BY JACLYN ROSE –
In the 1980’s, Sharon Chambers and her husband, Pete, were traveling from Oklahoma to their home in Mesquite, Texas, on highway 71 when they had a tire blow-out on their boat trailer in Mena. “It was a Saturday and Mr. Abbott at Coast to Coast opened his store and sold us a tire and told us how to fix it. Pete said, ‘this is a great place, we need to be here.’ We immediately subscribed to the papers and started looking into real estate,” explained Chambers.
The daughter of an Air Force father, and a Canadian mother, Chambers was born in Canada and is a dual citizen of both Canada and the United States. Her family moved frequently and she spent time in Germany, as well as several states, including Hawaii, before graduating high school in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Chambers went on to attend the University of Oklahoma for two years where she planned to obtain her nursing degree, and met her husband, Pete, a journalism major. The couple married the same month Pete graduated college in 1964, 50 years ago. “In marriage it’s important to go with the flow and compromise,” said Chambers.
On their honeymoon, the Chambers traveled to the Dallas area to look for a job. They settled in Mesquite, where they lived for 36 years. Pete wrote copy for advertisers and Sharon raised their three children, while also working part time for the Census Bureau as a supervisor and field interviewer. “I knocked on doors during the evenings and weekends and asked questions and collected data for the census bureau, all of the unemployment statistics that are given monthly are collected by the census bureau. I would also collect data such as health statistics,” explained Chambers.
After stumbling across the town of Mena in the 1980’s, the Chambers bought some land in the area and spent all their vacations for the next several years tent camping and fishing on their property. In 1997, the Chambers built a house in Mena to be used as their home upon retirement, and finally moved here in 2000. “Pete wasn’t quite ready to move yet and he didn’t think our house in Texas would sell so we put it on the market and it sold within a week, he still wasn’t ready so we moved into an apartment that would rent for three months at a time and I told him that he had three months,” said Chambers. The couple then moved to Polk County where they both continued their jobs for four more years before retiring.
Chambers is very involved in local volunteerism and has a passion for quilting. She runs the annual quilt show held during the Lum and Abner Festival and she meets with the Pine Ridge quilt group every Tuesday. Chambers also greatly enjoys gardening. After the 2009 tornado, both Chambers and her husband became very involved with the Polk County Long Term Recovery Committee. Chambers worked as a case worker and supervised the meals for the New York Says Thank You event held the September after the tornado. “Polk County people are really friendly and there are so many opportunities to volunteer. No one has any reason to just be sitting, there are too many opportunities. I really enjoy being involved in the volunteer community,” explained Chambers.