Co-workers Pay it Forward to teacher's aide recovering from surgery

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Fifth grade teacher Lori Pies has seen what a struggle its been for Elliott, recovering from so many health problems, so she reached out to CBS 5 to help the teacher's aide who's helped so many others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Fifth grade teacher Lori Pies has seen what a struggle its been for Elliott, recovering from so many health problems, so she reached out to CBS 5 to help the teacher's aide who's helped so many others. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
Colleen Elliott, a longtime teacher's aide at Pomeroy Elementary School in Mesa, had some sudden health issues recently and missed the last month and half of school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Colleen Elliott, a longtime teacher's aide at Pomeroy Elementary School in Mesa, had some sudden health issues recently and missed the last month and half of school. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
MESA, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -

Colleen Elliott doesn't get tired of reading all the get well cards students have sent her.

The longtime teacher's aide at Pomeroy Elementary School in Mesa had some sudden health issues recently and missed the last month and half of school.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Pay It Forward]

"Going in and out of surgery, that's all I am thinking about," said Elliott. "Tell the kids I didn't abandoned them. Tell the teachers I will be back."

The 58-year-old mother of three said it's been extremely difficult not being out on the playground where she belongs.

After 20 years, Elliott has had quite an impact on the kids in this community.

"It's amazing," said Elliott. "I'll go into a store and the manager of the store will say, Elliott and he left the school 10 years ago. They remember me 10 years later."

Fifth grade teacher Lori Pies has seen what an impact Elliott has had on so many students.

She's also seen what a struggle its been for Elliott, recovering from so many health problems, so she reached out to CBS 5 to help the teacher's aide who's helped so many others.

"I think as a staff, as a whole, we wanted to give back to her because she gives so much to the kids and school and community," said Pies. "I think she is very deserving of this."

A CBS 5 news crew followed along as Pies and another teacher went to Elliott's house and give her $500. 

"We wanted to let you know that you mean so much to us and so much to the community and Pomeroy," said Pies. " You're always so giving and so wonderful. We have a gift from Channel 5 of $500. You deserve it more than anybody."

"I can't believe it," said Elliott.

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Jason Barry
Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

Click to learn more about Jason.

Jason Barry

Jason Barry has been reporting in the Valley since 1997.

He is a nine-time Rocky Mountain Emmy Award winner who is best known for his weekly Dirty Dining reports, which highlight local restaurants with major health code violations.

Jason was born in Los Angeles and graduated from the University of Miami.

An avid sports fan, Jason follows the Diamondbacks, Cardinals and Suns with his wife, Karen, and son, Joshua.

His favorite stories to cover are the station’s Pay it Forward segments, which reward members of the community with $500 for going ‘above and beyond’ the call of duty to help others.

Jason, started his career at WBTW-TV in Florence, SC before moving to WALA-TV in Mobile, AL, was named the Associated Press Reporter of the Year in 2002.

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