Billboard Birthday Surprise

By Ben Wolf
Posted 5:30, August 14, 2006

If you've driven down Baytree Road in Lowndes County recently, then you probably know that Pam Mathis just turned 40.

"As I glanced over all I could see was me up on the big billboard and it was my 40th birthday, so it was quite a shock," she said.

Pam's husband Jeff works as a civilian contractor in Northern Afghanistan. So he wanted to do something special to surprise Pam on her big day.

"Jeff always surprised me. He is a wonderful husband and my best friend, so I don't expect anything less from him," Mathis said.

Jeff Mathis said all this wouldn't be possible without the help of a very dear friend. He e-mailed Pam's boss, Barbara Barker, who designed the sign and made the calls to get the billboard finished in time for Pam's birthday.

"He wanted a picture of her face when she saw it as well, so I was able to pull that off. I stopped in the middle of Baytree Road to make it happen, but she was very surprised," said Barker.

Jeff is now home on a brief leave, and he described life in Afghanistan without his wife and four children.

"We have bad days and we have good days. Unfortunately, when we do lose some folks, that's a bad day. We have more good days than bad days," said Jeff Mathis.

Despite not having Jeff at home for her birthday, Pam had the biggest surprise in town that day, literally.

Jeff Mathis just missed being home for Pam's birthday on August 3. He has about a week and a half left on leave before he returns to duty in Afghanistan.