EDITOR'S NOTE: Sixth in a series
By RICHARD DYMOND
MANATEE -- Molly Maxwell believes in digging for the truth, and she encourages others to do the same.
"She is an amazing person," Bradenton Police Officer Kimberly "Scottie" Camacho said. "Molly helps our young Explorers, who are age 14 to 20, in tutoring, learning life skills and being a great all-around person. She is willing to do whatever needs to be done. It may be to help someone with homework, or if we need actors for a law enforcement scenario.
"She is always there to listen."
Maxwell has been named a Bradenton Marauders "All-Stars Among Us" for her work in youth education over the past 13 years, volunteering with kids at the Bradenton Police Explorers Post No. 1004.
Explorers Posts, which are part of Boys Scouts of America, feature 12 career clusters, including law enforcement, for youth from age 14-20 who are interested in getting deeper into their career goals.
Maxwell will be present
ed a check for $500 from the Marauders at the Florida State League All-Star Game at McKechnie Field and $500 for the charity of her choice, which is the Bradenton Police Department's Explorers Post 1001.
"Molly has a vast amount of knowledge," Camacho said. "She is one of those people who are smart but down to earth."
Maxwell was recognized by the Marauders because of her unique ability to reach kids.
"I am like the mom person," Maxwell said. "Once in a while, the mom comes out with a 'Settle down!' and they are like 'Whoa!' I think I reach kids because I am able to share my passion for life with them."
Maxwell, 55, is passionate and articulate about such wildly diverse subjects as Native American pow wows, spirituality, crossing over from life to death, botany, electromagnetic fields, computer programing, nursing, mentoring and even selling camera equipment.
"My life is a tapestry, like that Carole King song," Maxwell said with her classic deep laugh, when asked how she has become an expert on so many things. "I do have Native American blood, Choctaw and Cherokee, through my biological family. I have been to Native American gatherings in Georgia and Florida.
"Those gatherings are my church," she said.
"But I always tell people that I believe in digging for the truth. I tell them don't take anything on face value. You have to dig through to find the answers. I like people to find their own truths."
Maxwell, whose first name is legally Mary, came to Bradenton in 1968 from tiny Talbotton, Ga., a place so small it has no grocery store. She graduated from Manatee High School in 1977, the same year and Cane class as fellow Marauder "All-Star" Steve Pontious.
Maxwell studied computer programming at the old Manatee Junior College, went into early childhood education and taught preschool for 13 years and got a sociology degree at the University of South Florida in Tampa. In between all that, she went to nursing school for a while, always searching for her mission.
"I bounced around," said Maxwell, who now uses her own peaks and valleys as a teaching tool for youth. "I even worked at Wolf Camera in Bradenton."
Although it would take a book to record all of Maxwell's views, her insights on "crossing over" are fascinating.
"I don't look at death as final," Maxwell said. "I see it as crossing over. I don't look at it as scary. I am comfortable with it. I believe people go on. I don't think we will need food. We will be spiritual beings, not physical beings. There will be no illness. All my animals and pets will be there, and I think a whole lot of family will be waiting for me when I cross over."
Richard Dymond, Herald reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7072 or contact him via Twitter @RichardDymond.