Tammy Waddell served as an elementary school teacher for three decades in Forsyth County Schools and continues to serve her kids even in death.
Before an elementary school teacher passed away, she had one heartfelt request. Tammy Waddell had specifically requested that she didn't want flowers at her funeral. Instead, she hoped people coming to pay their respects would bring backpacks full of school supplies for needy students. Being the loving and passionate teacher that she was, she ensured to promote quality education evena after her death. Waddell passed away on June 9, 2018, succumbing to stomach cancer. And her last wish was carried out by her loving students just as she would have liked it. The heartwarming gesture was shared by her cousin, Brad Johnson, in a tweet.
The tweet read: My cousin’s final request at her funeral was Backpacks full of supplies for needy students instead of flowers. A teacher to the end. He added in a follow-up tweet, She had about 100 teachers as honorary pallbearers who carried the backpacks out and back to their schools. It was heartwarming. A picture from the service held for the teacher from Georgia was shared by Johson. Lining the church aisle beside the pews were dozens of backpacks. The bags along with the books would go to a local program, Project Connect, which held an annual event where teachers would visit the homes of their students to deliver backpacks, reported TODAY.
Honorary pallbearers... Teachers who had taught with her through the years... pic.twitter.com/CyB2pBbBNy— 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐝 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐧 (@DrBradJohnson) June 19, 2018
"What made her special was that she truly loved and care for her students,'' Johnson said. "As many said, she was ready to give a hug to a student in need, just like she was to give supplies to a student in need. She has inspired many people, including myself." Waddell had worked in three different elementary schools in Forsyth County School district in Georgia for 30 years. In 2003, she was also recognized for her contributions and was made the county elementary school teacher of the year. Her son, Kevin Waddell, is also working as a teacher in Forsyth County Schools.
What some of the back packs were filled with... pic.twitter.com/rUWpheecEk— 𝐁𝐫𝐚𝐝 𝐉𝐨𝐡𝐧𝐬𝐨𝐧 (@DrBradJohnson) June 26, 2018
"Part of what I loved about my mom was the passion she had as a teacher. It's one of the inspirations that led me to the profession," Kevin told Good Morning America. "She lived life by loving others and she was never worried about attention … she was just focused on the love." He added. "The message she would try and deliver at this point is to donate to your local schools. It doesn't have to be here specifically." At the time, over 130 bags filled with school supplies were received in honor of Wadell's request and more were coming in. There were enough school supplies to last the students half a school year.
The first Forsyth County Education Foundation scholarship is available and open to all FCS seniors! The Tammy Waddell Memorial Scholarship is honoring a wonderful former FCS educator and is available at each high school and on our web page: https://t.co/LzIA6UsVwC. pic.twitter.com/qgg31nakxD— Forsyth County Schools (@FCSchoolsGA) March 27, 2019
Waddell had previously beat colon cancer once. But she was diagnosed again a year before her passing, reported CNN. The second time around, her doctors said she didn't have very long to live. She then retired from her three decade-long career as an elementary teacher. But even during those last difficult days, she had children and their future on her mind. Two weeks before her death, she told her son about her wish to be able to help children in need. She is survived by her husband, Mike, two sons, BJ and Kevin, and four grandchildren. "Tammy was adored by both her students and colleagues; however, she was loved by none more than her friends and family. She will be missed dearly," read her obituary.
Wadell's thoughtful gesture quickly went viral and was lauded by teachers and others alike. "I think the pictures have gone viral because her story touches the soul of humanity,'' Johnson said. "Her final lesson was to be of service to others. I would say her last lesson was well taught."
Her name was Tammy Waddell but to so many in Forsyth, GA she was Mrs. Waddell, a teacher.— Gigi Graciette (@GigiGraciette) June 26, 2018
A woman who spent decades making a difference.
And even though sadly she died earlier this month, she is still making a difference.
A huge one.https://t.co/4l00qMoBMf pic.twitter.com/cDMdFm4C0z
Cover Image Source: Twitter/Brad Johnson