Washington, DC – Judith Story was presented the Alabama-Florida Episcopal District’s first Humanitarian Achievement Award at the Zion Women Rock Service of the Mid-Winter Meeting in Washington, DC in December 2016.
Mrs. Story was honored and featured on the local and state news in 2016 as one who has been a foster care parent longer than any other Alabamian. For 46 years and counting, Judy has reared more than 400 children placed in the Jefferson County Department of Human Resources Foster Care System.
Her penchant for providing care for homeless or parentless children came from her mother, Mrs. Alice Freeman, also a foster parent. When her mother died in 1975, Judy continued to provide foster care for two children, ages 5 and 6, in their home and also raised her sister, who is disabled. More than one-third of the children Mrs. Story has cared for are disabled.
“Caring for children is my calling,” says Judith Story, who always has at least six foster children in her care at one time. She organizes and schedules their activities, including recreation, rest, and sleeping times. She insures their diets are of nutritional value. She disciplines them as required. Her children receive the love and assurance that they are in a safe environment. Most have excelled in school and beyond. Their love for Mrs. Story is apparent if you observe them in her presence.
Mrs. Story is an avid churchwoman and faithful member of McCalla Chapel AME Zion Church, Dr. Joseph Tolbert, Sr., pastor. She is in church every Sunday and the children are there with her. Presently, her local church positions include Trustee board member, Sunday School Teacher, Choir Member, Deaconess, and Director of Christian Education. Judy has served more than 45 years in Christian Education—on the local, district, and annual conference levels. She currently serves as the Conference Director of Christian Education for the North Alabama Conference in the Alabama-Florida Episcopal District. Many will attest to the impact she has had on their lives through her guidance in Christian Education.
Judy has been a widow since 1968 when her late husband, Jerry, a serviceman in the United States Army was killed in Vietnam. Their union bore two children, Dr. Gale Satchel, Superintendent of Schools in Tuscumbia, AL, and Attorney Vickie Story of Atlanta, GA. After her children completed school, they encouraged their mother to return to college to complete her education. Judith Story received a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Birmingham Southern College in 1998 and a Master of Science degree in Special Education from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Judith also adopted three foster children who are all now adults. They are Sherita Poe Bitten, a teacher in Chalkville, AL, Jalesa Story, a student at the University of North Alabama and Jeremy Story, who resides in Birmingham.
Judith Story not only showers her love on her biological and foster care families, she extends her exceptional warmth of love to everyone she meets. She has been the secretary at McAdory High School in Bessemer, AL for more than 45 years. If you ever meet Judy for lunch in Bessemer, there will be always be someone who stops to speak to her—a former student, a church member, a person who she may have provided foster care to in the past, or someone who may have benefited from her kindness.
Mrs. Story is involved in civic and community activities. Her affiliations include: Jefferson County Board of Education Vocational Advisory Board, Volunteer for the American Red Cross, and President of the Bessemer Chapter of the Foster Parent Association. She is also a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
Of her role as a foster parent, Judith says she wish she could do it for another 46 years.“ Once they come into my home, I drop the ‘foster.’ I’m their parent.”
It was a distinct honor and tremendous pleasure for Bishop Seth O. Lartey to establish and name this award, The Judith F. Story Humanitarian Achievement Award in her honor for her faithful and devoted ministry to many.