In 1979, Betty Stancer began working for a program in Redwood Falls known as Service Industries. She was hired as a bookkeeper and admitted at the time she did not know a lot about her new place of employment.

Four decades later, Stancer knows the ins and outs of what is now known as Service Enterprises, Inc. (SEI), as she has been involved in helping the program best serve people with disabilities and the community as a whole. That longstanding relationship is coming to an end, as Stancer has opted to retire.

A celebration honoring Betty Stancer is being held Feb. 27 at SEI in Redwood Falls from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. 

“This has been a great place to work,” said Stancer, adding she is truly going to miss the people she has worked with and for over the years.

Stancer has served as an office and business manager in her time, and in the early 90s as acting co-director of Service Industries she was involved when that entity joined with the DAC to become what is Service Enterprises, Inc. (SEI) today.

Most recently, Stancer has been serving in a shared administrative leadership role at SEI with Karin Ramey, and Stancer said that has been a great working relationship. When Stancer began working for Service Industries, she said there were just a few clients being served.

Over time that number has increased dramatically, especially after 1988 when Minnesota opted to close its state hospitals. Those who came to the area became some of the best workers, she said.

As SEI grew so did its geography, and Stancer said today there are people who are part of SEI but work in their communities. She said the only way she even knows of them is seeing their names on paychecks.

That, Stancer added, is a good thing, because it demonstrates how people with disabilities have been embraced in their communities.

“The community has always been very supportive of what we do,” said Stancer, expressing her appreciation for those who have taken on clients as employees over the years.

Stancer also said the SEI board of directors has exhibited great leadership and vision for SEI over the years.

Recently, SEI gained its CARF accreditation. Stancer said she wanted to stick around until after that happened.

So, now she is retiring, and has plans to sit out on her deck and drink coffee (Jumpy Monkey coffee, of course), but Stancer is not planning to stay there.

She intends to get involved as a volunteer at her church, and she also intends to be involved through SEI as a volunteer wherever she can.

People who attend the March 7 euchre tournament fundraiser will likely see Stancer there.

“Coming to work here was a good move for me,” said Stancer, adding it truly changed her life.