Nurse Pam retiring from VES

Pam Gerdes is known in the Pelham Community as Valley Elementary School’s Nurse Pam.

Gerdes has been on the job since 1979 but a retirement celebration honoring Gerdes was held at Valley Elementary School May 17.

With three kids going through Valley Elementary, I’ve had a few calls from Gerdes through the years.

One call dealt with a case of schoolitis contracted by one of my kids. Nurse Pam’s report?

“No fever, teary eyes, general overall body aches and wants mom — badly! I say back to class. What do you say,” Gerdes asked.

Gerdes assured me this stage would pass. Since three Gerdes children had gone through PHS as students, I also knew Gerdes as a parent.

Gerdes shared that her son, Billy, had suffered through a bout of tearful kindergarten schoolitis. Billy had been my student — active in SGA and sports, he’d never shed a tear in my classroom.

Our no-nonsense care provider knew when to dish out the tender loving care as well. Brenda Adams shared a scary incident from daughter Lindsey’s first grade experience on the VES playground. Adams said, “When Lindsey went down the slide, her hood caught at the top and she was hanging down the slide being choked by the strings of the hood that were tied together. A teacher had to climb up the slide to hold Lindsey so that another teacher could reach her from the top.”

This frightened little girl was immediately taken to Gerdes, who iced Lindsey’s neck and called her mom.

“Nurse Pam was wonderful to Lindsey that day. Lindsey has always remembered Nurse Pam as the nurse who saved her life,” Adams said.

Shelby County Schools head nurse, Jan Cibulski, said, “In 1998, the legislature passed the first Alabama School Nurse Law, which mandated nurses in Alabama schools. Pam was definitely a pioneer school nurse and she will be missed by all the students and staff she has served over these 30 years!”

Gerdes’ children are excited about her retirement. Daughters Tracey and Amy, along with her son, Billy, know how hard she’s worked. They are looking forward to spending more time with their mom. Of course, they will have to share time with the six grandchildren they’ve given her.

Brenda Adams said, “Nurse Pam has saved more children than we will ever know. She is a wonderful, caring person who will be greatly missed.”

Connie Nolen can be reached by e–mail at CNolen@Shelbyed.k12.al.us.