Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke honored the Tennessee Mother of the Year and Young Mother of the Year, both from Chattanooga, on Wednesday.
Gerre Schwert grew up in rural Oklahoma, graduating from Oklahoma State University. After marriage, she taught elementary grades in Oklahoma City Public Schools. She and her husband raised four children in Bartlesville, Ok., here she was active as a community, school and church volunteer. Following a divorce, she returned to university while working part time. She subsequently received a master's of social work degree from the University of Oklahoma, and clinical licensure as an LCSW (Licensed Clinical Social Worker) two years later.
She discovered her passion in working with cancer patients and their families at Yale-New Haven Hospital in Connecticut and at Memorial Hospital's Cancer Center in Chattanooga. Through a process of study with the Center For Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC, Ms. Schwert became certified as a mind-body therapist in 2006. She continues to facilitate Mind-Body Skills Groups and to teach journaling workshops. She and her husband have 10 grandchildren who are the delights of their lives.
Tama Ledford is not only a mother, but a teacher, wife and mother. She graduated from Northwest High School in Whitfield County. Five years later she graduated from Kennesaw State University with a degree in Early Childhood education. She took her degree back to her home city of Tunnel Hill, where she became a Kindergarten teacher at New Hope Elementary. This is her 13th year in her school.
Ten years ago she married Hayes Ledford and moved to Chattanooga. Tama and Hayes wanted to be parents, and eight years ago they suffered a miscarriage, but two months later was blessed with a new pregnancy, who is Sydney. After three and half years of being a mother, they had Charlotte. Tama says she is one of the luckiest women alive, to be so blessed with two of the sweetest girls in the world.