Lucy Molina, Railroad Commission employee and recipient of a statewide “community involvement” award, expresses herself and lifts others’ spirits through a caring heart and a sensitivity to others’ needs.
By Lana Cunningham
The teen-ager was 14, pregnant, and living with a man who physically abused her. When she would show up at Fort Stockton High School, Lucy Molina would shield the girl from other students so they wouldn’t see her bruises.
“I worked with the at-risk kids in the Fort Stockton school district,” Molina explained of how she met the student. “I would go knock on the doors of students that I knew would not get up for school. This was not required of me. I just did it on my own. I cared too much for them. I didn’t want them left behind.”
She tutored students on the side and built a rapport with them. Some eventually opened up and told her what was going on in their lives. Being a single mother of a young son, Molina couldn’t stop herself from giving advice. To the pregnant teen, Molina told her, “Don’t give up on school. This is your only ticket out.” Molina moved to Midland not long thereafter and lost track of the student. But she never forgot the young woman.
That position was just the starting point on Molina’s road to selflessly serving others while raising her son and often working more than one job to pay the bills. In January 2011 she started employment with the Texas Railroad Commission in Midland, as Team Lead for administrative personnel. She has compiled a record of community service that ranges from sheltering homeless pregnant teens to working with developmentally disabled adults, from building the church youth program to volunteering at a nursing home. She loves the people who aren’t easy to love. Between her job and volunteer service, it’s easy to say that Molina accomplishes more in 24 hours than most people do in a week.
The Midland woman was recognized recently for the many ways she has touched lives. She was named the 2014 Statewide Outstanding Women in State Government Community Involvement Recipient. With her now grown son, Auden de la Rosa, accompanying her, Molina accepted the award during a reception in Austin. Commissioner David Porter, a former Midlander, said, “Ms. Molina provides an amazing example of the impact one person can have in their community outside of their day job.” Chairman Christi Craddick added, “As someone who grew up in Midland, I congratulate Ms. Molina for exemplifying the outstanding spirit of generosity found in West Texas.” Molina said she follows her heart. “I just ask ‘where am I needed?’ and these ideas just come to me.”
Not long after moving to Midland, Molina felt led to help with Special Olympics. She contacted the Midland Association for Retarded Citizens and asked what she could do to help these developmentally challenged adults. “I love these people. Most of the time they are very loving; it’s an unconditional love. I don’t see their problems. I look past all that.”
On many Saturdays she can be found giving manicures and pedicures to residents of Rockwood Manor nursing home in Midland. Again, she just felt the need to be there. To help with the cost of buying nail polish and hair clips and bows for the residents, Molina set a plastic pig on her desk with the words “Nail Fund” on it. Recently, a field worker brought her a steel piggy bank he had designed and welded 30 years ago. “Here’s your new nail fund,” he told Molina and placed the pig on the floor in her office.
“These people just want someone to talk to,” Molina said of the residents. “Sometimes they tell the same story over and over. I paint their nails and I put bows or clips in their hair. I just do basic things while they are sitting there,” she said. Molina’s giving a few minutes of attention to each one adds a ray of life to their day.
It was by accident the woman who is now a grandmother of two found herself and her sister in charge of the youth group at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. “We were doing youth retreats at our church. Then we were asked to do these retreats in other states like Colorado and New Mexico. These kids don’t want to be there and we do dances and songs to get them to open up. They get to know God and this changes their lives.”
One night at her church someone tried to mix the youth in with the adult Bible study. It didn’t work. “My sister and I went with the youth group,” she explained. Before they knew it, the group was growing from the five they first taught three years ago to 90 teens today. “They had to give us a bigger building at the church,” Molina said with a laugh.
On Tuesday nights, Molina and her sister, along with eight core team members, prepare topics for teaching the youth. Recently, Molina was in charge of “The Wedding Feast” story in the Bible. The adults planned a candlelight meal and the hall was festive with wedding decorations and a wedding cake. Molina talked to the 70 teens who showed up about the wedding feast of God. “I told them they have to prepare for church as they do for any special event, such as a wedding.” Parents tell Molina they are seeing a difference in their teens as a result of the Tuesday classes and the youth are willingly going to church on Sunday. “My feet were hurting so bad that night,” Molina said. She had been standing all day at the International Oil Show and then headed straight for the church where she stood on her feet all evening. “But I wasn’t tired,” she said with a smile as she recalled the teens’ response to the event.
Molina’s compassion for others emanates from her and seems to attract people who need some type of assistance. She has housed young people escaping troubling home situations. “It’s who I am,” she said. “People feel comfortable with me and know they can approach me. I care for everyone and put their feelings first.”
The RRC District Director, Santos Gonzales, Jr., P.E., described Molina as “upbeat, positive, and a motivator. We all have things going on in our lives, but her attitude is ‘Let’s get it done and let’s work as a team.’ Her attitude is a good example of the employees we have. “I don’t know how Lucy has time for what she does. We all think about doing things and that’s about as far as it gets. But not with Lucy. Helping others is her life.”
Molina always wondered what happened to that young pregnant teenager she met 15 years ago in Fort Stockton. The answer appeared recently. During a Bible study newcomers were asked to stand up and introduce themselves. A young woman at the back of the room, accompanied by a teen-aged boy, stood up and said she was there because of Lucy Molina.
“I have been looking for Lucy because I want to thank her for what she did. She saved my life. I graduated from high school, earned a bachelor’s degree and have a good job. When I met Lucy, I was thinking of giving up,” she said. “That was so rewarding,” Molina said. And that’s why she keeps on reaching out to help others.