After almost seven years of working a tough job, the departing executive director is proud of what she has accomplished at the helm of the Red Deer Hospice Society.
Brenda Watts is winding down her time with the organization. Her last day is June 18, but she took time to reflect on what the society has accomplished in the community.
“We have a great facility, we have a great organization and I’m very humbled to have been a part of it,” said Watts. “In 1999 when the society was formed, people didn’t know what the hospice was in Red Deer. People would ask, ‘What’s a hospice?’
“I’m proud that we’ve educated the public that there are options for their end of life.”
Watts said it is a very demanding job. Working as the executive director of any not-for-profit, let alone one for seven years, can be taxing with long hours and few days off.
“It’s a very rewarding place to be, it’s very busy and it’s just the time in my life where I think I’m ready for a change,” said Watts. “I believe the hospice is in a really good position. We have a great board, we’re running very smoothly with our staff and I think it’s a great time for a change.”
After years of hard work, Watts is taking the summer off with her semi-retired husband to recharge and relax. While she doesn’t know what the future will hold, she’s not counting out a future with non-profit work.
“I’m going to miss the people and I wonder if, because you never know what life holds for you, will I ever work for such a noble cause again?”
Founded in 1999, the Red Deer Hospice Society provides physical, social, emotional and spiritual support for individuals who are dying and for their loved ones.
The hospice facility opened in 2005 and is located in Anders. It has 10 individual rooms for the chronically, terminally or seriously ill, as well as family support areas, a dining area and a sanctuary. As a non-profit, the hospice relies on fundraising and donations to cover its operations. There is no set fee to stay at the hospice and no one is turned away due to financial constraints.
“I’m proud that Red Deer recognizes death as a part of life’s journey and that they support us,” said Watts. “Without the support of our community, we wouldn’t have the Red Deer Hospice.”
The Red Deer Hospice Society board is in the hiring process to replace Watts. The deadline for applications was May 16.