29+ Years At American House: Discover Hattie’s Story
Hattie is 94-years young and has lived at American House Oakland for 29 years.
Hattie grew up in Nashville, Tennessee. Belonging to a mission group as a young girl, Hattie explains, “Ever since I was a little girl, I have aspired to help people.”
She began her career working for doctors who made labor and delivery house calls. She was in charge of getting each doctor’s bag ready for each call. Hattie was once directed to setup for an emergency call, and then learned that the doctor was going to her sister’s house to deliver her twins.
Not having the opportunity to finish high school, Hattie got married and had four children. When two of her children reached high school, she made a pact with them to graduate together as a family.
Hattie received her high school diploma and enrolled in college. She graduated from Joan’s School of Nursing, where she was awarded her LPN. She continued her education at Oakland Community College and obtained her RN, all while being a working mother.
She worked as a housekeeper in Birmingham, as well as baked and sold cakes to pay for her tuition. First charging .50 a cake, and then increasing the price to $4.50 because people loved them so much.
Hattie worked as the school nurse for Pontiac Public Schools. She later worked at Pontiac General Hospital in the labor and delivery unit. She assisted in C-sections and recalls having to deliver babies herself when the doctors did not make it in time.
Today, Hattie is still volunteering at her church to help those less fortunate.
“Getting old is hard enough, but why not do something that keeps you looking and feeling young,” Hattie says.
She currently runs the food pantry for her church, where she is in charge of ordering and organizing.
Hattie has even started initiatives for food programs for children in the Pontiac area. She was inspired when she observed children going to the corner party store after Sunday school each week. Worried and not approving of the area the children were hanging out in, she offered to cook for them.
Her free breakfast program that she hosted before Sunday school became so popular she contacted Oakland County for help. After mountains of paperwork, they finally gave her $500 to support her program. This program is still in effect and keeps children off of the streets.
The biggest piece of advice she can give someone who wants to volunteer is, “this is life-long dedication, sacrifice and takes patience. It is not something you do when the moment strikes you, it is something you feel in your heart every waking day and every minute.”
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