PEORIA (Arizona's Family Surprise Squad) -- After nearly 50 years, Pam Miranda is about to retire from the Peoria Unified School District. When the Arizona's Family Surprise Squad found out, they wanted to be a part of the retirement party. The crew went to the PUSD offices and joined a crowd of well-wishers (while masked up and socially distant, of course) to say farewell to Pam.
"It's a special day," said Principal Laurie Little. "We're just honoring Pam Miranda [for] almost 47 years of service. She also attended Peoria Elementary and Peoria High School. She was the mascot at Peoria High!"
"Peoria Panthers!" Pam shouted with a fist pump.
"Lots of love for you today," Little continued. "Channel 3 is here. I wish I could hug you."
"I know, I know," Pam said as she gave the principal a friendly elbow bump. "Virtual hugs."
"Oh, I know you," Pam said with a laugh when 3TV's Javier Soto approached her. "Didn't recognize you with the mask."
"What has been your drive?" Soto asked. "That's an amazing feat, 47 years anywhere."
"I've enjoyed what I've done," answered Pam. "I've enjoyed the people. I love Peoria School District. And it's home. My dad was a teacher in the district. So, it's always been home."
"Everything I've done, I've loved," she continued. "Loved the people. Loved the culture. Loved the district."
"Well, Pam, we're not only with 3TV," Soto announced. "I'm also with the Surprise Squad. We wanted to make sure that you had an amazing retirement. So on behalf of 3TV, Arizona's Family, and the Surprise Squad, and Valley Toyota Dealers, we wanted to give you this right here." He handed Pam an envelope.
"I have a Toyota from them, too, a Camry," Pam laughed as she opened the envelope. Her eyes widened when she saw what was inside. It was a note saying she was being given $3,000 from the Surprise Squad as a retirement gift. "Oh my gosh. Wow, thank you."
"How will that help you in your retirement?" Soto asked.
"I'm going to go see my grandchildren in Kansas. That's what I'm going to do," Pam said. "If they let us. If we can fly, or drive, or whatever. I'm going to see the grandkids. It's going to help. I wasn't going to cry. Thank you."
"You're welcome," Soto said. "You have to thank Anne. Anne was the one who nominated you."
"I'll get Anne later," Pam laughed as her coworker started to approach them.
"So, Anne, come on over here," Soto motioned to her. "Anne, why did you nominate Pam?"
"Pam is a very special lady," Anne answered. "My family is proud to bookend her career. Pam was my mother's secretary back in the late '70s. And now she's the secretary in our department. She has patience that's unmatched. What she does with paperwork and parents and people in Peoria, but she always does it with a smile. And she is hilarious. I just didn't want you to go into the sunset not being recognized."
"Again, Peoria is family, and you can't change that," Pam smiled. "You can't make it up. It is definitely family. It's a family culture. At least it is to me. Its just family. Peoria's family. And it's a darn good school district."