People of Etowah – Robin Wilson


Name: Robin Wilson

Where were you born and raised?

“Born in Talladega County, lived in Calhoun County from ages 4-12, moved to Etowah County at age 12. It’s certainly home!”

What is your occupation?

“Well that has changed recently. I worked in Substance Abuse Prevention up until this past September, when I accepted a position in accounting within the same organization, CED Mental Health Center. I may not be young, but I like learning new things! It’s been great, too. I work with the absolute nicest people!”

What made you decide to work in your field?

“The prevention work went hand-in-hand with my education and counseling degrees. This new opportunity came out of the blue, but I love change and chances, so I went for it and I’m glad I did!”

Tell us about your family and pets.

“I have two daughters, my father, a brother and his family in South Alabama, two grand dogs and a 13-year-old Yorkie named Riley.  My elder daughter, Lindsey McFarland lives in Rainbow City with her husband Rhys, my favorite son-in-law, and their rescue dog Roxie, a husky/corky mix; picture that. My younger daughter, Leah is in graduate school at Auburn and will be married to Wesley Rhodes next December. They, too, are the proud owners of a rescue named Lily. My father Robert Williams lives in Rainbow City as well. With the growth and traffic in Rainbow City, I can walk to his house as quickly as I can drive there now! I must say that I have friends that are family as well, ßand they are immensely important to me.”

Describe an average day in your life.

“Weekdays: up very early, lots of coffee, work at 8 a.m. (or thereabouts). I put out lots of fires with various aspects of my job and crunch lots of numbers. Not exciting reading, I know. Weekends are full of making up for working all week!  Friends, family, fun and Auburn football in the fall!   And now, I am working on planning Leah and Wesley’s wedding.  I can honestly say that I am never bored.”

What school or schools have you attended?

“Graduated high school at Southside, received B.S. degree from Auburn and masters degree from Jacksonville State.”

What do you like to do in your free time?

“Assuming there is any, I love to read, play the piano, shop, paint, attend live performances of just about anything, plan events, play mah jongg, photography, movies, rearrange furniture  – the list is endless.  I love my calligraphy work and learning different lettering styles. Recently, I found five minutes and set up the first of what I hope is many monthly meetings of the “girls” from my high school graduating class. But lastly, my favorite way to spend free time is with my girls. We always have fun together!”

What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?

“I’ve raised two kind and independent daughters. That was a personal goal that has been accomplished. I believe when you help a person to become independent, you help them to be not only successful but happy with themselves, and that translates into them also being kind to others. They aren’t only my greatest accomplishment, but my greatest joy! ”

Name the one person that has been the most influential in your life. Why?

“To name one person is impossible, as I believe would be for most people.  The first thjings that come to mind are  my 4th grade teacher, Mrs. Land that tried to help me understand perfection is not always necessary. My high school band director, Tony Traylor, that taught me to lay out the positives and negatives when faced with a difficult decision.  From my Grandmother White – I’m still trying to channel her patience. From Grandmother Williams I did pick up the love of laughter – especially when someone falls. My father helped me to become decisive and gave me his work ethic that has served me well in so many areas. And my mother’s love of music and creativity gives me pleasure every day.”

Are you involved in any service organizations?

“A few years ago I chose to reenter the working world after my father pointed out that I had held every non-paying/volunteer position in town.  A bit of a stretch but I decided he had a point! But before I began working full-time after many years, I spent much of my time volunteering in both service and social organizations. I served as President/Chairman for the following: Gadsden Service Guild, Theatre of Gadsden, Eura Brown PTA, Gadsden Middle School PTSO, Antiquarian Society, Regency, Autumnal and Bal d’Or Dance Clubs as well as various committees, church positions, etc. I am happy to continue as a member of some of these groups as well as my sweet Wildwood Hills Garden Club and a few others. I look forward to some new endeavors as well, as time allows.

What is your favorite thing about this community?

“My favorite thing is that no matter what the cause, the people in our community rally and come to the aid of those in need. We are definitely a community of givers”

What would you like to see change in the community?

“I work for CED Mental Health Center, so I see the need that is there for those affected by mental illness. There is a need for understanding, education and services that are available. I would like to see the community educated so that the struggles and stigma these individuals face might be lessened. It may be helpful for the county commissioners and the city councils to consider how to address this issue. Another area of concern is one that every community in our country struggles with – drug use/abuse. The pitfalls are many and law-abiding citizens are at a loss as they try to understand and protect their family members and property. The criminal activity is directly related to the increase in drug use. This is another area of concern for our leaders and politicians as we are all witness to the increase in crime. I’ve often wondered how it affects the economy.  I’m sure I’m not alone when I choose not to shop in the evening hours. I hear others talking about that frequently. This gives further boost to online shopping as opposed to spending with local vendors.”

What are three words that describe you?

“Positive, busy and confident.”

What is something surprising that many do not know about you?

“I’ve been doing calligraphy for brides for more than 30 years. My dining room table is frequently filled with hundreds of envelopes waiting to be addressed. While the calligraphy is an old-school interest, I also love new tech gadgets. My current favorites are the different lenses I got for Christmas that goes on my Iphone. I also like politics and have enjoyed working on some local campaigns in the past. I am a follower of what’s happening in the political arena, but don’t care to open that can of worms now.”

What is your favorite quote?

“Do what you’re good at.”

What is on your bucket list?

“Time to do the things on my bucket list is number one. A few others are: go to the movies without eating the popcorn (more of a dream); brush up on my piano skills; play in an orchestra again; own an event venue; work on the genealogy of my family; read and travel more; go to a Dallas Cowboys football game; good health for many years to come; and maybe run for local political office – maybe.”

What is your hidden talent?

“I can recite the alphabet backwards – quickly!”

If a movie were made about your life, who would you want to play you?

“Since high school I was told I looked like Kate Jackson, so maybe she would be a good choice. 

What advice would you give yourself as a child?

“Don’t be a ‘people pleaser.’ It’s okay to say “no” and you don’t owe people an excuse when you do.”

If you would like to nominate someone for the People of Etowah column, email or call 256-547-1049.

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