Helping others has always been rewarding work for one local woman who loves people – “It’s about others. It’s not just about you.”
Ella Pettiford’s passion to serve others and to be a good Samaritan sparked at a very young age when a childhood friend had a seizure on their way to school. She recalled her elementary school days when this person she grew up with, who had a medical condition that would cause her to have seizures, had an episode.
“I just felt compelled to stay right there with her through that seizure,” she said. “When it was over, I would help her to gather her books and her things. We would dust them off and walk on together. The good Lord just planted that in me even then. I’ve just always tried to reach out and just be there.”
Pettiford said it would bother her that the other children laughed. Her late mother stressed to her how to treat others, one of many lessons, for which she’s very grateful for.
“She said always be careful how you treat people, because you never know who’s going to have to just hand you a glass of water before you leave here,” she said. “Very early, these kinds of things are what she would say and instill in me.”
Born and raised in Tifton, Pettiford graduated from Wilson High School in 1969. She said there may have been some struggles during her high school years, but the teachers were very caring and she developed good friendships with her classmates. She serves on the Class of 1969 Scholarship Committee, which meets monthly and is active in doing service projects and worshipping together at different members’ churches.
Pettiford is also very active in the community organization PLIGHT (Proud, Loving Individuals Giving a Hand to Teens). She’s the immediate past president.