Mary Beth Sallee
Reporter, Hart Co. News-Herald
“Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” Proverbs 31:10
Proverbs 31 describes a virtuous woman as being someone of noble character, someone who walks by faith, honors integrity, cares deeply for her family, and puts the needs of others before herself.
Jan Waggoner’s strong work ethic, compassion for others, and humble spirit would certainly classify her as such.
As a Hart County native and longtime resident, Jan dedicated nearly five decades of her time to a former local business, Hollander (Louisville Bedding). In 2019, she retired after having worked there for a little over 49 years.
Her work has continued on at her church, Morning Star Baptist Church, where she teaches a primary class.
“We read stories to them (the children) and try to get them prepared for life,” Jan said. “…We teach them about conduct and how to treat other people.”
Jan also serves as President of her church’s missionary organization.
“We hold monthly meetings with topics…At Bunche Center (in Glasgow), we feed and give food boxes away at Thanksgiving and Christmas,” Jan said. “…Our church is small, so we just group with other churches to make sure people are fed and reach out to people.”
Not only does Jan care for the spiritual need of others, but she also cares for the physical needs as well.
About five years ago, Jan’s sister, Kaye Faulkner, suffered a stroke. Jan became her sister’s caregiver.
“My heart goes out to any caregiver trying to take care of they’re family,” Jan said. “A lot will put you in nursing homes and stuff like that…But you (got to) try to give them quality of life…Nursing wasn’t my field, but whatever God tells us to do, we got to try it.”
Jan is also known for the joy and laughter she brings to others. She explained that as one of nine children, her family grew up poor, so her dad would tell her and her siblings “big, tall stories” to keep them entertained.
“Of course, these kids now coming up, they have everything. See, we (my family) didn’t have. So, we had to be happy,” Jan said. “…God has blessed us. My dad was happy. I just think if you can put a smile on somebody’s face, say good morning, or cheer them on…You can’t just be sitting around frowning all the time.”
“I love making people happy and smile,” Jan continued. “I think when you get up every morning and can get one foot in front of the other, whether you’re young or old, you be happy and you oughtta say, ‘Thank you, Jesus.’ Because it could be a lot worse.”
Because of her dedication to the service of others, whether it be through her church, her family, or the community, Jan Waggoner has been chosen as Hometown Hero for the month of May.
Jan was nominated by her grandson, Asa Waggoner.
“My nomination for Hometown Hero is my grandmother, Jan Waggoner,” Asa wrote. “She’s a dedicated worker and worked at Louisville Bedding/Hollander Sleep Products for almost 50 years. She’s a strong, active Christian, and no matter who she talks to, she can make them laugh.”
Jan’s two daughters, Coni Waggoner and Reneau Waggoner, spoke of their mother’s sacrifice to always do for others.
“My sister and I are first generation college students, and she always pushed us to go further than she did,” Coni said of Jan. “She sacrificed 50 years at the factory. She sacrificed her time when I got pregnant with Asa while still in college. She’s currently sacrificing her retirement to take care of her sister, Kaye. While most retirees would be traveling and enjoying hobbies with their free time, she’s spent the last five years sacrificing all that for her sister. A truly selfless act!”
“She’s the most caring, loving, and giving person I know, and when I grow up, I want to be just like her,” Reneau added. “I am who I am because of her example.”
For Coni, she said that her mother has been a wonder example not only for her and her sister, but for Coni’s son, Asa, as well. Jan proves what it means to live a life of value.
“She’s taught all three of us to keep God first in everything, to do your best, and to have a thick skin, that everyone won’t like you, and that we can do whatever it is that we dream we want to do,” Coni said. “She encourages us to have patience because whatever we do want or dream will not just fall in our laps.”
Coni also shared that Jan is certainly someone who is an encourager, always bringing a smile to their faces.
“Mom is that person that we call when we need a good laugh,” Coni said. “Or if we have had a hard day at work, she’s there to listen to us vent or share her experience and how she handled it. We truly wouldn’t be where we are now without her! She’s our biggest cheerleader.”
Jan said she was shocked to be named a Hometown Hero, stating that “…so many people out there are more deserving.”
“But if somebody thought enough of me to want me to be the Hometown Hero, I am blessed,” Jan added. “I’m pleased, and I’m happy. I read everybody’s (Hometown Hero story) because to me everybody’s a Hometown Hero. But I’m blessed, and I thank God that I’m still here…I think it’s an honor, and I’m proud to be a Hart Countian.”
On behalf of Jobe Publshing, Inc., the Hart County News-Herald is proud to have Jan Waggoner as a Hometown Hero.
As in Proverbs 31:31: “Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.”