Gloria Hale, WIC Division manager for the City of San Angelo and six surrounding counties, will retire April 30 after 22 years on the job and more than 35 years as a registered nurse.
Women, Infants and Children is a City-administered nutrition program that helps pregnant women, new mothers, infants and young children eat well, learn about nutrition and stay healthy.

Hale started her nursing career in Driscoll Foundation Children’s Hospital in Corpus Christi, where she was recruited to work in neonatal intensive care. After four years of providing life-supporting care to infants born with defects or born too tiny to breathe on their own, Hale said she felt a deep desire to help prevent premature deliveries and all of the ensuing problems associated with them. At the time, she said, she wanted to be involved in efforts that could effectively increase the percentage of full-term, healthy births.

When her husband transferred to San Angelo with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Hale noticed an RN job opportunity with the City’s WIC program. She confesses she initially felt she was too technically skilled and advanced in neonatal nursing to take a job with what she then considered to be “just a nutrition program.” She added she soon learned WIC is far more than a simple nutrition program.

“Every day for 20-plus years, WIC has been both an answer and a godsend to my desire to help reduce birth defects such as spina bifida and anencephaly, as well as premature births,” Hale said.

Among its benefits, Hale said WIC:

  • Provides a major source of vital nutrients, such as folic acid, for the unborn that helps prevents open spine and anencephaly.
  • Educates families with infants and growing children about healthy food choices that increase children’s ability to learn in school.
  • Provides referrals to local health-care providers for those without resources. Preventative care averts disease and ultimately saves tax dollars, she said.
  • Helps mothers provide human milk for their young, yielding a lifetime of health benefits.

Hale joined the City in 1984, working six years as a registered nurse followed by four years as WIC’s director. She returned to the City for a second stint in 2002, again working as a registered nurse in WIC until 2005, when she again became the program’s lead administrator. She has served as WIC manager for the nine years since.

The search for Hale’s successor has begun.

“Gloria is a top-notch professional and the most organized person I know,” said Neighborhood & Family Services Director Bob Salas, Hale’s supervisor. “She truly loves helping children and young mothers, and her passion has resulted in the San Angelo WIC clinic being cited as one of the state’s best, recognized for its excellent customer service. It will be tough to replace her.”

Hale said she is “so extremely proud” of the WIC program, its mission, her staff and their efforts to help young families.

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to be part of a program that does so much good for so many good people,” she said.