Sitting in their cozy living room recently, the Heinens—John, Allison, and twin 11-year-old daughters Hailey and Hannah—look to be the embodiment of peaceful contentment. Which is an accurate picture… up to a point.

“My two worst enemies have always been service and time,” laughs John. The girls have only a few minutes to sit until the next pre-teen activity begins, and dad—who was a Special Agent with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation for more than 25 years before becoming Vice President of the Georgia Lottery Corporation (which means he commutes to downtown Atlanta daily)—has added a new gig: He recently won a seat on the Greene County Board of Education, making him responsible for more than 2,500 students in two local school systems.

Both John and Allison feel this responsibility, starting with their own children. “No matter how busy we are with our daily jobs, our main priority is Hailey and Hannah,” says Allison, a pharmacy District Manager for the Northern Atlanta and Athens areas. “We moved to Reynolds in 2010 to provide them with a slower pace of life.”

The move to Reynolds gives them a real small-town upbringing, the kind Allison had growing up in Thomasville, a small town in south Georgia. “Family is such a focus around here, and everyone looks out for all the kids,” Allison says. “It allows us to give the girls freedom to grow, be involved in whatever they choose, and start to gain some independence. But they are still protected in that ‘Lake Oconee bubble.’” Both parents help keep that bubble intact, volunteering what little free time they have to their daughters. Allison and John help wherever there is an opportunity at school or with coaching whatever sports the girls are playing that season.

Along with sports, cheerleader Hailey is involved with Student Government and volunteers at a local assisted living facility, while basketball player Hannah does drama and musical theater—and that’s just for starters for the two. Also add their church youth group, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a budding interest in golf, and the family’s shared love for the lake.

“I grew up on Lake Lanier, so being near the water is important to me,” explains John. “We love everything lake: boating, tubing, knee-boarding, you name it, we will at least try. And it’s always a family affair.”

Another reason the Heinens love Reynolds is the growing population of families. There are now more than 400 families with children living in the community full time, which makes it easy to combine adult activities and play dates. “It’s very common for us to call up a few families, meet at the pool, and then head to dinner at The Tavern or Pickle Barrel,” says Allison. “The kids can play, we can socialize, and everyone is happy.”

Explore related blog articles

Contact Us