White’s Golden Moment

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By Thomas Sellers Jr.

From moving locations to remodeling the current 8445 Highway 51 North establishment, Mary White has been loyal to the Millington Walmart for four decades.

This past Friday with special guests, family, friends and colleagues on hand, White celebrated her retirement after 40 years of service. Starting back in 1981, White moved up in the ranks at Walmart, raised her family and taught her motto of “treat others how you want to be treated,” to this milestone.

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“Retirement — it’s a little scary,” White acknowledged. “Because your life changes. Everything changes now. It’s a whole brand new life. Coming to work is one thing but when you retire, you don’t have all that to do like you used to. You have to find things to do now.”

The mother of three and grandmother of a 24-year-old upcoming firefighter and 17-year-old high school senior, said a few things are certain as she wraps up her tenure at Walmart.

“I have more time to spend with all my family,” she said. “I have three children. I’ve been a single parent for a longtime after the divorce. I had too much of it on my own for my children. Spending more time with them is what I am looking forward to.

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“They already told my manager because he was asking me to say, ‘No, she’s going with us. It’s our time now,’” White added.

Walmart Manager Chris Farley spoke about White’s dedicated service and wisdom that will be missed. But the trio of Tomeka, Shanelle and Malcolm urged their mother to take some time to enjoy life and focus on herself.

“This is my third store,” she recalled. “All of my 40 years have been here as a part of this store (number). As far as balancing it all there were some struggles. There were times I didn’t think we were going to make or I was going to be able to do the things I did.

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“By the grace of God I was able to do it,” White added. “Especially for my children, they’ve always been my (earthly) No. 1. It was God first, my children and then my job. It’s just something I just learn to balance. I learned, ‘OK, you have to put things in order.’ It didn’t always fall the way I wanted it but it was according to His will, no mind. It was times I put other things ahead of Him and He had to put me back in line. Through it all, it’s been a long haul. But it has been a good long haul.”

White’s trip down memory lane Friday included several colleagues taking advantage of the chance to express gratitude. The feelings are mutual.

“Thank you to all of you,” White said to her Walmart family. “Thank you for the help. Thank you for your patiences and for teaching me as well as me teaching you. I’ve learned as much as I’ve taught. About 90 percent of the people who work here — I hired.”

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Despite the ups and downs of the many who walked through the doors, White said she is also grateful for all the customers who made her job worthwhile.

“I didn’t want to let them down,” she said. “I always tried to be that friendly person and let people know I was here to help because that was my job. Not to just say that was my job but it was the right thing to do. Be courteous, be kind and give you the best customer service I could possibly give.”

With a staff mostly hired by her still on the Walmart frontline, White said her motto for life will help them achieve 40 years or be successful wherever life takes them.

“Hang in there,” she said. “If you do the right thing, if you treat people right you won’t have any problems staying for 40 years. It’s all about how you treat people. If you treat them well, they’re going to be good to you. If you treat them bad, people will treat you bad.

“The good outweighs the bad every time,” White concluded. “My advice is to hang in there and be kind to one another. Do what God wants us to do and that’s treat each other right and take care of one another. That’s been my main thing and what I’ve done. And I don’t regret one bit of it. If I had to do it all over again, I’d gladly do it.”