After 25 years with the Bank of Montreal, and nine years at the Elmira branch, manager Kathy Duncan is embarking on a new phase in her life.
She will be retiring as branch manager at the end of May, and the bank is inviting the community to come and share in her celebration next week with an open house on May 25.
“I think it will bring back memories, it will help me to say thank you for all of the years that people have been a part of my life. I am just looking forward to reconnecting and saying thank you,” she said from her office at the Elmira BMO branch.
She lives in Conestogo, so she won’t be too far away, but there are still plenty of things she will miss when she no longer has to go to work in Elmira.
“There are a lot of things I am going to miss, but I would say the staff, for sure. A lot of them have a lot of tenure and they tend to stay here and build something,” she said. “The customers are amazing. It is just such a wonderful community. I live in Conestogo, so I am part of the community, so I’ll still be a part of the community. I won’t be off in Kitchener somewhere. The customers are great.”
Duncan says she feels a special connection to the customers and the staff she works so closely with.
“We are very connected to our customers because we live in the community. Things that happen to them, we feel the impact so strongly and it is just about being a good citizen, and be there in each other’s lives,” she shared. “I have had a tragedy in my life where the people in this branch and the community just pulled together and I just felt so supported and loved. You just want to give that back to people.”
The branch has been involved in many different charitable programs, including participating in the Kate’s Kause playground project, and donating sledges to the Woolwich Thrashers sledge hockey team for those with physical disabilities.
“We have really enjoyed being involved with that and I think we will continue to do that. But, we have also been part of the Kids Help Phone for the Bank of Montreal, and we have had different fundraisers like breakfast at the Legion where we all come together,” she said. “It just seems like everything we do here, everybody is behind us. It is so wonderful to have a community that cares about everybody and I know I will miss being part of that. Maybe I’ll still come by, but we will see how that goes. I will have the time get involved with things.”
As for her retirement, Duncan has already made some plans, spending time with family and doing outreach work, but she still isn’t sure what she is going to do with all of her spare time.
“The day after I retire though, we are going on a mini mission trip for a week to Omaha, Nebraska. We are just going to be doing some work with the Aboriginal community there doing a vacation bible school. We leave the next day. It is for about ten days and I am going with my daughter, so I am really excited about that. She just finished college, so it is perfect timing. Then, when I get back, I won’t have to worry about coming back to work,” she said, adding that there are a few things she hasn’t had the time for while working. “I love gardening and I have just never had enough time to dig in, or really get the garden the way I like to have them. I am really looking forward to that. I mostly plant flowers, but maybe that I have more time now, I will get some vegetables.”
The open house will take place at the Elmira BMO branch on May 25, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.