EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first of a seven-part series profiling the women chosen as the 2007 Women of Distinction by the Heart of Texas Girl Scout Council.

By Candace Cooksey Fulton — Brownwood Bulletin

When Bradlee Dodds wakes up in the morning, she has one goal in mind for the day. “I try to be the best person I can be,” the energetic mom and community volunteer explains.

“I credit my mother (Linda Levesque of Brownwood) — she instilled a compassion for others in me. Growing up my mother always volunteered, always did things for people, and I think it was instilled in me at a very young age to do what you can, look around and see what needs to be done and help every way you can,” Dodds said.

Dodds father was career Navy and their family moved frequently, Dodds said. And those experiences also taught her the importance of “making wherever you are your home.”

Dodds and her husband Greg returned to Brownwood — Greg Dodds’ hometown — 11 years ago. The couple met while students at Texas Tech, and, said Bradlee Dodds, having a hometown where they knew they would stay and raise their family was “all very exciting.” She became involved in numerous civic and community efforts and most recently was co-chair for the Citizens for Coggin Park committee that raised approximately $230,000 for new playground equipment for the 100-year-old Coggin Park.

Dodds has been actively involved all seven years of the Brownwood Reunion Celebration and from 1994 to 2003 served as the executive director for the Brown County United Way. Last year, Dodds, a cancer survivor, was the honorary chair, and served as a team captain, for the successful 2006 Relay for Life.

The Dodds have two children, 7-year-old Sawyer and 6-year-old Felicity.

“Right now — and this may be because I am a mom — my passion is children and things that help children, not just my children but all children in our community,” Dodds said.

She served as treasurer of the Woodland Heights PTO last year and this year will be the organization’s president. Her work co-chairing the Coggin Park fund-raiser she said was inspired because she and a couple of other moms asked if they could help choose playground equipment for the park, and then realized how very expensive safe, adequate playground equipment is.

From that a fund-raising campaign was launched with the results more than double the original goal.

“If I would have any advice for someone younger, I think it would be, ‘Find your passion,’” Dodds said. “Find something that needs to be done, that you can do, and be passionate about it. Step outside of what you thing you can do and give it a try.

“My experience is if you try to make where you are and who you are a little better every day, everybody benefits.”