“She’s almost like a, like a second mom,” Special needs school custodian honors school administrator

Pay It 4ward
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AMBER, Okla. - Tommy Hensley is incredibly proud of Amber-Pocasset Junior High and High School, where he graduated 20 years earlier, and has worked as a custodian ever since.

"We're getting a brand new high school and I like to watch the big track hoe move," Tommy told News 4.  "Here's a picture of me on that track hoe that you see outside," Tommy said, holding up a photo that school administrator Marla Tharp had framed for him.

Low oxygen at birth caused Tommy to have lifelong seizures, and sometimes his medicine doesn't stop them all.

But Marla is always there to help Tommy when a seizure strikes.

"She's almost like a, like a second mom," Tommy said.

Marla also helps Tommy balance his bank account and pay his bills.

"I don't drive so I have to have, sometimes she'll go get groceries and stuff like that for me, and she makes sure the doctor appointments are where they need to be and whatever," Tommy said.

Tommy has one wish and he wrote about it in a heartfelt letter to News 4...

"She always stayed until the seizure blew over or passed and I was alright."

Tommy's wish is that Marla receives a $400 Pay It 4ward award.

"She's a real good person, she helps me out on a lot of things," Tommy said.

And now Tommy gets to return the favor and surprise Marla, thanks to First Fidelity Bank's Linda Maynard.

"Marla, what you have done for Tommy is just amazing. On behalf of First Fidelity Bank, I'm thrilled to present you with this $400 to pay it forward, thank you," Linda said.

Tommy wanted Marla to be honored in front of the students, so school officials brought her into the cafeteria during lunch hour.

With a shocked look on her face, Tommy handed Marla the money and said, "On behalf of Pay It 4Ward and [First] Fidelity Bank, I'd like to present you $400 for all the help you do for me, and for getting it all ready for medical and all that stuff, and when you was there when I went down on my seizures and stuff."

Marla said, "Thank you, Tommy, I appreciate it," as she gave him a hug while the students applauded.

"He's a very special person to me, and I'd do anything for him. He'd probably do anything for me, so it's not just a one-way street," Marla said.

"I kinda take care of her and she kinda takes care of me," Tommy smiled.

Pay It Forward is sponsored by First Fidelity Bank.


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