Good Samaritan Center of Loudon County Executive Director Paula Roach said she will be resigning her position at the end of this month after expressing an interest to relocate and travel in her retirement years.
GSC Board Chairwoman Susan Fox said Roach made a formal announcement Wednesday.
"It is a huge loss. Paula has been phenomenal in the four years that she has been with us," Fox said. "She has raised the community awareness to an unbelievable height for the center, and that's brought in increased revenue and overall commitment that we have had for a long time in the community, but it just took us to a new level.
"The organization has grown as a whole under her leadership," she said. "We are very grateful for that. It's a loss to the organization, and it's also a loss to me personally because I consider Paula a friend."
While Roach has recently dealt with health issues, she said Friday that wasn't the reason she chose to leave.
"I’m not resigning over health issues. I am resigning because we want to relocate and do other things," Roach said. "The goals really have been met, the expansion has been completed. I'm very proud of the accomplishments in the last four months. It just seemed like a good time to pass the torch on."
Pantry manager Eddy Shubert said he believed Roach will best be remembered at Good Sam for her fundraising efforts.
"She has gotten the community involved in giving money to support the Good Samaritan Center. She follows up with those people and writes them a personal letter when we get a contribution from them," Shubert said. "It seems like they are more a part of Good Sam and it makes it, instead of a one time contribution, it makes them want to be a repeat contributor."
Board member Ron Jordan noted Roach's dedication to growing the nonprofit.
"Paula has done a wonderful job for us, and Good Sam has grown and expanded in the ministry a good bit since Paula has been there. Nobody has any complaints against Paula. She has done a wonderful job. We regret losing her," Jordan said.
A reception honoring Roach's work with the nonprofit will be held 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Feb. 28 at the Good Samaritan Center, 119 A St., Lenoir City.
Jordan said there will be a "short" gap between Roach's last day and the start of a new director.
"The executive board will help run the operation from day to day, but we have three that help run the operation anyway," Jordan said. "I'm sure they will continue their role and then the executive committee and the president of the board will certainly give direction during that lag time."
The executive director position is a paid part-time position requiring 30 hours a week, according to an advertisement.
A search committee will be formed to find Roach’s successor, who will primarily be responsible for community relations and fundraising.
Fox said she hopes to have a new director in place by the end of March.
"We are developing a plan of action to move forward. We are fully committed to the center, as is our volunteers. We have a dedicated board and staff, so I have no doubt that the center will continue to serve the needs of families in the Loudon County community," Fox said.