WATERVILLE — Betty Palmer says it was an honor to serve eight years as executive director of the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, where she met thousands of good people, including volunteers, staff, guests and donors.

“It has been my honor to serve God and to work with these wonderful people,” Palmer said Tuesday in a Facebook message.

The shelter’s board of directors on Friday announced the resignation of Palmer, who saw the shelter through a transition in 2012 from an old house on Ticonic Street to a new $2.9 million shelter on Colby Circle.

On Tuesday, Palmer was in northern Maine, where she said cellphone coverage is sketchy, so she responded via Facebook to questions about her resignation.

She said she is now focusing on her health and her family, while dealing with diabetes.

“Last year I had a health scare,” she said. “I’m better now and ready for what’s next, but it caused me to pause and to think about spending more time with my grandchildren and my children and still being around to have great-grandchildren. I don’t want to miss family events anymore, so I reallocated my life, looked at my priorities.”

Palmer said she is thankful for the eight years she spent at the shelter, putting the community first; but at this time, God and family are first in her life.

“My health is important to me,” she said. “Diabetes is a progressive disease. Most doctors believe it can’t be cured; however, it can be stabilized. I’m on a reasonable scheduled diet, movement; I will be healthy and around, by God’s grace, God willing.

Palmer said she wants weekends and evenings free.

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“It may seem selfish, but for the first time in my life, it’s time for me and for family,” she said.

She said she wants to thank everyone with whom she has come in contact over the years.

“I believe that we are who we are because of whom we have shared life with,” she said. “Each time we brush our lives across somebody else’s palate, anytime they brush their color across ours, our lives become richer and fuller. As I end my eight years serving God at the Mid-Maine Homeless Shelter, I leave it full of joy and love. My heart is full for all the experiences that I’ve had. I look forward to what God has next. I don’t know where my next employment will be. I don’t know what I’m called to do, but I know that God will provide something that will give me great life balance, more time to serve God in my local church and community, more time to play with my grandchildren, more time to take care of my health, more time to develop as a stronger Christian woman leader in our community.”

Palmer said she had eight wonderful years at the shelter.

“We accomplished so much toward the vision and mission of ending homelessness in this community. And I’d like to thank the community for all the support, all eight years with great staff and a wonderful, compassionate community that we live in.”

She said the shelter was “awesome” at giving people a hand up and second and third chances, when needed.

“We are awesome at teaching people to fish, not just giving them fish. The shelter staff is just premier in getting people housed, in getting them employed and stabilized, giving them a chance to have a future, leveling the playing field.”

Sandy Myers, president of the shelter’s board of directors, said the shelter hopes to hire a new executive director before the end of the year. The shelter’s finance director, Karyn Bournival, is serving as interim director.

The 19 Colby St. shelter currently has 45 guests as well as more than a dozen people living in its 12-unit Youth Empowerment Services apartments on the second floor, according to Myers.

The shelter operates on a budget of about $1 million a year and employs 27 full- and part-time staff members. About 25 percent of the shelter’s funding comes from federal and state programs and the rest is from fundraising, donations and events, she said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

 

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