MULLINS, S.C. (WBTW) — God’s been Pastor Adella Washington’s inspiration since she was a young girl in Mullins, taking care of her five younger siblings.

“I helped raise those…helped my mama raise those two,” Washington said. “My mind was more on the babies at home, helping take care of them than my mind was on school.”

That’s when she realized her life was meant to minister.

“Any way I could minister,” she said. “Anywhere I could minister and tell them that the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life.”

“It’s a gift,” she added. “It’s a desire. It’s an urge. It’s something you got to do. If you need me, and I can get to you, I’ll be there to help you. The Bible lets us know, love ye one another. I am my brother’s keeper.”

Washington became one of the first female pastors to lead a congregation in the Pee Dee area. With the help of others’ generosity and her persistent attitude, she built New Born Assembly Church in Mullins.

“The building was so small, sometimes people would stand on the outside,” Washington said.

She counseled hundreds of families affected by opioid additions. She coordinated after-school literacy programs to help kids with learning disabilities. She headed programs to feed the hungry and found jobs for those just out of prison.

“I want to see you advance,” she said. “I don’t want to see you stay in one place.”

Ellen Gillyard nominated Washington for Remarkable Women. She calls herself one of Washington’s projects. When Gillyard graduated from college in the ’90s, Washington found her a job.

“I didn’t have any money, I didn’t have a place to stay, I didn’t have a car,” Gillyard said. “She moved me into her house with her family, gave me gas money, actually went and bought me a car, just took care of me like a mother would. There isn’t any way I could have the success I have if it hadn’t been for her.”

It’s one thing to give time, but Washington was also using her personal finances to help many people who needed tuition, food, clothing, even paying light and water bills.

“She’s so deserving,” Gillyard said. “I’ve seen her do so many things for so many families. I didn’t know about checkbooks, I didn’t know about debit cards, I didn’t know about saving money, all of that she taught me.”

But don’t tell Washington she’s the inspiration. She doesn’t expect anything in return for her service.

“My work is not in vain and I love what I’m doing,” Washington said.

“I try to pay it forward,” Gillyard said. “I try to emulate her as far as giving and helping. Everybody needs an Adella Washington in their lives.”

Washington’s work isn’t finished yet. She’s working on a new project in Mullins called New Life Center. It will serve the community through classes and after-school care and tutoring.

News13 wants to recognize the great contributions women have made to our national and local communities. Each Tuesday in March, we’ll highlight a local woman considered for Nexstar’s nationwide 2022 Woman of the Year award.

The Remarkable Women winner will be announced on April 9.