Tennessee Justice Center is honoring Jeana Whitehead of Maryville as a Mother of the Year for her persistence and positivity in spite of the medical challenges that she and her daughter each face.
When Jeana’s daughter Nikki was born in 1995, Nikki’s father deserted the family. Jeana worked tirelessly in multiple jobs to provide for herself and Nikki, including providing for Nikki’s needs as a sufferer of social anxiety and other mental illnesses.
Jeana had been working as an Assistant Manager at Hancock Fabric Store when she experienced a series of health issues in quick succession that forced her to stop work. She rested, recovered, and once again found employment. In time, however, major pain issues forced her to quit her job, and a vicious cycle began. Whenever Jeana tried to provide for herself, medical issues would arise, limiting her capacity to work. Her daughter Nikki, now 22, has done what she can to help provide for their family by working, but has recently experienced medical conditions too extreme to allow her to work.
Jeana has been greatly assisted by SNAP (formerly food stamps) during her struggles, and has always been very grateful for the program. Her food, her daughter, and her ability to take another breath of life have always been her sense of security. She hopes one day she will be free to live and make it without any help. But what matters now it that she is here, her 22 year old daughter is here (happily engaged), and the two together are still making it through good and bad times.