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Retired literacy teacher crosses items off her bucket list

BIG FLATS, N.Y. (18 NEWS) - It's not Mother's Day quite yet, but it is never too early to honor the jewels in life. Today was a day full of celebration for retired literacy specialist Verlene McGee.

Verlene, who is a current hospice patient, has dreamed of being able to go to her favorite bookstore Barnes & Noble, one last time. 

Teams from Barnes & Noble and CareFirst joined forces to help make Verlene's wish become a reality. 

Verlene was under the impression that she would be going to read to children. Little did she know,there would be a celebration going on in her honor. 

Verlene received two awards. A Lifetime Literary Award and a Recognition Award from Senator O'Mara's office. 

Verlene taught first grade in the Elmira School District for five years before becoming a reading specialist. Following her 23-year tenure as an educator, Verlene went on to write a column for the Star Gazette and publish four books of her own. 

Organizers of the event said the communities response was overwhelming and everyone did their best to lend a helping hand. It took a village in order to give back to a woman who helped teach one.

They say you should give people their flowers while they can still smell them. Well, Verlene has her flowers, and she sure is one happy woman. 


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