OKLAHOMA CITY - There's a lot to be distracted by at Putnam City North's new athletic facility, especially if you're a kid. But despite the bright lights and fancy new place, the athletes here don't let that skew their view of what matters most even if it often goes unnoticed or underappreciated.
"Miss Jackie has been with us for three years. She's had a heart condition. She's always coming to work just happy and peppy and feisty. She's always taking care of us out here in the athletic facility, and we're her family out here. She refers to us as her guys,” Head Coach Ryan Laverty said.
Miss Jackie keeps this place going.
"All of the custodial duties, with the new stadium we've just added she's in charge of it,” Laverty said. "She comes up with little concoctions about spiders. She hates spiders. She mixes peppermint oil and water. She's just got a few little tricks of the trade. Just an awesome person and we love her to death."
And the “guys” make she knows it, too.
"Some of our boys have written letters, anonymous thank you notes for taking care of us,” Laverty said. "She goes above and beyond what her job duties are. She takes extra special care of our guys, and just makes sure everything is clean to prevent any staph or grossness that you might see."
"And for 106 football players, that’s a lot of work," News 4's Joleen Chaney replied.
"Absolutely. And she has to put up with the stink, but she does it with a smile and has a great time with us," Laverty said.
All despite her medical condition.
That's why Coach Laverty nominated Miss Jackie for Pay It Forward.
"It sounds like Miss Jackie is a wonderful, great person. It is awesome that you nominated her. So on behalf of First Fidelity Bank, it is my pleasure to present you with $400 to pay it forward,” Nova Kay with First Fidelity Bank said.
With the money in hand, we sneak out of Coach Laverty's office and down the hall to where hundreds of student-athletes are all waiting to surprise Miss Jackie.
"Miss Jackie on behalf of First Fidelity Bank and Pay It Forward, we would like to present you with $400," Laverty told Miss Jackie.
But you really can't put a price on this kind of respect.
"They have the utmost respect for what I do,” Miss Jackie said. “They are about me as a person. They've just been so good to me. I love this school."
And they love her.
Remember those letters coach said some of the players wrote for Miss Jackie?
"It's just a letter of special needs that a young man wrote and said thank you for all that I do and the custodial staff does, and it just meant a lot to me. So I kept it. It helps me when I get stressed, and his sincerity meant a lot to me,” Miss Jackie said.
A true lesson of respect, that may we all pay forward.
'Pay It 4Ward' is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.