Sally Kate Winters executive director is set to retire at the end of October

WEST POINT, Miss. (WCBI)- Sally Kate Winters Family Services in West Point has been offering the gift of humanity, love, and respect to children traumatized by abuse and neglect; since 1990 that has been the mission statement for the organization.

1990 was also the year the organization made a critical hire. Sheila Brand had been with the organization for over three decades and is set to retire at the end of this month.

Brand has been at Sally Kate for 32 years, 28 of which she has served as the executive director. Although she’s leaving the place she helped build from the ground up; she won’t be so far away that she can’t continue to lend a helping hand.

After she graduated from Mississippi University for Women with a degree in Accounting she wasn’t sure where her career path would take her.

“I started my employment with Sally Kate Winters as part of a high school co-op working program and really loved it from the beginning, just giving back to the community. When the opportunity came to become the director I wasn’t really sure if that was the career path for me because it was a little different than what I had envisioned,” said Brand.

That was 28 years ago, now, she’s set to retire at the end of October, but it will be bittersweet.

“I will miss the friendships that have been made. I will miss the kids and seeing the progress and opportunities that they have through their experience Sally Kate Winters that’s the piece I’m going to miss is the day-to-day of people doing good work,” said Brand.

In her years as Executive Director, Brand has had to oversee many changes in the organization, from the renovations of the buildings, to how things operate in-house and throughout the system.

Those changes and challenges helped mold Brand in different parts of her life.

“Seeing day to day the crisis of children and families has humbled me you know it makes me view things differently it made me raise my own children differently it has really impacted my life on a different level that I would have missed if I had not had to opportunity to be involved with this organization,” said Brand.

Although retirement from Sally Kate is just days away for Brand. It won’t be the last time the staff will work with her.

“I will transition to a position with the state chapter of children advocacy the children’s advocacy center of Mississippi and that will give me the opportunity to work with the 12 children advocacy centers in Mississippi including Sally Kate,” said Brand.

Brand says she’s thankful for all the people that she’s encountered in her position over the years.

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