A self-proclaimed “self-motivator”, Regina Harmon is passionate about the town she’s put roots down in, following a life growing up as an Air Force brat.
Q: Are you from the eastern Wake area?
A: I am an Air Force brat. My dad was in the Air Force. I was born in Blytheville, Arkansas. We even lived in Puerto Rico for a while but I was mostly raised in Goldsboro. I feel like I have attended all the schools that Goldsboro and Wayne County had to offer.
Q: Did you attend college?
A: No, I am a self-motivator. I have been on my own since I was 13, and I have had jobs since I was 13.
Q: What about your family?
A: My parents divorced when I was about 8. Don’t get me wrong – it is not like I didn’t have a roof over my head but my mom was sick so I lived with my dad. But my dad was never home. I would see him every so often and he would come home and bring me money for food and stuff like that but I was really on my own. I had two older brothers but I didn’t see them much. One also joined the service. I have been working as long as I can remember. I worked for Domino’s Pizza. I owned a bar and deli. I owned a cleaning service. I learned fairly early that I do well in sales but I don’t do that well working for other people. I started the Total Connection about 20 years ago. I started it out of my house with about $4,000 and a printer. I started out printing about 6,000 copies a month and now it has grown to 85,000-95,000 copies a month.
Q: You started a publication dedicated to kids and their accomplishments at school. You do not have any children of your own so what was your inspiration?
A: Most newspapers and publications are not dedicated to the good stuff going on with kids. I wanted something about the kids and the positive things they do. Our mission statement is to promote the positive. Because of the way I was brought up, I wanted kids to realize there are positive things out there and good role models for them. Because I was on my own, I made every wrong decision you could make. I went down terrible paths. I had worked for a newspaper in Goldsboro and I thought we were going to be a community newspaper and the publisher told me we would be but it ended up being political and I didn’t want to work for a political newspaper so I started the kind of publication I thought was needed. It has grown and we have a great website, and a TV station that is run by kids in the community.
Q: What are your passions?
A: I have a few things I am really passionate about. I love the martial arts and I have my black belt. I love how it teaches respect and common courtesy. I was hurt in an accident and that kept me away from it for a while but I didn’t let it stop me from getting my black belt. I was in my early 30s before I ever took my first class. I also love movies. I will see any movie there is – bad, good, it doesn’t matter. I just love going to a movie and getting lost in someone else’s story. I love to swim too. And I love Wendell.”
Q : A couple of years ago, you received Wendell Citizen of the Year honors. What drives your dedication to the community?
A: Because I love my family. And I know you are thinking, ‘Wait a minute – you just said you were not close to your family.” I consider the people of Wendell my family. I have adopted them, or maybe they have adopted me. Your family is not always who you are related to but who you choose to love. People ask me why I try so hard, and why I am so outspoken about this town, but Wendell has so much potential. I think the parks and recreation is the saving grace of this community. We bring in sporting events that help the businesses here, and the businesses need help. I think we also have enough of low-income housing in this town. Enough is enough already. I just think this town has so much going for it and we are not working hard enough to help the businesses here. I can really get going on this. Wendell is also one of my passions.