CISCO, Texas (KTAB) – The first of four finalists for KTAB’s ‘Remarkable Women’ contest is the unstoppably positive Mildred Tankersley of Cisco, an 81-year-old former teacher that despite retiring 20 years ago has never stopped serving her community.
Tankersley has many names, answering to Ms. Tank, Mama Tank but even less common ‘Mildred.’
Along with having many names, Tankersley also has many people that she serves. She delivers Meals on Wheels on a weekly basis, volunteer teaches at a private school in Cisco twice and month, and organizes a bi-annual Bingo Day which provides a fun outing and meal for locals and retirement-home residents.
Upon those duties Mama Tank is also a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother; however, she’s also cared for a lot more children than just her biological kids.
“At one time I had 44 kids on my own. 22 in the morning 22 in the afternoon,” said Tankersley.
Tankersley was a Pre-K teacher for about 36 years, spending her final decade at Cisco ISD. She says she’s proud to have had such a long career in a field that’s not for the faint of heart.
“You’ve either got to love it or get out,” Tankersley laughs. “It’s a lot of hard work.”
Tankersley retired from teaching in 2000 but remains close to educators past and present which is how current Cisco Mayor Tammy Douglas came to know Mama Tank.
“I can’t even keep up with her. She’s always busy and on the go,” said Mayor Douglas.
Mayor Douglas says it’s Tankersley heart that impacts the community around her, delving out love to every person she meets.
“Teaching is a process of giving your time and yourself to little ones and sometimes they just need someone to give them that special attention. She was always that person,” said Mayor Douglas.
While if you ask Mama Tank if she thinks she’s special she’ll tell you not really. However, knowing that her community thinks so highly of her is almost enough to make the caring woman cry.
“I don’t consider myself a remarkable woman I just love people,” said Tankersley with appreciative tears glimmering in the corners of her eyes.