Erickson legacy: Help for those in need

Randy Gonzales
Special to Hays Daily News
Hays Daily News

Pam Erickson will be remembered for her commitment to helping those who were less fortunate in the Hays community.

Erickson, 60, died Wednesday, but her legacy will live on. She was the first executive director of First Call for Help of Ellis County, was a licensed practical nurse and was director of the Physicians Clinic at Russell Regional Hospital before she retired.

Ann Leiker was chair of the board of directors of First Call for Help when it was first being organized in the 1980s. It gained nonprofit status as a separate organization from the Ellis County Ministerial Alliance in 1996. As its first executive director, Erickson championed those who needed assistance.

“She was a caretaker from the word go,” Leiker said. “She knew some tough times in her own life and knew how important it was to have a service like First Call for Help. She gave so much of herself to the job, and it wasn’t a job for her. It was a passion.”

Leiker will remember Erickson’s laugh and smile.

“I can still hear her laugh, trying to make people feel as comfortable as possible,” Leiker said.

Cheryl Glassman knew Erickson since the early 1980s, when they were roommates together, both working in the nursing profession.

“She just wanted to make sure people were taken care of properly,” Glassman said. “If they didn’t have their own personal resources, she wanted to make sure there was something out there for them. She really had a deep love for the elderly and making sure they were taken care of.”

Erickson also worked for two years for Randy Clinkscales, who owns Clinkscales Elder Law Practice. Erickson was a care coordinator, working with elderly clients and those with chronic illnesses.

“She was very involved in making sure they got good care,” Clinkscales said. “She greatly impacted our clients’ lives.”

Erickson’s passion for helping others and her positive attitude was evident in the office, Clinkscales said.

“She always was exuberant, kind of a go-getter,” Clinkscales said. “I think her attitude really helped people when they were down.”

Helping the downtrodden, helping people make a better life for themselves, giving of herself, that was Pam Erickson.

“She didn’t forget you if you were a part of her life,” Glassman said. “Whenever she saw me, her face would just light up. I don’t think that it was just me; that’s the way she was. If she was a friend, her face would just light up.”

Leiker said Erickson left a legacy of caring.

“She was a care-giver deluxe, with a love for her family, her friends and love for her community,” Leiker said. “She left a legacy in getting people to acknowledge we had people in Hays who really needed help.”