80-Year-Old Goes Back To Work

At the age of 80, Bettie Roberts of Kilgore has gone back to work. In fact, it's her first salaried job, ever.

She's the one most Kilgore residents see when they pay their water bill at city hall. She's been there nearly a month.

For 23 years, Bettie owned the Kilgore Trading Post. She enjoyed it, but it did not provide her an income. "I'm 80 years old. I was not making a living at the store. I'm on social security and that just wasn't working," says Bettie.

Bettie went to STEP, that stands for Senior Texans Employment Program. They provide work training opportunities for seniors with a poverty level income. "It's a good program. People who need to go to work who are 55 and older should investigate it."

Within a few weeks, Bettie had several job interviews including the one here at Kilgore city hall. She takes payments for water bills. "It was the perfect opportunity. I just love it here."

Bettie does what she knows and loves. She works with people everyday, and calculators. But there is one bit of technology that presents a bit of an obstacle for her. "That computer. This computer business, I haven't learned yet. But, I do work on it some."

After just a few weeks, co-workers say Bettie has really caught on and is doing a superior job. Bettie started by working 20 hours a week, but now that's already been increased to 30 hours. Bettie says, despite her age, she enjoys every minute of it.

The Senior Texans for Employment Program is a state-wide effort. To find out more on the program, call your local Texas Workforce Commission.

Amy Tatum, reporting. atatum@kltv.com