I entered the Culinary Arts department at LA Trade Tech shortly after graduating high school. This led to becoming the cook on the oceanographic research vessel “Oceaneer”. I quickly learned that being sea sick while chopping onions was neither glamorous nor fun.
I decided the United States Air Force was my ticket to see the world. After training in Biloxi Mississippi I was stationed in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico as a VFR Tower Air Traffic Controller.
The G.I. Bill enabled me earn a degree in Sociology from Cal State University Los Angeles. After graduation I accepted a position with AT&T. A series of AT&T marketing jobs and promotions led me to the training division. I discovered my passion for teaching. When AT&T implemented a tuition reimbursement program I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I enrolled at USC and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW). A couple years later when AT&T offered early retirement, I was ready to go.
National Alliance on Mental Illness Orange County provided the opportunity for me to serve as board president and an advisory board member. I spent several years facilitating family support groups as well as promoting education, support and advocacy for mental health. I was hired by the Orange County Health Care Agency to develop a Family Advocacy Program. The program was later acknowledged by the Orange County Mental Health Association’s highest honor, the Thomas F. Riley Community Service Award.
With visons of warm breezes and tropical beaches we packed-up and headed for the Yucatan peninsula. While in-route, two hurricanes began to develop. They were forming to our East and West, one in the Atlantic and one in the Pacific. These phenomena had not occurred since 1948. We “white knuckled” through hammering rain and ultimately sought refuge at a hotel in Veracruz. We were jolted from our slumber by two explosions. Terrorists had bombed two oil rigs outside the city. Shaken by the explosions and torrential rain we continued our journey. For a year we lived in San Crisanto, a small fishing village, designing our dream home. Our dream did not match reality. . We grabbed our dogs stuffed the car with our belongings and for headed for my sisters home in Oklahoma City in the USA.