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Chumpy Takes Plunge Into Retirement

One of Colleton County’s busiest community activists is retiring from at least two of her jobs. 

Yvonne “Chumpy” Penfield, 65, officially retired from Colleton Medical Center on Monday as the hospital’s Coordinator for Volunteers and as the leader of H2U (Health To You), a regional health initiative in rural counties. She has worked for the hospital for 36 years.

Penfield cites health reasons as her main reason for retiring. “I have been diagnosed with MS,” she said. “It’s too much for me, working in the different areas.”

The hospital threw Penfield a retirement party on Monday. “I was almost in tears, and I did good until I got in the car,” she said. “I have had some of the best volunteers that anyone has ever had.” The volunteers for the hospital also gathered on Monday to bid her farewell. As the leader of the hospital’s volunteer program, there are 50 active volunteers who work at the hospital.

In addition to these roles as the hospital’s coordinators, Penfield has also serves as the prime purchaser for the hospital’s gift shop.

With her departure, Elaine Kizer is taking over the H2U groups and Lee Stroud is now in charge of the hospitals’ volunteer services.

Even though she is retired, Penfield says she will stay with Safe Kids as the coordinator. She has been in this role for 14 years. In doing this, Penfield says she is currently looking for new technicians to assist with car seat safety checks in Colleton County. “If I get enough people interested in Colleton County, I can do a class,” she said. She served as coordinator of Safe Kids for 14 years. She also wants to continue working on a teddy bear project, she said. This is a project where she gives teddy bears to each child who comes to a car seat safety fair.

“All of this community has surrounded me with love and warmth,” she said. “The biggest issue with me is the SafeKids Fair, and when we can touch 350 kids in one day, that’s a lot,” she said. The fair annually brings in third-graders from public and private schools in Colleton County. Members of the public are also invited to attend, along with children from other neighboring counties. “Everybody pulls together for that,” she said. “I still have kids now who tell me how much they learned.”

Her entire career began in 1981 at Colleton Medical Center in the then data process department. “The hospital was bought by HCA, and we had to spend many hours to get all of the patients converted into that system,” she said. “We were still in the old building, in trailers where the homeless shelter is now.”

Penfield will have a second retirement party at Colleton Medical Center on Oct. 30th at 2 p.m. in the hospital’s dining room. “Marilyn Fryar has done an excellent job at trying to keep up with things,” she said. “I cannot say thank you enough for that. And Jimmy Hiott, our new CEO, bless his heart, I’m so glad to see a young man from our area do so well for himself. I am proud of him.”

Heather Walters (1389 Posts)