This week, Red Bank lost an irreplaceable treasure, Betty Heffington. Newscaster, David Carroll once referred to her on air as Ms. Red Bank. Her reputation as a tireless worker for the community was well known.
She worked diligently, determined to help the needy in the Red Bank community. She spent innumerable hours sorting, folding thousands of articles of clothing in her benevolence room at Red Bank Church of Christ, her congregation. Her efforts reached out not just to those in the Red Bank area, but also to cloth those in the Sequatchie Valley and Rhea County on a regular basis.
Even as her health began to fail, with cane in hand, she worked weekly aiding the Hispanic community in the area to meet their needs.
Betty was a master at networking. If you were a retired gentlemen with a pickup truck, you were on Betty’s speed dial. If she heard of a burned-out family in the community, she went rapidly into action with her list of supporters to resettle families with furniture, appliances, clothes, and most importantly, hope. Her influence knew no boundaries, coordinating with several other area churches to get the job done.
Betty was tenacious toward an objective. Thomas Jefferson said, “We in America do not have government by the majority. We have government by the majority who participate” -- and participate, she did. Betty never shied away from taking on a just cause, like lobbying the city council for more traffic lights, stop signs and crosswalks or working with the PTA to better our schools for our children. Persistence doesn’t even begin to describe her resolve.
Those of us who knew her well admired her zeal. Those who didn’t know her often misunderstood or even resented her enthusiasm. In either case, she was the image of compassion and fervor, not always the image we see of ourselves. The loss of Betty Heffington is a loss Red Bank will not easily regain.
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Betty Heffington will be remembered for a lifetime of helping those in need, she was indeed selfless, but she was so very strong and fearless. I loved that about her.
Betty Heffington is well known among parents for her achievement in the accountably in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. She was an early leader that fearlessly addressed these issues head on. I knew Betty Heffington as a person that had no fear of institutional power. I admired her courage.
She indeed challenged the Hamilton County Department of Education to implement mandated provisions for children diaganosed with Autism, and along the way helped so many children by addressing IDEA. In fact, she was one of the early leaders, who held the school system accountable for the delivery of services.
Betty Heffington was the ultimate good citizen, and was so very engaged in civic issues, from municipal government to the school system.
I simply wished to add to the many dimensions of Betty Heffington, who always gave of herself, and left people with a piece of her courage and hope.