Our View: Thanks to the unseen, essential workers

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(Photo Credit: Alexa Epitropoulos)
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When readers get their copy of the Alexandria Times each week, their first impression is our front page – particularly the photos, stories and teasers about what’s inside.

When someone reads a particular story, they might take note of the byline and mentally credit the author. Or a reader might notice a particularly attractive advertisement and look up the name of Times Graphic Designer Lyvi Sieg – or members of our sales team – on the masthead that runs in our opinion pages.

Many people in Alexandria know members of the Times’ ownership group, who hear kudos and sometimes complaints about the paper when they’re out in the community.

However, it’s true at the Times and at many organizations that one of the most indispensable employees at the company is the least visible: the office manager or administrator.

Office managers are generally not out in the public representing the organization for which they work. Instead, they’re the person always in the office, holding things together. In the Times’ case, the office manager is the constant presence, as reporters and sales reps come and go to and from the office.

The Times’ current office administrator, Tina Franco, is wonderful. She cheerfully and willingly organizes us, revamping the processes and procedures we didn’t realize needed revamping, and she is a major asset to our team.

The Times was also blessed to have Pat Booth, who died on Sunday at age 83, as our office manager for 10 years.

Pat joined the Times in its early years, before any members of the current staff or ownership group were part of the paper. She handled a myriad of duties, from answering phones to handling call-in classified ads.

Pat was beautiful and took pride in her appearance even into her 80s, as she tooled around Alexandria in her tiny Mercedes sports car. She was also a character, and one of her favorite sayings was “These princess hands don’t do dishes,” which was an admonishment to those among us who would leave our dirties in the sink.

While greeting everyone who came into the office with a loud welcome or a joke, Pat was also resolutely loyal to the paper. She helped the Times weather some rocky early days en route to becoming established and successful.

Even in her later years, when walking became difficult and she had to work fewer hours, Pat got herself up the flight of stairs and into the Times’ office twice a week to contribute what she could. When she finally needed to retire and move to Utah to be with her family in late 2017, Pat left a significant void at the Times.

So we pay tribute to the Pat Booths of the world, those diligent, indispensable office managers – usually women – who do their jobs with pride and yet are generally unseen and often taken for granted. Thank you for all that you do.

And may Pat Booth herself rest in peace.

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