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  • Writer's pictureSharon Van Baale

Me, Wonder Woman?

I published this and changed my mind, thinking it was more like bragging than just the way my life is. Rethinking, I am going to publish it, again, and rely on your knowledge of me to know how I mean it to appear...

A couple of years ago, I began to collect all kinds of Wonder Woman jewelry from Alex & Ani.

The last one I added to my collection was a necklace I had been watching for a sale price. I received it today and along with it a description

"Wonder Woman is a leader in the fight for justice. She looks for peaceful resolutions before conflict, using her lasso of truth as a weapon. Her bracelets are unbreakable, deflecting evil. With a fierce and gracious heart, Wonder Woman protects the world. Channel her super powers and join the fight to defend and unite humanity."

A friend of mine noticed the collection and called it to my attention, that I really was a type of Wonder Woman, after attaining all that I had, in the political realm of our County Party. I told her that I had already been given that nickname years ago.

In the early seventies, when I was a young mother of two busy little boys, a friend of mine started calling me Wonder Woman because I was always so busy and managed to get things accomplished, that I set out to do. I did not really take on the nickname at that time. I did feel like Wonder Woman at times because I was so busy and did not understand how I was going to finish what I started, but I always managed to do it.

Over the years, I seem to have begun to live the part, at least in the context of getting things done. Not only did I take care of my family, my job, the house, shopping and all that went with raising my boys (as most moms do), I also, began to be interested in improving my part of the world as well as the lives of my Circle of Influence.

I loved spending time with my boys, so I took on the position of Den Mother of a local group of Cub Scouts for a few years, helping them to make their Derby cars as well as many other projects, that helped them attain their Scout badges. We tossed the ball around in the back yard and during ball season I drove them to ball practices and games, took them swimming and once, jumped into the Brazos River to swim and catch our canoe that they had managed to get into the rapidly running water (while they were in it) from the shore. I turned it around and swam it back to shore at our camp spot. Swimming the canoe upriver was indeed a Wonder Woman task... protecting the world, my children!

I guess, the beginning of making improvements began with the job I pursued with the City/County Ambulance Service in my home county. I received my EMT certification and loved the work, but not the politics. After about a year and a half, I took on the position of Director for another year and a half. With my skills, I then began volunteering with the American Red Cross and their regularly scheduled Blood Drives. I would come in and take blood pressures and help with some of the paperwork until I decided to take on the whole thing. It was, then, my job to contact front table helpers to take blood pressures, sign up the donors, make sure they read all the literature about donating; contact clubs or classes to donate homemade cookies for the donors; helpers to offer refreshments to the donors and to make sure the donors were okay to leave. Then we cleaned up after the Red Cross personnel left. I enjoyed it for quite some time.

In my church family, I volunteered to publish a newsletter, take on the Women's Jail Ministry, to host a home bible study and then organized the Women of God's Heart.

In 2008, I went to the current Republican Party Chairman to see what I needed to do to file for a county office. I was told that someone else was running for it and she was better for the job. No questions...nothing about why I might be more qualified. Just turned me down, so in 2010 I filed for Republican Party County Chair. As soon as I filed, the Chairman appointed me as his Vice-Chair and I took over the Candidates. We had a great election and I took over the Party. I started having regular meetings, attending State meetings, met and listened to my State Party chairs, as well as my SREC and other County Chairs. I became known within the State Party as a hard worker, increasing our local numbers exponentially.

As part of my belief in being on the Right side, I also, reached out to a couple of surrounding counties' parties and was asked to speak there. I helped start a Women's group in one county as the Keynote Speaker in their recruitment meeting. I was asked to speak at several other events in 3 counties close by. My enthusiasm was contagious and at the right time and place to encourage and grow all of our parties. I, also, was so adamant that the Elections would be precisely legal, that I worked with the SOS and 2 County Clerks, to make sure we had all the rules correctly interpreted. They were not, but we fixed it.

I was elected to receive the State Party District's Volunteer of the Year Award and accepted it at a dinner in Austin. I met the Lt. Governor and the next Governor, as well as many wonderful Republicans, at the dinner.

I held the position for most of the time between 2010 and 2020 with the exception of 2 years when I went to work for a State Representative. After convincing us both that I could do both jobs well as the same time, I was re-appointed to the Chair position by the County Executive Committee. I held the Vice Chair position twice under the first Chair and the current one. I was the first President of the local Party's Women's club which I tried to start...twice, but didn't last long, unfortunately. Bad timing, I think.

A funny thing happened on the way to a training in Austin. At the hotel where the training was to happen, I was asked by a friend to guard the entrance to a reception being held by a candidate for State Party Chair. Only ticket holders were to be allowed in, when the person doing that job, showed up. I was dressed in a black suit, black shoes, and was wearing my sunglasses at the time. And I was packin'..... I said, "Sure!" So I stood in the opening, with my legs apart a little and my arms crossed in front of me, you know, like the Security Guards do on TV shows. It was hilarious.

I could go on and on about my Party experiences, but this isn't about that.

In 2016 or so, I organized the National Day of Prayer in our county and recruited a few friends to help. We held one in the main town that year, then increased our volunteers to add one more each year until we had an event in each of 4 towns in our small county. It was great!

Then came the wildfires for a couple of years. One that I helped with was one in West Texas that killed several people. Ranchers were shooting burned and burning cattle and needing hay and feed to give to the survivors. I organized a hay collection and then joined with a friend to arrange delivery of hay to the ranchers there. It was an awesome experience. My husband and I even took his truck out there to deliver a load.

The next year, it seemed like most of our county was on fire and a lot of the rest of our state. Our volunteer forces are not big, but everyone shows up when needed, including the communities around here. As the Safety Director set up a community building to receive and distribute goods to the firefighters and people that lost their homes within the county, I volunteered to help.

It was so heartbreaking. Wonderful stories come from these horrific events, however. My husband and another truck driver were way out of the area when they heard about the fires. Both were firefighters and both rushed to deliver their loads and rush back here. As soon as my husband drove into the staging area without even coming home first, the Fire Chief told me that he immediately recognized his silhouette and knew he had a driver to take a water truck where they badly needed it. No one else could drive the truck. He was ecstatic when he was telling me. I can only imagine the tears when he saw him. The fires were so bad that the governor released the lines that held other fire departments from coming to help. Those men, along with ours had already been fighting fires for days and still volunteered to come help our little county. My turn for tears from a grateful heart. I wrote a story about the fires (combining my experiences during 2 different fires.) The fire chief read it and had it published in one of their fire magazines. You may read it here April 10, 2009-Day 2 of the Wildfires.

Then came Hurricane Harvey. A friend and I arranged a collection site for diapers, clothes, etc. and held an auction to raise money to send to victims. We did pretty well, with lots of bottled water and quite a bit of money being donated. We took all but the money to a church near Beaumont, then sent the money to a little town on the coast. People are so good to help those in need.

My job with the Representative was filled with Wonder Woman qualities like fighting for justice, peaceful resolutions before conflict, using truth as a weapon and fighting evil, defending and uniting humanity. One case, in particular, stands out here. A young man was diagnosed with an incurable disease but had one potential option to live a relatively normal life using a drug that was so new and expensive, that it was not really affordable without the help of the State Medicare/Medicaid system. The problem there, was availability and affordability The solution sounded simple, "Get the drug store and insurance companies to sign a contract and the State will support it." Getting them to sign a contract was difficult due to the extremely high cost of the drug, and the State's different departments and private companies are, at times, hard to figure out who, exactly, is responsible.

After speaking with the drug manufacturer in Japan and in New Jersey, everything finally worked out, although not because of the manufacturer. I think they probably would have stepped in, if necessary. The contract was signed and the medication cycle began. The young man improved over time, but will never be cured. It was a long and difficult process, getting everyone on the same page to get this done. I was known as the Miracle Worker after that within our little group at work. I don't know about that part, but I did get to know the family who are wonderful, deserving people of a little more time with their father and husband.

Finding an end to my Story will not happen until I'm gone, so know that I, like Wonder Woman, am a Fighter for don't get me started on politics...!

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