and over. Modern day medicine has helped to save my life and continues to do so with regular infusions of maintenance medication.”
Q: (Even for friend or family), what is something interesting that most people don’t know about you?
A: “I’m hugely competitive. However, I won’t bring that side of myself out unless there is a game involved. It can get ugly. I try to keep that under wraps. Secret’s out though.”
Q: What are three words or phrases come to mind when you think of the word homes?
A: “Happiness, respite and hospitality.”
Interview by Abernathy Cochran Real Estate Group intern: Grace Brown
The Faces of Hall County is a project to showcase the amazing people that live or work in our community. If you would like to nominate an interesting person to be featured please email firstname.lastname@example.org.