A bit of advice once given to Shea Hall has turned out to be something that defines her: ”Show up early and stay late!”
Everyone who knows Shea will tell you that she lives by that motto, whether in her numerous volunteer gigs or as the former West Texas Regional Outreach Director for U.S. Senators Kay Bailey Hutchison and Ted Cruz.
Shea’s fingerprints are all over the nonprofit scene in Abilene. Among her varied areas of service–first and foremost an ambassador for Lawrence Hall Companies–Cancer Services Network, Dancing with the Abilene Stars, Hendrick Medical Center Foundation, Stick Horses and Capes, Texas Mission of Mercy, Ben Richey Boys Ranch, Expo Center, Abilene Country Club board and Development Corporation of Abilene.
A native of Friona in the Texas Panhandle, Shea graduated from West Texas State University (now West Texas A&M) in Canyon in 1988. She moved to Abilene in 1995 and married Larry Hall in 2011. He died July 25, 2022. When Shea retired from her senate work in 2019, her boss at the time, Sen. Ted Cruz, wrote a tribute, which was read on the Senate floor. He summarized Shea’s years of service and concluded with the following:
“Thank you, Shea, for your work, your determination, your passion, your patriotism, and your love for Texas. Texas says thank you. God bless you.”
WHAT MAKES ABILENE UNIQUE?
The people! Abilene is blessed with all kinds of citizens that are talented, caring, open-minded and overachievers…also known as doers! They always find a way to say YES to keep Abilene growing and prospering.
WHAT IS ONE OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES THAT ABILENE IS FACING?
We face the same obstacles that all cities face every day. The world is forever evolving and changing. Concise implementation of innovation results in progress and prosperity.
WHAT CAN THE ORDINARY CITIZEN DO ABOUT THAT?
They can stay informed and participate! We cannot expect everyone else to do what needs to be done. We are all responsible for making our city forever better.
THE LIST OF NONPROFITS YOU HAVE SERVED IS LENGTHY. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO VOLUNTEER BUT DOESN’T KNOW WHERE TO START?
Find your passion! I believe Abilene has more nonprofit organizations than any other town our size, so there is a place for all. Social media provides a direct line of communication with each nonprofit, so I would tell anyone who is interested to reach out to the nonprofit that stirs their passion and see what is available. Your volunteering and promoting makes the nonprofit successful. Always remember to lead by example and never ask someone to do something that you are not willing to do yourself! I received some sound advice from a successful nonprofit volunteer years ago and I have never forgotten it. He told me to never request something for free from a person, that it is how they make a living. Just ask for the best they can offer.
WITH YOUR EXTENSIVE LEGISLATIVE BACKGROUND, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE PEOPLE WHO MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN POLITICS, EITHER AS A CANDIDATE OR GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEE? WHAT ARE SOME OF THE UPS AND DOWNS?
Again, I would say “get involved in what matters to you personally.” There is no such thing as too many volunteers. If politics interests you, then find the elected office holder that you believe in and start volunteering. Some of the best jobs can come from someone volunteering their time. My work history with elected officials was purely organic. When I graduated from college, I had to get a job and the only place that I knew to go was Austin. My brother was there and he had great success in finding employment.
Politics is not for the weak at heart! It is time-consuming and far from glamorous. Whether you are a staffer or the office holder, you are always ON. Being elected means that you work for the people who voted for you and the voters need to know their voices are being heard and that their ideas are being considered. Technology and 24-hour news cycles have created a potential breeding ground for “fake news” and with that, a staffer or elected official has to be diligent in their communications with voters.
On the brighter side of politics, there is always the satisfaction of getting something accomplished that will change the city, county, state or our nation for the better. I personally found joy when I had the opportunity to positively assist Texans when they had problems or issues with governmental entities. Always trying to find a way to YES confirms that one has exhausted all options and they have done the best that they can do for others.
CURRENTLY READING: Honestly …. EMAIL and all the work comes with that.
FAVORITE HOBBY: cooking, decorating, hosting friends, volunteering and activities at the lake and in the mountains
FAVORITE DRINK: Georgia Peach Iced Tea from HTO
By Loretta Fulton
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