THAYER -- Saying she wanted to leave Fun and Friends like the "Lone Ranger" Sue Barns, who has served as Thayer Fun and Friends Senior Center director for 20 plus years, was honored with a gathering in her honor Jan. 31.
A large crowd was on hand as several people spoke on her achievements. Oregon County Council on Aging President John Barton, who has worked with Barnes for many years on the council, was the first to praise the longtime center director, explaining the goal of the council is to serve the seniors of Oregon County.
"Everyone here will have something good to say about Sue today," Barton said.
Barnes' group leader and individual supervisor Pam Simpson spoke saying Sue did not want anything special done for her today but they did it anyway.
"Sue has been great at the center for 21 dedicated years. That's a lot of years for anyone to do this job," Simpson said. She went on to touch on some of the accomplishments of Barnes including her successful meal program and the short amount of time it took to pay off the present building.
Southwest Missouri Office on Aging Executive Director Dorothy Knowles was present. "When I found out Sue was leaving I didn't know what we were going to do. Then we got Shelia (Smith). She is not filling Sue's shoes. She is going her own route. Sue and I have worked together for 21 years. We were both fairly young when we started," Knowles said.
Knowles presented Barnes with a new clock so she could look at it and maybe miss the center and come and volunteer. Knowles also mentioned that Barnes received the first ever Outstanding Center Director Award in 1993.
Recently elected 153rd District state Rep. Mike Dethrow presented the retiring center director with a resolution from the Missouri House of Representatives highlighting her accomplishments at Fun and Friends.
Southwest Missouri Office on Aging board member Dale Johnson said Barnes was very dedicated to her job. "I have always said Thayer and Alton have two of the best senior centers in the state and now because West Plains, Eminence and Winonna's center directors are here I will have to include them," Johnson joked.
"I'm happy to be part of Sue's retirement," said longtime friend and co-worker Mary Ann Holman. "She has been like a sister to me. I wish her the best.
To end the reception Barnes spoke to the large crowd saying she had been blessed.
"All the center volunteers and participants seem like my family," Barnes said.
Cake and punch were served and many from around the county dropped in to wish the retiring director well.