BY LOGAN MCCOURTNEY –
For years, families and friends gathered to sit on the porch. Nothing official happened, just people talking, sharing life, love, and laughter. In a fast paced life that is always pulling people in many directions, it becomes hard to sit down and enjoy these things. Brenda Huff still starts everyday on the porch, drinking coffee and listening to the birds as she looks over her family’s farm…counting her blessings.
Brenda has been a hard worker her entire life, but is now enjoying the slower pace of retirement, which she admits wasn’t easy at first. Her husband, Jerry, told her he thought she may not actually like retirement, “It was really hard to retire. Jerry told me that he wasn’t sure I would like it because I was used to working. Well, it didn’t take me long to enjoy,” smiles Brenda. Growing up, Brenda always heard from her dad that ‘you work a good days work for a good days pay’ and she lived by that. Many would know Brenda from her almost 20 years of working at the Polk County Health Department, where she was the administrator for 11 years.
Before going to the Health Department, Brenda worked a wide range of jobs, US Motors [now Nidec] for nine years, she stayed at home with her kids for a time, she and Jerry built chicken houses, and even started a trucking business. Going to work at the Health Department was a ‘God thing’. “We were able to sell the chicken house in one month and then I received a call about an opening at the Health Department because the clerk quit. They asked if I wanted to fill in and answer the phone. Nineteen years later and I was still working there,” Brenda says laughing. While Brenda went to the Health Department unsure of how long she might stay, her almost twenty years was a special time serving the people of Polk County, “There were such wonderful people that I got to meet and I am grateful for my time serving.” Little did Brenda know that some of the most fulfilling work she would ever participate in would be with other public servants, “There are so many great public servants here. We are extremely blessed.”
During her time at the Health Department, Brenda had the privilege of serving Polk County citizens in a variety of ways including providing care after the tornado of 2009. “There was so much debri on the ground and people were stepping on nails and other things. We received permission and we walked around with an ice chest with tetnis so we could give shots,” says Brenda.
The Health Department provides a wide range of services and as a result there is such a diversity of people who walk through the doors daily, “I always enjoyed seeing the different people. There were so many different people from different walks of life all coming in so that we could help them.” One of the highlights of her time there was when the Health Department started providing flu clinics in the local schools. As many know, flu season can be a dangerous time for students and families as so many are exposed. “I was so thankful to be a part of the flu clinics. We were able to see the flu cut down because of taking these clinics to the students and providing the service. I was beyond thankful for the school’s cooperation, the teachers and administration, and especially the nurses,” Brenda says smiling.
A cup of coffee, the birds singing, and a cool breeze are now the sights and sounds that Brenda enjoys each day as she starts another adventure in retired living. “The first couple of weeks were so hard learning how to rest and relax, but oh how I love it now. I love sitting on the back porch each morning, I probably spend too much time back here,” Brenda says with a big grin. Retirement has provided a time for Brenda to count her blessings and enjoy the simple things around the farm. “After retiring I learned how to drive the tractor and I started feeding the cows. Jerry and I used to split the lawn mowing, but that is my chore now. It has really just been so much fun and fulfilling. I absolutely love it.”
In addition to working around the farm, Brenda loves to spend time with her kids and grandkids. Like any grandmother, her grandkids are the apple of her eye. “I am beyond blessed to have the life I have and the family that I do. I just feel so fulfilled,” Brenda says fondly.
Brenda has an attitude and outlook that challenges us in the busyness that we find ourselves in to always number our days and count our blessings. “I like my times in the morning on the porch, I look over the farm and at the mountains and I just smile at what God has done.”