GSCC Valley Street Campus honors Dr. Gertie Lowe
When people of Etowah County reflect on those who have dedicated their lives to the betterment of the community, one of the first names that comes to mind is Dr. Gertie Lowe.
“His name is right there among all the other big names in Etowah County and beyond. He was someone who was very well respected and loved in our community,” said Tony Reddick, superintendent of schools for the city. of Gadsden. rights, his community, the public school system and his church.
Now, thanks to a “generous gift” from his family, Lowe’s legacy will be forever cemented at Gadsden State Community College’s Valley Street Campus through the Dr. Gertie Lowe Student Lounge located in the Learning Resource Center. .
The salon was officially named in honor of Lowe, who died in January 2021, in a ceremony on Wednesday.
“Having a room or even his name in your mind for years after his death is so special to us,” said the Reverend Dr. Larry Thomas, Lowe’s eldest son, “We honor him and realize that it is through God that she was able to accomplish all the things in life that she did.”
“It is an incredible honor because the opportunity to attend this occasion has been a dream for her to be honored in this way,” added her husband, Jack Lowe. “We never thought we would have seen something like this. It’s history in the making.”
Lowe was best known in the community for her advocacy work throughout her years as a nurse. Working in what is now known as Gadsden Regional Medical Center, she witnessed firsthand the changes the hospital went through when it was desegregated.
“Her first job was as an OB nurse and she loved being with the babies she cared for,” Thomas recalled. “I think that’s why she continued to nurture her love affair with nursing and children, because she loved helping people.”
Lowe also worked for several years as a nursing instructor for GSCC, according to Reddick. He said she also served as chair of the Gadsden Job Corps board at the Valley Street campus.
“Her love of nursing is the reason she taught at this school,” Thomas added.
Lowe also founded the Summer Enrichment Program, a free tutoring program held over the summer for 125 children that gave them educational opportunities such as field trips and visits to the college campus.
“The program was run by retired educators from Etowah County, and I even had the honor of helping out with the program as a math teacher,” Reddick said.
“She believed in education so much that she made sure her four sons had an education, even taking out her first bank loan to get me to college,” Thomas added. “Even the summer enrichment program she ran for 20 years was so that every child who was struggling in school had a chance to read because when you learn to read the world opens up. and the possibilities are endless.”
Thomas said money left over from the program at the time of Lowe’s death has since been reinvested in the GSCC. Those funds will now be used as a second scholarship in his honor for college nursing students, which he said his mother “would have loved.”
Reddick said he hopes Lowe’s legacy will be remembered through the work she has chosen to do and that the community will continue to “carry the torch” and work to finish what she has started. to do.
“My prayer is that we will not only remember the woman Dr Lowe was, but we will also remember the work she did,” Reddick said, “The legacy she left was the path and the footsteps of anyone who really has any respect for her to proclaim that we will finish the job she started.”