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Lyons announces retirement

After more than five decades as a member of the workforce, Johnnie Lyons began her well-deserved retirement last month.
During her career, Lyons worked in the banking industry, but she spent most of her career working in healthcare administration at facilities specializing in senior care. Most recently, she worked as the executive director of Governor’s Bend Assisted Living Facility in Erwin, which is owned by Free Will Baptist Family Ministries.
In a recent interview with The Erwin Record, Lyons said working with seniors was ingrained in her from a young age.
“As a child I lived in an older neighborhood,” she said. “My mom would make soup for our neighbors and I would deliver it. I also grew up with two of my grandmothers and one of my grandfathers.”
Lyons also said working in senior healthcare has its challenges.
“In this type of healthcare you deal with the emotional, mental and physical,” she said. “The sad part about it is seeing people decline, but the happy part is knowing you are helping to provide them with good care and a safe home.”
Lyons said she retired once before, but the opportunity to serve as the administrator at Governor’s Bend was too good to pass up.
“I was invited as a guest to the groundbreaking ceremony for Governor’s Bend in July 2008,” Lyons recalled. “In October 2008, I retired. I was retired for three days before offered the job as the executive director of Governor’s Bend.”
With construction of the facility yet to begin, Lyons spent her first years working out of Erwin Town Hall. Lyons said she spent her earliest months on the job meeting people in the community.
“Everyone was very friendly and welcoming,” Lyons said.
Lyons said watching the facility in all of its stages – from an empty piece of land, to a partially-finished building, to a completed facility – “was like birthing a baby.”
“I watched it grow and get stronger,” she said, “and, I always wanted the best for it.”
Governor’s Bend welcomed its first residents in October 2012. Lyons said that at the time the facility opened 30 of its 52 apartments were reserved.
“That was a wonderful number,” she added. “It was a very positive thing. It demonstrated a real need in this community for a facility like this. … Every resident wanted to be the first to move in.”
Lyons said all of the apartments at Governor’s Bend are now filled and a waiting list has been established. Also, construction on eight more apartments is expected to begin in the near future. For Lyons, these are signs of the facility’s success.
“People in the community have embraced us,” she added. “… This is going to be here for a long time.”
Lyons said working at the facility “has been a privilege.” When asked what she would miss the most about retiring from Governor’s Bend, Lyons quickly said “the residents.”
“I am so happy I got to know all of these people,” she added. “They have become a part of my life. I am thankful for all the love and support they have shared with me.”