Barr Nutrition Center director retires

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 2, 2001

Features Editor

Jan. 1, 2001 10 PM

For Mildred Shehane, retirement often seemed to be an allusive thing.

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As director of the Robert E. Barr Nutrition Center in Brundidge, it was her desire to remain on the job until she could move her "people" into a new facility that was adequate to meet their needs.

The city’s plans to build such a facility were postponed time after time. It seemed for a while that she would either not be able to retire or have to retire without seeing her dream come true.

However, on Dec. 22, Shehane officially retired as director of the nutrition center and a reception was held in her honor in the new Brundidge Station, which houses the Robert E. Barr Nutrition Center.

"I had said that I would retire as soon as the nutrition center had a new home," Shehane said. "The clients and I had dreamed of such a day for so long and I wanted to be the one to move them into a new center. I was so happy that I was able to do that. The new facility is wonderful. It was worth waiting for and everyone is so proud of it. I’m looking forward to going to the center now as a participant instead of a manager."

Being manager of the center was an ideal job for Shehane, but she had reached a time in her life when she was ready to hand the reins over to someone else.

"It was time for me to retire and do some of the things that I want to do," she said. "I want to spend more time with my family and do things with my friends – and relax."

Shehane was only the second director of the nutrition center in Brundidge which opened in 1978. She took over at the helm when Adele Johnston retired nearly 18 years ago.

"I don’t think that I thought so much about the job for myself," she said, "but others kept telling me that I was the one for the job. I applied, but I didn’t really think I would get it."

However, once she got the job, Shehane realized that the others had been right. The job was tailor-made for her.

"I enjoyed working out among people," she said. "I had worked at the drug store for years and really liked being with people. The center was just the right job for me. I looked forward to going to work every day because every day was a pleasure. The people were great to be around and we all became very good friends. I’ll miss seeing them every day. They brought a lot of joy and pleasure and meaning to my life. So, I’ll have to go back often. I feel like I am a part of the center for life."

Britt Thomas, city manager, said that Shehane is responsible for the success of the program.

"Mrs. Shehane has done an outstanding job as director of the nutrition center," he said.

"She has been an excellent asset to the city. She has always been a pleasure to work with and she was always will to do all that was asked of her. We were very pleased with her as the director and she will be missed in that capacity but we certainly hope that she will continue to be a part of the program as a participant. Her input will be valuable as we make plans for the future of the program and the facility."

As soon as she gets back from visiting her granddaughter in Florida and her son in California, Shehane will get back into the routine of being a private citizen, but one with strong ties to her "people" at the nutrition center.

"I had a ball there," she said. "And, I want to thank everyone for making the past 18 years so enjoyable and for making

me feel like I was appreciated. Brundidge is a wonderful place to live because of the wonderful people who call it home."