We aren’t the typical people you think work at NASA

July 28, 2019
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We aren’t the typical people you think work at NASA

We aren’t the typical people you think work at NASA

“We grew up with a single mom in Down the Bay in the Baltimore projects. We moved to a home but there was a lot of hustle and bustle and mom thought that wasn’t a good place to raise us. She got married and we moved to Eight Mile.”

“Mom worked two jobs and counted on us to be mature enough to get home and do our homework. She instilled independence in us. There were bumps along the way. It helps that we are just a year-and-a-half apart and had each other to lean on. At an early age, mom made education important. She bought us Encyclopedias and all of the Charlie Brown books. She is proud of where that education took us.”

“She dropped us off at the library and let us stay there for hours at a time. She just wanted us to learn. The Naman Brothers hired us when we were about 14 to work in Naman’s Grocery store on Broad Street. We grew up around the corner and they were so good to us.”

“I got into computers at LeFlore Magnet School and went to Mississippi Valley on a football scholarship in Itta Bena, Mississippi and played football with Jerry Rice. I majored in computer science and went to work with McDonnell Douglas aircraft. I got a call to play football for the Kansas City Chiefs and worked for McDonnell Douglas in the off-season. I played football in Canada for a little while.”

“I went to Memphis State to play football. After my sophomore year, school and engineering weren’t jiving together so I gave up football to focus on engineering. I was a junior waiting for my power systems class to start. A young man wearing a suit sat beside me and I asked him about the suit. He had a job interview with NASA. That started eating at me and God told me to get up. I got up before the class ended, went to my dorm room and got a resume and took it to where he said the NASA interviewer was. They called me later and offered me the co-op. The decisions you make at that age affect your whole life. If I hadn’t have listened to that voice, we wouldn’t be NASA engineers or standing here right now. A job in the software department at NASA opened up and I thought my brother would be a good fit and he was hired.”

“I saw how much fun he was having and wanted to do the same thing. We aren’t the typical people you think works at NASA. I am now Assistant to the Center Director at the Stennis Space Center. We love coming back and inspiring kids that you can be from Mobile and dream big. If space intrigues you, any child in Mobile can be a part of that. I have the Darryl Gaines Foundation that supports kids in the projects we grew up in. I want them to see an example of someone who came from where they come from and to give them hope. I talk to hundreds of kids at a time. If I inspire one or two, that makes me happy. We need to let kids know there is more than what they see today and there is another way to be successful. Everyone capable and able needs to step up and step out. There are many successful people in Mobile. The ‘Love U Love U’ event was started by successful people in Mobile and look at what they accomplished.”

“I spent 20 years in the Army reserves and have been at NASA for 30 years. Every day I go to work I still pinch myself that I get to work there.  I am the technical assistant in the quality assurance industrial safety branch. My team works every project at Marshall to follow all requirements and make sure everything works. They had a big celebration in Huntsville last week with the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. We are working on going back to the moon because we have a lot to learn and test out before we go to Mars. Exploring space is difficult and expensive. You have to sell the public on the vision to get funded  We have more international and commercial partners to bring the cost down to the public. Everyone in the world will be a part of it and that is how it should be. We plan on having the first female land on the moon in 2024. The plan is to be living on the moon by 2028. We will go to Mars in our lifetime.”

“People are still dreaming about the great things our country can do and I have a lot of hope for us. We are strong and we will find a way to make things better.”

“We have enough people in the United States who put God in their lives. You can’t beat that. It is going to be okay.”

Information about the Darryl Gaines Foundation: https://www.darrylgainesempowers.com/the-darryl-gaines-foundation

5 comments on “We aren’t the typical people you think work at NASA”

  1. Tamara Callier says:

    Hello Gaines Brothers, great story of your upbringing. I have a 13 year old son who I would love to hear your mentoring. When and where will your next speaking engagement be held?

  2. This has been a long time coming. There’s nothing better than two NASA engineers in one family! The Gaines Brothers are the exception to the rule! Way to go, guys!!

  3. LyShonta Yates says:

    Great job Gaines Brothers on all your accomplishments. Rattler’s Rock!!

  4. Diane Sims says:

    Truly a beautiful testimony and a wonderful example of “paying it forward” by inspiring the next generation of young men to be their best. Kudos to your mother and to you and your brother!

  5. Susan Spiers says:

    I was so fortunate to have Darryl speak to the boys of Forge Camp this summer. He was such an inspiration to the boys and the adults!

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