Editor's note: This profile will air tonight, Fri., Nov. 24, so I'm elevating Al's post from last week.
Every so often while I'm out on a story someone will ask me, "Who are the best people to interview?" I've done thousands of interviews, with people from all stations and stages of life. I have a special place in my heart for "ordinary" people, the folks who live off the beaten path, anonymously for the most part, because they usually don't hide their passions from anyone.
Once in a while, you find a real gem. Don Teague and I will bring you one such story tonight.
Deep in the piney woods of east Texas, we found Betty Lewing in Lufkin. Through a frankly horrible set of circumstances, she teaches remedial reading to those students who fell through the cracks of our education system. Seven years ago, her daughter was kidnapped and raped. While dealing with the pain and hurt, Betty was offered a job teaching reading to inmates in the Texas prison system. She took it, and soon discovered that many of the issues that put people in prison could be traced back to their lack of reading skills.
She was then offered a job at Lufkin High School, and has made it her mission to help those kids who really need it. "I believe that God led me on this direction," she told us. "This is where I'm supposed to be and what I'm supposed to do, because without his strength I could not make a difference. I would not have the patience that it takes."
Betty Lewing is very humble about her work. She says she's not doing anything that millions of other teachers aren't doing everyday, all over the world. But she is making a huge difference in the lives of students who truly need it.
"You love them unconditionally, and you accept them as they are, and if you truly can do that in your heart, then you can make a difference."