"Attitude is Everything"
Deborah Hodges Bagwell has always had a great attitude. Her
attitude was a key in helping her to become a Post Master for the U.S. Postal
Service in just fifteen years.
She and I attended Dora Elementary School at the same time in the late 50’s.
She got married in the 11th grade and quit school shortly afterwards, but
that was not the end of her education.
She worked with her mom at Randy’s Cream Cone restaurant in Dora.
At that time, Randy's made the best cheeseburger on the planet. It was there
that she learned an invaluable lesson from her mom. “Always do your
best at whatever job you undertake. Whether you're bussing tables or building
houses, always do your best,” her mom said. “If you do your
best, people will notice and you will do well with any job you undertake.”
Deborah took those words to heart and she has applied that work ethic through
Deborah resumed her education after her children reached junior high
school. “I could have gone to work earlier, but I always wanted
to be there for my kids,” she remembers. Once they were old
enough, she took classes at Bevill State and got her GED, but she
didn’t stop there. She started taking courses for college credit
and later transferred to Samford University studying Psychology and
Counseling. In a different time, she could have become a teacher there,
but in those days, her gender worked against her. She did leave there
with a certificate in counseling.
Deborah started with the U.S. Postal Service in 1991 in Empire. While she
has worked all over the state in post offices large and small, she remained
based out of Empire until this week. With her promotion, she will become
the Post Master of Ralph, Alabama which is a facility in Tuscaloosa County.
She was promoted because of her attitude and work ethic. “One of my
bosses said that I’m one of the few people on staff that knows the
inner workings of the postal service from top to bottom,” she recalls.
“I’ve been the Officer in Charge at Shannon, Garden City and
Empire,” she says. Deborah will be working on a special operations
project which will take her to facilities all over the state and very possibly
all over America training younger people on things that they don’t
teach in school. She is very excited about this opportunity. Her goal is
to become Post Master at Dora, but that probably not be anytime soon.
When Deborah was in school, she had one teacher at Bevill that really pushed
her harder than any before or since. Alesha Hultgrin, who taught English,
was instrumental in Deborah’s decision to continue on with her education.
“There were times that I didn’t like her very much, but she
pushed me into becoming a better student.”
Deborah still lives in the house in which she was raised. It’s on
Red Star Hill in the old part of Dora.
“I love this town,” she says proudly “it’s where
my husband Jim and I raised all three kids. I wouldn’t want to live
anywhere else.” Her kids are Charlee Ann Rogers, 30; Will Bagwell,
27; and Beth Bagwell 25. “All my kids attended Dora High and have
grown up to be great people and I am very proud of them,” she beams.
I asked Deborah what advice she has for
young people today and she said this: “It doesn’t matter what
job you have, apply your self and do the very best you can. Learn everything
you can because the things you learn in one job will often help you out
in other jobs.”
When I asked Deborah how she would like to be remembered she said something
very interesting: “I would like to be remembered as someone who
worked hard and was always of service to others.”
Good luck Deborah in your new position.