Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 29, 2010

RISING STAR: Residents, co-workers praise BHI manager’s work ethic

By SUSAN TEBBEN
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — Despite more than two decades of service to the elderly, Sue Mutter does not consider herself all that exceptional.

As the manager of Baptist Homes Assisted Living in Glasgow, she has never considered her work to be a “job.” Instead, more of a service to the community.

“The rewards you get back are better than anything,” Mutter said. “I just want the elderly to have quality, I want them to laugh and enjoy every day.”

Mutter came into the position at BHI seven years ago when a friend who was the original manager recommended that she apply for the job. She has worked in geriatrics since 1987, mainly at nursing homes. She thought she would work in nursing homes all of her life, but when the opportunity to manage an assisted living facility came open, she took it hoping to give the residents a different, more homelike experience, less like a hospital than the nursing homes were. Working with the elderly is all she has ever wanted to do and BHI opened a new door for her, she said.

“I wanted to give them an atmosphere, to make a difference for them,” Mutter said. “I think [assisted living] should be a pleasant experience. I want to make sure they’ve got something enjoyable going on in their lives. That’s the way it should be.”

The residents recognize her well as she walks around the living room and kitchen area. She talks with each of them in turn and makes sure they are comfortable.

“Anything she can do for you, she will,” said Eunice Eaton, who has been a resident for about three months. With a smile, she added, “She’s an excellent boss.”

A personal goal Mutter has made for herself is to make all 12 of the residents laugh at least once a day, which is easy with her boisterous laugh that any resident around notices.

“Oh yes, there’s always something funny going on,” Eaton said.

She handles the business end of the facility, including staffing, training, resident screening and admissions, even menu planning for the three homemade meals each day. She greatly enjoys the community relations part of the job and being involved. Public relations is half the job, she said.

Her work with the Glasgow Business and Professional Women’s Club has been a part of her involvement for 10 years, including two years when she was president of the club. The networking and the mentoring she gets from the members makes it an important and enjoyable part of her life.

“I learn from other people, people who have been around and seen things,” she said.

Her work with the B&PW has connections with her work at BHI now, since one of the residents, at 102 years old, was a charter member of the group.

When she is done with her work she enjoys spending time at home with her husband and dog, but she still keeps busy as a board member of the Barren County Chapter of the American Red Cross, being an ambassador for the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce and with the handbell choir at her church, Faith United Methodist.

With the holidays coming up, Mutter and BHI are preparing to feed approximately 110 people when the residents’ family and friends come in for their annual Thanksgiving celebration. Every resident gets a table for whoever they want to have over for dinner, and it’s such an important time that Mutter does not plan her own Thanksgiving because of it.

“I told my husband, any other holiday I’ll plan something, but Thanksgiving is when I want to plan for them,” she said.

They are also preparing to put up a 15-foot tree that was bought in memory of a former resident of BHI. The tree is so tall that, because of fire marshal regulations, the top isn’t put on. But despite the difficulty of getting the tree into the open space, Mutter will be there to supervise and to get a laugh out of everyone. Even if she doesn’t think she’s all that great.

“I’m just a boring person who likes to do my job and help the elderly have a good life,” she said. “I’m not a big deal or anything.”