During 1977, the movie Star Wars debuted, the first personal computer went on sale, minimum wage was $2.30, and right here on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community, Dorine Andrews started in her position as a microfilm operator for tribal records in the Administration Department.
Now, 33 years later, Andrews works as office manager for Administration. Her hard work and love for her Community got her nominated, and then chosen, as 2010 Employee of the Year. Glen Law, acting director of the SRPMIC Administration, is the one who nominated Andrews for the award.
Andrews has worked for the Community through four different tribal councils, and during that time she has seen many changes and transitions take place.
She laughed when remembering her first office, which was in an old Army barracks. It wasn’t until 11 years later that Andrews and Administration would move into new offices. Those offices were bulldozed recently, and today Andrews works in the three-story building in an office with a wonderful view of Friendship Park out her window.
Andrews said, “I remember when Friendship Park was just installed and then removed, and then it’s back with new equipment.”
Andrews has experienced many proud moments and monumental events here on the Community, such as the passage in 1996 of Proposition 201, the Fairness Initiative, which allowed the SRPMIC to establish a gaming compact with the State of Arizona.
She said, “I was part of that campaign because our offices were not that big [at the time], so we all helped each other to do the campaign. I remember we had to get enough people to sign the initiative so we could get it on the ballot. I remember we made this big ole thermostat (a chart of a thermometer with numbers showing the progress in gathering signatures), and it went up every time we [got more signatures]. [When it reached the top], we all yelled around and said, ‘We made it! It is going to be on the ballot!’ On Election Day in 1996 we had a big party at the gym with music and food, and when Proposition 201 won, we all were screaming and yelling. Just being a part of that was really exciting.”
In his letter, Law concurred that Andrews does a lot more than just office management. She stepped up to the plate, he wrote, when the Voluntary Separation Program left two open positions in Administration, and she goes above and beyond to do her job well and provide excellent customer service.
“Dorine is one of the faces of the Community through her service at the Administration’s secretary desk, and [she] helps Community members and visitors form their first opinion of SRMPIC,” Law wrote. “She promptly, quickly and courteously directs and advises those who come in to help assist in the timely conduct of their business.”
Andrews has met many interesting people and seen many things as part of her job. She recalled that one particularly memorable moment was meeting the Grammy-winning performer Smokey Robinson. She laughed as she remembered taking a group photograph with Robinson. Robin Enos asked to sit on his lap while several other Community members stood behind them.
However, Andrews said that she never saw that picture.
Working for the Community to Andrews is like working for family. She said, “I work for my people, and I am really blessed to end up in a job like this.” She plans to keep working for the Community “as long as I can do it.”