The song from the movie Dirty Dancing keeps going through my head. “Now I’ve had the time of my life. No, I never felt this way before. Yes, I swear it’s the truth. And I owe it all to you.”

In this case, the “you” is Calhoun County and the “time of my life” was serving as the Texas Sea Grant Coastal and Marine Resource Agent for the last eleven years. “I swear it’s the truth” when I say this has been the best job I have ever had. It was a perfect fit for my talents and abilities and a true joy to help so many people and projects during my tenure.

Yet, times change and life moves on. I retired January 31 to continue helping my mother who was injured last year. Family comes first. I have not moved. I am not dropping off the face of the earth. I plan to still write for the paper as long as they let me. After taking time to breathe and regroup after my extension career and my role as a caretaker, I will jump into something else.

I want to publicly share my resignation letter to the Commissioners’ Court because it is not possible for me to connect face-to-face with everyone I was able to work with over the years:

Joe Surovik was right. Calhoun County is the best county in Texas to be a Marine Agent. I have loved serving the residents and visitors to this county through a wide variety of programs that I was given the freedom to create and grow. From building boats with middle school students, kayaking with adults like Veva Saylor, operating the aquarium at the Hardhead Derby, working with the commercial fishermen, conducting the popular Cooking with Seafood program, creating the Outdoor Classroom at Little Chocolate Bayou Park, coordinating the Magnolia Beach cleanups, and so much more, you gave me the opportunity to raise the awareness of Calhoun County’s coastal and marine resources.

I have been honored to work with many local and statewide partners over the years including Big Bear Shrimp and Seafood, TPWD Coastal Fisheries, the General Land Office, and Our Lady of the Gulf Catholic School, just to name a few. Hundreds of youth and adult volunteers have donated their time and talents to help make my programs successful. I will be forever grateful to those partners, volunteers, program participants, my dedicated Marine Advisory Committee members, and this court.

When I interviewed for this position 11 years ago, Kenny Finster asked me “How long are you going to stay?” I told him “until I retire.” Well, that time has come. The last few months have been a different time of service and reflection for me as I have used Family Medical Leave to help my mother. I know my greater calling is to remain by her side during her recovery, rehabilitation and beyond. My retirement/resignation will be effective on January 31, 2019.

Thank you again for this amazing opportunity.