Dunaway has done many good things for the community

Published 1:32 pm Thursday, August 6, 2020

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To The Editor:

I am writing this letter in defense of Charlotte County School Board member Teresa Dunaway, whose Facebook post last week garnered county-wide condemnation for being “racist.” I have known this woman for my entire adult life, and I can attest to the fact that there is nothing racist or hateful about her. I think anyone who has ever met her would agree with this statement.

I know of no one in this county who has done more in her school board position or taken an elected job more seriously. Teresa has done everything from dressing in the “Cat in the Hat” character and reading to elementary children at schools throughout the county to attending every athletic and civic event in those schools. She was instrumental in reinstating the winter dance to Central Middle School and Randolph-Henry High School.

Teresa has spent her entire adult life raising and caring for children. She has been a babysitter for several generations of children and they are treated like her own. She is widely known for her passion for children and animals, and will not tolerate abuse or mistreatment of either. When Teresa’s grandchild’s mother was killed suddenly when the child was but a toddler, Teresa and her husband raised her, and she still resides with them today.

When the Wylliesburg ball field needed lights, Teresa Dunaway was the first one to step up and start the fundraising, organizing events to pay for the updates. She did it for all children. She also helped raise money to have lights installed at the helipad at Bacon District Volunteer Fire Department.

For years Teresa has helped organize hunts and other events for cancer patients. For the last two years she has organized an annual beauty pageant to benefit Barksdale Cancer Foundation. These events have netted $13,000 for cancer patients in Charlotte County, all patients, whomever needs help in their cancer battles.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic struck in March, Teresa and her family have been making masks – over 1,500 of them – for not only friends and neighbors but for hospitals and doctor’s offices all over the country – masks for all people. The only renumeration she would allow was donations to one of her favorite charities – Barksdale Cancer Foundation.

We have all said or done things that we later regretted. I can tell you that Teresa simply misspoke when she wrote the hologram post. I think what she felt but did not relay in the best way, was the injustice of all the poor children – some mere babies – who have been killed in the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy. I believe her anger comes from the fact that no holograms or celebrations are memorializing their tragically short lives.

I implore the citizens of this county, do not “throw the baby out with the bath water,” so to speak, because of a post made with innocent passion. Teresa may not be perfect, but she is a heckuva loving, caring and compassionate person. She makes it a point to help people in need in whatever way she can and she does not deserve to be crucified for an innocuous text that has been blown out of all proportion.

Wendy S. Lankford

Red Oak