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Office manager by day, jewelry seller by night
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More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert/twelvaert@qconline.com
Sally Belk works with the Park View Water & Sanitary district in Eldridge, Iowa, and sells jewelry from Origami Owl on the side.
More photos from this shoot
Photo: Todd Welvaert/twelvaert@qconline.com
Sally Belk works with the Park View Water & Sanitary district in Eldridge, Iowa, and sells jewelry from Origami Owl on the side.
Sally Belk is a self-proclaimed people person who loves to talk, and she has two jobs that allow her to do just that.

Weekdays, Ms. Belk, of Long Grove, is office manager at Park View Water & Sanitary District in Eldridge; nights and weekends, she's an executive team leader with Origami Owl custom jewelry.

"I love it. I love what I do," she said.

At the water company, Ms. Belk handles all of the accounting, including budgets and payment processing, and said she meets "some of the nicest people," who come in to pay their bills.

For extra money and fun, she sells Origami Owl, "jewelry that's personalized and customizable," she said. The line includes hundreds of charms in about any shape or color and metal-framed glass lockets that hold the charms.

Her cousin, who lived near the company's founder in Arizona, introduced her to the lockets in 2012. She said the first time she saw one, she "had to have one."

She loved what Origami Owl was about -- the teen who founded the company did so to save money to buy a car.

Ms. Belk holds jewelry parties -- called "Jewelry Bars" -- at people's homes and leads a team of more than 100 others who do the same.

"Every locket tells a story," with charms of birthstones, flowers, plants, animals, words and more, she said. "It's meaningful; customizable."

Ms. Belk enjoys watching people pick out charms for their lockets. They're "creating their story," she said, adding that she gets to hear stories about vacations, faith, lost loved ones and overcoming great obstacles.

There are "no two alike," she said. "That's what made me fall in love with this product."

Growing up, she said she "just wanted to be a mom." She was born in Chicago and came to the Quad-Cities in the 1970s when her parents were transferred to the area. After graduating from Moline High School, she earned an associate's degree in business management and human resources from Black Hawk College.

She said she took additional classes in human resources through the Society for Human Resource Management.

Ms. Belk married her husband, Daniel, when she was 19, and the couple moved to Long Grove. At the time, she was working at Community Savings and Loan, which was in East Moline before it went out of business.

"I thought I'd be in banking forever," she said, but after about five years of crazy hours and commuting from Long Grove every day, she quit.

She worked a handful of other jobs, but the couple decided she'd be a stay-at-home mom when they had a child. Daughter Marissa is now 23.

When her daughter started school, Ms. Belk got a part-time job so she could be home when her daughter got off the school bus each day.

At a friend's suggestion, she learned to be a dental assistant. She got her hands-on training at Diehl and Diehl Orthodontics in Davenport, passed her boards and worked there seven years until Drs. David and Gail Diehl retired.

She said the doctors worked around every employee's schedule so they could attend their children's events. "They were so wonderful," she said. "It was an awesome experience."

Ms. Belk said she later realized she missed working in management, and working with people and numbers. She began working at the water company in 2009, about the same time her daughter left for college in Cedar Rapids.

She said she works with a treatment plant manager and a treatment plant assistant.

"I love my job," she said, adding that she plans to do it "until I retire."

Ms. Belk said her work with Origami Owl allows her to do some charity work, because at least once a month she donates part of her revenue to charities, such as Gilda's Club.

Working for Origami Owl "changed my life," Ms. Belk said, adding that it gave her added financial security and a chance to be "a force for good," Origami Owl's mission.

"It's a good life," she said. "Beautiful daughter, loving husband, and I've got a great job. What more can I ask for in life?"






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  Today is Wednesday, July 30, the 211th day of 2014. There are 154 days left in the year.
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1889 -- 125 years ago: Rock Island residents had contributed a total of $1,293 to the American Red Cross for the Johnstown flood relief fund.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Capt. Clark Means, new darkhorse twirler for the ARGUS staff, was in great form in his initial contest as a mound laborer. The result was that THE ARGUS trimmed the Union 6-5.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Hunter and Humprey Moody, young Decatur, Ill, brothers, lack only a few hours of establishing a new world light plane endurance record.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Gates of the 110th annual Mercer County Fair swing open tonight at Aledo for a full week of day and night activity. More that $36,000 will be paid in premiums and race purses.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The baseball field carved out of the cornfield near Dyersville, Iowa, continues to keep dreams alive for hundreds of visitors. Tourists from 26 state and France have visited Dan Lansing's farm to see the baseball diamond seen in the hit movie "Field of Dreams."






(More History)