The Port Arthur News
PORT NECHES —
Betty Sheffield wasn’t exactly excited about having to show up several hours early for her volunteer shift at Riverfest on Sunday.
But when she learned she’s be helping out as organizers honored the Port Neches Mother of the Year she became quite excited.
Seated at the stage area at the pavilion at Port Neches Riverfront Park with her husband of 54 years, Glen Sheffield, at her side, Betty began to suspect the Mother of the Year was someone she knew from either volunteering in a local hospital or at the senior center.
Then her own name was announced.
“Oh my God,” Sheffield said as tears began to trickle down her face.
Soon, Sheffield eyed Debbie Plaia, executive director of the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce and the woman who nominated her, Sharon Lemoine, director of the senior center, and the women chuckled about getting Sheffield to the park early.
“I wasn’t paying attention then she (DJ Donna Marx) said something about a hospital and I thought ‘oh my God,’ it’s someone I know.”
Lemoine, in her nomination letter, said the first time she met Sheffield was at the hospital after she had just delivered her first child.
“She came in to congratulate my husband and me. It was a few years later that we became neighbors and close friends,” Lemoine said. “Over the year I have learned many things about my friend. She is a giver. Going to garage sales to purchase vases to put lowers in just so she could take the flowers to someone in the hospital or nursing home. She has taken care of her friends when they were fighting cancer themselves, staying by their side until they made the journey home.”
Lemoine went on to explain that Sheffield soon took in her children like their were her own grandchildren. Even now, Lemoine’s grown children, have fond memories about Friday nights with Sheffield watching movies together.
Jackie Burnett had much to say about her longtime friend and neighbor and “dear, dear friend,” Sheffield.
“You usually hear her before you see her,” Burnett said with a laugh.
Burnett remembers back decades ago to when she was pregnant with her second child. Sheffield told her to call her when she went into labor and she took care of everything every time Burnett needed her.
“She is the one person who can walk into a room it lights up like sunshine,” Burnett said. “She is known by so many people and treats each of them like a long lost friend.”
Sheffield is the more adventurous of the two often persuading Burnett to get into the swing of things.
“We have taken many cruises together. When we were in Hawaii she insisted we take hula lessons,” she said. “And she won first place in the twist (dance) contest.”
Then there was the time Sheffield convinced Burnett to show up at the senior center wearing coconut shell tops and skirt.
“She’s always pulling me into everything,” she said. “And I know she’s there for me no matter what.”