Lett retires after 31 years
By BY LYDIA GRIMES Feature Reporter
She has been working that long at the Escambia County Extension Office in one position or another.
She began working with the service as a typist not long after her graduation from Jefferson Davis Junior College, and worked her way up the job ladder to her present position.
Lett was a newlywed when she started at the office. What she learned helped not only with her children, but also came in handy later on when she had to help care for elderly parents when they became disabled.
When Lett started at the extension, there were only seven people working in the office. Over the years that number has gone up to 30. In fact, it expanded so much they opened Hope House in downtown Brewton.
It operates under the umbrella of Alabama Cooperative Extension Systems.
They are able to help with cooking, health news, gardening and many other useful daily living knowledge. Many people have grown up with the system being a main part of their training and education.
The extension's job is to get information from Auburn, Alabama A&M and Tuskegee University to educate the public. They have many programs. Once, one of the biggest was the 4-H Club.
Years ago, there was a much greater number of youngsters taking 4-H in school than there is now. In the 50s and 60s, 4-H Clubs were very prevalent in schools that had youngsters coming from the farms and in the urban schools as well.
Times have changed, and there are not as many farm families as there once were. Other programs have taken over, but one thing has stayed constant -- all extension programs cover family needs. Agents educate on food and health.
Lett handles finances for many projects including payroll.
Ora Lett was born in the Mason community, located on the Andalusia highway. She had two brothers and one sister and had two other relatives that were raised by her family.
She attended school at Mason, Boykin, Southern Normal and graduated from W.S. Neal in 1970.
I got a job working at AAA Truck Lines," she added, "and I had to handle a lot of invoices that had to be put in order numerically. I decided that it was a job that I didn't want to do the rest of my life."
She attended Jefferson Davis Junior College for the next two years and graduated with an associate's degree in science in 1972. During the time she was going to the college, she worked at Brewton Elementary School and at the Soil Conservation Service at the courthouse.
After graduation from Jefferson Davis Junior College she got her first job at the Extension Service and within a short while she married Forest Lett.
They became the parents of a daughter, KeScharnae LaForrest Lett, in 1976, and a son, Forrest B. Lett III, in 1987. Her daughter is now working on a nursing degree from Ed Reid State Technical College in Evergreen. Her son is attending T.R. Miller High School in the tenth grade. She also has a granddaughter, MyKeicia who is in the first grade at Brewton Elementary School.
After 31 years of working the same job, she plans on taking time for herself and and doing some of the things she wants to do.
She stays busy now as the wife of a pastor. Her husband, Forrest Lett, is the pastor of Greater First Baptist Church of Cantonment, Fla.
She likes to shop, and much of her shopping is done online. She loves antiques and although she doesn't have very many pieces, she loves to look at them.
Ora Lett may be retiring from the Alabama Cooperative Extension System, but she will remain in touch with her fellow coworkers.