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PARKVILLE, MD---A graduate of the Mercy Hospital nursing school program in 1953, Evelyn McGreal always sought to explore the world. Answering a job advertisement posted in the New York Times would do just that.
By responding to the American Arabian Oil Company's (Aramco) call for nurses, a lifetime of world travel and international experiences began for Ms. McGreal, now a resident of Oak Crest retirement community in Parkville.
"My Mom described me as 'a child who began to run away as soon as she could walk,'" recalled Ms. McGreal.
Working for Aramco while living in Dharahn, Saudi Arabia from 1960-1963, Ms. McGreal would venture the country with her co-workers, investigating and exploring the landscape. "Like many people, I went pot-picking in the desert for shards and other artifacts. I never had any great find. From these bits and pieces, I created two mosaics."
In recent years, the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA) had requested that those types of pieces and artifacts be returned. Some may have been suitable for a world-wide exhibit titled the "Roads of Arabia: Archaeology and History of Saudi Arabia."
Ms. McGreal learned of the appeal through an Aramco employee group and decided to ship her pieces to SCTA. "I had enjoyed the collages for over fifty years, but had no family member who could use them. I was hopeful that they would be appreciated in Saudi Arabia," noted Ms. McGreal.
Her contribution was celebrated by SCTA and her former employer during a dinner celebration in Houston, Texas on December 17th. Along with ten other former employees and their families, Ms. McGreal was honored for participating in the Antiquities Homecoming Project.
The event also served to mark the opening of the "Roads of Arabia" exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Included in the list of dignitaries was Prince Sultan ibn Salman Al Saud, Chairman of the Board of Directors and President of the SCTA, and Annise Parker, Mayor of Houston.
According to Aramco, more than 26,000 antiquities discovered by expatriates --- the vast majority by former company employees from the United States --- have been returned since 2011.
"It was a memorable experience. I was able to take my niece, who was just a baby when I lived in Saudi Arabia. It's now on to the next adventure!" stated Ms. McGreal, who has traveled to fifty countries.
About Oak Crest: Oak Crest is one of sixteen continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living. Located in Parkville, Maryland, the scenic 87-acre campus is home to more than 2,100 residents. Oak Crest is the ideal greater Baltimore retirement destination offering a true sense of community, convenience beyond compare and a sensible financial structure.