Thelma Ashabranner Veach was honored with a retirement reception on Thursday, May 16, at Manila High School. Veach will be retiring in June as secretary/bookkeeper in the superintendent's office.
Over 120 people came by to wish her well. She was presented an apple ruby slide bracelet engraved "from your friends 2002." She also was present a crystal service award. She received several gifts and cards. She received several calls and letters with friends sharing special memories. Cake, punch and mints were served by her co-workers Diane Sparks and Pam Chipman.
The 1968 graduate of Manila High School, has spent most of her life attending and working in the Manila Public School system. With the years she attended MHS and the years she worked, it totals up to 40 years.
Through her 28-year career, she has worked for five superintendents, Leslie Speck, Ben Smith, W.C. Clark, Roland Wells and Charolette Wagner.
Soon after graduation from Manila High School, Veach began working as a teacher's aide in January of 1969. She worked there for one semester before going to the elementary office to work as secretary for Herbert Adkins. She worked in that office until January 21 of 1975 when she left public work to be home with her children.
She is married to Randy Veach and they have two sons, Brandon and Justin. Randy and his sons farm together in the Lost Cane community.
When her oldest son started to kindergarten, she went back to the school to work in the superintendent's office. She began working there in July of 1980.
Brandon is married to Juliane and they have one daughter Ambrette. Justin is married to Kristy. Kristy is a fourth grade teacher at Manila elementary school.
She admits that the 28 years have passed fast.
"I wanted to retire while I am young enough to enjoy it," Veach said.
She plans to spend time with her family, play with her granddaughter and her future grandchildren, cook, travel, run errands on the farm, read and relax. She also wants to spend more time with her mother, Jessie Ashabranner, who is also retired from Manila Public Schools where she served as librarian and teacher's aide.
"I will miss the people and the student activities. I has been nice to be here, especially when my children were students," she said.
Brandon graduated in 1993 and Justin graduated in 1994.
"I am on my third generation of students since I began working in the school system," Veach said. "I have met a lot of people that I would not have had the opportunity to know. It has been a blessing to work here and many people have touched my life. I am thankful for that. I am glad to have had the experience."
The Veaches are members of the Little River Baptist Church.