Ebison is WDN’s Mother of the Year

Published 3:25 pm Sunday, May 9, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

CHOCOWINITY — Bertha Rodgers Ebison of Chocowinity has known happy times, and she’s known sad times. She has celebrated the happy moments, and she hasn’t let the sad ones keep her down.
Through it all, she raised six children and had a hand in rearing 12 grandchildren and one great-grandchild, with two more on the way. She’s worked hard, and, even now at 81 years old, she is always ready to lend a helping hand to anyone in need.
Her kindness, perseverance, faith and spirit made her an obvious choice as the Washington Daily News’ 2010 Mother of the Year.
The surprise announcement was made Friday afternoon, with the delivery of a floral basket donated by Piggly Wiggly of Washington Square Mall. Ebison admired the arrangement of red roses, yellow lilies, white daisies, pink carnations and purple irises as family members, who had been in on the surprise, congratulated her.
Ebison was nominated for the Mother of the Year honor by her daughter, Alice Ebison Foye of Washington.
“She is a woman of sacrifice because she is always willing to help others over herself,” Foye wrote in her nomination letter. “She is a woman of integrity because when she tells you she is going to do something, she always follows through on it. She is a woman of strength … she has been there to encourage others to hold on in difficult times.”
Ebison has known her share of difficult times. Her mother passed away when Ebison was just a child; Ebison lost a daughter, and her husband of 53 years, Willie Ebison, passed away in 2002. Ebison has survived two major heart operations, but she continues to tend to sick family members and care for a grandson whose mother died, according to Foye.
“I’ve had sad times and I’ve had happy times, like everybody else,” Ebison said.
Heart problems only temporarily slowed down Ebison and her zest for life. She listened to the doctors, but she was eager to resume her normal activities.
“As soon as they’d let me go, I was out and gone,” she said with a laugh.
Even her own health problems haven’t dimmed Ebison’s enthusiasm for, and enjoyment of, life. She drives her car regularly, often chauffeuring friends and neighbors who need rides somewhere while she is running errands. Along with being a homemaker and cook, she’s an active member of Cornerstone Family Worship Center, where she serves as a church mother and mentor to women in the Young at Heart group.
While raising her family, Ebison worked as a nurse’s aid at Beaufort County Hospital and also took on private nursing jobs. But her family was never neglected; when she couldn’t be home, she left her children in God’s hands.
“You pray for your children. You can’t do it without God helping them,” she said, a smile brightening her face. “You have to teach them to be obedient to God, and they’ll be obedient for you.”
Ebison’s stamina is a testament to how she lives her life. She may be found up mopping her floor at midnight.
“The call me the Road Runner because I’m always off doing something,” Ebison said. “You should always do for other people. But do what you can for yourself. That’s what keeps you going.”
Foye said others would do well to follow the example set by Ebison.
“She is a woman of wisdom and will always direct you with the truth in the direction you should go,” she wrote of her mother. “Her faith in God and her love of family and friends allow her to be a beacon to all who know her and she is worthy of double honor not only on Mother’s Day, but everyday. I want to give her flowers while she can smell them and enjoy them.”