101-Year-Old Woman Honored for Service to Community - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

101-Year-Old Woman Honored for Service to Community


Her life has been so exceptional, she has been recognized by everyone from Mayor Bill White to President George W. Bush. She is being honored again on Wednesday night.

Lillian Beard is 101 years old and has dedicated her life to helping others.

For many years, she felt locked in a world of silence. so she not only freed herself, but millions of others. Eyes around the world have depended on her hands to communicate.

"My mother always taught me to be helpful to other people. so when they needed help to go to the doctor's office for visits or shopping, I'd go with them," said Beard.

Even at 101 years old, Beard can hear. She was adopted by deaf parents in 1908 and quickly learned sign language.

"My father was a very strict teacher. 'I want you to sign and sign correctly," said Beard. It was a time when her family often felt isolated.

Her parents read the Bible, but could not attend church services because they could not hear what was being said. At 12years old, young Lillian Beard had a plan.

"I'd go with my mother and sit quietly and interpret for her;  then finally, so many started coming," said Beard.

At age 16, Beard founded Woodhaven Deaf Church.

"She has built a tremendous bridge between the deaf and the hearing," said Arthur Craig, pastor at Woodhaven Deaf Church.

In addition to being a missionary, Miss Beard founded a number of organizations and because she has taught literally thousands of interpreters, she is considered legendary in the deaf community.

"She was 90 years old when she took this last mission trip. She had a tremendous impact on the deaf people in the Czech Republic," said Pastor Craig.

"Everybody just looks up to her. She's like the standard that everybody has to achieve," said Stephanie Johnson, an interpreter who now lives in North Carolina.

By looking at the awards on her wall, Miss Beard has been honored before.

She wore a pretty pink dress to accept one more at the church that she founded.

One woman making big changes with her two small hands.

"I don't feel like I deserve anything really. I'm just Lillian," said Beard.

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