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Ms. Connie: volunteering for decades

Pay it Forward: Ms. Connie

Emilie Burnette said when she was in school at Lookout Valley Elementary, "Ms. Connie" Phillips was always there. Burnette explained she would be in the library, with the secretary in the office, or just helping teachers wherever she was needed. Even though Ms. Connie has not volunteered in quite a few years, Burnette wanted her to know she will never be forgotten.

"I remember one day sitting at lunch and this little girl was getting bullied," said Burnette. She continued to recall just one of many times Ms. Connie made a difference at Lookout Valley Elementary. "She was being bullied by like two or three other people and Ms. Connie came over and took her to the teacher's table. She sat with her and ate her lunch there. She helped the girl stop crying and made her laugh."

Ms. Connie has not volunteered in years because of health issues.

"I know that if she could physically and health-wise, she would be there helping, because that's exactly what she loves to do and it's exactly what she has always done," said Burnette.

We drive down the street to Ms. Connie's house with our Pay it Forward $500, to give a woman who spent decades volunteering her time, working for nothing in return.

"Hey Ms. Connie! On behalf of NewsChannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, we want to Pay it Forward to you $500," said Burnette.

Ms. Connie said she volunteered at Lookout Valley Elementary School for more than 30 years. While she worked mainly in the copy room, she loved getting to spend time with the children.

"I did a little bit of everything, I bought them stuff. I treated them like they were mine," said Ms. Connie.

Back in 2009, staff including the former secretary at Lookout Valley, wrote in to the Times Free Press, thanking her for her years of service saying, "There is a jewel in Lookout Valley and to see her sparkle just stop by our elementary school."

"My health is too bad. I miss it," said Ms. Connie. "I miss it. I love my kids."


Do you know someone like Ms. Connie? Nominate your unsung hero for our Pay it Forward $500 surprise by filling out this nomination form.

Years later, Ms. Connie still represents Lookout Valley, by wearing an old t-shirt.

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