Mola Lenghi, Arlington Journalist
Former Arlington mayor Elzie Odom has released a memoir titled "Counting My Blessings."
Elzie Odom's life was full of many historic firsts.
Odom was the first African-American elected official in Orange County, Texas in 1965. He was the first African-American U.S. Postal Inspector in Texas and just the fifth in the nation. Odom was the first African-American councilmember in the city of Arlington as well as the city's first black mayor.
All these historic firsts are detailed in his new memoir, "Counting My Blessings."
Despite his historic past, Odom generally dismisses the idea that he was smarter or savvier than others, rather, simply fortunate.
"It wasn't something that we planned, it just happened. So, we can't take the credit for being smart, it's just a blessing," said Odom.
Odom said that whenever he met an opportunity, he greeted it with determination, gratitude and a desire to serve others.
"There's nothing magic about being a black councilmember. I've had people ask me, 'What have you done for the black community?' and I'd say, 'I've tried to give them the same things as everybody else, because that's what they want. To be honest, I don't think I thought about race that much. I thought about the opportunity, and it was," said Odom.
He said giving to others has been his most fulfilling satisfactions.
"Oh sure, I love to ride around Arlington and see the things that my hand touched as mayor, but it's doing something for someone else that makes you feel good."