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Boredom drove multi-tasking woman out of retirement
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Photo: Paul Colletti/pcolletti@qconline.com

More photos from this shoot
Photo: Paul Colletti/pcolletti@qconline.com

MOLINE -- Work was behind her at last -- then she got bored.

Donna Lee-Kraklow, 57, of East Moline, retired in 2005, but then, in 2008, realized it just was not for her.

"I love multitasking," Ms. Kraklow said. "I'd rather be extremely busy."

So she got back into the work force with a vengeance. On a given day, she would open a gym, work as a crossing guard at local schools, then go to work at Rich Morthland's office when he was serving in the General Assembly.

After some time there, she would go to Black Hawk College for a few hours, working the desk at the Welcome Center, before taking off for a bit to help the kids cross again, then back to Black Hawk to finish the work day.

That was at first. Since then, all but the Black Hawk job have fallen by the way side for one reason or another -- Mr. Morthland did not win re-election, and the weather convinced her to stop being a crossing guard.

"It was getting a little cold to stand out there," Ms. Kraklow said.

At the Welcome Center, she answers the phones and covers the entrance, likely making her one of the first Black Hawk employees a visitor might see or hear. In both cases, she directs people to the right office or to the right information.

She sees at least 50 people daily at Black Hawk. The count includes students and their families, as well as the delivery people bringing packages.

Her favorite part of the job is "greeting everyone. Talking to all of the students."

The most challenging part is finding what a particular person needs, she said.

"Giving the answer," Ms. Kraklow said. "Finding the answer someone needs."

Getting people where they need to be is a skill she picked up before retirement as an East Moline city employee, she said. She worked for 20 years there as an administrative assistant in several areas of city government, including water and sewer and the mayor's office.

Calls would come in -- all kinds of queries, many of them not related to the city, Ms. Kraklow said. Often, people dial the first number where they think they will find a person who knows something.

Being back in the thick of things, she loves it, Ms. Kraklow said. She said it is like being in an air traffic control tower, and she has no intention of leaving the excitement again any time soon.

"Until I can't walk any more, probably," she said.







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