A Sapphire that shone brightly
When Shawna Tatman was selected for the Women of Achievement social services award in July, that was an indication of the love she gave to her co-workers, friends and family.
Tatman, 56, died unexpectedly Feb. 27, leaving a void in her family and her community.
As a founding member of Guardians of the Children Flatrock Chapter Tatman chose the road name “Sapphire.” The group’s mission is helping child victims of abuse or sexual assault.
“Sapphire, in my opinion, with the Guardians of the Children was the heartbeat,” said Guardians member Nate Yancy. “She’s where it all started with our adopted kids. She is the first person that talked to the families, and she was just the heartbeat of it.”
Yancy said Tatman was the liaison for the kids and would make recommendations to the group about adopting them.
“If she thought we could help them, she would recommend that we adopt them into the family and that’s what we did,” Yancy said. “She’s going to be missed by the community, not just by the young people, but by the older folks as well.”
He said everybody knew her and loved her.
North Platte Senior Center co-workers Becky Blume and Chris Edwards said they were going to miss her as well.
“She was our boss, but I don’t think any of us viewed her as our boss,” Blume said of Tatman, who was the center’s director. “She was my best friend. I talked to her more than my mom, more than my husband.”
Edwards said she worked with Tatman for more than 13 years.
“The one thing I’ll remember the most about her is her personality,” Edwards said.
Blume said Tatman’s family was her first love.
“I think the thing I thought of the most when I heard (about her death) was just how much she loved her family, her grandkids,” Blume said. “The first thing I thought of was that they were her rock and she was their rock.”
Tatman is survived by her husband, Mike, children Misty (Anthony Plunk) Tatman, Mitchell (Amber) Tatman, Christopher (Jami) Tatman and Stephanie (Daniel) Seamann. She has 12 grandchildren who called her “Mema”: Isaiah, Elijah, D’Avion, Dalton, Raymond, Abi, Savannah, Laramie, Mason, Jemma, Jeremiah and Gracie.
Edwards and Blume both said Tatman went the extra mile both for the kids involved with Guardians and for the seniors at the North Platte Senior Center.
“She would give anything to do the tiniest thing, and you see that with her being in the Guardians of the Children,” Blume said. “The seniors loved her because she dropped everything to help them, whether she was in the middle of doing something” or not.
For example, if they had one question about Medicare, Blume said, Tatman was ready to help.
“She would drop everything and be on the phone for three hours just to try to help them with that one thing, even though her work was piling up,” Blume said. “She went above and beyond what her duties as director were to help them.”
Edwards said Tatman was compassionate with the seniors she interacted with each day.
“Her sense of humor was awesome too,” Edwards said.