Getting to know: School employee juggles family life, volunteering

Dianne Parker works for Portales Municipal Schools.

Background: Parker is from Nebraska but has lived in Portales more than 30 years. She and her husband, Scott, moved to Portales so he could take a coaching position here. Both she and her husband attended Eastern New Mexico University. They have two daughters.

Job: Parker is a purchasing agent for Portales Municipal Schools, where she also deals with insurance and transportation. She has worked at the school district for 25 years, the last four as a purchasing agent. She has been a Portales city councilor for the last 18 years.

Where do you volunteer? Roosevelt County Chamber of Commerce board, Altrusa and its sister high school organization ASTRA, Portales Women’s Club, Crime Stoppers, First United Methodist Church board of trustees, Juvenile Corrections Committee, Public Safety Committee and Beautification Committee.

How did you begin volunteering? Parker credits her upbringing, going back to high school, college and even before for instilling her volunteerism.

“My dad was the same way. He did a lot of that (volunteer work), and a lot of times we went out with him. I saw how grateful people were for the help they were getting.”

Why do you volunteer? “I was raised with a strong work ethic. I’m such a go-getter and organizer,” said Parker. “It’s so important to give back to the community.”

She says she’s the type of person who sits down in a committee meeting and the next thing she knows, she’s wound up heading the committee whether she has time or not.

She finds herself juggling her volunteer work with her professional and family life. Parker says doing that takes her away from her family more than she would like at times, but her husband and daughters are understanding.

Hardest lesson volunteering: When an organization works hard to put on an event for the community, and the participation and turnout is low. In particular, she notes low participation on the annual Trash Walk cleanup the city sponsors.

“All these great organizations come out and it’s still not enough,” Parker said.

Favorite memory of volunteering: “I really, really enjoy what I do through the Altrusa group. From Meals on Wheels to the Holiday Happenings, which raises money for local projects, it’s amazing how much difference we’re able to make.”

Quote or axiom that drives your volunteerism: “We are so blessed that we have what we have; anytime you have the opportunity to help out, you’ll benefit tenfold,” Parker said.

— Compiled by Freedom New Mexico Correspondent Karl Terry