GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- Many of us have a remarkable woman in our lives that has exhibited extraordinary work. To Audrey Mitchell, this special woman is her mother, Sandy Tetro.

When one thinks of a “Remarkable Woman”, most often, titles of high personal achievement come to mind, but when Audrey thinks of her mom, a different meaning presents itself:

For me, a “Remarkable Woman” is one who is constantly building up those around her, spreading kindness, joy and daily making her community and world a better place. That woman is my mother.

Audrey Mitchell

Sandy’s Background:

As a proud native of Jenison, Michigan, Tetro has dedicated 58 years of her life to positively impacting those around her, specifically children.

For over 20 years, she has spent her time teaching special education students within the Jenison Public School system.

Due to her unwavering commitment to higher learning, Sandy remains a foundational piece of Jenison’s ECSE program. Not only has she poured into the lives of students, but to all other employees for decades.

“She wrote encouragement notes and would leave them in the staff bathrooms and made staff bulletin boards in the hallways (without being asked and on her own time).”

Audrey Mitchell

Sandy’s kind hearted spirit extended outside of the classroom as well! When she wasn’t teaching, she was making a difference on the basketball court and football field! For over 15 years, she has coached Special Olympics Basketball. Additionally, she’s driven golf carts for Jenison’s Home Football game to ensure those with physical disabilities wouldn’t have to walk from their cars to the stadium.

Besides coaching and providing service during sporting events, Sandy has also taught Sunday School since she was in her early teens. She has been actively involved in mentoring programs through Pine Rest. One of these programs includes, “big room” at her local church, where she is famously known to have “more energy than all the kids combined” who attend!

A journey of hope and healing

credit: gettyimages

On Sept. 6th, 2019, Sandy suffered a massive right ischemic stroke, doing something she loved, helping others. It was her birthday and what was meant to be a celebratory day, turned into her family’s worst nightmare!

 Due to the severity of her stoke, Sandy’s family was told that there was a strong chance that she would not survive.

Not only did she recover, but this remarkable woman continued to use her faith as momentum to make a strong comeback!

The thing about a remarkable woman is they are stubborn and fight.

Audrey Mitchell

Defyning the Odds

Sandy’s unbelievable recovery is a miracle that no doctor saw coming! To this day, she is walking with assistance and can utilize both of her legs with the help of physical therapy and speech rehab!

Her phenomenal story has left a great impact on her loved ones, coworkers, students, church family, and community! After learning of her stroke, everyone that she had grown to know and care for all gathered to offer overwhelming support!

She received hundreds of cards and her room at Mary Free Bed was covered in drawings and encouragement quotes from people she has impacted and some she has never directly met but their children knew her as the “teacher who is laughing and giving high 5’s in the hallway.

Audrey Mitchell

 During her stay at the hospital, a prayer vigil was organized by her church and co-workers. Over 160 people stood outside of the hospital in the pouring rain to pray, sing, and offer powerful words of encouragement!

Sandy’s incredible journey truly defines what it means to be a remarkable woman and shows us all how an educator can make a large difference in the community!

To hear more of Sandy’s story, watch her interview above, and stay tuned for more remarkable stories from our other finalists every Tuesday at 11:00am on eightWest and WOTV4Women!