Seated in the building that houses the Central Texas Pregnancy Care Center in Brownwood, the organization’s recently minted executive director reflected on the its mission and on her experiences as she approaches three months on the job.
Forty-three-year-old Rachael Woodcox, a 1992 graduate of Brownwood High School, started working Jan. 2 as executive director. Woodcox and her husband, Calvary Baptist Church pastor Artie Woodcox, are the parents of four.
While the nonprofit organization has a new director, it’s mission is the same. The center is “committed to help those experiencing pregnancy make practical, life choices for both the family and the unborn child ... we are dedicated to sharing hope … and to provide you with education about pregnancy, sexual health and parenting,” the center’s website states.
‘So much meaning to this’
The center’s previous executive director, Terri Medlock, was ready to step down and resigned, but has been off-and-on at the center to ensure a virtually seamless transition.
“There is a lot to learn about this program, to make sure I have the abilities and all I need to run it,” said Woodcox, one of the center’s three paid staff members. The center also relies on volunteers.
“I love it,” Woodcox said of her job. “There is so much meaning to this, so much purpose. The job is multi-faceted. There’s just so many aspects to this, from meeting with clients, offering hope, offering practical life choices. But then there’s the parenting class and supporting these ladies that is so rewarding.
“We’re client advocates. There is one-on-one encouragement, support …”
Many services offered
Services include pregnancy tests, pregnancy counsel, information and education on sexually transmitted diseases, parenting classes, baby needs, adoption information and referrals and physician referrals.
The Pregnancy Care Center, located at 2200 Austin Ave. in Brownwood, operates out of a comfortable and well-maintained building that’s nearly a century old. The building is more of a house than an office building and contains several rooms, a kitchen and furnishings.
The center has satellite offices in Brady, San Saba and Goldthwaite. The center was initially known as the Crisis Pregnancy Center when a family started the organization in the 1980s. The family ended its involvement because of health reasons.
Later, Jerry Evans, then pastor of Southside Baptist Church in Brownwood, formed a board of directors. Medlock was initially asked to help establish an administrative role, and although she wasn’t looking for a job, she was hired as the center’s first executive directors.
After 15 years on the job, Medlock believed her time was over there.
“I have known for quite some time the Lord was calling me away from the PCC,” Medlock said. “ I feel I have accomplished what I was asked to do here and I am ready to move to the next assignment.
“I am very proud of what the PCC has become and look forward to seeing what the future holds.”
Return to Brownwood
In 2017, the Woodcox family was living in Buckeye, Ariz., where Artie Woodcox pastored a church for 15 years. Artie sensed it was time for a change, he said in an earlier interview.
Through a series of what he called “divine coincides,” Artie felt led to submit a resume to Calvary Baptist Church, which had a need for a pastor.
The family moved back to Brownwood in May 2017, and Artie Woodcox preached his first sermon as Calvary’s new pastor on May 28.
Rachael was aware of the Pregnancy Care Center because she knew Calvary’s secretary, Karen Mosqueda, works there as one of the part-time staff members. She knew little about the organization.
A month later, Artie and Rachael attended a 20th-anniversary fete at nearby Midtown Church, where Artie had served as pastor before moving to Arizona. That’s where Rachael met Terri Medlock, who is the wife of the church’s current pastor, Kyle Medlock.
Rachael had no more contact with Terri Medlock until Medlock called her one Tuesday morning in late October. “Terri called me and said ‘I’m resigning, and I thought about you for this job,’” Woodcox recalled. “And so we began to talk about it, went to lunch, talked about it some more.
“She encouraged me to put my application in, and not too much longer, I met with the board. I thought, ‘why? why me?’ I had met her once, but she had talked to a mutual friend before she called me.
“It took me a little bit of time before I realized this was something I should pursue. After talking with the board, there was just no more thinking about it. I knew this was what the Lord had brought.”
‘I’m just a new, different leader’
Woodcox said Medlock did “a fabulous job” as executive director.
“There are a lot of things (where) I don’t think I could ever fill Terri’s shoes,” Woodcox said. “She really is amazing. I’m just a new, different leader. I won’t be taking her place.
“I am definitely feeling more confident. At first it was pretty overwhelming, all that I needed to learn, because it is so multi-faceted here. I’m still in awe of the magnitude of the meaning here.”
Staff members don’t push their Christian faith, but will talk about biblical principals if asked. In an earlier interview, Medlock said the center’s goal is to build relationships with client.
The center runs “everything we do off biblical principals of kindness, love and gentleness, and offering hope,” Medlock said.
While some clients think abortion is their only option, “our policy is, we focus on life,” Medlock said in the earlier interview. “We don’t bring up abortion unless somebody talks to us about it. We focus on life and the fact that this is already a life.”
A personal story
“I’d like to share a story with you of why this means so much,” Woodcox said as she continued speaking at the Pregnancy Care Center’s home on Austin Avenue. “One thing that has been really neat with me, here in this job, is that I can share my story.
“And that is, that my mom and dad were dating. My mom was a senior at Baylor, and he was a freshman, I believe, at Angelo State, playing football, when my mom found out she was pregnant. She went to a center that gave her bad advice. And she didn’t take that advice.
“She and my dad decided to get married and have me. That was me. They’re still married, happily married … I’ve been able to share that with ladies that might be pretty scared about where they are in their pregnancy.”
Woodcox said she’s told those women her mom was scared, too, and “she made a life choice. And that was me. And I’m glad she did. She went to Planned Parenthood … she chose not to follow that advice. They decided to get married, and here I am, and I’m thankful — thankful.”
Planned Parenthood advised her mother to have an abortion, Woodcox added.
‘Why we do what we do’
In 2017, the Pregnancy Care Center had 1,300 client contacts, up from 1,200 in 2016.
“It’s all about the people,” Medlock said earlier.
Woodcox recalled showing her son a photo she took with her cell phone of a baby born to one of the center’s clients. She took and displayed the photo with the blessings of the baby’s mother.
“I’ve been looking at that little baby ever since,” Woodcox said. “You do develop friendships. I showed my son. I pulled it up. And I said ‘this is why we do what we do.’”