THE PERSON BEHIND THE BADGE: DIETER RACHAL

CASA Volunteer, Dieter Rachal was born in Germany during a time when occupied troops came into their city at the end of the WW2. His mom married one of the GI’s in 1947 and in 1949 was reassigned back to the states, where as a family they settled in El Paso. Now in the states, Dieter’s mother had to learn to read and write English to become an American citizen and at the age of 12, Dieter also received his citizenship and was adopted. From there, his stepdad was reassigned to Ft. Smith, Arkansas and then back to Germany in 1955 when Dieter was 15 years old. In Germany, Dieter attended an American High School and in 1958 his stepdad was reassigned to Ft. Hood, Killeen where his family settled in Belton, Texas.

While in Belton, Dieter finished high school and graduated in 1959. He had joined the National Guard and also worked for a local furniture manufacturing company. He married in 1962 and had a daughter the following year. With an Associate’s degree, the family moved to Dallas in 1967 to take a job with Xerox. It was there that he began his long career of 34 years with Xerox as a Field Technician and then moved into Field Engineering. He spent 20 years in Dallas and then moved to Los Angeles for 4 years. Unhappy in LA, he was transferred to Rochester, New York for 8 years. He received an emergency transfer back to Dallas because his wife’s dad became very ill. After a short stay in Dallas, he became eligible for an early retirement package. At almost 62, he retired and the plan was for his wife to continue working but; as fate would have it, she had another stroke and went on disability. Seeing no reason to stay in Dallas, they moved to Paige, Texas where they had purchased seven acres for the purpose of retiring there. Living in their 24 ft. travel trailer, they watched their house being built, “where they lived happily ever after.”

And because sometimes it’s all about being at the right place at the right time, his church group had volunteered their time and talents to come out and paint the inside of the CASA house. As he was working, he was also checking us out – looking at the literature, asking questions all while thinking to himself, “I can do this.” Taking some literature home with him, he decided to take advantage of the opportunity that was being presented to him as he was looking to “give something back” through volunteering. He was in the right place, at the right time. We are so glad he trusted this timing!

Dieter has been a CASA Volunteer since 2014 and has had a variety of cases with children ranging in age from 16 months to 13 years old. His favorite part of advocacy is visiting the children in their placement and advocating for them in the courtroom by reporting the facts to the Judge, good or bad. He is in it for the long haul, hoping that what he does is making some difference in the lives of the children he is working with. CASA Advocate Supervisor, Alicia Elam says of Dieter, “He is always willing to lend an extra set of hands when we need it the most. Dieter is well-known for his dedication and his energetic spirit. In every case he is assigned, he has provided professional advocacy support to the children, families and caregivers. The time he puts into traveling and his devotion and genuine concern for children is an asset to our program. If there ever is a case issue, Dieter informs all parties to seek a positive resolution and outcome. He is engaged in every part of the child’s well-being by being in the school, their placement, and in their heart in order for every child to have normalcy during this traumatic time in their life. I truly enjoy working with Dieter; he makes being an Advocate Supervisor fun and meaningful.”