Benton announces retirement after 40 years in healthcare

Published 9:25 pm Friday, April 10, 2020

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After 11 years as the school nurse at Charles Henderson Middle School and 40 years in the healthcare field, Kitty Benton is retired.

“At least, I guess I am,” Benton said, laughing. “I was supposed to retire from the school on June 1 but since school is out, it looks like I am already retired.”

Benton said she retired from CHMS with some reservations but also looking forward to having time for family and some time just for herself.

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“And, if I want to stay involved with my profession in some way, I might do what is called substitute nursing — filling in much as a substitute teacher would,” she said. “I know that I’m going to miss the children. I feel like I was more than the school nurse. I was a mama and grandmama. I sewed on buttons and patched pants. I listened when they wanted to talk. I was a pushover.

“I was bad about treating the children to peppermint. We were like family and I’m going to miss the children, everyone. I know I will. So, I just might pop up over there from time to time.”

Although Benton said nursing wasn’t a calling for her, it became her passion.

“I got started in nursing because an LPN nursing program was offered through Trenholm Technical School in Montgomery and it paid a little to go,” Benton said. “I decided to give it a try.”

Benton found she had the skills needed in the nursing profession and also the desire to help people.

She found ready employment at Edge Memorial Hospital in Troy where she worked in patient care, in the emergency room and as a pharmacy technician.

“But the hours were long — working days, nights, weekends and holidays,” Benton said. So, after several yeas, she left the hospital to work at the doctor’s office in Brundidge.

She worked with several doctors who were participating in the Rural Health Care Program before going to work in primary care at  Charles Henderson Child Health Center.

“I worked at CHCHC long enough to retire from there and decided I would enjoy working at the school,” Benton said. “I love children and, at the school, I would have more time off, holidays and summers, for family and for myself.”

Benton first worked at Troy Elementary School and then moved to the middle school when there was an opening.

“It was a wonderful 11 years – the children, the faculty and staff, all such wonderful people,” she said. “I enjoyed every day and I am going to miss being there. Being the school nurse was very rewarding. Getting to know the children was the best part. I’m thankful that the Lord gave me the opportunity and guided me through.”

Now, with the coronavirus dictating that she stays home, Benton, laughingly, said she’s eating so much that she is walking about four miles each morning to counter the calories.

She plans to keep eating, keep walking and enjoying a life of leisure with her husband, Mike, and children, Amanda, Kristi and Thad, and their families that include six grandchildren.