PN’s Odom named Mother of the Year

Published 2:04 pm Thursday, May 11, 2017

PORT NECHES — Ria Odom isn’t much for fanfare and recognition.

Odom still goes about her work as a registered nurse at Christus St. Elizabeth Hospital in Beaumont as she has for more than 25 years. A busy mom and grandmother Odom enjoys being on the giving end rather than receiving end and all glory goes to God.

Her son Adam Odom was able to sum up the many reasons she deserves her newest title — Port Neches Mother of the Year.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“She truly cares for people all of the time and takes her job seriously not only as a nurse,” Austin Odom said via phone on Tuesday. “She tries to live for the glory of God in everything she does in work, home and the community.”

In his letter nominating Ria Odom for the honor, he cites numerous instances of her generosity and selflessness.

“A few years ago Ria met a missionary that started a medical clinic in Zambia that needed supplies,” he said. “She jumped into action gathering surplus equipment from local hospitals and selling T-shirts to raise money to transport the equipment.”

Ria Odom doesn’t see this as doing something above and beyond the call of duty but as something she was called to do.

She told of how she had heard of Sherrie Bumstead with Bethany World Ministry and how Bumstead was on her church’s prayer list. Then one day she met the woman while at work. The woman, she said, told of how medical supplies were desperately needed in Zambia.

“I went through all of my contacts,” Ria Odom said.

She called upon people she’d met in her nursing career and elsewhere and “the Lord opened every door.”

She was able to procure an operation table and lighting that turned out to be the perfect lights for use in an operation room. Her husband Bill lent storage space to place all of the items until it was time to ship them off.

“We had tons of supplies from people who didn’t need these things anymore,” she said. “Maybe they (the items) seemed outdated to them. People gave from their hearts. We were able to fill a large container and what Sherrie couldn’t use in her Clinic of Hope was sent down the road to another clinic so there was a trickle down effect.”

Ria Odom is proud to have been able to help.

“When He puts stuff on my heart that’s all I can focus on. I’m consumed. And of all the children who benefitted from this, the patients and the stories she tells me. It warms my heart to know we’re part of it. God put us here to help others.”

Daughter Angela Brown said her brother summed it up well in his nomination letter to the Port Neches Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re excited to celebrate everything she does,” Brown said. “Serving is her job and she does it well.”

In addition to her work, she also volunteers her time leading CPR certification classes for coworkers and church members at First Baptist Church-Port Neches. She has served on the school health advisory council for Port Neches-Groves ISD, is a recipient of the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nurses and Nurse of the Year at St. Elizabeth among many other accolades.

Odom was named the 2017 Port Neches Mother of the Year during RiverFest on Sunday. Her family concocted a story to get her to the park saying they wanted to take a family picture, she said. Son, Austin Odom wasn’t able to attend as he just moved to Gladewater where he is a youth minister so he Facetimed his family during the presentation. Odom’s daughter Angela Brown and her children Finley and Dakota and other family members were on hand for the celebration.