Crusader Recognizing excellence in
Special Section May 2014
Nine college employees announce retirement in 2013-2014
Retirees • Sandy Brisendine - Page 2 • Virginia Bruce - Page 3 • Andrea Yoxall - Page 4 • Pam Perkins - Page 5 • Roy Hamey - Page 6 • Les Jantzen - Page 6 • Doug Wehmeier - Page 7 • Billy Campbell - Page 7 • Al Pittendrigh - Page 8
Retirement Special Section
Sandy Brisendine “
If you can’t laugh in your job, you shouldn’t be in your job; we have fun everyday.
Nursing instructor Sandy Brisendine has worked at Epworth Allied Health Center for 24 years, after working at Southwest Medical Center for 20 years, with a couple of years working at both, and she is still not ready to completely call it quits. Although she is retiring, Brisendine will continue to help at the Allied Health Center on a part-time basis. Working at the Allied Health Center has been a “wonderful experience” for Brisendine, and she has gone through her career with much passion. “I would just love for everybody to know what a great place this is to work,” Brisendine added, “and what a great profession nursing is. Whichever way you decide to go, there is always a need for nurses.” As a nursing instructor at SCCC, Brisendine’s job entailed a lot of work. Her focus has been on mental health nursing and maternal child nursing, and her job includes planning courses, preparing materials and planning clinical experiences. Brisendine also prepares lectures and exams, advises students, and serves on committees. One of Brisendine’s co-workers for several years, Veda King, shared that Brisendine is young at heart. “She is innovative in the classroom,” King said, “always thinking of new ideas to teach interactively.” As soon as Brisendine graduated from nursing school, she started working at Southwest Medical Center and worked there for 20 years. Brisendine didn’t exactly want to change jobs, but when opportunity presented itself, she took an opening at Epworth so she could put her knowledge and experience to work by sharing it with future generations of nurses. “When the opportunity came up,” Brisendine said, “there wasn’t a moment’s hesitation, even though I loved my job at the hospital.” Brisendine said the thing she would miss the most about Seward would be the students and her friends on the faculty. That being said, Brisendine emphasized the importance that a person’s job should be fun and enjoyable. “If you can’t laugh in your job,” Brisendine said, “you shouldn’t be
in your job; we have fun everyday.” Just a couple of weeks ago, Brisendine was passing out papers when she heard “this crazy music.” But she thought nothing of it. When, suddenly, she looked up, and her class had burst into spontaneous dancing. They were on chairs and desks and all wearing something over their heads. “They were just dancing and boogying,” Brisendine said, “and it was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.” Brisendine hopes that she has made positive contributions in her years of work. She shared that, first of all, she hopes that she has contributed a positive experience that a person builds through working a certain number of years, and work ethic as well, which is very important to Brisendine. “That was taught to me by my parents,” Brisendine said, “and I hope that the students can pick up on that.” Along with that, excellence in nursing, honesty and integrity are things Brisendine hopes she has contributed throughout her career. She also hopes that she has been a person who her students could trust and talk to in difficult times. As she goes through a new door in her life, she said she will let God lead the way. Her plans for retirement include staying close to home and spending more quality time with her parents, children and grandchildren. “My friends are here, my church is here, my friends at work are here, and my parents are here,” Brisendine said. Brisendine’s parents, Lawrence and Patricia Balzer, live in Hooker, Oklahoma, and at 92 years old, her dad “still gets up and goes to his shop almost every morning.” Sandy had two children with her ex-husband: Christopher Ellington and April Anderson are both married and both have two children. Sandy is now widowed. Her husband, Charles Brisendine, died 16 years ago, and her stepson Steve Brisendine lives in Kansas City and has three children. “I want people to go out there and be competent and caring people for their patients,” Sandy said, “because you really can make a difference in somebody’s life, and that’s what we’re here for.” — By Diana Chavira
Crusader photo/Diana Chavira
Sandy Brisendine, nursing instructor, plans to retire after years of working in the medical community.
Retirement Special Section
Crusader photo/Makiah Adams
Virginia Bruce, receptionist of 20 years, answers an incoming phone call. This is one of the many tasks she performs throughout a day on the job.
Virginia Bruce Answering phone calls. Handling incoming mail. Handling outgoing mail. Answering questions. Maintaining post office accounts. These are all characteristics of being a receptionist, all of which Virginia Bruce has done well. After being a part of the Seward County Community College/ Area Technical School staff for 20 years, Bruce has decided it is time to retire. Bruce spent 15 of those 20 years working concession for home games in addition to her job as receptionist. Bruce was first at the college from 1988 through 1990 as the secretary for the dean of instruction. She then took a job with Panhandle Oil field. Only three or four days after subscribing to the local paper she spotted an ad in the paper for a job opening as the receptionist at SCCC. Bruce applied for the job
and has been the receptionist ever since. “This job came at a time when I really needed it,” Bruce said. She has been the “go to” lady if there is a question about almost anything on campus. “I’ve always thought I’m the first point of contact when they walk in this door, the majority of the time, and definitely when they call. That first impression is huge,” Bruce said. “If I couldn’t be doing the right thing to help anybody that needed it, then I would feel like I would have failed and that wasn’t acceptable.” An event that Bruce found most memorable, while working at the college, is when the 2002 women’s basketball team won the national championship. She enjoyed the excitement and watching every player on the team work so well together, including her “booster kid” Anne Weese.
Bruce was a booster parent to Weese while she attended SCCC from fall of 2000 to spring of 2002. Weese describes Bruce as “very passionate about many things. She doesn’t do anything half speed. Everything she does, she puts 100 percent of her energy and attention into,” Weese said. “The thing about Virginia is just that she’s so genuine. So what I saw I think every student saw.” Weese spoke of an instance when she mentioned her struggle with a calculus class to Virginia. The next thing she knew, Bruce was at her friend’s house to pick Weese up for a tutoring session that Bruce had personally scheduled for Weese with instructor Bonnie (Mautz) Merrihew. She went out of her way to contact her. “She made my experience at Seward so much better than it would have been without her,”
Weese said. “I’ll always, always be so very thankful and grateful of my relationship with her.” Bruce will also carry memories with her of all the friendships made. She said that she feels so fortunate to have met so many young people over the years. “Some of those friendships grew to be far more than what I expected and they are still going on today,” Bruce said. Post retirement, Bruce is excited to not have to get up at six in the morning. She is also excited to take naps and do whatever she wants when she wants without having to worry about a work schedule. Even so, she will look back fondly on her career. “It’s just been a blessing to work here,” Bruce said. “It was an enormous opportunity.” — By Makiah Adams
I’ve always thought I’m the first point of contact when they walk in this door.
Retirement Special Section
I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life.
Crusader file photo / Heidy Molina
Andy Yoxall has been a willing helper at the college Scholarship Auctions. Here, at the 2011 event, she dresses in costume and helps take bids.
Andrea Yoxall Director of Public and Alumni Relations Andrea Yoxall has watched the college change tremendously in 34 years. “I never thought I would have had such a great opportunity in Liberal, Kansas,” Yoxall said. “Nor would I have thought I would stay in one place for so many years. It worked out to be a great profession.” Yoxall started her career at the college by helping the journalism and art programs grow with the addition of graphic design and journalism courses. “It was during my freshman orientation at the college that I first met her,” said owner and publisher of the Leader and Times, Earl Watt. “At that time, she was the adviser to the Crusader. I had no plans to go into journalism, but she asked me to cover the college sports teams, and when I hesitated, she offered
me a book scholarship, and I thought, ‘I get to watch sports and get my books free? Yes, that’s for me.’ Andy was a moving factor for a number of young writers to go into journalism.” After seven years of teaching journalism, Yoxall was given the position of public relations and marketing for the school. Yoxall says that she has thoroughly enjoyed working with each department on campus. “Although I have watched a lot of people come and go,” Yoxall added, “I have developed a lot of great friendships over the years. I will especially miss working with Tammy Doll and the Development office. We have built a great Foundation that will benefit our students for years to come.” The thought of Yoxall’s impending retirement brought tears to Director of Development
Tammy Doll’s eyes. “I have known Andy for over 30 years both professionally and personally,” Doll said. “At first, I took classes under her and then we became co-workers and then she became one of my very best friends.” According to Doll, Yoxall created the first Macintosh computer lab on campus. “She had to take the initiative and learn it all on her own. She has a history of taking pride in her work and is known for her work ethic,” Doll said. Yoxall is confident that even in her retirement, she will continue to watch the college grow and hopes the state legislature will remember how important community colleges are to both Kansas, and southwest Kansas. Yoxall says that she has grown to understand that without community colleges, many people
would not have an education beyond high school. Watt also commented on the importance of the community college. “One of the great things about the college is that it opens the minds of many young adults to careers they might not have ever thought about,” Watt said. Yoxall plans to use her retirement to spend more time with her family, especially her grandchildren; Zander, 10; Cruz, 6; Kaizen, 6 weeks. Yoxall loves music and plans to attend many concerts, as well as play golf and travel, and simply to take more time for herself. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter in my life,” Yoxall said. — By Dawn Shouse
Retirement Special Section
Crusader photo/Jakub Stepanovic
Administrative assistant Pam Perkins works at her desk in the president’s office at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School.
Pam Perkins Pam Perkins, the administrative assistant to the president and Board of Trustees, has worked at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School for 24 years. When hired in 1990, Perkins began as the administrative assistant to the dean of instruction and also filled the position of notary public and assistant secretary to the SCCC/ATS Foundation before taking her current position in 1995. “It’s been a very exciting job,” Perkins said. “It encompasses everything on campus.” Perkins described her job as ever-changing and said it never went the way she planned. “It changes from the minute I walk in the door. It entails a lot of planning the president’s calendar, appointments, travel arrangements. I work doing minutes for Deans’ Council, the Board of Trustees and occasionally I do minutes for professional staff/employee development. So there is no set day—answering
the phones, taking messages, putting out fires, it’s just a Jackof-all-Trades,” Perkins said. In her years at Seward, Perkins has worked under three college presidents and one interim president. “One of the first presidents that I worked for, he was constantly changing his travel arrangements after I would make them. I would make the airline arrangement, I’d make the motel arrangement, which would coincide with the airline arrangement … and he was consistently either changing it on his own, and either leaving early to get there or coming back early from there. One of the first things he did was he changed and went to Florida early, and I did not get the room changed. I had visions of him sleeping on the street in a cardboard box that first night because his room didn’t get adjusted. He finally talked them into getting a room … it was a little stressful at the time,” Perkins said. In 2011, Perkins received the
ACCT Professional Board Staff Member Award after being nominated by SCCC/ATS President Dr. Duane Dunn. Perkins is a member of the Saints Educational Support Professionals and was president of the Saints ESP in 2001, 2002 and 2010. From October 2006 to September 2007, Perkins served as the vice president for the Professional Board Staff Network of Association of Community College Trustees, and then as the president for the next year. Perkins said that she will miss the people at SCCC/ATS the most. “It’s a family,” Perkins said. “I was out for two months in 2011 because my husband had some medical issues and almost died, and they just took care of things while I was gone for two months, and I came back and just picked up right where I started from. They were just very understanding. They took up a donation and helped pay for hotel
room expenses. It’s just a family.” For the past 43 years, Perkins has been married to Chris Perkins, who is currently an adjunct professor at Seward. She has a son, Sean Perkins of Liberal, and a daughter, Skye Clements, and three grandsons, all of Green Valley, Missouri. “I’m excited for (retirement) so we can travel and see our grandchildren more often,” Chris Perkins said. “She’s ready; she’s worked many, many years out here … but she will miss it, trust me.” As for her contributions to Seward, Perkins stated that, “I’ve tried to be a cheerleader, both for employees and for our Saints teams. My husband and I had green hair one year when we went to Nationals… just trying to be a positive influence on both students and staff has been my goal… I would not be here without God putting me here.” —Kyleigh Becker
I’ve tried to be a cheerleader, both for employees and for our Saints teams.
Retirement Special Section
Roy Hamey “
The thing I will miss the most about SCCC/ATS is — everything, the daily grind, just everything.
What is next? Projects, hot rods and grandchildren.
Roy Hamey, the welding technology instructor at Seward County Community College/Area Technical School, is retiring after teaching for a combined record of 38 years, with 32 years with the technical school and six years with SCCC/ATS since the merger. After Hamey retires, he plans to go visit his son Josh Hamey, who lives in Clay Center, Kansas, more. “Oh, and I will have a fantastic garden, but of things you can eat,” Hamey said. Hamey doesn’t plan on going anywhere after his retirement. “For a while I will be staying Liberal. I enjoy it here,” Hamey said. Hamey shared some stories of his experiences over the years. These included motorized water gun fights outside in the spring, the firecracker era, and the guy who caught his pant leg on fire. Hamey explained that after catching his pant leg on fire, he hopped across the shop over to a bucket of water and put his leg in it to put the fire out. Crusader photo/Dallas Kelling “The thing I will miss the most about Ivan Hernandez, Fabian Soto, Roy Hamey, and Jesus Banuelos SCCC/ATS is — everything, the daily pose for a group photo in the welding shop at the Tech School. grind, just everything,” Hamey said. He
said he enjoys working with the students and watching them grow. “Look out there and look at the smiles on those boys’ faces. They are having a good time, they are having fun, and are smiling, but they are also getting stuff done. When I first started here, I asked how they wanted the students to be taught, and I was told to teach them how I would want to be taught, and right then I knew it was going to be fun,” Hamey said. Garrett Pickens said he enjoyed having Hamey as an instructor. “I learned a lot from him especially when building the smoker,” Pickens said. “ I am going to miss him.” Hamey’s family members who he will be spending time with after retiring are his wife Debbie Hamey, his son Josh Hamey and his poodle Cotton. Hamey feels that there have been many contributions, such as the 12-foot bed shear they installed or all the welding booths that they built. “I wish they would have let me expand because my dream was to have 30 people in the program,” Hamey said. — By Dallas Kelling
Les Jantzen Les Jantzen will retire this year after 20 years of service as a member of the maintenance team at Seward County Community College. Jantzen started out as the activity bus driver, but later did maintenance odds and ends that the college needed in fixing or cleaning. Jantzen said he has always enjoyed being around the students, especially those who travel far and wide to come and study here. He likes to learn about them, and is a people person. And even though he likes to be around people, he also enjoys one-to-one interactions and his privacy. After 20 years, Jantzen thought it was time to go. He doesn’t leave sorrowful; he is looking forward to spending time with his daily projects, building hot rods at his shop and more than anything, his grandchildren. Jantzen has four grandchildren, who are still very young. He has two granddaughters and two grandsons, with ages varying from two who are 2 years old to a 6-year-old and a 9-year-old. Jantzen’s wife, Jana, explains how Les is a very family oriented person and always tries to do what is best for them.
Besides the grandchildren, Les has three children who have already grown up, obtained their degrees and are now out in their chosen fields. Those fields include a major in psychology, in mechanical engineering, and a medical lab technician. Though Les is very quiet, he does have a few tricks up his sleeve. He enjoys very much having his own projects that he can work on and build from scratch. Les does all sorts of mechanical work, for example, motorcycles, drag race cars, hot rods and many more projects. “He builds a lot on his own, always seems to have a project on hand,” Jana said. Jana explained how he has a shop outside of town in the country where he goes to relieve his stress that’s he’s carried from the day. “It’s his getaway,” Jana said. Les has enjoyed his time at SCCC, and though he has no definite plans for the near future, Jana said that he will stay busy. No doubt. — By Maria Lara
Crusader photo/ Kelci Bedingfield
Maintenance worker Les Jantzen retires after 20 years at SCCC.
Retirement Special Section
Doug Wehmeier Doug Wehmeier recently retired from Seward County Community College/Area Technical School after nine years on the job. Wehmeier first applied for his job at the college because he said it seemed like something he would enjoy doing. He has done everything from plumbing to electrical work to maintenance. Whatever the job was, Wehmeier could handle it, and he liked the variety. “I liked the position that I was in to get various jobs,” Wehmeier said. “I’d work on lights one time, and then have to do plumbing.” He always stayed extremely busy working on things for the college, so he didn’t have much time to interact and get to know the students at Seward. He said he really enjoyed his time at Seward and will be sad to leave the college. Wehmeier is married to Teresa Wehmeier, who also works at Seward as the institutional research and data analyst. They live 25 miles south of Liberal on their 80-
acre ranch, where Wehmeier plans on working after he retires from Seward. The Wehmeiers have a small herd of cattle, some chickens, and horses. They also have two dogs, named Sweet Pea and Hank. Doug plans to plant a garden, so he can grow some of his own food. In his free time, Doug is excited about going fishing whenever he wants. As a surprise gift for his retirement, Teresa put away savings to purchase a camper. After a bout of cancer followed by four cancer free years, Doug has a new perspective on life, Teresa said. “Now he is more interested in living life to the fullest, and I hope our planning will allow that to happen,” she said. The camper is already worked into those plans. If he is a having a stressful day or if it’s just a beautiful day outCourtesy photo/Teresa Wehmeier side, then Wehmeier can take his camper and head to the water to Doug Wehmeier works in his garden on the first day of his retirement. He worked nine years in the college maintenance department at the college. reel in some fish. — By Kelci Bedingfield & Maria Lara
Billy Campbell Crusader photo/Maggie Mahan
Billy Campbell takes a break from his workday outside of the cafeteria.
Billy Campbell, one of the maintenance workers at Seward County Community College/ Area Technical School, is preparing to retire. Campbell has worked at Seward for nine years doing grounds work such as snow removal, irrigation, mowing, and other similar jobs around campus. Even though Campbell has enjoyed his time here at Seward County Community College, he is excited and ready to have more time for his plans after retirement. He says that after his retirement he expects that he will miss the people he works with and is around the most.
He has always enjoyed cars, so after he retires, Campbell plans on rebuilding and restoring old jeeps to take to car shows. Campbell’s supervisor, Roger Scheib, says he is great to be around and wishes him luck in his retirement. Scheib also said that Campbell will be greatly missed during upcoming years because Campbell is hard working, and has taught him mechanical aptitude. Campbell plans continue following some fatherly advice in the future. “If you lie to someone, they’ll steal from you, that’s what my dad always told me,” Campbell said. — By Maggie Mahan
I liked the position that I was in to get various jobs.
I will miss the people I work with and am around the most.
Retirement Special Section
I just hope that people could see the pride I took in my work, building, and in my school.
Crusader photo/Jakub Stepanovic
Al Pittendrigh receives recognition at the 2014 Athletic Banquet for his 24 years of dedicated service to the athletic teams and the college.
Al Pittendrigh Pride. That’s what Al Pittendrigh said he really wanted to be remembered for. “I just hope that people could see the pride I took in my work, building, and in my school,” Pittendrigh said. To hear others talk, that is something they absolutely connect to Pittendrigh, a Seward County Community College gym maintenance worker. One story in particular came from the latest Saints Hall of Fame inductee Pat Stangle, a former Seward volleyball coach. Stangle, who returned to campus for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April, talked about coming to the gym after a game day and walking through the building. He said that every day after a game he could find Pittendrigh scrubbing the floors of the gym with a an object that looked like a toothbrush. That is pride. Pride in a job
that a less dedicated person might not have put pride in. Pittendrigh didn’t just put in the hours, he made the hours count. Pittendrigh worked as a maintenance man most of his time at Seward, but he also was a night time security guard when Seward didn’t have a security staff. “I was the handyman. Wherever they needed me, I helped out,” he said. Handyman would be a great way to describe Pittendrigh. He was there wherever the college needed him and whenever he was needed. Pittendrigh spoke of late nights and early mornings. Late nights and early mornings when nobody was there to see him doing his work at the school. Times when most people never knew that Pittendrigh was even working, but he was, and the gym wouldn’t have been the same without him. It goes back to pride. He had
so much pride in his job and this school that he would work often in the unrecognized shadows, so that Saints fans and athletes could enjoy the spotlight. Pittendrigh retired earlier this year after working 24 years at Seward. Twenty-four years that kept him, in his words, “young and rejuvenated.” As a matter of fact, one gets the feeling that he wouldn’t have retired if he hadn’t needed to. Pittendrigh’s wife has been dealing with an illness, and time away for doctor visits began to mount. He said keeping up with the many trips for doctor visits has kept them very busy recently. Looking back over his career, Pittendrigh talked with passion in his voice about all the athletes he has known and worked with and all the teams and coaches. He said one of the favorite things for him and his wife to do was follow the Saints teams.
He talked about many road trips to watch the Saints or Lady Saints in action. He said he enjoyed following all of the sports when they were on the road. Pittendrigh spoke about how that was one of the coolest things about his job, just simply keeping up with the athletic programs. As athletic director Galen McSpadden recognized Pittendrigh at the spring athletic banquet, those in attendance responded with an enthusiastic standing ovation. The pride and passion he brought to his work, his building and his school were noticed and appreciated. Al Pittendrigh cares about his life’s work. He is a humble man. He takes care of his wife with a special kind of love. If everyone in this world lived by a similar code, it would be a much better place. — By Grant Glaze