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Dwayne Mollison’s journey in life might be said to have had as many twists and turns as a pretzel.
A retired master sergeant, associate pastor, new business owner and soon-to-be licensed counselor, Mollison has navigated those twists and turns in his life on the way to success.
Growing up in St. Louis, Mollison came from a single-parent household as an only child. A popular belief about being an only child didn’t hold true, he said.
“She didn’t spoil me,” Mollison said.
About three years out of high school after some “odds and ends” jobs that didn’t lead to anything, Mollison joined the U.S. Army in February 1989.
“I needed a job,” he said.
Mollison, who now lives in the Glendale area, said he had seen adult relatives staying with his grandparents “way too long” and did not want to do the same. While he didn’t plan to make the military his career, he found himself re-enlisting and stayed more than 20 years, including service in Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm.
That job, Mollison said, also was important because he was dating his future wife, Tawana, at the time.
“I looked at the fact that I needed some sort of stability for myself before I could ask her to marry me,” he said.
Being in the military, he said, caused him to realize he couldn’t always have things his way and made him grow up. But he had to face some serious questions first.
While stationed in Seoul, South Korea, Mollison said he heard God’s voice asking him if he would want his own daughter to marry someone like him. When he realized the answer was “no,” he broke down.
“I knew at the time I needed to make some changes,” he said.
About five or six months later, after he had started going to church, he gave himself to God, he said.
In April 2001, while assigned to Camp Robinson, Ark., Mollison got his first opportunity to preach. In 2004, after moving near Glendale and searching for a church, he met Steve Hill, pastor at New Horizon Baptist Fellowship.
Mollison was ordained in 2006 and became an associate pastor at the church. Because of his faith, he said, he is able to face life’s challenges.
“If he gave it to you, he’ll equip you to handle it,” Mollison said.
His faith, he said, is the most important aspect of his life.
But Mollison’s life has many facets.
Because he and his wife have navigated some of their own marital issues, they have offered their insight to counsel other couples for years. While Mollison pursued a master’s degree, he and his wife also were looking into the possibility of being franchise partners and opening an Auntie Anne’s pretzel shop.
Pursuing the business franchise at the same time as he pursued his education proved to be trying. Among other things he was spending a lot of time seeking financing for the business and devoting time to his studies.
Mollison remembers his wife telling him, “Great things don’t happen unless there are great sacrifices.”
So he persisted.
Mollison graduated Dec. 15.
“Then we opened up the store nine days later,” he said.
Many people, Mollison said, helped to make the business opening a reality. The Towne Mall business, it turns out, was the 1,000th domestic opening of an Auntie Anne’s franchise.
Now holding a master’s degree in education with specialization in mental health counseling, Mollison will submit paperwork next month for licensure to be a licensed professional counseling associate.
Throughout everything, Mollison credits his wife for her support.
Likewise, Tawana gave her husband credit, especially for being “brutally honest about himself.”
“I think it’s the main thing that makes me respect his as a person, not just a husband,” she said.
Looking back at the trials and tribulations that faced him on his journey, Mollison reflected on their significance.
“All of these are bumps along the way,” Mollison said. “Bumps aren’t made to stop you, though.”
Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or email@example.com.
MORE ABOUT DWAYNE MOLLISON:
City of birth: St. Louis
Town of residence: Elizabethtown
Family: Wife, Tawana, and three children, plus guardianship of her nephew and his cousin
Favorite book: The Bible
Favorite movies: The “Star Wars” and “Transformer” series|
Favorite music: Gospel and contemporary Christian
Favorite TV shows: Sports
Hobbies: Video games