LeAnne Taylor, News On 6
BERRYHILL, Oklahoma -- During the month of November, we're recognizing Oklahomans who have touched the lives of others, with something we're calling LeAnne's Big Give.
Hundreds of you have nominated individuals who are in need or are deserving of recognition.
We meet our first recipient.
It is Thursday morning at Berryhill High School and only a handful of the people who are gathering for a school assembly know what's about to happen. It all stems from a letter from Chelsea Scott.
Scott, a senior at Berryhill, nominated one of her former teachers for the Big Give.
"Ms. Maddox is the most dedicated teacher in the world."
Her letter is why we wanted to share this surprise with everyone in the school.
"Teachers like Ms. Maddox spend their own money in classrooms every year. Ms. Maddox gives to kids who can't afford what they need," wrote Chelsea Scott.
That kindness is about to pay off.
"I was looking up into the stands, trying to see, you know, and then, I heard my name and I went 'What?' I thought, 'Oh my gosh,' and you went like this and I walked out there and I was in shock," said June Maddox.
Ms. Maddox has been teaching for 30 years, 22 of those years at Berryhill and when she says the students are her life, she means it!
"I've never been married and I've never had any of my own children and so they're my kids," said June Maddox.
Mama Maddox, as she's fondly referred to, doesn't just teach lessons out of text books, she truly believes her responsibility is much bigger than that.
"I'm teaching more than just English and I'm teaching more than Psychology. I'm teaching them that the world isn't a fair place and that they have to be able to adapt to whatever is thrown at them and that life isn't always fair," said June Maddox.
And life hasn't been fair to her.
"I even told the doctor, I said 'I don't feel sick,' but all the tests indicated that I was," said June Maddox.
Ms. Maddox was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy. Her heart was damaged and her doctor gave her 6 months to a year to live.
"I never truly in my heart believed that it was gonna happen. I just said 'Okay this is the cards I've been dealt,'" said June Maddox.
But that was 15 years ago. After taking a special heart medicine the woman, who spends 9 months of the year trying to get kids to believe that anything can happen, became living proof.
"He said I have no medical knowledge, he said, you are a true example of divine intervention because people who have what you have to the extent that you have, don't make it," said June Maddox.
With an implanted pacemaker and defibrillator Ms. Maddox continues to do well and inspire others.
"Well, the example that she sets for us is if you have problems, don't let them show at work, don't let people feel how much pain you're in and keep on moving and don't give up," said Chelsea Scott.
"If I had quit teaching when everyone tried to tell me I couldn't teach any more, I don't think I would be here. My kids and my job, they keep me alive. They really do. I come here for you," said June Maddox.
We ended up getting Ms. Maddox a laptop computer that she could use it at school and at home and a gift card for dinner on us.
But she also got a gift money couldn't buy, recognition by her students for a job well done.
A final note, Ms. Maddox almost didn't make it to that assembly. She wasn't feeling well and was going to skip it but her co-workers told her she couldn't miss it.
You, too, can still nominate someone for LeAnne's Big Give? If you know someone who deserves that recognition or has a special need, go to newson6.com/give and fill out the nomination form.