Margo Nielsen reflects on 25 years with Rockwall Helping Hands

Open House Aug 28 to honor the agency’s Executive Director

ROCKWALL COUNTY, TX (August 17, 2014) After 25 years of serving as the executive director of Helping Hands of Rockwall County, the feelings that Margo Nielsen has about her impending retirement revolve around one simple word: bittersweet.

“As you get older, and start to leave the things you love, it is bittersweet,” Margo said. “The older you get, the more the word begins to make sense.”

Margo will retire from the agency on her 70th birthday in February of next year.

She first started with Helping Hands when the agency was just a 2,400-square-foot building on a strip center off of Kenway Street. Only three employees and an annual budget of $60,000 made up the small nonprofit organization when Margo accepted the executive director position.

Roughly 25 years later, Helping Hands currently owns four buildings on two different campuses, employs close to 40 people at four separate divisions and has an annual budget near $3 million. Under Margo’s leadership, the agency has become the main provider of local social services, health care and financial assistance for underserved families throughout the county.

But of course, Margo doesn’t take all the credit for the agency’s success for herself, and said a lot of hard work from the strong department heads and board of directors, as well as the collaboration of the staff and the needs of clients that helped to grow the organization.

In fact, Margo credits the very people Helping Hands has helped to serve as being the best part of her job.

“Helping people is always the fun part,” Margo said. “Knowing that you’ve made a difference in a child’s life with providing new school supplies or a new pair of shoes, those are the reasons why we all do this.”

As for what’s in her future, Margo said she’ll be relocating to Denison to live with family while enjoying some of her favorite pastimes, including gardening, reading and spending time with her children and 8-year-old grandson, Jack.

Helping Hands will host an Open House on Thursday, August 28 in honor of Margo. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the public is encouraged to stop by Helping Hands and give thanks to Margo for all she means to the agency and the community.

Visitors are also welcome to bring items for the food pantry and drop off donations.

Those unable to attend the event may also stop by Margo’s office or mail her a congratulatory note at P.O. Box 375, Rockwall, Texas 75087.


By Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News staff writer and reporter.

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