Michele Wright, our State Agency Area Consultant serving School Nutrition Programs in Southeast Georgia shared this heartwarming encounter from the field. It is titled "I Met a Hero Today", telling the story of the resilience of Georgia School Nutrition Professionals.
You'll want to read to the end.
I met a hero today when I met Ms. Pennie Mobley of Evans County School Nutrition. Pennie has served the students of Evans County with a joyful heart for nearly 49 years. She was raised in Claxton, Georgia where and graduated from Evans County’s Longhorn High School. Not long after, she began her career in school nutrition working at Claxton High School for one year before transferring to Claxton Elementary School where she has served ever since, making her a true pillar in the Claxton community.
Pennie oversees setting up the serving lines at breakfast, preparing fruits for meal service each day, and serving on the line. She is an integral part of her team’s success, and a model school nutrition professional.
“She is an expert at Offer Vs. Serve! And she is very dependable. She often has perfect attendance,” stated Tonya Blocker, Director of School Nutrition in Evans County.
In her nearly five decades with school nutrition, Pennie has seen a lot of changes as she served lunch to the parents, and now grandparents, of the students she serves now. She has seen Claxton Elementary grow into a new school building. She has seen countless changes to menus, regulations, and best practices. However, one thing that has not waivered or changed is Pennie’s pride in what she does.
All the students at Claxton Elementary school know and love Ms. Pennie, and she knows and loves them too. She knows that school nutrition goes far beyond just serving a child a meal. There is a real opportunity to build a relationship with each child and influence their life and their character.
When asked her favorite parts of her job, Pennie stated, “I love feeding my children and making sure I am nice to them as they come through the serving line each day. The children watch what you do. If you are nice, then they will learn how to be nice to others."
Pennie said recently she has started thinking about retirement, and she has even begun working on a speech for her retirement reception. We know when the time comes for her to enter her well-earned retirement, she will be sorely missed by her school community, but her legacy and impact will live on in each and every one of the students she has served.