By Lisa Dennison
For some reason I cannot keep up with the National Days in which we celebrate things. Like a few weeks ago my 26-year-old daughter Keri sent a group text to her siblings with a collage of pictures for “Sibling Day.”
I received an email Thursday, May 1, from the School Nutrition Association stating that Friday, May 2, was Super Hero Day for child nutrition staff.
So, here is a tribute to our county’s Super Heroes.
I would like to start with Mary Dilley.
She has been a driving force for child nutrition for a hundred years, or so it probably seems some days because she has tirelessly tackled federal and state regulations far more than I can comprehend. She has been my “go to” girl when I am not sure what to do next. Mary is blessed to have Lora Sue Miller who has a relationship with the children like a mother hen gathering in her flock. Not to mention, she has taught Mary how to eat her vegetables. These girls are always educating the students about their food.
Doris Sharp is “sharp.” She has – with appreciated help from Sondra Vaughn – single-handedly fed Hillsboro children for quite some time. I have never heard a complaint. The closest I ever came to a complaint was the menu day of baked chicken, baked potatoes, homemade croutons and homemade rolls. Doris just kindly told me she did not have any pans left for baking. I sure changed that menu in a hurry. She was also the first person to teach me how to use the industrial dishwasher, with a few laughs – with me, not at me, I think.
At Green Bank there is that rebel Jean Taylor who fights hard to give the best meals to the children and would like to “leap tall buildings” and tell the government how we should “feed our children.” With her girls, Sherri Howe and Erin Lore, they feed breakfast and lunch to more children, on average, than any school.
Our high school Super Heroes are amazing. They have to deal with young adult minds and as we know young adults are at a place in life when they speak their mind. Two years ago when I started in this county, Joyce McLaughlin taught me so much about the cost of our food, because if I put something on the menu that was more expensive than our county budget, she knew and she would kindly let me know. Kim McComb and Tina Jackson round out the “dynamic trio.” These girls try to meet the request of the students and make “from scratch” food as much as possible, though I wish they would write that on a menu board so the students would know how much they should appreciate the “super” efforts. The students who are not eating are missing out on an amazing “Garden Bar” too.
It is a work of art!
Last, but not least. At Marlinton Elementary School, Becky Evans is the “newest” cafeteria manager, yet she is as seasoned as she miraculously seasons food with her sidekick Sabrina Jordan. Now they are flying up and down the hallways to drop off food in the classrooms – with the super help of Thomas, Frank, Joanne, Mr. Hall and staff. The collaborative effort has taught us some valuable lessons.
I am able to go see record books or ask questions of the girls “next door” to my office with “super speed” if I need to hurry and do something for the state department.
Pocahontas County has had a major Super Hero in the county office for a decade now. Jennifer Barlow knows the school lunch program from the inside out. She is a “force” for feeding our children, and I appreciate how she keeps all the records straight from lunch applications to billing, to the crazy software system that she is constantly teaching me.
Please, parents, know that your child’s records are confidential and safe because Jennifer has a vested interest and a caring heart for this community at-large. When she isn’t being a “Super Hero” with Grayson, her new little son, she is saving lives with her EMT crew.
Lastly, I did not mention all the custodians, secretaries, teachers, parents and students.
All of you “soar” to keep our food service pleasurable with your help and your kind words.
This is National Child Nutrition week so please, even though you will see this at the end of the week, encourage your children to recognize the “Super Heroes” who “feed up super food” so we can grow “big and strong” and some day “save the world, one child at a time.”