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Super Senior: Mary Kerr - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Super Senior: Mary Kerr

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FERRISBURGH, Vt. -

It's a peaceful time on Lake Champlain. Post-Labor Day means fewer people. Mary Kerr catches the scenery from her lakeside home in Ferrisburgh. But with a click of the computer, Mary is transported to a much different world 6,500 miles away.

"Look at those eyes, what they've lived through," Mary said.

She talking about war-torn Afghanistan, a place she knows well.

"I just enjoy people, I enjoy different cultures," she said.

Mary's sense of adventure started at a very young age.

"I'm half Danish, so I have some Viking in me!" she said.

She grew up in the Pacific Northwest and spent much of her time outdoors.

She says life is always three things: nature, nurture and choices. Mary's choice was to go to journalism school when few women ventured. She married Joe; they moved to Vermont and raised three boys.

Joe worked in the Gov. Dean Davis administration in the 1960s. The couple worked well together-- he in policy; she in print. Mary was the editor of The Valley Reporter in Waitsfield for many years. Vermont was home, but the lure of a little-known country in Asia was always on her mind. Afghanistan was her senior thesis in college.

"After 50 years, I finally got there," she said.

It was 2006 and she loved the experience. She went back again and volunteered at the School of Leadership Afghanistan. They teach young Afghan women to be leaders. Mary even helped organize a student newspaper.

"I was working 18 hours a day when I was teaching in 2014," she said. "They're so motivated."

She is well aware of the danger in the country. A large portion is ruled by the Taliban.

"I say it's my choice, it's what I choose to do," Mary said. "I'm very careful, I do what I'm told."

There was a shooting at a hospital two blocks away from the school. They went into shutdown and hunkered down in a safe room. Mary has written her family about the dangers.

"I know that I'm putting myself possibly at risk, but don't come after me, don't spend tax money. I'm 83 years old and they know I'm doing what I love," she said.

She's pro-peace, but not anti-military. Her son, Gib, was a Navy captain.

Joe, who encouraged her to see the world, died eight years ago. She holds onto the memories but continues on.

"I'm very happy in my own company," she said.

Choices. Mary plans to go back to Afghanistan in the spring to teach.

Reporter Joe Carroll: Do you think you made a difference?

Mary Kerr: Yes.

Teaching tomorrow's leaders a world away.

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