American Education Week, Nov. 12-16, is fast-approaching, with Retired Teachers Day falling on Nov. 13.  

Talladega County residents would not be as prosperous if it weren’t for a teacher providing nurturing, mentoring and instilling leadership skills to help students become successful adults. Everyone’s life has been enriched by a retired educator. They continue to touch the lives of those around us by volunteering in the community, and Nov. 13 is set aside to demonstrate honor and appreciation for their work.

Recognizing the contributions retired educators have made, the state Legislature sets aside the Tuesday of American Education Week each year for recognition of the state’s retired education personnel.

The Talladega County Retired Educators Association is just one of more than 75 local units of the Alabama Education Retirees Association Inc. (AERA), which represents more than 23,000 retired educators.

Growing up in Talladega County in Winterboro and Childersburg, I can recall several retired educators who impacted my life, some of whom are no longer with us: Miss Annie Bell Rhodes (third grade); Miss Nan Killough (fifth grade); Mrs. George Layton (fourth grade); Mrs. Henry Moody, Mr. Whitlock, Mrs. A.H. Watwood, all junior high; Mrs. Donald Williams, Della Ward, Mrs. Joy Limbaugh and many more.  

These teachers brought history, English and literature, clerical skills, math and music to life, and provided structure and discipline to complete a task. We thank you for all you did for former students and their descendants.

It would be exceptional if Sunday, Nov. 11, retired educators are recognized along with veterans at the Sunday service to let them know we care.

The Talladega County Retired Educators Association has grown to more than 90 members. Congratulations to this group. Members have been very involved in voter registration throughout the county.  

Hopefully, our voices will be heard on issues concerning COLA (cost-of-living adjustments), insurance and the education trust fund. Other local projects for the Talladega education retirees include care bags for displaced and homeless persons (students) and for students at Jacksonville State University after the storm.

School supplies are gathered for students; candy donated for Halloween fall festivals; support provided for Talladega County 4-H judging various projects such as birdhouses, photography, budgeting and writing at local, regional and state competitions; and supporting the Ronald McDonald House saving pop tops.

The Talladega County Retired Educators Association is proud to participate in the events honoring education retirees in the Talladega area. Thank a teacher -- it will make you smile.

Nancy Lehe is president of the Talladega County Retired Educators Association.