Leola Specht, who has been delivering meals to the home-bound seniors in Yorktown and driving other seniors to the nutrition center and doctor's appointments, is retiring after working in Yorktown for more than two decades.
Specht began her career in October 1991 as a part-time employee who was later appointment to a full-time position. Her last day on the job is Thursday, Jan. 31.
"I love being with the seniors and the staff here is just fantastic," Specht said. "It's been a great run."
Specht, who drives a 14-passenger van and does office work when she is not in the office, said she looks forward to retirement, but she vows to stay busy and do volunteer work.
The woman, who has lived in Hastings-on-Hudson for the last four years, has called Yorktown her home for most of her life. She moved to Yorktown in 1965 where she raised her five children, was a stay-at-home mom and even worked as a park ranger at the Franklin D. Roosevelt State Park. She has four grandchildren and looks forward to seeing them more often.
Patch: What have been the highlights of your experience in Yorktown?
Specht: It's been really wonderful to be involved with the seniors and hear their stories. You're never to old to learn from them. Being with the staff is just great every day, talking with them. it's just been a great run. It really has. I've been very happy here.
When I deliver meals, we don't have much time to spend with the home-bound, but I make sure I say hello and I give them a smile and listen to them as much as I can. They have had interesting stories. In fact I just got a note from one of the home-bound – her husband passed away – and she said how much she appreciated me saying a few words to her, that I was sorry and trying to calm her down a little bit.
Patch: What will you miss the most?
Specht: I will miss the seniors – all the seniors. I will miss my co-workers. I will definitely miss everybody. I will definitely try to keep in touch though because they are special. They are like family, they really are like family to me. They have always been very nice to me, always!
Patch: What are you looking forward to the most in retirement?
Specht: I am looking forward to maybe getting in touch with old friends that I haven't seen in a long time. Getting together with my family, like my grandchildren who sometimes need a babysitter, seeing them more.
Doing volunteer work – there is a nursing home up the street from me and I'd like to go up there and help out. They have daily mass and you have to wheel [the seniors] down in their wheelchairs, and read to them. I would like to do that.