WASHINGTON, Okla. (KFOR) – It’s the first stop on your way in the door; a devoted school secretary is this week’s Pay It 4ward winner.

She’s a warm hello on the end of the line.

“You know the school secretary runs everything, everywhere,” laughed Debra Vaughn.

Cindy Marrero has been a fixture at Washington Public Schools for a quarter century.

“She has got the biggest heart of anyone. She can get a band-aid. She can get an ice pack. She can have something for them to throw up in, in a minute. She’s awesome!” said coworker, Denise Roberson. “She’s got a servant’s heart. She is amazing, and if anyone deserves this, it’s her.”

She is a graduate of Washington High School, the Class of 1977.

She was hired as a teacher’s aid at the elementary school 25 years ago.

Cindy was promoted to school secretary 13 years ago.

“She’s there to heal the kids when they come in with their boo boos, and all that other good stuff,” said district superintendent Chris Reynolds.

She raised her family in Washington Public Schools.

Cindy has had a hard year this year.

Her dear mother died in February, and then her husband died unexpectedly last month.

“This is an opportunity for us to pay back all the good stuff that she does,” Vaughn said.

She nominated Cindy for the News 4 Pay It 4ward Award.

“We are always happy to support people who work in education and support kids,” said First Fidelity Bank’s Caitlin Melgar. “Cindy’s story was very touching; and then when we heard about her husband passing away, we knew we had to pay it forward and gift her with $400.”

The Washington Elementary blacktop is where all the things happen.

On the day before Fall Break, News 4 and First Fidelity Bank joined with the Washington Warriors to surprise Marrero with a Pay It 4ward award.

“This is so amazing,” said Marrero’s daughter, Jaci Simon. “This community is everything.”

We invited Cindy’s grown kids and her dad to share in this moment.

“This is home. What a great home to be part of,” Simon said.

Cindy thinks she came out to the blacktop to join a morning assembly.

Instead, she was shocked to find that she was the reason for the gathering.

“It’s amazing to see she has so many friends and to know that she has that many people who care for her,” said Cindy’s dad, Ken Maynard.

Cindy Marrero told News 4, the kids are her favorite thing about her job as school secretary.

“These teachers and administrators are the best people in the world,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for better people to work with. They’ve taken care of me through the things I’ve gone through this year. They’re the best.”

As they say in Washington, it’s always a great day to be a warrior.

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