The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Senior Outlook

March 3, 2010

Saying Goodbye

After 19 years service, senior center manager decides to retire

As only the second manager the Barton County Senior Center has ever employed, Helen Dale has plenty of stories to tell.

But her time at the Lamar-based center has come to an end. At the age of 73, and after nearly 19 years of service, Helen decided it was time to retire so she could spend more time with her family.

“I’ve always liked older people,” she said. “And now I’m one myself.”

Helen worked for 10 years at Dale’s Packing Company and as a tax collector for the Lamar Township for 25 years before coming to the senior center in March of 1991. She replaced the late Mickey Hanna, who was the first manager the center had ever had.

Helen and Jerry, her husband of 55 years, are excited about traveling and spending more time with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren now that she’s retired.

“Our family is in Nixa, Mo., and Birmingham, Ala., so it’ll be nice to be able to visit them without having to worry about being back at work Monday morning,” Helen said.

Stormy Cuba, Helen’s replacement, had nothing but wonderful things to say about her predecessor.

“I’m going to miss Helen so much,” Stormy said. “I’m sad for us but happy for her. I hope I can do half as good of a job as she has done for the past 19 years.”

Helen feels Stormy is the perfect person to take her place and thinks her outgoing nature will be a positive for the senior center.

“Stormy is a people person and loves to talk,” Helen said. “She knows the people in the kitchen very well and will do a great job.”

“Helen has been a very dedicated manager for many years,” said Stephanie Denham, nutritional services director. “The clients, staff and I are all going to miss her but we wish her the best in her retirement.”

When asked what she’ll miss the most about her position, Helen said she’ll miss being with the seniors everyday and sharing in their lives.

“The experiences will stay with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

“I’ve enjoyed my time at the senior center so much and will come back to visit as often as I can.”

“I can’t stay away,” she said.

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