Happy Birthday, Jeri Nelson!

By Dick Duerksen

Today is the big day for Jeri Nelson and the school family at the Seventh-day Adventist Daycare and Preschool in Sheridan, Oregon. Teacher Nelson is 87 years old today!!
“I don’t like getting older,” she told me. “But 87 sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?”
Jeri is the school’s lead teacher, and has been since forever.
“God put me here,” Jeri said, “to try and help these children love Him and to be kind like God is. All of my other teachers and employees came up through the school. Every one of them brought their own children here, fell in love with the school, and are now teachers. They’re the best!”
Each morning the church parking lot becomes a “turn-around” point for school buses who are picking up or dropping off children at the daycare. Jeri, who has a first-name relationship with the drivers, waves and then makes sure the children get signed in or signed out correctly. Each bus brings a few moments of chaos marked by individual hugs and waves from Teacher Nelson.
“Whenever I see one of the children who has been a student in our daycare,” Teacher Nelson continued, “I ask the person they’re with if the child is kind. Ninety-nine percent immediately say YES! Very kind. That’s how I know we’re doing our job.”
I asked her if she might ever retire.
“Not likely,” she responded. But my children say that I ought to write everything down so if I die one night in my sleep someone would know how to run the place.”
She laughed, and asked me to tell the children another story.