Twenty years ago, Vilma Bailey went to work at the Augusta Restoration Shop because she liked the people there.
The organization, formerly called the Augusta Training Shop, employs about 20 people who have mental and/or physical disabilities. Ms. Bailey taught them to cane and rush chairs and to make other repairs to furniture.
On Friday, the Burnettown resident retired as the program's supervisor.
That announcement was one of several Audrey Murell, the organization's executive director, made at the annual Christmas party.
Standing before nearly 100 workers, board members, family, friends and supporters of the shop, Ms. Murell presented Ms. Bailey with a plaque and artwork made by a client.
Teary-eyed, Ms. Murell thanked Ms. Bailey for her support and told her she would be missed.
"As much as everyone is happy for you to be starting a well-earned retirement, there is no doubt there are many people who are also a little sad today," she said. "You have woven love in and out of many individuals' lives and touched them in incredible ways."
Ms. Bailey said what she'll miss the most about the job is the joy and pleasure she's received from being with the workers.
"I think we need some new faces, new talent, new things to move on with the rest of the world," she said of her decision to retire. "The people here are wonderful, the board is wonderful. That's what makes your job worthwhile."
Ms. Murell also thanked Charles Marks, the president of the organization's board, for his leadership in facilitating positive change.
She also presented a plaque to board member Carter Brown, who she said served "in any capacity that was asked.
"We are so fortunate to know you and have you serve on our board. "You have given unselfishly of your time, and you have exerted tremendous effort to make this agency thrive."
Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or firstname.lastname@example.org.