Ken Ellsworth

Abilene Reporter-News

ABILENE (AP) — One can be feisty and positive in volunteerism, even at age 87.

‘‘Mother’’ Edna Cassidy is the embodiment of that concept — from visiting nursing home residents and feeding people in need to confronting young women she feels aren’t appropriately dressed.

Cassidy’s walls and files are loaded with awards for all sorts of good deeds, and she received another one recently. Interested Citizens of Abilene North (I-CAN) named Cassidy its Community Hero at the sixth annual Community Hero Luncheon at the Abilene Civic Center.

‘‘She’s an active lady. She just gives and gives and gives,’’ said her pastor at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, the Rev. Leon Whaley.

Cassidy came to Abilene in 1989 to be near a son who later died. (Two other children and her husband, Robert, also have died. One daughter survives.) She proudly shows photos of her roughly 20 grandchildren and great-grandchildren, saying ‘‘they’re all kinds of people and all kinds of colors.’’

Cassidy has had some trials and tribulations in her life, but they didn’t get her down. She threw her energy into community and church activism.

They call her ‘‘Mother’’ at church and throughout the Carver Neighborhood — partially because she’s an elderly church member and partially because she’s taken a couple of younger members under her wing, ‘‘adopting them,’’ she said.

She said she’s also a ‘‘Prayer Warrior,’’ a person who receives requests for prayers from all over the world. She prays for them all.

Cassidy said the Lord called her to be a missionary in 1978.

‘‘I heard a voice telling me to get out of the house and go out into the field,’’ she said.

She’s been active in I-CAN for seven years and serves on its board of directors. The organization looks for ways to clean up the Carver Neighborhood, build housing and report neighborhood crime.

Cassidy, who didn’t start driving until 1978, was involved in a hit-and-run accident last year. She rehabilitated at Northern Oaks Living and Rehabilitation Center.

‘‘I still go over there to visit. I met some good people over there,’’ she said.

She’s been known to give food, money and clothing to anybody in need. She carries food from her own kitchen to others in her neighborhood.

Cassidy doesn’t like the way some young women dress when they walk down the street these days. ‘‘Streetwalkers’’ is what she calls them. She often goes outside to confront them and ask them to ‘‘cover themselves up.’’

The girls often say, ‘‘Miss Cassidy, you’re right.’’

‘‘Then I say right back, ’Then why don’t you do something about it?’’’ Cassidy said. Then, she offers clothing.

The Black History Council honored Cassidy in 2006, noting she is an ‘‘unusual heroine.’’

‘‘I always try to think of others, before myself,’’ she said.

Others say she has succeeded in that goal.

‘‘I feel all right about myself,’’ Cassidy said. ‘‘I feel like I’m not nobody, but all this makes me very humble.’’

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