This interviewee started out a little different than the others. I planned on interviewing her husband, who happened to be in Australia for a few weeks, so I wasn’t able to meet with him quite yet. The more I thought about who I would replace him with - the more I saw his wife and realized SHE WAS THE PERFECT ONE! Her husband even told me, “She is significantly cooler than I am, with a way more powerful story to tell.”
Forty-two-year-old Marcy Bartula is an open book. She said from the get go that not only could I ask her whatever I wanted, but she would answer anything. During our interview I teared up with emotion more than once as I listened to her. Several things about her story pulled at my heartstrings - the way she talks about her husband, the way she speaks of her struggles, the way she cheers for the underdog, the way she genuinely wants her friends to succeed - all of these things and more made me want to talk to her forever.
Marcy definitely stands out with her bold personality and authentic style. She is very sure of herself and loves all things bling and shiny. Most people can’t pull off her bright colored hair, tattooed body, and fashionable clothes, but Marcy certainly can! Once you speak with her, you quickly see she has a way about her that makes you feel comfortable and gives you a sense of belonging and worth. You can feel how much she truly loves people.
Marcy grew up in the streets of Stockton, California. Suffering through childhood trauma at a young age caused her to have a rough life for many years. Having been involved with gangs, she knew she had to leave that life and moved to San Diego where she knew no one. Years later Marcy attended USC and became a social worker. She says she is able to do such a great job in her career because of the struggles she experienced and overcame, which also make her relatable to her clients.
One of the things I admire about Marcy and her husband Jody is the obvious love and appreciation they have for one another. It is immediately apparent that the two of them respect and love each other unfailingly.
When asked what she’s most proud of, she says it’s her non-profit organization, Different Day Foundation, a safe haven for survivors of human trafficking. Marcy is pleased with how far it’s come and is excited about its future. She’s also proud of her husband Jody, who is a musician in country music singer Cody Johnson’s band. She and Jody are fortunate to be able to travel much of the world, although her favorite place to be is in the comfort of their home with him and their three rescued pit bulls. One of the favorite places she’s been is The Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. She and Jody have the same beautiful tattoo of a stained-glass window in the building.
Why Navasota? Nick and Coreena Ferrata, close friends of the Bartulas who now live in Millican, introduced them to our small town. Two of her favorite places in Navasota are Rail and Rye and Dizzy Llama. Some of her favorite people are Chris and Jessica Tucker, Becky Munoz who she adores, Kenny Stevens who helps with her dogs at times, and Tracee Weigand Bewley and Phill Sechelski who she referred to as being mindful and kind. Marcy says she now loves Navasota and plans on building here. She would love some acreage where she can create a compound for musicians.
Marcy dreams about opening more safehouses and changing legislation on how survivors are served. If she could have dinner with anyone, she says it would be Rachel Loyd, founder of one of the first trafficking shelters ever created.
Her perfect day off is hanging out with Nick and Coreena, being in a pool, or having a Disney movie day with Jody.
Marcy says her greatest strength is her compassion and empathy for others. She attributes this strength to her grandfather, Raymond Morales, who helped raise her. She would like her legacy to be how she cared for survivors of human trafficking, her family and the people around her that she loves because love heals. Marcy would like to be cremated and have her ashes made into diamonds for Jody and others to wear.
You can learn more about one of my favorite new Navasota Neighbors and her organization at www.differentday. org.
The column represents the thoughts and opinions of Jennifer Ramirez. Opinion columns are NOT the opinion of the Navasota Examiner.
Jennifer is a lifelong resident of Navasota. She is passionate about her community and supports all things local.