After 37 years, Audrain County Health Department (ACHD) WIC Support Staff Lead Kay Knipp is retiring. Knipp’s last work day with the ACHD will be on Friday, January 29.
When Knipp started with the health department in May of 1978, she says she remembers having to do everything by hand when it came to the WIC (Women, Infants and Children) nutritional assistance program.
“I remember we had to write everything out,” she chuckled. “Everything. The checks for clients, we had to hand write them and then, the client would go to the store.” She says the computer revolutionized how departments handled WIC and other programs.
“Now, we print the checks here and give them to the clients,” she said. “We sometimes take the computer technology we use for granted. When they don’t work, that can be a pain because we are so used to using them.”
However, Knipp says it’s the people she is going to miss the most.
“I think that has been the best part of the job, the people I work with and the people we help” she said. “Some of those clients come in now and say ‘Do you remember me? Well, this is my grandchild …’. That is neat to see.”
Knipp says the public continues to get increasingly more savvy about their health each year.
“Our clients know to get themselves, their kids, and even their pets up to date on their vaccinations and remain that way,” she said. “That’s been a huge change I’ve noticed in the past 37 years.”
Knipp says she doesn’t have huge plans when, at the end of January, she suddenly finds herself with a lot of spare time on her hands. She and her husband plan to travel a bit and keep up with the grandkids.
“We will take a trip to Florida soon,” she said. “Spend some time down there and then, I’ll watch the grandkids a little. Not full-time, but a little. That’ll be fun!”
ACHD Administrator Sandra Hewlett says Knipp is going to be missed around the office.
“When you lose someone with 37 years of exceptional public health service dedicated to helping the residents of Audrain County, you’re going to miss that presence,” Hewlett said. “We wish Kay nothing but the best in her retirement and hope she stops in to see us from time to time.”
ACHD will hold a retirement celebration luncheon in honor of Knipp on Wednesday, January 27 at the health department. To congratulate Kay on her retirement, you may contact her at the ACHD: 573-581-1332.