For longtime community volunteer Judy Apperson, retiring from her job at Healthy Dent County is the first step toward her goal of traveling the country.
She planned to travel after retiring from the University of Missouri Extension in 2002, but there were always volunteer opportunities awaiting her that she didn’t want to pass up.
“I really am planning on traveling this time,” she said at a retirement celebration held Aug. 31 at Salem Community Center @ the Armory.
“I’ve got some bucket lists. I want to go to the Northeast, I’ve never been to the Northeast. I’ve got cousins in the West and I love the West. I want to go there a little bit, just do what I want to do.”
She’s worked at Healthy Dent County since 2011, serving as administrative assistant, secretary and helped with Salvation Army’s assistance programs, Dent County rural addressing and fingerprinting. “Judy also helps with city stuff, helping parks director Melissa DuBois with taking applications for the ball program, pavilion rentals and she keeps the main calendar, like for the event center and meeting rooms,” said HDC executive director Sherry Lea. “She’s very organized. We’ve got some big shoes to fill.”
Before HDC, she was administrative assistant to the regional director of Extension for over seven years when Missouri Extension was divided into four regions. Before that, she was a secretary and bus driver for North Wood R-IV School for over 16 years.
On the volunteer side, she has served on the Salem Area Community Betterment Association (SACBA) board of directors since its inception and served as secretary from 2004-2017. She now serves as president. SACBA is made up of an all-volunteer board and she keeps everyone organized and informed on SACBA business, Lea said.
SACBA owns, manages and maintains a complex that includes three buildings and the Farmers’ Market pavilion. To create and maintain the buildings, several grants have been received over the years. Apperson makes sure all grant reports and documentation are submitted in a timely manner.
She serves on the Veterans Marathon Committee and helps plan the annual Heroes Marathon. She also works the day of the event. She serves Salem Memorial District Hospital’s Auxiliary Committee and assists with fundraisers for the group.
In addition she is a member of the Elk Foundation Planning Committee. She is also the caretaker for two local cemeteries, Cotner and Maledy, and ensures that the mowing and general upkeep is done.
She was one of 13 outstanding volunteers from the Meramec Region honored by the Meramec Regional Planning Commission at its annual recognition banquet in October 2019.
Asked if her retirement means the end of her volunteer efforts, she said, “Oh probably not for a little while. I’d like to eventually, but not yet.”
She added, “I guess I can’t say no. I enjoy people. I enjoy getting out and being active. I’ve never been one to just not do anything or just sit. I like to be busy. And serve the community, too.”