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When she lived in Virginia in the early 1970s, the 2014 Owen County Mother of Year Donna Osborne Scott would take her kids down to the beach.
Even after a long day preparing food to the hungry diners, Scott would ignore her aching feet, tired muscles and pack up her kids for some time in the sun and sand.
That sacrifice of time and energy was not lost on her kids. It was a special time for the mother and her children.
“One of my favorite memories is going to the beach with her and the kids,” Scott’s daughter Tina Lily said. “The most important thing to her was always her kids and making sure they had all their needs met.”
It was memories like that and a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice for the benefit of her children that Scott was named Owen County Mother of the Year at a ceremony July 14 during the Owen County Fair and Horse Show.
Tina Lilly, one of Scott’s eight children, wrote the nomination letter for her mother.
Scott said she had a few clues that something was afoot.
She said her children were making sure someone could take her and that she would be there on time.
“Timmy (Dezarn) never goes to the fair and here he was making sure I was going to get there on time,” Scott said.
As they arrived at the pavilion, Scott spotted her kids all waiting there.
“I knew something was going on when I saw all of them. If they had been hidden or something, maybe I wouldn’t have figured it out,” Scott said. “I thought ‘what is going on,?’ and then it dawned on me - mother of the year. I couldn’t believe it.”
As it became clear she was being honored, Scott was humbled and moved.
“Oh, I was very surprised,” Scott said. “I’m the type of person who doesn’t like the spotlight on me. I just like to stay in the back and let other people go out front.”
Lilly said she was moved by her mother’s dedication to raising a family ‘the right way’ prompted her to nominate her mom.
“Because my mother had eight kids, the first one at young age, and she never stopped working for us. She usually had at least two jobs, all so she could make sure we all had the things we needed.”
But taking care of her kids’ financial needs was just part of her mother’s mission in life, Lilly said. The children’s emotional needs were always on her mother’s mind as well.
“Basically, she was one parent and being mother and father to all of us and did a great job,” Lilly said. “None of us have ever been in trouble and we all have a very strong work ethic that we all get from her.”
Scott usually made ends meet by working as a cook at different restaurants including the Lakeview Restaurant. Later in life, she worked at the service desk at KOI Auto Parts in Owenton.
“All her life, she worked and worked hard,” Lilly said.
The long hours required sacrifices from both mother and the children.
“There were times when she had two jobs and we didn’t really get to see her that much except when she was get us off to school,” Lilly said. “She did miss some of our activities but she always made sure that the time we all had together was good.”
Sometimes the other children had to step in and help.
“She had some help from other family members but mostly, it was just her,” Lilly said. “It was hard on her. It’s only now that I know how hard it was on her.”
Scott made sure her children would learn the lessons and develop the skills that would serve them well later in life.
“It was a lot of responsibility but we helped as much as we could and she helped us all,” Lilly said. “She taught the girls how to cook, do the laundry and whatever we could do to help her out.”
Although she was happy her daughter nominated her and she was selected, Scott wasn’t sure how to react in front of people.
Combined with the heat, the OCP that forced her to retire also made her cut short her acceptance speech.
“I didn’t really know what to say anyway but I couldn’t catch my breath,” Scott said.
Since being named mother of the year, Scott has reflected on her life, her children and grandchildren.
“I don’t know what I would do without my kids,” Scott said. “They have helped me so much and given me so much. Used to be when you worked at a restaurant, there were no benefits so I could never save anything. They have all pitched in and helped me. I couldn’t get by without them.”
These days, her children and grandchildren usually surround Scott. Her home has become the gathering spot for family functions and holiday dinners.
She is looking for a space on her wall for the mother of year plaque but with a rich full life full of love and memories, finding the right spot of honor has been difficult.
“I have a place in mind,” Scott said. “I will look around and I don’t wanna take down any of my pictures. Each one is special but I will find a place … right where everyone who walks in the door will see it.”