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HR director finds homecoming amidst tragedy

His father’s passing brought Michael Whittington back home to his family’s farm - a small piece of ground just across the state line in Nevada, Missouri.

“We inherited the farm, which is 10 acres with a pond,” Michael said. “We built a little house on the property, and about three years later my spouse passed away. Then, at the end of March my younger brother had an illness and passed away.”

The string of events caused Michael to reflect on his life, and where he wanted to spend his time and effort.

“I didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing,” he said. “I wanted to get back into Human Resources these last seven years, but I wasn’t interested in driving an hour away.”

Shortly after his brother’s death, Fort Scott Presbyterian Village posted the Human Resources Director position opening.

“I love the way the Village presented itself,” Michael said. “I thought this was the fit. I am much happier with the work/life balance. I’m doing something I want to do and the people at the Village have been welcoming and kind.”

The work is a way for him to contribute to a community of people - as well as the larger Fort Scott community.

“We’re a really small community, so you get to know people very quickly. You know the things they like and the things they don’t like,” Michael said. “And I get to be part of helping them - the residents and the team members - and see how I can contribute.”

With excitement, he can recall moments where his work at the Village has been helpful both in retaining outstanding staff members for the Village and in helping employees realize their professional dreams.

“That’s how I feel I contribute to the team. I can sit down and help figure things out,” Michael said. “We can retain the right employees, find the right person for the right job, and we can ask what we can do to help when someone wants to do something different.”

In addition to being rewarding work, Michael said his role at Presbyterian Village has renewed his sense of home, belonging, and comfort.

“I look forward to going to work. It’s a great feeling,” he said. “I get to go work and I get to be a part of this great team. That piece of the puzzle fits me perfectly. And I feel like my life is back to normal. The position at the Village has helped me work through those other things. This job is where I fit, and I can make that a great part of my life.”
When Michael isn’t working, he’s sharing the farm with his niece and the seven dogs they share between their two houses.

“I’m a very devoted dog dad and uncle,” he said.

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