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Foster mom gave to her country, now gives to her community

As a foster parent since 1989, more than two dozen children have come through Mattie Williams's door, receiving shelter, food, consistency, and lots of love.

Foster children have affectionately nicknamed her “Drill Sergeant Mattie.” After all, she served 20 years in the U.S. Army working numerous roles including medic and medical trainer. After serving her country, Mattie is now serving her community by helping to raise challenging foster children.

Williams has had success raising foster children with her tough love approach.  “I get the difficult kids, almost always boys," Williams said. "They carry lots of baggage – some baggage you can see and some baggage you can’t. I steer them in the right direction and try to show them there’s more to life than their baggage.”

As soon as a new foster child steps in her home, Mattie provides stability. She’s consistent with expectations that come with appropriate consequences.

Mattie chuckles, “When the kids see my military picture on the wall they say, ‘Don’t mess with her!’” Even after the children leave Mattie’s home, they continue to stay in touch by calling and visiting regularly.  Some even call her “Mom.”

Audrey Fisher, Easterseals UCP Therapeutic Foster Care Program Supervisor in New Bern, said, “Mattie never gives up on these children, even when things get tough. She stays connected to her past foster children, and if they need her she is there for them. She is committed, she is loyal, just as she has been to her country!”

Despite the challenges Mattie said, “Mostly these kids want love -- and I have plenty of love to give.”