LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The love of music started early on for Coston Elementary music teacher Vercie McMullen. As soon as that love started to mature, it was almost lost.
"I suffer from a heredity hearing loss condition," McMullen said. "My grandmother lost her hearing, and my father lost his. By the time I was in my early 20s, I had lost about 30 percent of my hearing."
As McMullen concludes her 23rd year of teaching music, her hearing loss is now up to 60 percent.
"I have hearing aids that make it normal," McMullen said. "I have had this pair for the last 12 years."
For McMullen, overcoming the physical problem was easy. The hard part was be the mental side.
"As a child, it was a challenge to know that 'How am I going to deal with this life that I too am probably going to lose my hearing,?'" McMullen said. "It was scary. I saw my grandmother and my father, and I didn't want to experience it. The idea of not being able to hear, I was sort of fearful of that."
Mcmullen said at an early age she learned how to deal with it. Her father had hearing aids, so she understood how they worked. With her grandmother, communication would be done with louder voices since her grandmother had no hearing aids and did not learn sign language.
Despite losing her hearing, McMullen still wanted to be involved in music.
"I had the love from my family, and they always pushed me," McMullen said. "In high school, I had a choir teacher that really pushed me to do it. I still sing in the church choir, and I still play the piano. "What I came to realize is that God is sovereign, and he is in control of all things, and I needed to trust in God and that he had given me abilities, talents and he would enable me."
After years of hard work, McMullen was recently honored at the annual Teacher of the Year luncheon with the Lufkin/Angelina County Chamber of Commerce.
"It was an honor," McMullen said. "Me being here for 23 years was no mistake, and it has just been a real joy to be able to do what I love."