Best moms are always there
By KEVIN GRAHAM
Published May 12, 2007
TAMPA - Most of the letters, hundreds of them, started the same: My mom is the best mom in the world.
But the one from Rachel Sherman's children stood out most.
A single parent from Lithia, Sherman, 46, was often the only mom in a line of dads at her sons' football practices. She never missed a game. And when it came time for anything father and son, she was there.
"We are her life. She is ours, " her son, Bryan, 19, wrote in a letter nominating Sherman as this year's Best Mom in the Bay.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebackers Shelton Quarles, who left the team last month, and Ryan Nece began an annual Best Moms in the Bay Luncheon four years ago. More than 500 postmarks poured in this year with stories of adoptive moms, battered moms and moms with disabilities.
"A lot of these women who were nominated have overcome so much, " Nece said Friday at the luncheon at Raymond James Stadium, where the best of the best, and two runnersup, were named from a group of 25 finalists.
Nece and Quarles read from the top three entries and said the selflessness of Sherman's story won them over.
"It's been the best years of my life raising my kids, " Sherman said. "Now I get a reward for doing something I love."
Two weeks ago, she learned from her daughter that she's about to be a grandma.
"We're in the entertainment business and we are role models, but these are the real role models, " Nece said.
Top moms get gift certificates to a grocery store, local restaurants, jewelry, a weekend hotel getaways and a trip to a spa.