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Tami Brown Rodriguez, far left, is inviting her neighbors and friends to join her at her home on National Night Out October 1. An Alaskan Native, she is now a transplanted Texan dedicated to making her neighborhood and state a friendly, safe place to live and even ran for City Council last year.

Alaskan native, Cancer Survivor, Business Owner Tami Brown Rosriguez Now Makes Dallas her Forever Home.

 

Tami Brown Rodriguez wasn’t born in Texas, but she got here as fast as she could--and probably came the farthest of any transplanted Texan you know--she grew up in Alaska!

 

Now that she’s no longer a greenhorn–-a Cheechacow in Alaskan terms–-because she’s been a Texan for over three decades, she’s making up for lost time. Next week she’s hosting the Neighborhood Night Out On October 1st at her home along with the Dallas Police Department’s Northeast Substation and three different Lake Highlands neighborhoods: Easton Place, Forestgrove, and the east end of Lake Gardens. Local celebrities are also invited, including Easton Place President Jan Shaffer, City Councilwoman Paula Blackmon and two others who ran against Tami in the City Council race. It was Tami’s first foray into local politics, and she came in third.

 

Tami likes to do things in a big, fun way. She says she’s planning on two magical hours, “With Bratwurst, burgers, ice cream and maybe a bubble machine for the kids!”

 

Born in Anchorage where her “hippy” parents moved to after their “shot-gun” wedding--Mom was 17, Dad 21—she learned how to survive, even thrive, under bleak circumstances.

 

“My dad loved the outdoors, so we sort of lived outside. We had no electricity or plumbing in our house.” Tami became an expert at living with little, learning from her father, a fish and wildlife officer, her first teacher. “He joined the police Academy to become a State Trooper. That’s why I support local police with a vengeance.”

 

She grew up in a small town of 3,000 where the junior and senior high used the same school building for a year. The high school kids arrived at 5:30 a.m. for classes and left by 11:00 and the junior high kids attended school from 12 noon to 8 p.m. In the middle of winter, the sun only shines from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Alaska, so this gave both groups of students some time outside in the sunshine.

 

Tami fudged her age at 14 and said she was 16 to become the manager of the Chocolate Chippery, a Kiosk in the local mall, where she sold cookies. In Junior High she’d work before school. In high school she’d work after school. She graduated from Chugiak High and says she was a typical nerd: an honors student, Class President, and involved in student body government since the 7th grade.

 

Heavily involved in the local church, Tami attended the United Methodist Church’s National Youth Ministry Organization and even became its President. That lead to a full scholarship to Concordia College in Oregon where she studied the Bible, Greek, Aramic and Hebrew. She wanted a business degree, only to discover her college credits weren’t transferable. She married a military man and moved with her husband often, attending multiple colleges in Washington state, Texas and Oklahoma and finally received a degree having earned 487 credits – more than double needed by most universities for a degree.

 

“By that time, I had already started my own business so I was simply there to learn what I was interested in, not what I thought I should.” She began her professional career in the Financial Services industry, and helped people buy the right Health and Life Insurance for their individual needs. She enjoyed helping people get out of debit and into a solid financial plan for their lives, and soon had seven offices in three states.

 

Her marriage ended and she returned to Texas to grow her consulting firm. While attending the farewell party of a former assistant she bumped into Daniel Rodriguez, who was invited by his client, a friend of her assistant. “It was a dark and stormy night and Daniel was supposed to be meeting up with someone else, and I walked in.” She’s not sure whatever happened to Daniel’s blind date. The two talked all throughout the party and began dating a year later. They’ve been together for almost a decade.

 

At the time they met, Tami was planning to become a lawyer. She loves constitutional law and was about to take the LSAT when her health began to fail. She hadn’t been feeling well for years, and while on a business trip to Iran, she was brought to the hospital by her host family. She says the Iranian government and people treated her like royalty. She had been traveling all over the country, including the Caspian Sea to see the 2,000-year-old water features and 40 feet of coral underneath the giant water systems. She said whenever people overheard her English, they would shout, “We love America!”

She remembers, “My memory was getting weird. I’d see pictures of myself and ask, ‘when did we do that?’ I couldn’t walk. My host family took me to the doctor. I had been feeling poorly for almost five years. And then, with just one test the doctor diagnosed my Cancer.” They wanted to treat Tami there in Iran, but she was afraid to allow the doctors to do it. She returned home to America but found traditional medicine to be ineffective, all the while being told she’d probably only live another three years.

 

Her health was deteriorating rapidly, so she took matters into her own hands. She read the book, “The Gerson Therapy,” and it changed her life. By following the book’s diet program and juicing, her health began to get better.

 

After numerous trips to the ER, her last was on July 4, 2014. Tami woke up in the ER with an IV in her Femoral artery and was furious that her DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) was not honored. She was angry that she hadn’t been allowed to “let go.” But later, in retrospect, she realizes it was not her time. She had dropped down to 99 pounds.

Once she started juicing, she slowly recovered her weight and strength and has been better ever since.

She and Daniel decided to help others and took in two foster children who were in a crisis.  They took the siblings out of a shelter and home with them, and worked with them for a year to help them heal from the trauma they’d lived through, using NLP, Neurolinguistic Programming. Tami is a Master Practitioner and helped the kids remap their lives so they could be ready for adoption. It worked, and she knows the two children will have a brighter future now because of her help in their lives. She hopes to help more kids in the future.

 

She considers her ability to remap people’s Neurology a gift and continues to work with troubled individuals working to better their lives.

 

Tami says she enjoyed the run for City Council last year and plans to run for another office in the future. She and Daniel will soon sell their current home and downsize to one a few miles away near Mockingbird and Greenville, but will remain in Dallas. And she’ll continue to be involved in the city, working to thwart election fraud so candidates will be elected legally. Her background in finance has her volunteering to be a fiscal watchdog to make sure Dallas taxes are spent wisely.

 

She has strong opinions about a lot of topics, including minimum wage. “I lose sleep over this!" She says, explaining, "Daniel and I are here in Texas because it’s friendly to business. If we increase minimum wage, we’ll be like Seattle, which now has the 2nd highest homeless rate, behind California.” 

 

For now, Tami is just excited to meet her neighbors on October 1. She plans to provide a warm Texas welcome and a fun event for all who come. Be sure to ask her about her fishing trips to Alaska, and how to gut a moose--that is, if you plan to hunt one in the future. Or you can ask her about her many travels. Tami has visited every state but New Hampshire, and has lived in 18 different cities; how many have you been to? 

Big Lake AK

Eagle River AK

Dallas TX

Plano

Addison

Frisco

Decatur TX

Lawton OK

Killeen TX

Cache OK

Peachtree City GA

Memphis TX

Portland

Seattle

Oakland CA

Santa Rosa CA

Seattle WA

Ellensburg WA

For more information about next Tuesday's National Night Out, contact Tami at: dallasneedstami@gmail.com

Judy Porter lives in Dallas and write about local heroes, small businesses an non-profits. Contact her at judy-porter@sbcglobal.net

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