Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

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Thirty years of service
Doris Ross celebrates 30-year anniversary with Choctaw Nation

By CHRISSY SHEPARD Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma

DURANT, Okla. – Not many people that have worked in the same job for 30 years can love their job and be as happy as tribal employee Doris Ross, director of Choctaw Nation Housing Authority’s Rental Assistance Program.

Unlike many employees at the Choctaw Nation, Doris hasn’t worked in various departments throughout her time as a tribal employee — she has proudly worked for Housing Authority all 30 years.

Doris said her job keeps her interested, and she is never bored. “Every day is different,” she added. “You can talk to different people all over, and even across the United States, which is interesting. It never gets boring.”

Her coworkers are one of her favorite parts about her job. “If I’m not talking to people who call me, I’m helping my coworkers,” Doris said. “The Housing Authority is like my family, we’re just one big happy family.”

Doris’ job duties vary, including taking care of reports to return to her executives, the tribe and her staff as well as monitoring her staff, answering questions for people who need help and call for assistance.

She said the main purpose of her department is to assist low-income families within the 10 ∏ counties with their rent.

“Since I’m a tribal member, it satisfies me to work for my tribe,” she said. “It’s been very rewarding to do that in the position I am in.” Her ability to speak Choctaw fluently is helpful with her day-to-day interactions and makes her a valuable employee for the Nation. “I speak Choctaw, so that helps me to assist the elders of our communities,” she said. “We still have elders who come in that don’t speak English or who aren’t comfortable speaking English, so I’m kind of an interpreter.”

Through her years working for Housing, Doris has been involved in helping a lot of people, and she said that it has been a rewarding experience. “Everybody has needs, and I can relate to all of their needs,” she said. “It’s nice to have someone you can go to and get those needs taken care of.” Doris said she is blessed to have great bosses as well. She worked with Assistant Chief Batton when he was an employee of Housing years ago, and she had nothing but good things to say about Chief Pyle. “I like both of them, they’re just wonderful,” she said, glancing at her 25-year anniversary photo with Chief and Assistant Chief hanging on her office wall. “They’re good people, and I like working for good people. I’ve always enjoyed those two guys.”

Doris said her experience as a tribal employee has been fulfilling and a great part of her life for 30 years, especially when she knows she has helped someone.

“Getting a thank you from someone we have worked really hard for, saying they’ve made it through their college years and telling us they don’t need our help anymore and thanking us for helping them, that makes us feel really good, when we’ve helped someone make a great accomplishment.” She said she is thankful for the relationships she’s formed through working for Housing.

“All my days here are good days,” she said, smiling. “I’ve seen a lot of people coming through, and it seems like all of them were good employees. I think my department is a good department.”

Doris’ hobbies outside of the office include playing Bingo, crocheting, pottery and basket weaving.

She also has a large family with whom she loves spending time. “I have 13 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, so somebody always has a birthday,” she said, telling about how every month, her big family gets together for a birthday party. “It doesn’t matter how old that child is, we always have a party, we always have fun. I enjoy being with my family.”

Doris said she would recommend any young person seeking employment to apply to work for the Choctaw Nation. “They have so many advantages for young people and chances for advancement,” she stated.

“The benefits are so great, and I strongly push young people to seek tribal employment. Everybody is good to them, it doesn’t matter where down the line that person comes in at, everyone will welcome them, and it trickles on down.”

Doris has been an essential employee all her 30 years working for the tribe, and the fact that she loves her job and enjoys every day at the office with her fellow employees she calls friends, makes her a special worker. “I love it and I enjoy it,” she said. “I guess that’s why I’ve been here for 30 years. I’m 70 years old, and I’m still not ready to go yet.”