Late last November, Carol Willey was called into her employer’s office.
“It totally took me by surprise,” chuckled Carol Willey of Bakersfield. “He (Steve Doe) said, ‘Don’t say no right off but we want to nominate you as Mother of the Year’. Yeow. That’s really a big honor.”
The Doe family owns and operates Ave Maria Community Care Homes in Richford where Willey has worked as Activities Coordinator and Staff Trainer for 17 years. She is also a native Vermonter, married to pastor Lyle Willey and they have four children and seven grandchildren. She has an Associate’s Degree in Social Work and, aside from her job, volunteers for Champlain Valley Agency on Aging and is on the leadership board at her church.
So, along with Doe’s written nomination and three recommendations, Willey’s portfolio was submitted to the national Washington, D.C based American Mothers organization. Willey’s packet included a biography, how being a mother has impacted her life as well as outlining three activities that have impacted the community or her family.
Pastor Jaye Lundborg supported her nomination by writing, “Carol, through her many roles in life, reveals her mother’s heart. Gentle, yet strong, serving others but able to lead when needed, she is the one, as a mother would, offering care, unconditional love and support for many in times of need. Her actions impact the world around her on a daily basis.”
On March 1, Mrs. Rose Rixon, President of Vermont Mothers announced that Willey was named Vermont Mother of the Year for 2015. She joins Giselle Gervais of Enosburg and over a half dozen other Franklin Country mothers who have received the award.
“I am so honored to be a mother and grandmother and have opportunities to share life with them and make happy memories together,” Willey wrote in her portfolio. “We all live close so we enjoy frequent visits and I get lots of ‘Grammy time’. Life is good.”
Next to God, she says that family is her priority. Carol is a homemaker in the literal sense. She and her husband built their own home from the foundation up! She loves sheet rocking, painting, and decorating, as well as Tai Chi, singing, gardening and cooking from scratch. She has a passion for helping by using her gifts and talents to improve the lives of others, whether it is helping her husband in church activities, assisting one of the kids with their projects or reaching out to the community.
“She probably wouldn’t call herself a leader, but she leads by example every day, walking in God’s plan and quietly fulfilling her mission,” said Sarah Willey, daughter, in her written recommendation to Vermont Mothers.
Carol and Lyle Willey will attend the annual American Mothers conference in Washington, D.C. on April 23-26th. The keynote speaker is Robyn McGraw, author, philanthropist, entrepreneur and wife of TV Talk Show personality Dr. Phil.
“She is a motivator for women,” Willey noted. “It’s going to be interesting. It’s going to be fun. I’m looking forward to it.”
Carol Willey’s mandatory three minute conference speech will be on Validation Therapy for Alzheimer’s patients, a technique that Ave Maria Community Care Homes has been using for about nine years.
“That’s a passion I have,” she noted.
True to her nature, Carol Willey gets excited about helping others.
The mission of American Mothers, Inc. is to champion women by honoring, educating and serving mothers at home, at work and in the world. AM honors the mission of the organization founders Sara Delano Roosevelt, Mamie Eisenhower, JC Penney, and Norman Vincent Peale, American Mothers is dedicated to reducing rates of violence and improving the lives of mothers and families in the US and around the world. www.americanmothers.org
By Cindy Humiston Weed