GREAT FALLS - If your kids are or were in the Great Falls Public School System they most likely know this woman referred to as “Grandma Anna Mae.” Here's how she earned that nickname over the last 18 years.
After retiring from retail around 59-years-old, a now 77-year-old woman named Anna Mae Gomke has been volunteering her time to Great Falls students inside the classroom five days a week for the last roughly 17 years.
These kids look up to her so much. Gomke says she’s the type of person who always needs to be doing something. As she retired, she saw adds on TV about becoming a "Foster Grandparent."
It's a program ran through Cascade County encouraging people over age 55 to be either a mentor, tutor, or caregiver for youth in our community. Fast forward almost two decades, Anna Mae is still reading, teaching math to students, and she's quite the local celebrity.
"There was one that was in the mall. He came over to me, and I knew him right away. He had not changed that much, and then he says, 'Grandma do you remember me?' I said, of course, I remember you, John! What's up?" said Gomke.
This is quite the usual occurrence for Gomke, current and past students notice her when she’s out and about. Gomke says the best part about working with kids is she enjoys watching their light bulbs click.
Now, Gomke does have children and grandchildren of her own, but to her what's one more, especially when you're making a difference.