LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — News 18's final spotlight on incredible women in our community shines on Sally Watlington.
She is being recognized as a "Woman of Wisdom" by the YWCA for serving the Greater Lafayette community for more than 30 years.
Ask anyone at the YWCA: No matter if a task is big or small, Sally Watlington is the first to volunteer.
"Painting in this building, painting the shelter, all kinds of projects. You name it, I probably have done it," Watlington said, remembering all her previous tasks.
She came to Purdue in 1956 to be a school teacher. However, some of her greatest mentors, including Purdue's longtime Dean of Women Helen B. Schlemean, instead sparked her interested in the Armed Forces. She enlisted in the United States Navy and served her country as a Naval captain for 23 years.
After retiring, she then turned to her volunteer efforts. Among many other service opportunities, she served as president of the YWCA board when they built the natatorium in 1990.
However, one of her greatest projects was the campaign for the Riggs Community Health Center.
"We raised $3.4 million, moved into a brand new clinic with all new equipment and opened it on [May 6] 1998," said Watlington. "You get started [volunteering] and you don't want to quit. There are people to meet, things to do, and people to take care of!"
This year, she is celebrating 34 years of serving Greater Lafayette.
Her favorite part:
"The people you work with and having a mission and seeing something get accomplished," said Watlington. "In other words you just don't sit around. You have to get your hands dirty. God knows I've had enough dirty hands!"