A foster mother who made a significant difference in the lives of over 40 foster children is being honored upon her well-deserved retirement.

On May 31, Montgomery County honored the legacy of Emma Patterson, a resident of Montgomery, a northeast neighborhood on the border of Washington D.C., because of her long-time dedication to helping others, NBC Washington reported. The 88-year-old opened the doors of her White Oak home decades ago to children in her city’s local foster care system. Now that her current foster child is graduating from high school, she decided it was time for her to retire.

Another factor in Patterson’s retirement is the advancement of technology and how much it’s embedded into today’s society. Her family has attempted to teach her how to use a computer, but the lessons haven’t stuck with her yet.

“Now, everything is done online, so I can’t compete with that,” she said chuckling. “It’s time for me to retire because I don’t know anything about computers.”

“I was raised in a home where I was just loved and adored by my parents,” Patterson told the new station. “So for a child not to experience that — not to have someone to love you and care for you and nurture you — I just felt awful.”

Patterson began her journey as a foster mom in the early ’80s after noticing some of her biological children’s friends were missing meals and didn’t have a place to stay. Little did she know that helping her kid’s friends would lead to her entering the foster care system and raising adolescents for the next 40 years.

The DMV native took in kids at various ages throughout the year.

“Some of them were babies that were brought to me, some of them were 5 years old, some of them were 10, all different ages,” she said.

The tribute ceremony brought out her kids near and far whose lives were positively affected by Patterson.

“It’s taught us a lot. It’s taught us to share,” her daughter, whose name wasn’t mentioned in NBC Washington’s report, said about her mother’s lifetime of service.

One of the foster children, Madison Scott, who is now on the University of Mississippi‘s women’s basketball team has known Patterson since she was 5 months old.

“I wouldn’t be here without Nana,” Scott told NBC Washington. “She took my mom in and took me in and treated us like we were her own. She’s loved us, she’s cared for us, she’s done everything.”