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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?"

Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Aug. 20, the 232nd day of 2014. There are 133 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: Quite a number of Negroes have lately been brought here by abolition offers returning from the army in violation of the laws of the state.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Miss Tillie Denkmann, of Rock Island, was making plans to accompany a Davenport family on a tour of Europe.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German advance into Belgium was going apparently without serious check. The American ambassador at Berlin published a denial of the charge that Americans had been ill-treated in Germany.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Seventy-two members of Rock Island High School's 1939 graduating class are preparing to enter college — 34 of them at Augustana.
1964 -- 50 years ago: One of the oldest buildings in Milan, which for a number of years has housed the Milan Hotel, will be razed to make way for a modern, two-story office structure.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Some are blaming it on the sudden influx of insects and the extreme humidity. Still others say the invasion was inspired by a recent movie. But whatever the reason, the Quad-Cities is swarming with bats.

(More History)