Lauri Hunner has officially resigned her position as director of Siskiyou County Behavioral Health Services effective the beginning of this month, but she is still in the office on a consulting basis while the search for her replacement goes forward.
Above, grateful employees created a quilt full of personal memories for retired BHS director Lauri Hunner.
Just a few days shy of five years on the job, Siskiyou County Behavioral Health Department Director Lauri Hunner has resigned the position she accepted on April 10, 2005 - and she feels justifiably satisfied at the shape in which she has left a department where she has devoted so much of her energy for half a decade.
April 1 was her
last official day on the job, although she
will consult - that is, still spend some time in the office doing her
old job - while the selection process for her
replacement goes forward.
Hunner was offered the director position in 2005 after serving as BHS interim director for four months.
told the Daily News
last day that it's been an interesting journey so far.
Born in Tacoma, Wash., where she spent her earliest years, she then moved with her family to Indianapolis, Ind.
"We were there for four years, but I would consider that I grew up in Portland (Ore.), because that's where I?finished grade school and high school."
then went to college at Western Oregon State - Oregon College of Education
at the time - with an emphasis in physical education.
came away with a bachelor's in education and a teaching certificate.
teach after graduation?
I did teach for two years while some professors were on sabbatical, and I?coached field hockey and softball.
"We were good - we were very good," Hunner
also played basketball.
"I?can still hardly stand it - I absolutely love basketball.
I played a number of years post-college all over the country in Triple A fast-pitch softball.
I was the catcher.
When fast-pitch started to sort of fade away for a period of time, I went into slow-pitch and played shortstop.
We traveled a lot.
"There are many metaphors to be gleaned from playing sports - playing as well as coaching," Hunner
said that, in retrospect, everything she
was in the midst of doing at any point " ... somehow linked to something (I) might do in the future.
"Fast-forward to 1983, when I?moved to Southern Oregon and was a janitor at the YMCA - until I answered an ad for Siskiyou County Mental Health (now BHS) to work as a program specialist in the D&A program - and now I had outdoor experience," she said.
Throughout this period, Hunner
continued to provide mental health-related clinical services to children and families, and she
became involved in teaching at College of the Siskiyous
in its alcohol and drug certificate program.
"Fast-forward again, this time to April 2004," she
recalled, "during the midst of some pretty turbulent times.
"I?put a lot of energy into building those relationships, because they were important, and they allowed us to maintain our autonomy - and do our work," Hunner
"The system was revamped, and it took time," she
continued, "but five and a half years have gone by really fast, and we have systems in place now that support this department being strong and healthy into the future."
And what about her
"My plans now are to continue my consulting projects and my private practice, continue teaching at COS
, and I will start working for a residential treatment center in Ashland called Lithia Springs, which is a program under the umbrella of Community Works.
"I also plan to get back up into the mountains, which I?haven't been able to do for the past five years."
She'll be taking her
beloved dogs along with her. (Hunner also volunteers with the Yreka-based Rescue Ranch
, which trains and then places homeless pets with new owners.)
So - no plans to just sit back and rest for awhile?
"No person in their right mind could ever retire and not continue to work who has undiagnosed ADD?like I?do," she