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Unexpected friendship grows from mentoring program

A former mentoring program helped a friendship blossom. Pictured are LeeAnn Tedrow, left, Lee Peart and Jane Anderson.

Ellen Pill

"I just wanted to do something for Jane," said LeeAnn Tedrow, who was in a mentoring program through the Wayne County Career Center when she was paired with Jane Anderson. "I'm so thankful for her friendship."
That relationship began 18 years ago. While the program no longer exists, a friendship lives on.
The mentoring relationship quickly morphed into a friendship as the two women discovered how much they enjoyed and appreciated each other's company.
"She was my rock," Tedrow said of Anderson. "Jane has always been my rock. Going back to school was hard, and I needed somebody, and it was Jane."
"We just got along, and it was rewarding for both of us," Anderson said. "We didn't live far from each other."
Tedrow needed a way to gain new career skills after the factory where she had worked for years shut down. Having attended the career center her junior and senior years of high school, it seemed like a good fit.
Enter Lee Peart. At the time Peart was the career services coordinator. One of the aspects of Peart's position was to discuss results of career evaluations with students.
"It was funny," Peart said. "You felt like a fortuneteller."
The findings of Tedrow's evaluations pointed in the direction of choosing a career as a state-tested nursing assistant.
The advice made sense to Tedrow, who enjoys helping and loves to talk with people. She has now worked in the same nursing home for the past 14 years and has been chosen as Employee of the Month by both residents and administration.
When the mentoring program came up, however, Tedrow wasn't so sure about the program. "I was fear-based," Tedrow said. "I think a higher power hooked me up with Jane, and Lee was the stepping stone, the connection, the bridge."
The mentoring so touched Tedrow's life that she is hopeful to one day be able to pass along all that Anderson has done for her by being a mentor herself. "I would love to be a mentor for another young mother who is trying to go back to school like I did," Tedrow said.
The friendship between the two women is indeed a mutual admiration. While Tedrow sings Anderson's praises, Anderson points to all Tedrow does in her life to help others.
"She is a hard worker, the kind of person who helps people," Anderson said. "She works at an important job that is not well paid. Society doesn't recognize how important that work is. It isn't right."
Tedrow shared how grateful she is for the friendship she shares with Anderson. "She is a fabulous person. I just love her spirit."
The two women have helped each other through many ups and downs and have come to call the Bob Evans out on Route 30 their place. They meet there for lunch regularly.
"Jane gives me nutrition tips," Tedrow said.
Over the years Anderson met Tedrow's parents, and Tedrow visited and sometimes worked on Anderson's farm.
"LeeAnn helped me in my garden," Anderson said.
Tedrow speaks of Anderson so often that people who have never met her feel they know her. "Even my beautician," Tedrow said. "She has never met Jane, but she said she likes her."
Anderson said, "I don't give myself any special credit. You have to just be a person who listens and is interested."
Through it all Tedrow maintains her faith that everything will always work out. "I have this faith that if God feeds the birds, the food will be there, and it's always been there. I have never been hungry."
Tedrow was prompted to tell her story. "It's that time of year. I just want to be thankful. I have so much gratitude. Jane always gives me hope that I can do whatever I set out to do."

Published: December 6, 2017
New Article ID: 2017171129905