Bowie County District Clerk
Bowie County hired Lori Caraway through the work program her senior year in high school. “I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life, but as the years went by, I began to really love my job and the people around me,” Lori says. “I like to be challenged. I am always looking for new and more effective ways to do things. Although, I know in some situations, change might not always be necessary.”
She started in the civil department but quickly moved over to the criminal department, where she has remained for most of her career. She was a supervisor for fourteen years before being promoted to Chief Deputy and later appointed as the District Clerk. “My greatest accomplishments in life so far are being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, and most recently, being appointed as District Clerk,” Lori says. “It was such a great honor to be appointed by our District Judges. Their faith in me means so much.”
One of Lori’s goals in her position includes staying in tune with new and more effective ways to do things. They are currently upgrading to a new jury program, which will be a more efficient way for jurors to claim exemptions, excuses, and fill their questionnaires out online. “Long-term, I just want to utilize the technology we have to its fullest but remain accessible to citizens that are not able to function electronically,” Lori says. “And I want to continue to represent Bowie County in a manner that is pleasing to the citizens, but most importantly, pleasing to God.”
When Lori was a young clerk, she was asked by a wiser clerk, “Why do you do it this way?” and Lori responded, “Because that is how we always do it.” The other clerk said, “Don’t ever respond like that. Always know what you are doing and why you are doing it.” This response has stayed with Lori for years. “She was so right,” Lori says. “You should always take the time to understand why you are doing something. If it does not feel right and you are questioning yourself, stop and take the time to research the situation or ask questions.”
Lori believes that the most important part of her job is showing compassion for others and maintaining a positive work environment. “This is a public office, so we work with people daily. Whether it is simply helping them through the filing process or just being an ear to listen, we try to be there for the public,” Lori says. “We have some great employees in this office, and seeing them helping others each day brings joy to my heart.”
Lori hopes to be remembered for her kindness and willingness to help others at the end of her career. “I truly want nothing but good for everyone,” Lori says. “It hurts me to see an individual struggling, so if there is something I can do to help them, I will try my best.”
When Lori is not at work, she enjoys spending time working around her home with her husband, Joe, and fishing. “We don’t get a lot of free time to go, but when we do, it is such a great time to get away and relax,” Lori says.
Lori’s husband, Joe Caraway, works as a Lead Lineman for Bowie Cass Electric Co-op. Together, they have two daughters, Meagan Lindsey and Lexi Rico; a son, Bryer; and two granddaughters, Haven Lindsey and Tatum Rico. “We are a blended family, but our love for one another is whole,” Lori says.
One of Lori’s biggest role models is her late grandmother. “She made such an impact on my life. She was a homemaker with a strong work ethic. She focused on God, her family, home, and she was a wonderful cook,” Lori says. “As a child and adult, we would have Sunday lunch at their home. This is something I will never forget. She taught me that family is so important, and I keep a photo of her and my grandfather in my office as a reminder of hard work and motivation.”
Lori’s strong faith in God has always inspired her to remain active in the church. She is currently a member at Rock Creek Baptist Church. Over the years, she has served on many committees, including the children’s, youth, and building committees. She currently works in the nursery and assists with other duties throughout the church. Lori also serves as the Secretary for Christian Brotherhood of Outdoorsmen, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to bringing people of all ages together through Christ and the outdoors. “Being a part of this organization has been one of the bigger blessings in my life,” Lori says. “The biggest struggle I have is self-doubt. I work things over and over in my head until I just want to throw in the towel. But my faith in God is reassuring, and the people in my life are the ones who encourage me daily to keep doing what I do.”
Lori’s greatest advice for others is to put God first in your interactions at home, at work, and in the community. “All glory goes to our Lord and Savior. There is no one perfect person in this world. We just need to try each day to shine a light for him and love one another,” Lori says. “Do we all fall short? Of course, but we serve a forgiving God. It amazes me that in times of struggle, He will come to me in different ways, such as through an individual, a song, or just a simple message. But He is always there, and He is always faithful.”