Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

September 25, 2013

Robin Allen’s passing brings community together

As I See It ... Tony Eierdam

Mineral Wells Index

— On Friday, our community lost a good friend.

Robin Allen, to some our fire Chief and to me a good friend, suddenly passed Friday night.

Robin was a lot of things to a lot of different people. To the town, she was a long-serving civil servant who rose through the ranks to become fire chief in 2004.

Robin overcame two very big obstacles to achieve that title. First, she was a woman, and in 2004 was one of just a handful of female fire chiefs across the state. Another obstacle was her height as she stood maybe 5-2.

The fact that she was a small woman excelling in what used to be considered a “man’s world” of firefighting was quite an achievement, and to make chief on top of that made her the type of hero that little girls could look up to and say “I want to do what she does when I grow up.”

To others, she was a dedicated mother of three children who loved watching her talented kids perform on the fields and courts of Mineral Wells High School.

To me, she was not only the mom of three kids I cover for the Index, but someone who turned out to be a close friend, along with her husband Garry.

Robin’s favorite thing in the entire world to do was watch Braxton, Bethany and Bryson perform in their various sports.

There was hardly a time I covered sports when Robin wasn’t there with a glow on her face in anticipation of the game ahead.

Robin always had that “glow” and she was in her element when settling down either in her lawn chair at softball and baseball games or in the stands at the MWHS gym.

Robin was always upbeat and positive, and I never walked away after a conversation with her with nothing less than a smile on my face.

Robin was that type of person, someone who everyone enjoyed being around, and a person I never heard anyone say a negative word about.

Despite her impressive success in her field, her deal was her family, particularly her children. Robin’s life revolved around work and getting to the games, and it will be sad the first time I walk into the gym and not see her sitting with the other parents.

Robin meant a lot to me. She was so complimentary of the Index’s sports coverage, and I have yet to and probably will not erase the last text she sent to me – a day before she passed – thanking me for putting a picture of Bethany playing volleyball in the paper.

She never needed to thank me for anything. When she did I thanked her right back for allowing me the opportunity of watching her talented and polite children play sports.

Robin meant a lot to me, but on Friday night I saw how much she meant to this community.

I knew everyone loved her, but the outpouring of love for Robin spontaneously came out immediately after the Rams Homecoming game – a game where youngest son Braxton was on the Homecoming Court with his sister Bethany as his escort.

As I walked down from the press box and onto the field after the game to interview Rams head coach Chuck Lawrence, I felt that something wasn’t normal.

As my feet hit the field I noticed football players, cheerleaders, trainers and coaches crying and hugging.

Before I had a chance to process what I was seeing, Index reporter Clint Foster, who had been on the sidelines taking photos, told me the fire chief, Robin Allen, had died.

Apparently, no one on the sidelines was told of Robin’s death until the teams walked off the field after shaking hands.

What followed is something I will never forget.

Football players, cheerleaders, students and coaches were crying aloud and embracing each other, and word quickly reached the stands. No one left the stadium and instead everyone tried to comfort one another. It was a community mourning, and as I thought about it later it made me proud to be living in Mineral Wells.

This community loved Robin Allen, and right now we are trying to process what happened while grieving the loss of a good friend.

Robin, a 30-year city employee, will be put to rest on Friday at First Baptist Church in Mineral Wells.

God bless you, Robin. You made this community better with your devotion to your profession and family, and you will be missed.

We love you, Robin. Rest in peace.

You will never be forgotten.