AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Unassuming, with a soft voice. You might not notice Meri Lyn Odell in a crowd, but perhaps that’s what’s so special about her. Because of the work this remarkable woman does, thousands of students get to live remarkable lives of their own.
“I came to work at the police department and Mary Hill was the dean at the time– she said ‘I’ll put ya there for six months and then I’ll get you out,'” said Odell.
That was more than three decades ago.
As the clery compliance officer for West Texas A&M University, Meri Lyn is responsible for a host of things related to campus safety and security.
She’s so good at what she does, she received national accolades as the 2019 Clery Compliance Officer of the Year.
“I feel like we can’t be lulled to sleep thinking that it’s not gonna happen to us or that it’s not gonna happen on our campus, but we have a lot of things in place that provide safety,” Odell said.
Safety on the campus is paramount for her. She knows some students come from small towns and WT can be a big change.
“We can give them the information of what services are available on campus. We can provide that safety for them, how to reach out and make a police report,” said Odell.
You can tell she takes her job seriously, that she’s a mom to the more than 10,000 students at WT. Which is fitting because as great as she is in her professional life.
Her eyes really light up when she talks about her family. Her husband of 37 years wrote a letter nominating her for this recognition…
After two kids and four grand-kids, what’s remarkable about Meri Lyn is how she’s found a way to do it all.
“We met so young; we often laugh– how did we do this? I just didn’t know there was any other way– we just did it,” said Odell.
Her life’s narrative: a story not too different from many, but remarkable in its beauty, in its humble nature, and its consistent service her community.
“I never would have guessed I’d be in law enforcement or doing the things I’m doing. They gave me an opportunity and you just move forward,” said Odell.
Meri Lyn has also volunteered in victim assistance through Family Support Services.
West Texas A&M University’s Police Department and friends host an annual Be the Match bone marrow registry drive for students, employees and the community in loving memory of Nora Lyn Williams (granddaughter of UPD employee Meri Lyn Odell). The drive happens annually in November. Registration involves a simple cheek swab.
Did you know? Most bone marrow donations involve a non-surgical outpatient procedure to collect blood stem cells via the bloodstream! Learn more at BeTheMatch.org/DontHopeAct.
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