Brenda S. Campanys nearly 15-year career at the Northern Regional Center for Independent Living will end Sept. 30, when she retires from the agency.
Mrs. Campanys departure falls in line with the agencys independent living grant award through the state Education Department.
It just seems like a good time to wrap things up, and have a new person take over the new contract, she said. Usually theyre a five-year contract, but were getting a three-year one. The state is looking at how they do contracts to revamp things.
The state grant is the agencys main source of funding, Mrs. Campany said. NRCIL promotes community efforts to end discrimination, segregation and prejudice against those with disabilities.
Mrs. Campany worked under a five-year contract as executive director. Before that, she worked as the centers finance director from 1997 to March 2006, when she took the interim director post shortly after former Director Tracy L. Murphy resigned in December 2005.
Throughout the past five years, Mrs. Campany said, shes proud to have helped guide efforts to help young men and women with disabilities transition from high school to real world experiences, such as college or a trade school, or employment. She and other NRCIL staff have helped get into local schools to promote parent education on rights and responsibilities under the state education laws, and have implemented programs to help make the general community more accessible.
Thats what our mission is accessibility, she said.
Her biggest accomplishment, she said, is whats now occurring in Lewis County. From 2007, when the agency received a small mental health grant for services there, Mrs. Campany said, NRCILs role most recently grew to include taking over Lewis Countys mental health advocacy, offering family support services and running the countys psycho-social club. The agency recently was awarded a Recovery Center grant from the state Office of Mental Health.
She said she has remained with the agency for some time because it has been her most rewarding job.
It makes you realize, first of all, how lucky you are to be alive sometimes, and it gives you satisfaction to help people who when they first come to NRCIL have been beaten down, Mrs. Campany said. We can give people hope for their life, and so they can be a part of the community.
Her decision to leave was not a surprise to the board, as she said she and board members had discussed her pending retirement for nearly two years. A search for a new executive director already is taking place.
Mrs. Campany and her husband, Steven, live in Great Bend.