She finally did it. After 21 1/2 years, Laura, retired from her position as nurse at Benton Elementary School in Marshall, Missouri. She truly has loved her years at Benton. She loved working with the students and her co-workers. The kids have greater needs than just bandages for skinned knees and cans or buckets to vomit in. They need love, and she was always filled with enough love to go around. She was also, from what I hear, a great listener when her co-workers needed an ear, or maybe just a shoulder to lean on — or even cry on. And she was good for a prayer if one was needed or called for. She told me recently that when she was hired as the school nurse in the middle of the school year over 20 years ago, she had no idea she would keep the position for so long. Or that she would love it so much. All of our kids were in school at the time, and it made perfect sense for her to be working in that position. When school was in session, she was there. When school was out, she could be home with the kids. And it worked out great! However, our last child graduated from the Marshall School District in 2010. So the last 10 years have been just Laura loving what she did — taking care of kids and co-workers, loving those same kids and co-workers, and just being there for everybody. Everybody knows the 2019-2020 school year didn’t finish the way we expected, due to the COVID-19 fiasco. However, Laura did get the chance to go back to her building to prepare files for the incoming nurse, to get records ready to transfer with students heading to other buildings next year, to check temperatures of those teachers and co-workers coming back in to clear out their rooms, and to call parents to come to the school and pick up things that were left behind when the school closed unexpectedly. All of those retiring in the school district usually are treated to a banquet and a special evening of recognition. That didn’t happen this year. There were three special people retiring from Benton Elementary this year: Principal Paige Clouse, second-grade teacher Julie Miller, and Laura. And they were treated to a special outpouring of love, honor and respect from their peers, even some who worked with them for several before retiring themselves. All three retirees were given a parade past their homes on Thursday evening. Tears flowed, gifts were dropped off, and emotions ran high. One of the many thoughtful gifts Laura received — a special tumbler — was engraved with the following: “Mrs. Laura Stewart … Benton School Nurse … There will always be a nurse who does more than required & cares more than they’re supposed to.” That’s Laura in a nutshell: always doing more than required, and caring more than anyone expects. I know it’s very bittersweet for you right now, but I just want to say “Happy retirement, Laura.” You deserve all of the honor, respect and accolades you have received.