2017 Committed to Caring Project
PruittHealth Pharmacy Valdosta
This year PruittHealth Pharmacy partnered with PruittHealth Valdosta skilled nursing facility and Second Wind Dreams to realize the abiding dream of a very special resident. Ms. Mae Baker recalled her youth, when her father and siblings depended upon her extensively after the death of her mother. Amidst caring for her brothers and sisters, maintaining the home, and fulfilling her responsibilities as a student, the workload was overwhelming. Finally, at age 14, Mae met with her father to express that she could not continue both to manage the household and to satisfy the demands of school. He replied that he needed her help at home, and she obediently withdrew from school to serve her family.
Since that day, Ms. Baker desired to return and complete high school but was never able. Consequently, she often bore a sense of inferiority among those regarded as “educated.” Nevertheless, she married and had four beloved children. Her son, now Coach Jerry Don Baker, grew up to teach at Valdosta High School and was an offensive line coach for the famous Valdosta Wildcats!
Now a resident of PruittHealth Valdosta nursing home, Ms. Mae Baker achieved her lifelong aspiration at age 93. On Friday, March 10, 2017, Ms. Baker was awarded an honorary high school diploma by Dr. Todd Cason, the Superintendent for Valdosta City Schools. During the ceremony, Dr. Cason mentioned that Ms. Baker’s son, Coach Baker, also present, had been his coach and mentor in school and a tremendous influence. Ms. Baker was overflowing with both joy and disbelief as she received her graduation certificate, saying, “I think it’s just a wonderful, wonderful trick you all played on me. I didn’t think this would ever happen for me!”
Ms. Mae Baker is an example of an extraordinary individual and life story, and she is one of many of our residents, each of whom has unique experiences, talents, and insights. These are those who have fashioned the world that we enjoy presently, including the freedoms, inventions, and traditions therein. These are our parents, our instructors, and those who have devoted themselves to our cultivation, even as Ms. Baker nurtured her own family, notwithstanding the great cost.