Explore Corsicana January-March 2019 - Page 19

I had with my dad before he died was about him building me a swim academy.” Wright learned about crimi- nals and the prison system at an early age, by hanging around with her father. She earned a crimi- nal justice degree, but she was always more interested in why the criminals did what they did. Once she learned it was the prison psychologists who got to talk to the inmates, she became a clinical social worker, and went to work at a prison in 1996. She worked her way up through the ranks, serving in prisons in Huntsville and Ten- nessee Colony. “Six months before I retired from the prison system, I started Wade Wellness Center in Aug. 2002 in Palestine,” she said. “I had a contract with the Feds to treat prison parolees and do general counseling. I had so many foster children in Corsicana, and I did home visits.” Finally, she moved to Corsicana thanks to her ever-growing list of foster children, but kept her practice in Palestine. Since the foster care system needed someone to advocate for children who knew how to handle themselves in a courtroom, Wright became more and more sought-after, and even- tually just relocated her practice to Corsicana. “I retired from prison to help foster kids,” she said. “To fight for the kids in the court system.” Wade Wellness Center is a private practice, and Wright also writes and copyrights materials, some for use in jails, and is soon set to write some new handbooks. She is now completely separated from the prison system. She real- ized at some point that her years in the prison system had altered her personality somewhat, and she wanted her old self back. “I became too hard-core,” she said. “My family didn’t know what to think.” Karol was the middle daughter, with her late sister Sherri being two years older and her sister Deej being six years younger. Sherri, a master pianist, had a 10-year battle with cancer before she passed away three years ago. Deej is a business executive in Houston, but also an artist. “My only tangible talent is being a reptile whisperer,” she laughed. Her son, Charleston Beard, is 24, and when he was 4 years old she flew him to Chicago so he could see snow. He went with her to Mexico to swim with the whales this past summer. Whenever she is near water, Wright is in her “zone.” If she has material to write, she goes to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and stays on the beach. She’s swam with mammals and amphibians in Cancun, Jamaica, Destin, and many other places. “My father’s funeral was on my birthday,” Wright said. “It’s June 26. The water is where I dwell, so every June 26, I am at the beach, where I know I’ll be happy and free.” Ned Wade was larger-than-life, and little Karol was content to be in his shadow, but wanted her own niche in the court systems. Her dad told her that her particular personality was not suited to the law, but she did find her niche and made it her own, transforming it somewhat when it was needed. She has been a profiler for a reg- istered hostage negotiating team. She was president of her sorority in college. Some might say she is larger than life herself. Karol Wade Wright is confident, a leader, somewhat dramatic, very take-charge, and a great speaker — but all that is a result of hard work she put in to overcome a chronic stuttering problem. Her adventur- ous spirit has taken her all over the world, and she is fiercely protective of her “baby boy,” Charleston. If you spot her out in public, and she’s wearing a cowboy hat or a pair of cowboy boots with a dress, it’s because her latest passion is the rodeo. “I just love the rodeo,” she said. “I go every chance I get.” E X P LO R E C O R S I C A N A |   C O R S I C A N A DA I LY S U N | J A N - M A R C H 2 0 1 9 19