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‘Staple’ of community retires

‘Staple’ of community retires
‘Staple’ of community retires
Don Gossman, left, and Alan Hess wish Shirley Raymond well in her upcoming retirement during a brunch Thursday in her honor at Corydon Presbyterian Church. Photo by Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor (click for larger version)

Shirley Raymond, who has spent the past 41 years in human service programs in Harrison County, was called a ‘staple’ of the community by Dr. Sharon Uhl at a retirement brunch for Raymond on Thursday at Corydon Presbyterian Church.
Uhl, who serves as president of the Harrison County Community Services Board of Directors, said the board, which also includes Joyce Bliss, Brian Engleman, Betty Fessel, Lynn Keasling, Barbara Lander and Richard Mangeot, was somewhat taken aback when Raymond announced her plans to retire.
‘ ‘What?’ we thought,’ Uhl said. ‘She’s a staple.’
Later in the program, Uhl, surrounded by the other board members, said Raymond makes HCCS a ‘one-stop shop’ and is ‘constantly out there talking about’ the agency. In addition to her executive director duties, Raymond has ‘moved things, cleaned freezers, mopped floors’ while making it her life work to make the lives of others better.
Raymond was surrounded by her family: husband, Michael; daughter and son-in-law, Carrie and Danny Johnson; and grandson, Jarret Beckett, who received a standing ovation when Uhl said he would be returning to Afghanistan the following day. Her son, Steven Hawkins, was unable to attend the brunch.
Father John Fink of St. Bernard and St. Michael’s Catholic churches, as well as St. Joseph in Crawford County, served as master of ceremony for the brunch. He is a former president of the HCCS’s board of directors and a friend of Raymond’s since 1976 when he relocated to Harrison County.
‘Shirley was never afraid of dirt or dust,’ he said, as she served as ‘a voice for those who felt left out.’
State Rep. Paul Robertson, who said he probably has known Raymond the longest of anyone at the brunch, called her ‘one of the more compassionate, caring people’ he has known.
He said that Raymond and one of her predecessors, Judy Hess, the executive director from 1976 to 1984, ‘worked hand in hand for people who could not help themselves.’ (Sam Lander was the director from 1984 to 1985.)
John Daily, who chairs Repair Affair of Harrison County, noted that Raymond ‘got behind’ the program when it started here 13 years ago.
‘We love you,’ he told her, adding that her staff at HCCS ‘worked hard and diligent for her. That’s the type of leader she was.’
Daily, knowing that Raymond and her husband plan to travel, joked that Raymond now knows all the cruise ship captains by their first name.
Representing Habitat for Humanity of Harrison County, Ian Thomson, board chairman, said that Raymond has spent many years of improving housing for people in Harrison County.
On behalf of the Lions Club, Jill Robertson recognized Raymond for her dedicated service.
‘Thank you, Shirley, for everything you’ve done,’ she said.
Trent Deckard, speaking on behalf of Indiana Ninth District Congressman Baron Hill, who was unable to attend, said that dedication like Raymond’s is ‘rare and remarkable.
‘The community as a whole is a better place,’ he said. ‘You will be sorely missed.’
Fink, who had to keep telling Raymond to stay by the podium, said, ‘Shirley has a tendency to always want to be in control.’
Also during the brunch, Rick Cooper of Corydon was introduced as Raymond’s successor.
Proceeds from the silent auction that preceded the brunch will be used to purchase items for food baskets to be given by HCCS at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
In closing, Raymond, who said Hess promised she wouldn’t have to speak, thanked everyone for attending, calling them ‘a fabric of Community Services.’

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