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Mission Accomplished

By Floyd Miller



The Housing Authority’s mission is to service the needs of low-income, very low-income and extremely low-income families in the Public Housing Authority’s jurisdiction and to:  increase availability of decent, safe, sanitary and affordable housing in its communities;  ensure equal opportunity in housing;  promote self-sufficiency and asset development of families and individuals; and,  improve community quality of life and economic viability. In addition, the Housing Authority will strive to upgrade sub-standard housing {{more}} through construction and modernization and to provide quality home ownership which will build stronger and healthier communities while promoting economic independence. Monday April 30th was Ms. Roberta Thompson last day as Director of Housing for the City of Abilene. On April 27th she hosted her own retirement party for her staff and friends. Instead of being honored she wanted to honor those individuals who had been faithful to her and meant so much to housing. I arrived at the Earl Williams Place Apartments about 11:30, the room was beautiful decorated and Ms. Roberta Thompson greeted me wearing a chef’s aporn. She along with her friend Brenda Van Dunk, and some of her friends from housing were in a joyful mood as they waited for the guest to arrive. I talked with Ms. Thompson about her career and her retirement plans. Roberta said, ” My dad always told me to give a man his due.” She said she felt like she accomplished that by being fair to her employer and the people she served. The thing that she was most pride of was serving without compromising her integrity. When I asked her about retirement plans she said ” No one ever retires from God.” so she plans to continue to serve him and ” eventually go to heaven.” In the meantime she said traveling is a priority, she may go to law school and she’s also thinking about ways to help the less fortunate. There was a steady stream of well wishers they just kept comming. This was truly a multi-cultural gathering. I asked a few of those gathered to share a few thoughts about Roberta. I found Walter Van Dunk of New York in the kitchen frying fish , he had made a special trip for the celebration. He said ” Roberta is bossy, but I don’t think you can find a more God loving or caring person.” Jackie Williams longtime housing employee said ” Roberta is a visionary, a wonderful woman, warm hearted generous an encourager.” ” she will push you to reach your potentail. Can’t imagine housing without her she has big shoes to fill. Don’t believe her shoes can be filled.” Tonya Johnson with housing authority ” Roberta Thompson is Housing, once she leaves her shoes will be hard to fill. She is a wealth of knowledge and will really be missed.” Anita Stevenson former co-worker ” When Roberta wore red to staff meeting you better be ready because it was strictly business, Roberta was not good at making coffee after draining the pot.” Stevenson finished her conversation by saying ” Roberta’s good, she’s fair an advocate for the low-income. The city will know Roberta Thompson is gone.” Ronnie Kidd She’s a great lady…. Big Shoes to fill.” Dale Barthelemy Housing Commissoner and resident of Earl W.Williams Place Apartments –. he said it would be a big job finding a replacement and felt like they may have to look to the larger cities such as Dallas, Houston and Austin. Earl Williams former Housing Commissoner Chairman he worked as a commissoner 20 plus years. ” He said Roberta is terrific, she is housing , Roberta knew the rules , she was the best adminstrator and she will be tough to replace.” Mary Island – Housing Authority Commissoner ” She has served well, she has run a great operation. Her properties are beautiful and well maintained. She is known and respected through the state and nation. Her program is one of the best. She is dedicated to the tentants and put their welfare above her own. She knows housing througly, she came up through the ranks. She is knowledgable and know the rules and regulations as set forth by HUD. I asked Mrs. Island if she was looking forward to searching for a replacement ? She said it would have to be done experditously. ” We will be searching throughout the nation. She will be hard to replace ” Island said this is difficult because they will be trying to replace a person with a ” Dynamic personality, deep skills great contacts. Plus she never lost sight of the mission.” . One of the programs Roberta was responsible for bringing to Abilene was the Family Self-Sufficiency Program. Their motto is Giving a “hand up ” instead of “hand out” by promoting and encouraging participants to become self-sufficient. Here are a few testimonials from the City’s web-site concerning this program. Rebecca went from $ 0 income to $21,000 annually after successfully completing Radiation Technology training. Laura earning $12,890 annually, now earns $22,000 annually after earning a bachelors degree in teaching. Gabriella earning $10,296 annually, now earns $32,105 annually after successfully completing life skills training. Roberta’s party was a success there was fish for everyone. After Roberta finished serving the crowd it was time for her friends and co-workers to honor her. She received many wonderful gifts and she had just the right response as she opened them. As she stood there taking in the moment Frank Sinatra’s My Way came to mind. And if I was to lift one verse from that song it would be. For what is a man? What has he got? If not himself- Then he has naught. To say the things he truly feels And not the words of one who kneels. The record shows I took my blows And did it my way. Yes, it was my way. Congratulations Roberta, Mission Accomplished

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