Meet Raquel Poe, Account Clerk
Finance: it's something a lot of us don't like to think about, but it's an undeniably necessary part of our adult lives. Paying the water bill, taxes, and keeping up with our day to day spending is something you get used to, especially when you become totally independent. But even when you're out on your own, you still need a little help every now and then, especially when any sort of issue comes up with your payments. That's where the Town of Pulaski counts itself lucky.
Our Finance Department is staffed by some of the loveliest ladies you'll ever get to meet. They're incredibly helpful, and kind to a fault. But that only serves to make their jobs easier, both for them and for those of us who have to pay them a visit every now and then.
Raquel Poe, one of our Account Clerks, has been working with the Town of Pulaski for the past twelve years. She started out as a temp, handling some of the more lax day to day office responsibilities in the Finance Department. Soon after, she was offered a position as an Account Clerk, and she's stayed in that position. She enjoys her work, but just like any customer service job, sometimes you have to know how to handle the public. "Sometimes it's not easy, and due to what goes on here you have to have someone making critical decisions. Those are usually handled by the big cheese" Raquel said, referring to her supervisor, Rebecca Leeper.
Speaking of her co-workers, Raquel had nothing but great things to say about them. "It's so much fun working with all of them, and because of our age ranges, we get a lot of different perspectives on different things that go on in our lives. I wouldn't trade it for anything in the world." Out of the eight ladies who work in Finance, three of them have been with Raquel since she was offered her position as Account Clerk. Spending so much time with the same ladies has made Raquel's workday so much more than just work; she counts these women as her sisters.
Raquel isn't the only person working with the Town of Pulaski who has a New York accent. Her sister, Marion Wojcik, is the Administrative Secretary for the Town Manager. She's actually the reason Raquel moved to Pulaski. "Marion is the reason I came here, for sure. We are so shockingly close, she's my be all to end all." Marion is the older sister by 18 months, even though she likes to tell people Raquel is older. "She likes to say she had a great life until I came along."
Raquel and her sister aren't from New York; they were actually born in Radford, and moved to New York a few years later. Marion moved back to Pulaski in 2003, and shortly after convinced Raquel to follow her. Something about the area just stood out to them, and while they loved the city life, small-town life in Pulaski was calling to them. Raquel loves it here, but there are downfalls to living in such a small community. "You hear about more sad things in a small town than you do in a city. Death is a big thing, when you develop a relationship with these customers in Finance. And, you know, you may not have a personal relationship with these people, but when they call every month, and they hear your voice, you still get to know them very well," Raquel said. When asked if she would ever move back to New York, she responded with a definite no. "My parents are here now, and it's a comfortable life and I've made a lot of friends here, especially here at work." In New York she worked at a data processing company that handled all of the material for the New York Stock Exchange, and compared to that, work life in Pulaski is a bit less hectic.
There are quite a few differences between life in New York and Pulaski, as you might expect. More activities, food and options for just about everything make New York one of the biggest vacation destinations in the world for a reason. But on the other hand, the peacefulness and quiet of Pulaski will often give you things that New York never could. Raquel's favorite thing about living in Pulaski is without question her family. She holds that gift above anything else, and she wouldn't change it for anything.
One big side effect of spending so much time in New York is the accent. People love to ask Raquel about her ‘Yankee' accent, and she says it doesn't bother her one bit. "I love that people still do that and I love that I still sound this way. And I honestly enjoy when people want to hear me say coffee or water or hot dog. It is kinda funny." Her son Alex, who is in his last year of high school, has grown up with a bit more of the southern accent. And her significant other Darrell is a full blown country boy.
After work, Raquel likes to unwind by spending some quality time with Darrell, Alex and her puppies, Harlo, Taco and Winston. If it's the weekend, every now and then they'll hop on their motorcycle and just go for a ride. Similar to Sarah Grim who I interviewed last week, Raquel loves horror movies. "If I had to pick my favorite, it would probably be Halloween. But I love ‘em all. Friday the 13th is really good, and the IT movies are awesome. I'm terrified of clowns, but for some reason IT (Pennywise) never scared me." Lastly, I had to ask her about that most delicious pizza topping, pineapple. "I've never tried it, but I wouldn't say no." I'll be bringing a pineapple pizza in soon for Raquel to try, and look forward to getting her on my side of the pineapple debate.
As Raquel continues to put forward her amazing personality and attitude in the workplace, the Town of Pulaski will continue to cherish her presence in the Finance Department. She and the other ladies there bring a smile to everyone's face in the office, and even if you pay them a visit with a complaint, you'll leave in a better mood than when you came in.