Emporia Presbyterian Manor said goodbye to one of its first employees when Deb Burris retired on April 6.
“I was hired in November 1985 before the building was finished,” said Deb. “I was instrumental in setting up and starting the home health agency in the building and the assisted living on the third floor. When I started, it was interesting because we have two safety entrances on the building that were just covered with plastic. The carpeting wasn’t down. I got to watch the kitchen being completed and could walk through the studs in the healthcare area.”
Deb was originally hired as an LPN in health care. About 20 years ago, she got her RN and moved into the role of Assisted Living and Home Health Director. “The director was leaving at that time, so I stepped right into the role. It wasn’t new to me because I had been working on and off up there.”
Over the years, Deb was responsible for screening the residents for placement in independent living and assisted living. She also performed admissions and dismissals, interviewed new employees and took care of the payroll.
“I just like seeing the department run well. I like seeing the residents’ needs being met and making sure everything is running smoothly according to how it should,” said Deb.
There was one day when things weren’t running smoothly, however.
“One funny thing that happened early on was when we got the kitchen finished. Ed Bell, the CEO at that time, had come up to tour the building. The maintenance supervisor told an employee to turn on the fire alarm to show him how it worked but the employee pulled the plug that activated the dry system instead. This flooded the kitchen with powder (in case of a grease fire) and it cost around $3,000 to recharge the system. It was a disaster, but kind of funny,” said Deb.
Deb plans to keep life just as interesting in retirement and already has a long to-do list. She plans to tackle projects around the house—like thoroughly cleaning her closet, painting and making updates. She’s also looking forward to spending time with Bill, her husband of 48 years, and her four children and eight grandchildren. She’s making time for animals, too.
“I want to get back into my hobby of raising geese and chickens. And if I get brave enough I might get another boxer as a pet,” said Deb.
But first things, first.
“First, I have to grieve the loss of my friends and family from Presbyterian Manor,” said Deb. “I’m going to miss everybody. This is a great organization. I’m a big fan of PMMA and always will be.