Deep in the heart of rural Georgia, a forty year old woman is about to graduate college. That’s truly an amazing accomplishment at any age. But if you peal back the layers of Sweet Vidalia, you’ll learn this is no ordinary woman.
Born on a farm to alcoholic parents, Vidalia was raised in a tumultuous environment. At the age of fifteen, the courts granted her petition to become an emancipated minor. She worked several jobs and rented a home from the parents of a friend.
Vidalia stayed in school and despite her very challenging life, she managed to graduate at the top of her class, earning her an academic scholarship to a major university. Life was really turning around for her.
Two weeks before she was to leave for college, her parents died in an alcohol caused car crash, leaving her younger brother and sister orphaned. Vidalia rode the bus to the college she was to attend and explained what happened. She told them she wanted to attend college more than anything but she could not leave them.
Vidalia once again went to court, this time on behalf of her siblings. And despite overwhelming odds, because she was so self-reliant, This now eighteen year old was granted custody of her two younger siblings.
Working tirelessly, Vidalia not only cared for them, she saved everything she could and sent both of them to college. Her brother is a computer programmer and her sister is in her residency as a physician.
Vidalia unselfishly gave up her plans, her hopes and dreams to provide a home for children. She did not stop until they graduated college. Once that happened, they insisted she go back to get her own degree. So she did.
In Sweet Vidalia fashion, she continued to work several jobs and took courses online. She’s finally completed all the requirements to matriculate and will graduate Magna Cum Laude. With degree in Social Work in hand, she intends to open a home for troubled children. It’s the same home she eventually bought from the parents of a friend when she left home. The same place that provided a roof over her orphaned siblings.
I am honored to have met such an amazing woman. Had she not told me her story, I would never have known. She so completely recovered, and excelled in life, despite a very rough start.
Sweet Vidalia is an example of the many layers we all possess. Sometimes the surface looks rough, dirty. Other times it shines but it’s always what’s underneath that tastes the sweetest.
Thank you, Vidalia, for your unselfish sacrifice to save two lives. May God grant you the wisdom to continue to carry the torch and fight the good fight. Because of you, the heartbeat of America is alive and well.