BATESVILLE, AR (KAIT) - Jackie Hoggard is a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother but it is her role as "Granny" for kindergartners at Southside Elementary in Batesville that has found a special place in her heart.
"It's like a breath of springtime in the wintertime for me," Jackie Hoggard said. "I love it. I just love my kids!"
Hoggard is a foster grandparent for the White River Area Agency on Aging.
"She's fun!" exclaimed Cayden Stiles, a Southside Elementary kindergartner said.
"She likes to tie our shoes," Bintley Wade, another kindergartner said.
"She always wants to know what the children need," Angie Gay, Southside Kindergarten teacher said. "Whatever they don't have then she'll bring it to them the next morning."
"I just want them to know that someone loves them and hugs them. It kind of fills the gap that I didn't have when I was raising my girls," Hoggard said.
A single parent, Hoggard said she struggled to take care of her four girls.
"Sometimes it's been tough," she said. "But never bad."
Yet Hoggard never forgot how it felt to give up precious time with her own children to put food on the table.
"I never got to spend the time with my children that I wanted to because I had to work," she said.
"It's not necessarily what she does—as how she does it," said Steve Morris, pastor of Southside Assembly of God. He said Hoggard has quite a reputation at church and school. "One of which is chocolate pies."
"What's your secret with these pies?" I asked Hoggard. "Well, I really don't know. I don't eat them."
A diabetic and two-time heart attack victim, Hoggard understands she's not guaranteed tomorrow.
"What I tell my children, is it is okay if someday I don't come back from the hospital," she said. "I know where I'm going to be. My heavenly Father is going to take care of me, and I believe that with all my heart."
First Community Bank and KAIT presented Hoggard with $408 in cash and a big check to keep as a memento. A big check for the volunteer who is all heart.
Another private donor has promised to give two hundred dollars to Jackie Hoggard's charity of choice, the Battered Women's Shelter in Batesville.
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