Member Spotlight - Abigail Dudek

Abigail Dudek
Communications Coordinator, Tarrant County 911 District Office

Abigail Dudek is the Communications Coordinator within the Tarrant County 911 District Office, an administration office for over 33 emergency communication centers in Tarrant County. Dudek has been with the district for five and a half years.

“I couldn't ask for a better gig because I love helping people and this just mirrors my personal side. I have the professional side of what I do for a living and the community and then I have what Abby does in the community, which I love to volunteer help out. I have a big heart for Fort Worth,” she said.

A recent highlight for Dudek was being awarded the Paul Harris Fellowship recognition, being sponsored by her grandfather, Theodore Kerrn, who has been a Rotarian for over 50 years. Dudek said she and her grandfather are very much alike in nature, so much that there was never a conversation about her joining Rotary because of him.

“The coincidence is that I am the same age that he was when we both started professional careers. So, I started the district when I was 35. When he started his career, he was about to turn 37 in the business that he owned. And funny enough, we joined Rotary at about the same age too!”

In fact, Dudek’s Rotary journey began just last year, in June 2021, when Jim Austin, or as Dudek likes to call him, J.A., mentioned going to a meeting when he was on the Board of Managers at the district office, “a long time ago.”

“And he's like, ‘Well, why don't you come to a meeting, come have lunch, and just check it out?’ I was like, ‘Alright, but I'm not committing to anything, man.’” said Dudek, who having been a past salesperson during college, was familiar with the “sales gimmicks.”

Of her first meeting, Dudek said there were no words to describe how welcoming and special everyone made her feel. “People just make you feel like you’ve been walking through that door every day, even in your first meeting. The Rotary is one of the first organizations that I’ve ever been a part of where people really know how to see you see within you and see what you're about.”

By her next meeting, Dudek was thinking about who to talk to about joining Rotary and how she could share her experiences or provide free education about emergency information, continuing to lend a helping hand in the Fort Worth community. “It was the easiest decision I ever had to make, really.”

What Dudek loves the most about being a Rotarian is that she feels like she can be herself, spreading smiles, high-fives, and hugs on “Rotary day” Fridays, but then also being able to “go out as a Rotarian on my own time and do things for the community.”

She notes that people in the community have asked her “Wait, so you’re a Rotarian? Oh, so that's what you do! You're the type of person who is a Rotarian? I want to be a Rotarian too!” Dudek loves to educate, not only about 911 but also about the positivity spread by Rotarians for the people of Fort Worth.

For Dudek, there are so many Rotarians she’s built relationships with that she’s got nothing but hugs and high fives for all. She said, “I can name specific people, but at the end of the day, once you start trying to think of specific people and then that list keeps growing.”

“One more person in Rotary is another volunteer. It's another person helping with Habitat for Humanity. It's another person helping plant bluebonnets at the Rotary Park. It's another person helping deliver meals to women who served our country. It's getting those involved who can make a difference in Fort Worth, and that's the benefit of being a part of this,” Dudek said.