Ms. Highlands at the Oaks on Parkwood, JoAnn Okechukwu, Bessemer, Age 67

Ms. Highlands at the Oaks on Parkwood, JoAnn Okechukwu, Bessemer, Age 67

Throughout her life, JoAnn Okechukwu set goals and worked hard to achieve them.

A few years ago she set a goal many would have said was impossible: learn to walk again.

JoAnn, age 67, was unable to walk when she moved to Highlands at the Oaks on Parkwood, a skilled nursing facility in Bessemer, Alabama.

She set her goal and began to put in the long hours in the physical therapy gym. With help from skilled therapists, JoAnn began to walk.

“I have been able to reclaim my positive attitude and outlook,” JoAnn said. “The staff consistently encouraged me to focus on the things I could do and not allowing me to focus on the things I could not go. They motivated me to work hard to accomplish my goals.”

Since she learned to walk, there’s been no stopping JoAnn. She teaches Sunday School each week and distributes menus every morning. She’s also past president of Highland’s Resident Council, a group similar to a school’s Student Council.

“Being a volunteer reminds me that I am still able to contribute to my community,” JoAnn added.

Another goal JoAnn never gave up on was earning the title of Ms. Highlands at the Oaks on Parkwood. She finally won this year on her third attempt!

“JoAnn continues to strive forward and reach for the completion of her goals,” Highlands at the Oaks on Parkwood Administrator Kathy Smothers said. “She is an excellent example for staff and residents alike in setting goals, striving to reach them and giving thanks to God when the goals are achieved.”

JoAnn will try to reach her goal of becoming Ms. Alabama Nursing Home 2014 when she competes in the Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant on July 28. The pageant will be held at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham – The Wynfrey Hotel at 2:00 p.m.

You can leave words of encouragement in the comments section below or share this post on Facebook to show your support.

For more information about the pageant, click here.

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of stories about the top 10 finalists for the 2014 Ms. Alabama Nursing Home Pageant. On July 25, we’ll post a story about Ms. Woodland Village Cloie Kelley.