A Georgia teacher loved students so much she wanted to continue to serve them — even after her death.
Tammy Waddell, an elementary school teacher for three decades in Forsyth County, Georgia, died on June 9 after a battle with cancer, according to WRAL. The 58-year-old asked for people to bring backpacks filled with school supplies instead of the usual gift of flowers.
Her cousin Brad Johnson shared an image of backpacks at the funeral, which was held a few days after her death.
Nearly 100 other teachers who worked with Waddell served as honorary pallbearers, carrying backpacks out of the chapel and back to students at their school following the service.
One of the photos shows church pews lined with dozens of backpacks, donated by friends, colleagues and loved ones honoring her wish.
“That day we received roughly about 130 backpacks filled with school supplies — anything a student would need for at least half of the school year — and they continue to come in,” Paul Holbrook, a spokesman for the funeral home said.
Waddell, 58, had previously beat colon cancer, but last August she was diagnosed again. This time, doctors said she didn’t have long to live.
So after 25 years as an elementary school teacher for Forsyth County, she retired from the district.
However, even in death she continues to serve.
Since sharing the photos, Johnson said he was contacted by Tes Resources, a nonprofit organization that helps teachers around the world.
The nonprofit decided to honor Waddell with a donation of thousands of school supplies for Forsyth County students, Johnson said.