Before becoming a Heritage Makers Consultant, Tracel Hurst, from Bakersfield, California, was a 911 dispatcher for the fire department for 10 years. It was an important job–she helped deliver 8 babies over the phone–but, due to the stressful nature of the job, she kept her eyes open for other options.
Tracel was also an avid scrapbooker. When she decided she wanted to pursue the hobby digitally, she couldn’t find any local resources. That’s when she learned about Heritage Makers online and signed up immediately!
Heritage Makers is now Tracel’s full-time career. She starts every workshop by sharing her story about creating a book for her grandma:
“I was looking at photos of my grandma from the 1940’s,” says Tracel, “and I started wondering about her life. I decide to document her life in a storybook and sat down with her, my mother, and my aunt to talk about the photos. Well, the stories just started pouring out of her! She was telling stories my mother had never even heard.”
“It made me feel so much closer to her. You always think of your grandmother as this older person, and not as a young woman in Los Angeles. Now I know where my love of the beach comes from. I felt a connection! When I finally gave Grandma the book, she couldn’t believe that she could be on the cover of a book, or that she even deserved to be in a book, at all! At one point, Grandma told me that she didn’t remember she had such an exciting life!”
At Heritage Makers, we call these experiences “magic moments.” They involve joy and fulfillment for both the giver and the receiver. The very process of preparing the storybook brought family members closer together. And Tracel has the deep satisfaction of knowing that there is no other gift she could have given that would be as valuable as that book is to her grandma.