Willie Braudaway

Willie Braudaway

I’m going to get to where I left the story I was telling last week here – right after this important public service announcement: Ordinarily this would be the Sunday – the Sunday before the last Tuesday of the month – that I would write a column on some aspect of diabetes.

With the diagnosis of diabetes, the doctor only has so much time to help the patient understand the lifestyle changes required. I felt there needed to be somewhere a person could go to get more information and support. Thus the Community Health Improvement Coalition created the Diabetes Task Force. From there we developed the Diabetes Wellness Support Group – one place once a month where anyone who needed information and support could count on both.

If you fit that description, join us 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Val Verde County Library. We’ll have some healthy food, learn some helpful information, and share our experiences with diabetes. And, now back to where I left off last week:

“Then on a Friday in late September 1994, I went to the Whitehead Memorial Museum to volunteer my services. That was when Director Lee Lincoln asked me the question, ‘Can you type?’”

Lincoln knew that her daughter would be giving her two weeks’ notice at the Del Rio Council for the Arts on Monday. She also knew this would create a problem for DRCA Director Ann Stool because … she couldn’t type.

And that is how I got to spend the next five years learning and developing more skills and talents at the Firehouse. The computer and its software were ancient; I had to do some of my work on my Mac at home.

It was a great day indeed when the DRCA bought a Gateway with Windows and Microsoft Office. I also discovered the Internet when we hooked up with delrio.com – the only game in town at the time.

I got to use my museum skills hanging exhibitions, conducting school tours, organizing classes, and writing the “Focus on the Firehouse” newspaper column. I even got to use my high school bookkeeping skills as I kept four different accounts balanced to the penny. The Firehouse Gift Shop exposed me to the challenges of the retail world. Firehouse Bingo exposed me to the challenges of keeping the money safe from pilferers. On top of all that, I got to add a new skill -– grant writing – as well.

However, one day in 1999 I heard the Reference Librarian was leaving the Val Verde County Library. And, lo and behold, the Library Director Katherine McMurrey couldn’t type … The job would mean a quarter cut in pay – from $20,000 to $16,000. Would it be worth it?

My answer and the rest of the story next week…

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