It is my honor to nominate exemplary senior Ann McRae for a Covenant Platinum Award. Ann’s accomplishments and lifestyle since becoming a senior have set the curb for those coming after her.
As a mature college student, Ann received a BS in Science and Chemistry and a Masters in Special Education in the 70’s and proceeded to put her degrees to good use helping special needs students. After she retired from her job as Director of Special Education of Anderson County in 1999, a then 65 year old Ann worked for the next four years as Assistive Technology coordinator, sharing her knowledge and expertise within the Anderson, Clinton, Morgan, Roane, and Scott County school systems.
Mahatma Gandhi once said, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in service to others.” Ann’s volunteer efforts reflect great service to her fellow man.
For years, Ann has served as a surrogate parent for special needs children in Anderson County Schools. She also serves as a mentor for the Clinton Elementary School 3rd grade reading program and recently worked with Anderson County Headstart to develop the “Grannies Program,” in which mature ladies volunteer to spend at least two hours a week reading or playing with 1-2 year old toddlers. The start of the program will coincide with the beginning of the 2010-2011 school year.
Since 2008, Ann has been a volunteer with Covenant Hospice. As such, she runs errands for hospice families and sits with patients while their family members take a break. Covenant Hospice volunteer coordinator Valerie Smith says Ann is never too busy to help a hospice family and provides them and their dying loved one with the most excellent level of compassionate support during a very difficult time.
In 2009, she served as chairperson for the First Baptist Church of Clinton Relay for Life and participated in the event in 2010. For the last five years, Ann has also participated in the Arthritis Foundation’s Arthritis Walk/Run.
Ann is well known for taking the initiative on a variety of projects. One such project that is close to her heart is Project Lifesaver, which helps locate missing individuals at risk for wandering, such as those suffering from Alzheimer Disease, dementia, and Down’s syndrome. Participants wear personalized bracelets that emit a continuous electronic tracking signal 24 hours a day. After discovering Project Lifesaver on the Internet in 2007, Ann raised awareness of the program by personally visiting several local governments and law enforcement officials. Upon learning the United Way of Anderson County was aware of the program and interested, Ann accepted the position of chairperson and partnered with the organization to educate the community and garner support for the program in the area. Currently, Project Lifesaver boasts 35 volunteers and 18 clients in the Anderson County area and has great potential for growth.
Ann and her little dog Prissy are regular visitors at a local assisted living facility, and Ann enjoys making and delivering holiday baskets and homemade baked goods to the residents.
Ann cans, preserves, and bakes for the elderly and ill people in her community and church. She also makes it a habit to check on neighbors to see how they are doing and ask if there is anything they need. She currently serves as the liaison for the Tennessee Baptist Association and the Tennessee Baptist Adult Homes of East Tennessee.
She belongs to the community Garden Club as well as the Timely Topics Club of Clinton and is an active member of the Retired Teacher’s Association, an organization for which she served as president in the past.
She loves spending time with her two grandsons and enjoys genealogy research, scrap booking, quilting, and needlepoint as hobbies. A connoisseur of culture, she has traveled to Italy several times since retiring, where she takes in the sights, sounds, and arts the country has to offer. She hopes to travel to Ireland and Scotland in the future.
Ann’s busy lifestyle warrants she stay in good health. To that end, she works out 3-5 days a week by participating in such activities as Pilates, yoga, and swimming. She is a student of square and line dancing and also belongs to a hiking club. If one were to take the “retire” out of retirement and respell “ment” as m e a n t, they would have the essence of Ann McRae, for through her selfless work and giving spirit, she has meant and continues to mean so very much to people of all ages in her community. Truly, she embodies all the qualities expected of a Platinum Award winner as she sets the standard for being a giving, productive, and very well rounded senior citizen in our society.