Do you know a woman who shines?Posted by MomOnMars on September 12, 2012
I’ve met some amazing women throughout my life. I’ve hobnobbed with celebrities, politicians and corporate leaders. But when I think of women who inspire me, the first face that comes to mind is this one:
Her mom called her Angel. In Houston, she’s known as the Tennis Ball Lady. My children know her as Grandma.
After years of caring for her own mother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, Jeanette Getz found her lifelong calling…helping the elderly. At the ripe, young age of 70 – yes, you read that right, 70 – she went to the UT Health Science System to be certified as an ombudsman, assigned to nursing homes to visit with and advocate for the elderly.
The chances of my ever going back to school – slim to none. But going back to school at 70? I figure I’ll be lucky if I’m still upright.
On one of Jeanette’s first visits to her assigned home, she noticed tennis balls behind the administrator’s desk. A lifelong tennis player, she asked if the woman played. Turns out, tennis balls are stuck on the feet of walkers for the elderly — offering better maneuverability, more mobility — and for use in occupational and physical therapy. But tennis balls are expensive, so they are always in short supply.
And so began Jeanette’s project – the one where she starts collecting thousands of used tennis balls, sorting them into plastic grocery bags and recycling them at nursing homes all over Houston. Over the last several years, she’s collected, recycled and donated an astounding 38,000 balls to homes, schools, hospitals…even the police department. She’s been known to decorate them, as well.
She recruits kids, her husband, the neighbors, even a group of special needs adults to help sort, bag and deliver the balls.
While Jeanette hasn’t recycled the most tennis balls or even made much of a scratch in the overall numbers of rubber balls in landfills, she’s doing what each of us can attain to do – make a difference one small step at a time.
She’s moved on to a new project – working to pass a nursing home dental oral care resolution through the Texas legislature.
She’s a vision of what love, creativity, hard work and passion can accomplish. She definitely shines, and she is my inspiration. Who inspires you?
Disclosure: I was compensated for this blog post while participating in the SocialMoms blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own and my mom really is my inspiration in more ways than one. To read more posts on this topic, click here.