Cindy Kelley has been the smiling face behind the registration desk at Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas clinic in Baxter Springs since its opening in 2011. Now after 12 years of service as a registration clerk, she is retiring.
Cindy, a Baxter Springs native, recalls hearing about CHC/SEK building a clinic in town and coming into the building for the first time to interview.
“I looked out the big window in the front and thought ‘I could get used to this,’” she says.
Over her tenure, she developed a close bond with her coworkers, who eventually felt like an extended family to her. Cindy had prior experience working in a healthcare setting, however, her employment at CHC/SEK presented a unique and fulfilling experience.
“At first I didn’t realize there could be people that were in such a need for something as simple as medical care,” Cindy says.
She embraced CHC/SEK’s mission fully and established personal connections with the patients and cultivated meaningful relationships with them.
“Saying I’m going to miss the people I work with is a given but my patients… I just love them,” she says. “Getting a chance to see different sides of people and being able to help them is just so overwhelming. I can’t even tell you how many times I thank God that he put me here. Being able to help people get doctor’s appointments, making sure they have medications, trying to help them with rides. I was able to help people in a way I never dreamed I would be able to do. That was unbelievable in the beginning, and it still is.”
Tara Parkison, the Practice Manager at Baxter Springs, expresses that Cindy’s departure from the clinic will be deeply felt.
“I will greatly miss Cindy. Her laughter resonates through the halls, and her vibrant smile illuminates the entire room,” Parkison says. “She has become a nurturing figure within our clinic, both for our staff and patients. I am genuinely thrilled for Cindy as she embarks on her future endeavors.”
In retirement Cindy says she is looking forward to spending more time with her husband, mom and her five great-grandchildren. She hopes to take it slow and enjoy the little things.
“I want to be able to sit down and read a book or do things I’ve never done before like just sitting and relaxing,” she says. “I get up at 5 a.m. but to not have to be at work in the morning and experience what it’s like to sit around the house and have a cup of coffee, that’s what I’m looking forward to.”