sThe Patrick Springs Ruritans presented their annual Mother of the Year Award to Maxine Belton Simmons in a Mothers’ Day ceremony May 12.
The award was presented by Kevin Reynolds, chairman of the club’s Citizenship and Patriotism Committee.
Kenneth Reynolds, club president, called for the announcement of the person chosen for the award by a secret selection committee.
A prepared biography was read and a plaque and bouquet of flowers were presented to Maxine as the club members stood in appreciation.
Preston Martin sang and played a beautiful collection of Merle Haggard songs.
The president said the committee had completed its work well. “We are so blessed to have Maxine as our Mother of the Year,” he said.
According to the biography,” Maxine was born the middle child of six. She and her family lived on a small farm in Stuart where there was an endless array of hard work. During her young years she learned to cook and clean from her mother.
“For years, she and her family would walk for miles to the store on a weekly basis. Although it was a long walk, no one seemed to mind.
“At an early age Maxine had the gift of caring for others. Once when she was a young girl her father cut his hand on an ax. Her mother could not stand the sight of blood and almost fainted. Luckily for her father, Maxine came to his rescue and bandaged his hand. From that point on, if there was an injury around the house she was the one to call on.
“She attended Stuart High School and shortly thereafter married her husband, Hassell Simmons. Looking for work led the couple to Richlands, Virginia. There her husband worked in the coal mines and she found herself in the most important role of her life, motherhood.
“Again hard work was commonplace as she carried water from the creek to wash clothes and cook three meals a day for a growing family. Many times she cooked and cleaned for other families.
“Several years later the family moved back to Patrick County to help her aging parents. She also took a job at a restaurant in Stuart called Pop’s. There, according to some, Maxine fixed some of the best hot dogs in town.
“Continuing to feel the call to care for others, she became a Certified Nursing Student (CNS). She worked for R.J. Reynolds Hospital for over 20 years where she enjoyed caring for patients and working with her co-workers.
“During her time at R.J. Reynolds she had her fifth and last child. She continued to work full time, while helping take care of her parents and her children.
“All her life Maxine has helped her family and others in many ways. While in her 70s she made weekly trips to Martinsville to drive several members of her church for chemotherapy treatments…waiting patiently for hours until they were finished and making sure they were comfortable when she took them home.
“Numerous people in the church and community have enjoyed one of her delicious cakes that she makes for those who are not feeling well.
“Now in her 80s, Maxine still volunteers two to three times a week at the Patrick Springs Holiness Church food giveaway.
“If we had to describe this Mother of the Year, the words caring and unselfish come to mind.
“She is loved by all her family which includes seven grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
“We present to you the 2016 Mother of the Year, Maxine Simmons.”