By AMY LINDBLOM
Freddie Waid thinks of herself as a 25-year-old in a 60-something container.
All her life, even with serious, stressful jobs, she has maintained a youthful optimism and unceasing devotion to her family and friends.
"The way I have looked at life, it's too short to be mean or mad," said Waid, office manager for the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department Narcotics Team. "Why waste time messing around with crying or at pity parties?"
Waid works with five investigators and a sergeant overseeing a huge amount of paperwork created from investigating and prosecuting drug crimes.
But ask those who work with Waid and they will call her the nuts and bolts of the team. She runs the office like she ran the Marine Corps commandant's office in Washington, D.C., in the early 70s efficiently and professionally but with spunk and laughter.
She gets out in the field, too. She is on hand when investigators raid large marijuana gardens. She stands tall in her Marine Corps fatigues and combat boots, helping organize the officers and equipment.
Back in the office, her ability to type 150 words a minute is not lost on the admiring investigators.
"We may make the arrests, but it's Freddie who gets us ready for court and finds us money through state and federal grants," said Sgt. Jim Mele, TNT commander.
"There is no multi-tasking with Freddie. She has the ability to do unlimited tasks. If you take her out of the equation, we would really struggle to do our jobs."
Besides her career in the Marines, she has other jobs, including what she calls her finest work raising two boys.
She said she has retired three or four times.
But after Elijah and Skyler were grown, Waid went back to work again and found a job close to her Angels Camp home.
Waid was hired as secretary for the Amador-Calaveras-Tuolumne Narcotics Enforcement Team based in Angels Camp, and worked there for the entire seven years ACTNET existed.