OKEECHOBEE — Sherry Kindell-Pollard does not consider herself inspiring, but then most inspiring people do not see in themselves what others see. She was born and raised in Okeechobee, had a mom, dad, dog and a brother and led a charmed life growing up, she said. “My parents were amazing. They taught us family and faith.” She had a great upbringing and was brought up in church, but, when she was a teenager, she made some rotten choices, she said, and ended up having her son Logan out of wedlock.
Logan was born with spina bifida and she was told he would never walk, talk or crawl, but today he is married and is the father of a wonderful little boy. “I just knew my God was bigger and better and that he would not punish my son for something I had done,” she said.
Through that, even though it seems like a horrible thing to happen, her faith was changed. She had kind of thought the Lord was done with her, she said. She knew he had forgiven her, but she just felt like he was done with her. She still knew she needed to teach her son about God, though, she said. Her parents had done it for her, and she wanted to do the same for her own son. When she began going back to church and teaching her son about God, she realized He wasn’t through with her after all. “That’s been a whole process, and it’s still going on,” she said. She raised her son here. He graduated from high school and then IRSC and then went off to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa.
Ms. Kindell-Pollard started a childcare center in her home just like her mom had done before her. Their whole family is child-oriented, she explained. Her sister-in-law is a pediatric dentist, and her brother is a PE teacher at Okeechobee Christian Academy. Her son works at Okeechobee Achievement Academy and is employee of the year this year.
Prior to opening the daycare in her home, she dispatched at the sheriff’s office, but she said, those hours are not conducive to being a single mom with a little one. Many women do it, but it is hard, and she did not want to be away from him for so many hours, she said. So, she opened the childcare center and did that for 17 years.
In the interim, she met her husband, and they have been married 23 years now, but he became very ill, and she had to stop doing daycare, because she said you just can’t have 10 kiddoes around while someone is recuperating. So, she went back to work as a dispatcher, because it was something she knew she could do, and she always loved it.
As her husband’s illness progressed, he ended up having to move to a nursing facility, because she would come home, and he would have fallen and would be stuck lying wherever he fell until she got home, and they decided it would be safer for him to have round-the-clock care. “No one should be unsafe like that,” she said. “I couldn’t not work.” Now, he is safe where he is, and it is a beautiful place with caring staff, she explained.
So, she needed to get another job to help pay for expenses, and the other thing she knows how to do is care for children and tell them about Jesus, she said. Now, she teaches preschool at Peace Lutheran from 7 a.m. until noon and then dispatches from 2 p.m. until 2 a.m. “I’m thankful that I have two jobs I enjoy. Yes, I have two jobs, but it is two things I love, and He has given me my health. He has been so faithful,” she said.
In her abundance of spare time, she still makes time for church and Toys for Tots, and she is helping out with the gala for Peace Lutheran this year. “It’s going to be great,” she said. “Get your tickets for Christmas. It’s going to be an ’80s theme, and it will be so much fun.” She also did the leadership class with the Chamber of Commerce of Okeechobee and said it taught her so much about how the community works together as a whole. “It gives you more of an ownership of the community,” she said.
One of the things her parents taught her was no matter where she was or what she was doing she should try to be helpful, and she has always tried to do that, she said. “Make it better than when you walked in.” She doesn’t feel she has done anything great or wonderful with her life, but she tries to do her best everywhere she goes.