Cherry ends 31 years of service

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 28, 2005

WINDSOR – Mary B. Cherry went out with style.

Cherry celebrated the end of her 31 years with the Bertie County Department of Social Services on Thursday, July 21. A large group of family and friends gathered to celebrate the occasion with Cherry and presented her with an assortment of gifts, plaques, and flowers to commemorate her years with DSS.

Mary Veale Bailey emphasized the importance of her friendship with Cherry.

&uot;Mary is my best friend. She taught me how to appreciate myself and she was always giving,&uot; Bailey said.

Friend and family member Pearline Bunch shared an entertaining story and a poem she had written with the group. She referred to Cherry as &uot;Christian soldier&uot;.

&uot;Civic organizations in the area will find you once you are retired and will not let you relax,&uot; joked friend and Bertie County Commissioner Norman Cherry.

&uot;Mary and I go way back,&uot; Catherine Lynch, co-worker and friend said. &uot;Mary was always dedicated to her work. Mary had to be told to take time off and was very thorough. Enjoy spending time with your grandkids.&uot;

&uot;It’s a dangerous thing to put a microphone into a preacher’s hand,&uot; joked Rev. Sammy Fields, pastor of Sandy Point Missionary Baptist Church.

&uot;Mary’s dedication always showed at church and she is a blessing to others,&uot; Fields added.

Neil Waters, a former co-worker, presented Cherry with a &uot;piddling hat&uot;.

&uot;When you put on the hat it is a reminder to everyone not to mess with your piddling time,&uot; Waters said.

Cherry was presented with several bouquets of roses and several divisions from DSS presented her with gifts and tokens of love.

One highlight of the night occurred when co-workers and friends presented Cherry with a &uot;money tree&uot;. The &uot;money tree&uot; was an interesting looking plant with cash affixed to its branches.

&uot;We are going to miss you Mary, but we will continue to depend on you as a friend. It has truly been a pleasure to work with you,&uot; added several co-workers.

Cherry started with DSS as a part-time aide to a caseworker. Within a year she gained full-time status after becoming a receptionist/office assistant.

Cherry’s hard work paid off and eventually she became a supervisor, overseeing the work of 13 people.

Friends and co-workers described an example of Cherry’s generous spirit.

&uot;There was a time when we were operating shelters for people and Mary let us use her house for showers and let some people from the shelters stay there,&uot; one co-worker said.

Cherry’s friends and family presented a slide show, chronicling Cherry’s personal and professional life.

The evening ended with Cherry making some very heartfelt comments.

&uot;I feel very honored and loved this evening,&uot; Cherry said.

&uot;I am only retiring due to some health issues, including arthritis. I am leaving behind some good friends and co-workers. I really enjoyed my years with DSS and I truly enjoyed working,&uot; Cherry stressed.