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Kyles to retire Friday

“It’s going to be different.” The landscape of Jefferson Davis Community College in Brewton is about to change. Not only because the school is about to undergo a merger with several nearby colleges, but also because a longtime fixture is packing up her office.

On Friday, JDCC Financial Aid Director,Vanessa Kyles will say goodbye to the working world and hello to retirement. 

Lydia Grimes | The Brewton Standard JDCC Financial Aid Director,Vanessa Kyles will say goodbye to the working world and hello to retirement.

Lydia Grimes | The Brewton Standard
JDCC Financial Aid Director,Vanessa Kyles will say goodbye to the working world and hello to retirement.

“It’s going to be different because I’ve spent over half my life here,” said Kyles. “When I first started, I was 22 years old. I think, the Lord uses me in this position and it’s nice to know that my working here has helped so many lives.”

The familiar face has spent the last 35 years at the college helping students find federal help paying for their education. “I have been tremendously impressed with her knowledge, competence and positive attitude,” said JDCC Interim President, Dr. William Blow. “Vanessa has touched countless lives and has been instrumental in making college attendance possible for many students who might not have been able to attend without financial assistance.”

“You can’t replace that kind of knowledge,” said JDCC Dean David Jones. “She’ll be missed tremendously by the college due to her longevity here and knowing all the facets of the college and how everything works.”

“She is a great resource of knowledge and that will be greatly missed,” said JDCC Financial Aid Assistant, Kimberly Fleming. “She’s taught me to document everything and be a good listener. Sometimes students just need to come in and get things off their chests. It’s our job to listen and be a voice of reason.”

“I’ve always known her to be a student advocate and on the student’s side,” said Jones. “She would do everything she could to help a student. She has always been here for the students.”

Kyles’ work ethic and student advocacy are unchallenged, but the ladies who worked so closely with her will miss something else, her steel-trap of a mind. Delinda Kidd has worked with Kyles in Financial Aid for more than 26 years, “I know I will miss her most for her memory. I don’t think she forgets anything, but it’s really her work ethic that I believe is her greatest strength,” said Kidd.

Others will miss her spirit.

“One of the things I’ll miss the most, is hearing her yell ‘Roll Tide’ down the hall.” That’s about as sappy as Dean Jones would allow himself to get when asked about Kyles’ retirement.

“She is a highly respected member of our staff, and she will be greatly missed.  I hope that she will enjoy her well-deserved retirement,” said Blow. Kyles said she plans to spend a generous amount of quality time with her mom, her boys, and extended family. She and her husband love to fish together so there are plenty of fishing trips in the works.

“Other than packing up my belongings, I know that I will be taking friendships with me,” said Kyles. “Some people that I’ve met over the years, even though they’re retired, I still see them and still consider them my friends. I hope that for the people that I leave now, I impact them in such a way that they consider me a friend. I know that I will take their friendships with me.”