Be Inspired: A Story of Perseverance in the Face of Loss

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What inspires you? For our Sales Manager, Shandi Maddox, it’s her nephew. Read on as Shandi shares this beautiful, inspiring story of her nephew’s perseverance and determination.

On Sunday, May 17, a very special young man graduated from Morehouse College. My nephew has no idea how much he inspires me, being that I have watched him from the beginning until now.

Donnell A. Williamson Jr. (aka DJ) was the cutest little baby boy, and is still so full of life! But he differs from that baby that I remember, because he is now a man. That speaks volumes. Here’s why. 

When people suffer devastation, they handle it in many types of ways. Some families fall apart; some stay together. Well, his family grew closer and raised an amazing young man. He is AMAZING!

After his dad (Donnell A. Williamson Sr.), passed away on August 27, 1998, DJ continued to be reared by his Aunt Madea, Uncle Shun, Mom and a whole village of people. He has never been an average young man, as he received a lot of his make-up from his dad. His son was his world. And DJ has truly carried his dad’s legacy within. 

Donnell suffered yet another loss a few weeks ago, where the man who stepped in as a father-figure, O’Cyrus “Shun” Hinton, passed away as well. This was another devastation to him. Yet he still continued to reach for the stars. What a story of perseverance!

In all the obstacles that could have stopped DJ, he kept reaching and is continuing to reach and move forward, as he will be attending Emory University to obtain his Master’s degree. I am continually inspired by this awesome young man.

Do you have a story of someone who inspires you? Please share them with us! We’d love to read it and possibly share it, too!

Shandi Maddox is the Sales Manager for Controlled Release Technologies, Inc., a manufacturing company based in Shelby, NC. We’ve been creating independently-certified Green products for HVAC maintenance since 1986. Read more at Reach Shandi at

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