Longtime Mary Blount Elementary School staffer Thelma Garner recently celebrated her 80th birthday during a surprise party at the school.
Garner, who worked in the office for years at the school before retiring two years ago, still volunteers at the school two days a week.
Her family and friends were on hand when she was asked to come to a back conference room where they all surprised her with cake and a crowd of well-wishers.
“It was just such a surprise. Everybody is so nice,” Garner said. “I was speechless. (Principal) Mrs. Sandra Bell said she wanted to show me something. I’m seeing people I haven’t seen in years.”
Sylvia Kerr praised Garner for her compassion and said there was no way to replace her. “When she’s here, she’s so important. It’s that extra set of hands that help you serve,” Kerr said. “She’s always so loving.”
Retired Mary Blount teacher Ed Gilbert was on hand and praised Garner. “Thelma’s a person who is a joy. People love her. She’s one of those people you want to be good to,” he said. “She tries to please and help everybody.”