By Diane Holloway
We are privileged to have a board of directors member in our community of neighbors! Darryl Brandenburg has been appointed to the board of the C.D. Doyle Clinic, which serves the health needs of people experiencing poverty and homelessness, Sunday afternoons in the St. David’s Church Gym. If you know Darryl, and just about everyone at Trinity Center does, you know that serving others is just what he does, whether it’s helping us clean at the end of the day or giving up his sack lunch to anyone who seems hungry.
“I don’t know … I’ve just always liked doing it,” says Darryl, who grew up Jewish in New York. “I started volunteering with handicapped people in the 9th grade, and I’ve always worked with people with physical or mental handicaps. It wasn’t something I intended to do. It just worked out that way, and I liked it.”
Darryl, 61, moved to Austin in 1976 when his father, who worked for IBM, was transferred here from Kingston, N.Y.
“I moved here when Austin was Austin. The first place I ever went was the Armadillo World Headquarters,” he says.
For you newcomers, the Armadillo was an iconic music venue where all the big names played. And if you know Darryl, you know he has an encyclopedic knowledge of music, so he was happy with his new home!
After earning an associate’s degree in mental health and human services at Austin Community College, he went to work at a Marbridge halfway house and then to the Austin State School, where he met his wife Karen, who was working there in food services. They were married for 23 years and had a son, Aaron. Tragically, Karen died in 2009.
“I made her favorite meal on our anniversary, and she died the next day of heart failure,” Darryl says.
In 2010 Darryl started coming to Trinity Center for services and has been a helper-neighbor ever since. When the C.D. Doyle Clinic partnered with Trinity Center, St. David’s Foundation and UTMB Health a few years ago to help underserved and uninsured Austinites, Darryl came for general health care such as blood pressure checks and the over-the-counter medications that Central Health’s Medical Access Program doesn’t cover. Services are free, provided by volunteer physicians, medical students and nurses, and require no appointments or identification.
As part of its growth, the Clinic is organizing its first-ever board of directors, and Darryl has been tapped.
“It’s not something that I pursued. It just sort of fell into my life,” he says. “I got friendly with everybody, and the volunteer administrator, Leonard Edward, asked me to serve. I have no idea what it will be like, because we haven’t met yet. I’m still one of the clients, so I have some inside information. I’m the person who actually uses the clinic, so they’ll have somebody they can talk to about needs and ways to work with homeless people and other segments of the low-income population. I’ll learn how to work as a director and hopefully I’ll help improve services.”
A little insider help may be just what the C.D. Doyle doctors ordered and neighbors need. Good luck, Darryl! We’re proud of you.