Distinguished Service Award-Terri Gruba

Continuing with our RMASFAA Distinguished Service Award series. Throughout the series we will be asking past recipients of this award to share their stories and experiences with RMASFAA. The third post in this series features Terri Gruba, our favorite retiree!

Terri's picture

You know, it will be three years since I retired.  My family encouraged me (strongly!) to retire so we could do some traveling on our schedule–not my work schedule. I truly struggled with the decision because I thought (and still think) RMASFAA was so important to me. Our profession is an honorable one and it is so important to encourage talented people to join and continue in the profession.  RMASFAA is key to that knowledge basis and encouragement to others. I was so humbled and gratified by the Distinguished Service Award. I remember so clearly that night, and I carried it clutched to my bosom throughout the night (I was not going to have it snatched out of my hands!) I was told growing up that if you can “do” something for others, then you must “do” it. The award certainly encouraged me to continue “doing” for RMASFAA. However, I have received much more from RMASFAA and my colleagues than I ever gave. Fortunately (for me–maybe not for others), I still have cell phone numbers of my RMASFAA peeps, and I am on Facebook, so I am still in contact with so many. Truly, I am so lucky to have been (and still am) part of this wild and wonderful family called RMASFAA.

RMASFAA is so important to me that I am still a member!  We retirees can be members and get a great deal on the membership cost.  It is such a good deal that I certainly could not pass it up.  So there!

When I asked Terri if there was one piece of advice or insight that she would share with a future financial aid professional, she said the following:

Reach out. You are not on island–whether you are in a one-person office or in a big office with lots of bodies. To the day that I retired, I was in contact with folks in my office, in my state, in my region and across the nation. Heck, I am still in contact with my financial aid peeps to this day! We cannot do this job by ourselves, we need each other. Fortunately, I do not think anyone who asked advice, help, for a shoulder to lean on, were ever turned away.

Before this post, I had only ever heard of Terri in passing in which people would describe this charismatic woman who was retired, but still attended and participated in all things financial aid. People would tell me that she would have you laughing one second and the next she would have you convinced to participate on a committee, help plan an event or just have you participate in a fun ice breaker when a second ago you did not want to. Coincidentally Terri herself describes this is as her not so secret talent.

Alora Blue
Association News Committee-Montana

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