Jacqueline Gauna answers the call for Amarillo

When the phone rings in the middle of the night, Jacqueline Gauna can never be sure what might be needed from the person on the other end.

It could be something as simple as a question regarding a water bill or something more serious like a water leak. Or the call could be about a cat in peril.

“I did get a phone call one evening from a young lady. She was hysterical and crying,” Gauna said. “Her cat had fallen into a storm drain at one of our city parks. And on top that, her phone was fixing to die.”

Obviously, the young lady was having a rough night. But thanks to Gauna and the staff at Amarillo Animal Management and Welfare, things improved for the young lady – and her cat. Gauna contacted AAMW and help arrived.

“I called AAMW. An animal control officer went out and helped her and rescued her cat,” Gauna said. “That was definitely one of the stranger calls I have received.”

Gauna serves Amarillo in a unique role. She is a Treatment Plant Operator at the Osage Water Plant. In addition to her many duties monitoring the City of Amarillo water supply, Gauna also answers after-hours calls from residents who need a wide array of help – from water leaks to cat rescues.

Many Amarillo residents may not be aware that the city provides 24-hour assistance for water-related issues.

“I always wanted to work for the city,” Gauna said. “I love the job and the people I work with. I am going to make it my career.”

Answering evening or late-night phone calls is just one part of Gauna’s job. Amarillo’s water supply is tested every four hours and undergoes comprehensive testing – monitored and directed by employees such as Gauna.

“I really enjoy the lab (at the Osage Water Plant),” said Gauna, who has been with the city for almost two years. “I enjoy finding out how water works, how we transfer water. It is a really complex process and I am learning so much.”

And as for the taste of Amarillo water – which seems a consistent topic of discussion?

“I came to Amarillo from California. I have always drank Amarillo water,” Gauna said. “I have always liked it.”

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