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Funeral Aisle Lined with Backpacks Filled with Supplies To Fulfill Teacher's Dying Wish

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Some people remain with us long after they’ve passed. But it’s not just our close friends or family members who leave an imprint.

Sometimes we’re deeply touched by a kind neighbor, a warm postal worker, or a caring teacher. And, many times, these people have no idea how greatly they have affected us in the most positive of ways.

One teacher from Forsyth County, Georgia, may never know what an impact she made on the hearts of the students and teachers in her community. Tammy Waddell was an elementary teacher and paraprofessional for 30 years.

She was also a colon cancer survivor. Unfortunately, health complications led to her passing on June 9, 2018.

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“She was the kind of teacher who always had a hug for students who needed it,” Dr. Brad Johnson, Waddell’s cousin, shared. “She often spent her own money on supplies to give to the students who needed it.”

When Waddell learned she probably wouldn’t live much longer, she spoke of a special request in regards to her funeral. While some ask for special songs, or particular readings, Waddell wanted her final memorial to leave a much bigger influence.

There would be no flowers in memory of Waddell. Instead, she asked for something that would last long after roses or lilies would have shriveled and faded.

“My cousin’s final request at her funeral was backpacks full of supplies for needy students instead of flowers.” Johnson wrote on Twitter. “A teacher to the end.”

Perhaps even more stunning is the response to Waddell’s obituary request.

The community delivered, with almost 100 teachers showing up to assist in delivering the supply-filled backpacks to the church where Waddell’s funeral was held.

Thanks to Project Connect and these willing teachers from the Forsyth County school district, Waddell’s final wish was made possible.

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If she saw how she touched these people’s lives, I have no doubt the 2003 Teacher of the Year would have been rendered speechless.

This just goes to show, you never know how your hard work and kindness will affect others. I will never forget a few very specific teachers from my childhood who still hold a place in my heart today.

Likewise, I’m sure Tammy Waddell will not soon be forgotten. Our hearts are with her family and friends during this season — may they take comfort in knowing she was truly a very special lady.

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Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.
Sarah Carri is an avid reader and social media guru with a passion for truth and life. Her writing has previously been published in print and online by Focus on the Family and other well known media outlets. Her experience in ministry and Disney entertainment gives her a unique perspective on such topics.

Sarah's experience as a successful working stay-at-home mom and business owner has given her the chance to write and research often. She stays up to date on the latest in entertainment and offers her views on celebrity stories based on her wide knowledge of the industry. Her success as a former preschool teacher and licensed daycare provider lend to her know-how on topics relating to parenting and childhood education.

Her thoughts on faith and family issues stem from home life and ministry work. Sarah takes time to attend workshops and classes annually that help her to improve and hone her writing craft. She is a graduate of the Institute of Children's Literature program and her writing has been acclaimed by ACFW and ECPA.
Education
Institute of Children's Literature, Art Institute of Phoenix (Advertising), University of California Irvine (Theater), Snow College (Early Childhood Education)
Location
Arizona
Languages Spoken
English
Topics of Expertise
Entertainment, Faith




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