This is the third in a series of stories during Black History Month. Stories will run each week in February. Nominate an individual who is making an impact on his or her community by emailing a brief description and contact information to email@example.com.
Community activists come in different forms.
Some command attention and respect because of their titles, creating change from within the government. Others use their dynamic personalities to claim the spotlight and motivate others.
Many, though, lead through their day-to-day routines, never knowing how what they do and what they say impacts the community.
That, Lawrence County chief assistant district attorney Bob Lang said, describes Kay Walker.
“Kay runs the worthless check unit, serves as receptionist and secretary, maintains the office inventory, assists the auditors, maintains our checking accounts, prepares and files legal pleadings and deals with merchants, victims and other members of the public on a daily basis,” Lang said.
For the past 30 years, Walker, a life-long Moulton resident, has worked with the Lawrence County revenue commissioner and district attorney offices. She serves as a link between the government and the people.
“Our office deals with some of the worst problems that our society faces. Often the people that we come into contact with need a compassionate person to hear what they have to say. Kay does that,” Lang said. “She has quietly served the citizens of Lawrence County by doing her many duties and has made Lawrence County a better place to live.”
Humbly, the 52-year-old Walker dismissed the compliments. She just performs her job.
“I treat people fair and just, like my mother taught me to,” she said. “If I have an impact on the community I don’t realize it. I guess you never know who’s watching you. You have to be careful about the things you do and the things you say because you never know what impact you can make.”
After graduating from Lawrence County High School, Walker began her work with the Lawrence County government, starting in the revenue commissioner’s office. While working the full-time job, she earned a paralegal degree from Calhoun Community College.
“We all set our personal goals in life. This was something I wanted to do and I was driven to accomplish it,” said Walker, who moved to the district attorney’s office after earning her degree.
Walker credits her mother, Mary Sue Walker, who died in 2001 from lung cancer, for shaping her into the woman she is today.
By working in a sewing factory, for the health department and as a teacher’s aid for children with special needs at Moulton Elementary School, Walker, a single mother of three, taught her children hard work, the importance of religion — they never missed a Sunday — and treating people with respect.
“Kay is a product of her raising. Her mother was a very special and much-loved member of our community,” Lang said. “Kay and her brother and her sister reflect the values of hard work and community service that her mother exemplified.”
Along with her mother, Walker pointed to Sunday school teachers, pastors and a close-knit Moulton community for teaching her the importance of service.
One of the longest-serving employees at the Lawrence County Courthouse, Walker has worked as a child support coordinator and the worthless check coordinator under district attorneys Tim Littrell, Jim Osborn and Erreck Jett.
After serving the Lawrence County government and people for 30 years, Walker could retire. She could, but she won’t.
“I love my job and the people I work with. I enjoy the people I get to meet,” Walker said. “I just treat people the way I would want to be treated. Be nice, be considerate, greet people with a smile. Sometimes all a person needs is a smile.”
Catherine Godbey can be reached at 256-340-2441 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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