Monday, April 4, 2016

The longest tenured employee at Barker, Beth Kirby, has retired, effective March 31, 2016, after 25 years of extraordinary service. Beth has served in many capacities, and her warmth and versatility are well known and greatly appreciated. 

In August 1990, Bob and Beth Kirby were approved as foster parents in Barker’s infant domestic program. The first baby came in September 1990, and altogether, the Kirby family loved and fostered 65 babies. The four Kirby sons were also involved in helping children start their life’s journey. 

Beth-Kirby-Barker-PicnicBy 1997 Beth was providing administrative help to social worker, Mary Beth Turska, with the foster care program. Eventually, Beth became the coordinator, though she admits to wistfulness about giving up direct service as a foster parent. Over the years, her responsibilities grew, even as she retained her foster parent oversight duties. She became Marilyn Regier’s trusted Executive Assistant, served as liaison to the Board of Trustees, provided administrative assistance to the Department of Family & Post- Adoption Services, and took on some HR duties, keeping personnel files in compliance with licensing. The Barker community knows Beth well through her assistance with Phonathon, the Family Picnic, the Annual Adoption and Foster Care Conference, the inaugural Barker Goes Nats game, the Annual Meeting, and countless other activities. 

Reflecting back on 25 years of service, Beth says her “fondest memory is still to witness the placement of a baby, a child being placed in the arms of a waiting family. It just never gets old... and it has been a privilege to be able to witness these moments my entire career here at Barker.” Marilyn Regier describes Beth as “one of the most dedicated women I have ever known. Her eyes twinkle when she talks about the Barker mission in the community, and she personifies the ‘spirit of Barker.’” 

Surely nothing better captures Beth than the inscription on her Richard B. Barker Award, given in 2003:

“The Richard B. Barker Award, presented to Beth Kirby in recognition of her Empathy, Spirit, and Love for Every Child.”