GC: Walk a mile in Gary Moses' shoes
Jan. 25, 2012 at 4:04 p.m.
Updated Jan. 24, 2012 at 7:25 p.m.
Gary Moses' planner is full of names, notes, times and other scratches that would appear meaningless to others.
The pages of each month begin nearly blank with things spread sparsely through the weeks and black out the page as calls begin to trickle in and appointments are confirmed.
"I try to keep everything in my calendar," he said. "I can't get to everything right away, but I make sure to write it down when I get a chance."
He owns an iPhone, equipped with an electronic calendar and access to hundreds of applications for time management, scheduling and reminders, but admits he uses it mainly for calls and emails. "It's remedial," he says as he holds up the device.
During a 40-year career at Patti Welder Middle School, including his years as a student, Moses built a reputation with the community as an educator and laid a foundation of skills that would help him after he moved out of Victoria's school system.
"When you're a teacher, you develop patience," he said about the skill that has helped him throughout his years of community work. "I have always been able to do a job, including all the things before and after it's completed."
That includes scheduling his time, knowing the details of the event, arriving on time and dressing the part. Moses keeps a pair of extra shoes, a jacket, disposable cameras and a box of tissues in his office - his black SUV - in case of emergencies or a change of venue.Also in the SUV is a filing system that consists of manila folders, which separate his backup files from his upcoming events and paperwork from bills and personal correspondence.
WILLING & ABLE
Moses began his career as a teacher at Patti Welder when he was 21. After earning his degree in education from Southwest Texas State in San Marcos, the Victoria native returned home and started what would become a legacy in the Crossroads.
"I had a lot of energy, and I wanted to fill my time with something," he said. "I did odd jobs, from sports to special events, helping to coordinate and helping to promote.
"Once the community knew you were willing and able to lend a hand, well, that's when it started to snowball."
Since then, he has never looked back. Members of the community can find him during events and his daily routine of shaking hands, saying "hello" and catching up with his former students and their families and other friends he's made along the way.
After turning the page on the Patti Welder chapter of his life in 2008, he moved on to doing public relations work at Citizens Medical Center. Not long after he left the life of teaching, he joined Citizens as a full-time representative. He said the job allowed him to do what he likes, which is obvious: He likes being around people.
"I'm a people-person. I love the people and the kids," Moses said, smiling. "I love working, and I love helping."
BENEATH THE EXTERIOR
Passers-by can see Moses, always dressed for work in a crisp, starched button-up shirt, adorned with a colorful necktie in a Windsor knot and tucked into pleated trousers. A watch that peeks out from his tailored sleeves, a Southwest Texas State class ring and round glasses complete his approachable appearance.
Under the impeccable attire, Moses is a man of God and thanks Him often with hands together and a brief look of praise toward the sky.
"I am very blessed," he says. "I have been blessed with good health, and the chance to go to all these different places and help."
Moses appears throughout the Crossroads for public and private events. In addition to his dedication to the community and his position at Citizens Medical Center, he serves on various boards and committees, working as the Crossroads Youth Football League commissioner as well as emcee, promoter, auctioneer and judge - for different contests, including barbecue cook-offs, Halloween costumes, parade floats, pageants, etc.
"I am honored to be asked" to help, he said. "I enjoy being there. I want nothing in return but the goodwill."
DAY OF GARY
There may be only 24 hours in a day, but for Moses, every day gets squeezed for every minute and second.
Depending on the night's events before his head of peppered hair hits the pillow, Moses may enjoy anywhere between 4 and 6 hours of sleep. Once he shakes the sandman's dust from his eyes, there's no time for lolly-gagging.
"I wake up at 4 a.m., 4:30 at the latest," he said. "There's always a lot to be done."
He wakes up in the morning, ready to confront the day and all its activities. First he begins by visiting local media outlets to help promote his events. Moses will deliver information for the community calendar with the local television station, star on the radio, and drop off calendar items or photos at the Victoria Advocate.
"It's part of my promotions to get the public informed," he said.
Once the events begin, he will usually work them back-to-back, driving from one to the next with just a brief moment in the car to sip his unsweetened tea in its giant Styrofoam Whataburger cup - Moses fuel.
Always on the go, he is rarely home long enough to get acquainted with his kitchen. Moses admits a little secret - he doesn't know how to cook.
"There's no time for it," he said, revealing a boyish smile. "I'll grab a bite on the road sometimes if I can, too."
Bouncing from event to event also means Moses doesn't have time for romance. While some people look to fill their lives with love and family, Moses said, he doesn't feel as if he's missing out.
"My work has given me the opportunity to do all the things I wanted to do," he said. "I have friends and family and I feel like the kids I meet through my former students are my children. My students are my children!"
ALWAYS A FAMILIAR FACE
Moses has spent a lot of time getting to know the community.
"Hi, Brother Gary Moses," or "I remember you a couple years ago." or "You were my teacher..." are a few familiar phrases he hears when he's working. And Moses will always respond with a firm handshake, a hug and a gleaming smile. There is rarely an event where he doesn't see a former student, someone he's worked with or a family member.
"If I don't know them, then I am getting to know them," Moses said. "I am making friends everywhere."
A longtime partner in community work, John Griffin Jr., heaped praise on Moses. "There is no low he won't go beneath," Griffin said. "He has no shame and will do anything." Having worked with Moses since the '70s, the two laugh and share anecdotes about the past. "We've been silly all our lives," Moses said.
Heather Walters Brown, sister to Cpl. Gary W. Walters and coordinator of Gary's Care Packages, said Moses has been a big help to the group's seven-year existence. "We don't even have to call him anymore," Brown said. "I think he's just everywhere."
The group has sent more than 1,200 packages to soldiers during the past six or seven years with the aid of promotions on radio waves, newsprint or the community calendar via Moses. One of the focuses of his community work is to reward servicemen and women for their dedication to their jobs, and Gary's Care Packages is one of many events, including Veterans Day, that Moses holds close to his heart.
The annual Texana Chili Spill in Edna is another event that pulls at his heartstrings because a large portion of its proceeds goes toward scholarships for the three schools in Jackson County.
"We make a fantastic team," said Kenneth Land, a committee volunteer with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and longtime friend of Moses. "I can't say in words what makes it work."
The two men judged the entries of the cookoff as they joked about past events, pointed out familiar faces and introduced each other to new people.
When his calendar closes and the events he visits are crossed off his list, Moses looks to the next day. In the comforts of his home, he'll turn the television on, not to watch but to listen to as he organizes paperwork for the events to come and pays bills.
"I don't get a lot of time to watch the game, so I listen for the scores," he said. "It helps me while I work."
This is his daily routine. Every minute that he can give to the community, he does. Without hesitating.
When asked about retirement, his answer is firm and sharp: "No."
He doesn't plan to slow down.
"As long as I have my health, I will be out there," he said. "I just love it."