Explore Corsicana January-March 2019 - Page 26

MAKING A DIFFERENCE MAKING A DIFFERENCE Inspirational educator Elmeree Burrell Volunteer CISD, NAACP For 30 years, Elmeree Burrell devoted her life in her career to nur- turing and teaching children — and children are still a big focus for her. Burrell is highly- educated, with many different degrees to her credit. Most of her schooling took place in California, where she lived for many years. Upon retirement, she moved to Corsicana and married her child- hood sweetheart, George Burrell (she calls him Bob). She has substituted and volunteered at nearly every school in CISD. She does private tutoring. She makes personalized children’s books. She has housed some members of the African Children’s Choir when they came to Northside Baptist Church. Elmeree is the Education Chairperson of the Navarro County Branch NAACP, and has been involved since Day One in the Back to School/Stay in School rally NAACP puts on with IMPACT each year. She is the driving force behind the Martin Luther King Jr. Day Oratory contest and program, the march, and the ceremony at Bunert Park each year. She has spearheaded Black History programs at Sam Houston Elementary Dual Language cam- pus, and the Black History program Interactive Museum at the Corsicana Public Library. She has received numerous awards and accolades for her volunteer work, both in California and Texas (she volunteered at a homeless shelter while in California), and is involved in several groups in Corsicana that make a difference. Elmeree Burrell is a driving force to be reckoned with, and the community needs more people like her. 26 Taking care of troops Jean O’ Connor Angels of Corsicana Troop Support For going on two decades, Jean O’Connor has been the “Angel” of Corsi- cana, sending troops all over the world boxes and stockings filled with toiletries, socks, candy, snacks, playing cards, you name it. With only a small band of volunteers, O’Connor sends hun- dreds of boxes, every month all year round, to military personnel across the United States and the globe — wherever they hear of a need. Dec. 2, 2014, O’Connor made the news when Clarice Tinsley and her camera man came to Corsicana to film at piece on O’Connor as a Hometown Hero, which aired on Fox 4 News. Inspired by her daughter, Jean first began sending boxes to people she knew in the Air Force. She took more names of military serving overseas, and it grew. A building she and husband Marvin owned on Bus. 45 was utilized as the “Angel Room,” with a place to collect donations and to do packing. About the third year into doing this, someone took a handmade stocking (which became the norm every Christmas), took some money out of his pocket, put it in the stocking and passed it around the room. They took up enough to pay for the postage on the boxes that month, which the O’Connors had paid themselves prior to that. It was then they decided to start a bank account with the name given them by the military people: Angels of Corsicana Troop Support. People with loved ones in the service who were encour- aged at one time by the monthly gifts sometimes reach out to help the effort. One year 325 handmade stockings were done in Navarro County, then a bank in Fredericks- burg, Maryland sent them 200 more handmade stockings, thanks to this scenario. They also have included hand- made pillows in the boxes, along with lotion, tooth- brushes, toothpaste, soap, coffee, cookies, pens, pencils, crackers, nuts, popcorn, cocoa, pretzels and breakfast bars. O’Connor said whatever is donated goes into the boxes, including some Beanie Babies donated once. J A N - M A R C H 2 0 1 9 |   C O R S I C A N A DA I LY S U N | E X P LO R E C O R S I C A N A