Dorothy Fortenberry shows off her USO building project. Photo by Sheri Samson.

Dorothy Fortenberry shows off her USO building project. Photo by Sheri Samson.7

If you ask 91 year old Dorothy Fortenberry about retiring, she will assure you there is never a good time to stop giving back.

“I am always busy. God takes care of me and He is my best helper, but He can take it all away when it’s time – until then I tell people to stay busy. You should always be giving back.”

Shelley Hartman, at the Economic Development Authority, alerted Dorothy that the plants and clean up needed to be done around the USO Convention Center.

“I didn’t know exactly how to get this project started,” Fortenberry explained, “but as soon as I began asking for help it all came together. I’ve had both of my hips replaced but I can still pitch in where I am needed.”

Fortenberry was given an open account for plants and items needed from both True Value Hardware and Wagner’s Ace Hardware and Mineral County Sherriff Randy Adams allowed a trustee to assist her with the difficult weeding.

Fortenberry explained that her love for gardening came from her love of teaching. “Planting seeds comes in many ways and I loved teaching. I always believed in my students and I found the pride and richness in each one. Whatever is planted is what you will get. Today, most of my students went on to become successful, human beings. I retired in 1990 and to this day I am still respected by my former students.”

She was happy to say that during her teaching years, kids held one another accountable toward the good.

Dorothy, along with her husband, Fred, came to Hawthorne in 1943, where they enjoyed a fulfilling life together in a community that they loved. Fortenberry has served on the Board of Directors/Trustees at the Hawthorne Ordnance Museum.