Barbara Matthews retires from LHR

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Hugs, smiles and tears could be found in abundance in the dining room at Luverne Health and Rehabilitation on Wednesday, June 23.

Barbara Matthews, administrator at the nursing home, was honored with a retirement reception on Wednesday. The reception was held at 2 p.m. at the nursing home.

Friends, co-workers and family members constituted a large part of the 50 or more people in attendance.

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Many at the reception expressed their sadness at Matthews' leaving. Sebrina Bowling, director of human resources, who has worked with Matthews since 1991, said that she was sorry to see her go.

"She is someone who we have all looked up to," Bowling said. "In all of her years as a care giver, she has not lost her ability to care for her residents."

Several members of Matthews' family were in attendance and expressed their joy at her retirement. Tiffini Matthews, her stepdaughter, said that she was excited for her. She said that Matthews and her husband, Keith, enjoy square dancing and taking short trips."I'm glad that they will get to do more of those things now that she is retiring," her stepdaughter said.

NHS Management owns Luverne's nursing home, which is located in Tuscaloosa. The company owns many nursing homes in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida and Missouri. Several employees from the corporate office were present at the reception.

Sarah Thompson, regional nurse consultant for NHS Management said that she is sad to see Matthews leave.

"She's a class act and we will all miss her," said Thompson, a long time co-worker and friend of Matthews.

Gail Bimbo, regional director for NHS Management, said that Matthews’ work at Luverne has spread throughout the region.

"We will miss her deeply," Bimbo said. "She is an asset to this company. Many of the programs that she implemented here have been used at other facilities throughout the region."

Administrators from several nursing homes in south Alabama came to congratulate Matthews on her retirement. Near the end of the reception, an estimated 100 or more staff members that were present at the nursing home came by the dining room to say goodbye and wish her well.

Near the close of the reception, Matthews thanked everyone for coming and told her co-workers and friends how much she enjoyed working with them.

Prior to coming to Luverne, Matthews worked at a nursing home in Opp for a number of years. Several of her former co-workers from Opp were present at the reception. Matthews, who has worked at the nursing home since 1988, said her last goodbyes to co-workers and friends in Luverne on June 30.

Matthews, who resides in Dothan, said that after her last day in Luverne she plans to spend more time with her family and friends and volunteer at other nursing homes closer to her home.

Julie Richburg, who is currently director of nursing at the nursing home, will serve as administrator after Matthews' last day, which is June 30. Matthews said that all positions are filled from inside the nursing home if possible. She said that several people have been promoted to new positions as a result of her retirement.

In the time that Matthews has been employed at the nursing home, it has been remodeled and expanded from a 137-bed facility to a 151-bed facility.