With mixed emotions Stella May of Manila has decided to retire from Manila Nursing Center after 35 years of service. She has been a certified nursing assistant (CNA) throughout her career. She will be retiring on March 31.
Through the years she has worked for four owners including Veach/Brady; Wellmans; Gammills; and now Reliance Heath Care.
"They have all been good to work for," she said.
Only one time in her 35 years did she leave to work at another nursing facility but returned to Manila in five months.
"I decided to go back to the Manila Nursing Center where my heart was," she said.
She helped with moving from the main street location to the present larger facility, formerly Buffalo Island Hospital, and has been there since.
May said she grew up working in the fields chopping and picking cotton. She enjoyed being home with her four children when they were young. She was a full time mother and homemaker for 10 years.
"I decided to go to work and the nursing home was my first and has been my only public job," she said.
She said she has seen a lot of changes but mostly in the paperwork the nurses have to do.
"The basic care for our residents has remained the same," she said. "We do our best to take care of their needs."
When May started working aides did not have to be certified. When the guidelines changed, May took classes and received her certification in 1990.
She will miss the residents and her co-workers. She and Debbie Vassar have been partners for most of her 35 years.
"We have worked as a team and I will really miss working with her," May said. "The years have passed fast. I will miss working here but I am 65 and I think it is time for me to retire. I will come back and visit everyone, but it will not be the same."
May has always enjoyed working and spending time with her family. She has four grown children, Debra, Patricia, Eddie and Michael. She has seven grandchildren ranging from 19 to five years old.
"I have good kids," she said. "I am proud of them."
May will be honored with a retirement reception at 10:30 a.m. Friday in the dining room at Manila Nursing Center. Everyone is invited to stop by and wish her well.