BLAIRSVILLE, Ga – Union County Schools dedicated the healthcare science wing to former nurse and school staple Avis Shaw.
“In years gone by there were not as many opportunities to go to doctors and specialists and Mrs. Shaw was the first line,” Dr. Paula Davenport stated. “There are a lot of people who care about other people, but it takes a special person to care not only about that person, but their wellbeing.”
New board member Julia Barnett called Shaw one of her “heroes” and commented how the retired nurse could relate to everyone. A non-judgmental, caring, and smart individual who wanted to teach children how to care for themselves.
Shaw worked for the health department for 30 years until retiring, but then went on to work for the nursing home for 11 years. Union County Nursing Home staff refer to Shaw as “Florence Nightingale.”
“I am humbled,” Shaw said. “Nursing has been my life. I’ve loved every minute of it. I think I’ve worked 51 years. I could have worked longer, but I probably wasn’t able to walk.”
She went on to pay tribute to teachers and the impact they’ve had on her life including her principal. He pointed her on the path to achieving her nursing dream. He helped her into Georgia Baptist College of Nursing at Mercer University where students could work their way through the program.
“Out of all the teachers I had, I only had one that was bad. All the rest of them made up for that,” Shaw recalled. “It’s been a wonderful life, and I have enjoyed it. It has been a blessing.”
Shaw and her family moved to Blairsville after eliminating Alaska as their other option. She worked at the hospital for $400 a month for 11 years and learned a lot while she was there.
The maintenance, technology, and special education department received special recognition for all of their efforts.
Maintenance handles a range of projects every day and often, no one has any idea about their responsibilities or accomplishments from food delivery to fixing a roof.
The special education department is a model district for the state with several families choosing Union County because of the department.
The technology department made online learning for Union County possible by thinking ahead and planning for the pandemic. They had every child a Chromebook within 24 hours and prepared wi-fi hotspots.
“These folks are very much the unsung heroes of why we’re successful,” Superintendent John Hill added.
Tony Hunter will continue being the board chair for 2021, and Patrick White will continue as the vice-chair for another year.