Gloria Sanchez, 77

There’s a saying that says if you want something done, ask a woman. Well, if you want something done well and with a smile, ask Gloria Sanchez. Gloria is a self-professed workaholic. And it doesn’t matter whether or not she’s getting paid for the work.

For 11 tax seasons, Gloria has been a volunteer Tax Aide with AARP, assisting seniors for eight hours or more, five days a week from February through mid-April on the third floor of the Tallahassee Senior Center. She arrives early with iced coffee and breakfast in hand though she doesn’t get around to eating it until the afternoon. She wipes down every table, preparing the room before the other volunteers arrive.

This strong work ethic began early. Gloria was born in Lumberton, Mississippi but moved to Miami when she was just six months old. Four days after her first birthday, Gloria’s sister Jackie arrived. Nine years later, her sister Gail was born. When they were growing up, they spent every summer in Delaware picking beans. Gloria remembers the people she’d reunite with and even remembers attending a funeral for a dog.

She attended FSU and got a degree in social work. She moved to Tampa and was hired by the Department of Children and Families. In two years, she was made a supervisor. She married, had a daughter, divorced and worked part-time at Sears so she could send LaTanya to private school. They moved to Ventura, California for a few years but returned to Tampa and DCF was glad to hire her back.

Gloria likes to be busy and working full-time at DCF wasn’t enough to keep her mind humming. She saw an H&R Block ad in the paper and went through the training to be a tax aide. She did that a few nights a week for almost 10 years.

While at DCF, she met her husband, Colonel Washington Sanchez, a Silver Star recipient in 2021. They lived in different cities and decided to make Tallahassee their home. Before marrying, they agreed to build a house together. Washington said if they could endure the stress of building a home, they could have a successful marriage. They’ll celebrate 20 years this year!

Gloria’s only child gave her five grandchildren and she’s YaYa to two great granddaughters, Dariah (6) and Emory (2) whom she adores. And she has two stepchildren with Washington.

Gloria says that the key to positive aging is “being involved. Isolation is a detriment to your health and well-being.” Gloria has a passion for travelling. Through her involvement with the Military Order of the Purple Heart Auxiliary, she hopes to check off the remaining 19 states she has yet to visit.

Gloria says her faith is an important part of her life, reciting her favorite verse “I can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens me.”