Hickory, Miss. In Newscenter 11's "Eleven Who Care, we honor a Newton County woman who has given most of her time and her energy for decades to helping her town, church, school and friends. So much so, that many of those she's given to over the years came back to hickory recently to honor her on her 90th birthday. Olive Meaders has taught many of us in this area a thing or two about serving others with a cheerful heart.
As Olive Meaders celebrates her 90th year, her friends and family are remembering the decades that she tirelessly gave of herself. Her big heart kept her busy wherever there was need, says friend Jo Veenstra, "She was the head leadership in every capacity that there was. We depended upon her here in the town, the Chamber of Commerce, the parades, all of the other organizations in town. She was a leader. She was the heart of our city."
Ruby Kennedy was friends with Olive growing up in Hickory, and came to honor her lifelong friend. "Oh, listen. She's just a helper to everybody, always has been and guess she always will be. She never saw anybody's faults."
Heather Garrison spent her childhood in Hickory, next door to "Miss Olive". She says she considers herself one of the many lucky ones to receive many beautifully written cards over the years:
"It was always a joy to go to her house, and she would always give you some little gift, and she would send you cards in the mail, that had the prettiest handwriting," said Garrison. "Her handwriting is so beautiful to me. And I just remember growing up getting those cards, and how wonderful and special it was!"
Longtime residents remember her column "Hickory Happenings", or when the town park was named after her. She even painted the town sign. Meaders has slowed down in recent years and though her voice is weak, her joy is evident in seeing those who mean so much to her:
"Thanks to God. I prayed every night, let me be there, please let me be there," Olive told us.
The mother of seven is blessed with fourteen grandchildren, great grand children and great great grandchildren. She's been there for many, for a long long time.