Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Gracious Goodbye to Mickey Locklear

Since I've been at Caramore, I've witnessed and have been part of many changes around here. Hundreds of clients have come through our doors, staff has come and gone, programs have been revitalized, and all of our offices and residences have taken on a different appearance. But one valued constant that has not changed has been the calming and lasting presence of Mickey Locklear at Ephesus.

Mickey's legacy is incredible. I have never heard from a single client anything in the least bit negative about Mickey. In fact, many of our clients have regarded their relationship with Mickey as one of the most supportive and nurturing aspects of the Caramore experience. Mickey had a warm way with everyone who lived in the group home. She could make people feel appreciated and comfortable, not an easy thing to do when so many people come to us who might be anxious, frightened or feeling depressed. Mickey's charming, relaxed demeanor could cut through all those tensions very quickly and people would know they had a close friend and ally with Mickey.

In times of crisis, Mickey was a good person to consult with, share feelings with, and lean on for comfort. In times of joy, Mickey would be the first person you would want to share your happy news with. She connected with all of her clients—young or old, men or women, outgoing or withdrawn. Mickey had a personal touch with each and every one. I have nothing but admiration for the lasting memories she has left in the minds of all who resided with her.

And, of course, Mickey's many cooking and baking skills are legendary. Everyone looked forward to her Sunday evening meals and everyone learned from her down home cooking techniques. Mickey enjoyed putting food on the table for all to enjoy, and she could see how the communal meal could bond people together and make for a shared, enjoyable experience. With Mickey in or around the kitchen, Ephesus was filled with warmth, comfort, and good vibrations.

Mickey's last day will be this Friday, January 23rd. She has been with Caramore for longer than I can imagine, I think around 14 years or so. Incredible. We have hired Nancy Phillips and Caroline Crumpler to cover most of the duties that Mickey had. Caroline and Nancy will be wonderful new additions to our staff and do a fine job. But I cautioned them that they should do their job in their own style, and not think of themselves as Mickey's "replacement.”

That would be just an impossible order for anyone to undertake ... to try and replace someone as uniquely revered and special as Mickey Locklear.

Thanks Mickey, and here's to many happy days ahead for you.

Cheers Barry

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