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106 candles for Louise Jackson

By Kay S. Pedrotti Louise Lovejoy Jackson’s family has been joined by another group of people who love her — the staff at Heritage Inn of Barnesville. ’It’s an honor to be able to work with the oldest person here,’ says Jana Whatley, an LPN who is with Mrs. Jackson almost daily A resident for about a year, Mrs. Jackson is described by several other staff members as sweet, patient and fond of the facility’s two pets, Molly the dog and Gracie the cat. Whatley said, ‘she really livens up’ when she sees the puppy and kitten. ’Mrs. Jackson is quiet most of the time,’ said Kim Jones, activities director, ‘but when she talks she has something to say. She brightens up when she sees the animals, talks to them, pets them — you can tell she loves animals.’ Jackson’s 106th birthday was celebrated at Heritage Inn on the actual day, Sept. 19. Born in 1906, Mrs. Jackson was a 1927 graduate of Agnes Scott College. A special guest at her birthday celebration was Elizabeth Kiss, current president of the college. Other Agnes Scott graduates who attended included Rebecca Smith Graham, 1943, and Ellen Granum, 1962. All three of Mrs. Jackson’s children were present: Dr. Holland Jackson Jr. and Nancy Thomas of Barnesville and Billy Jackson of Atlanta. ‘The youngest Louise’ in the family, Mrs. Jackson’s greatgrandchild Grace Louise Graham, gave the honoree a colorful stuffed bear who sings ‘Happy Birthday.’ It took very little time for Mrs. Jackson to figure out how to make it sing and she kept it beside her throughout the party. Graham and other attendees described Mrs. Jackson as a mentor and a true inspiration as they were growing up in Barnesville as part of her Girl Scout troop. Mrs. Jackson received a certificate as a Distinguished Georgia Centenarian from the state Department of Human Services. The document came with a pin that read ‘100 Plus.’ Local 4-H children wished her well as they entered and left the facility to help with the weekly bingo game but Mrs. Jackson didn’t get to play. She was busy celebrating with her two families and a host of friends. Without exception, staffers at Heritage Inn of Barnesville say their new therapists — a gray kitten and a black-andwhite puppy — are making a difference in the lives of patients. Kimberley Jones, activities director, said Gracie the cat and Molly the dog are, ‘rescued animals put out to starve near the homes of employees on the same week.’ They were brought to the facility and an overwhelming majority of the staff wanted to keep them to cheer up the patients, she said. The adoptees were checked and immunized by a local veterinarian. ’They’ve gone from literally nothing to having an abundance of love and all the care and food they could want,’ Jones added. ‘When we’ve seen how the patients react to them we know we made the right decision.’ The animals have a special area and many people to fight over who walks Molly. Jones said the names were chosen by residents in a draw-fromthe- hat contest. Gracie mostly moves around on her own, sometimes checking on a staff member’s desk work and at other times chasing hapless crickets that find their way into the lobby. ’They’re both so lively and friendly,’ Jones said. ’We all love them. They make a difference for the patients we care about, too.’

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