Hill cares for others in retirement
Barbara Hill stands beside a framed mola, artwork created by folding and stitching fabric together. She purchased the piece of art during a mission trip to Panama shortly after her retirement from Anniston Army Depot.

ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. - When Barbara Hill retired March 1, 2002, she had served the federal government for more than 25 years. At the time, some of her friends wondered what she would do with her free time.

"Several people I know quite well said, 'Are you sure you're doing the right thing' I don't know what I would do if I retired,'" said Hill.

However, Hill said she was well prepared for retirement and her adjustment took "from the time I left my retirement party until I got into my car to leave the depot."

Shortly after her retirement, Hill went on a mission trip with her church, Greenbrier Church of Christ, to Honduras and fell in love with mission work.

"It was a wonderful experience," said Hill. "If I could change one thing, I would have done this at a younger age."

In Honduras, Hill and the other church members visited the homes of people who were in alcohol treatment programs and worked with doctors and nurses to dispense medication to those in need.

"It was amazing to see how people lived and how blessed, how well off, we really are," said Hill.

She also helped paint a clinic, held devotionals with the local people and gave out toys and small gifts the group had brought with them, many of which were made by the church.

Honduras isn't the only mission trip she went on with the church since retiring. GCC also sent a group to Panama on a medical mission. There, her primary duties were to assist with dispensing medication.

"It was common things we could go to the drugstore and get, but they didn't have there. Some of them waited five or six hours just to get some Tylenol," said Hill.

The group made teddy bears before each trip and gave them to children. The "bear program," as Hill calls it, is still near and dear to her heart. Though she no longer feels able to go on the trips, she helps however she can by creating the bears and working with a ministry that supplies shoeboxes filled with school supplies and other necessary items to the people of various South and Central American countries.

Hill and her husband, Gene, have also traveled extensively together. They visited Niagara Falls, Amish country, New York and she enjoys taking trips to the beach. In addition, she visited two states she didn't think she would ever see, Hawaii and Alaska.

"Those were two places I never even dreamed of going. I didn't even have them on my list," said Hill.

During her time at the depot, Hill worked in Civilian Personnel and as the Morale Welfare and Recreation division secretary under the guidance of Jim Webb.

"I really enjoyed both jobs," she said.

Hill began her career at age 20 in data processing. A few months later, she was transferred to Civilian Personnel. There, she worked in several different areas, including training and compensation. At one point, she was assigned to work off-depot in a downtown office for a year.

"They set up a personnel office downtown in the same building as the Social Security Administration. It was a really big office and I was the only employee," said Hill.

She said many people might not have enjoyed working alone, but she loved it and enjoyed meeting the people who dropped by to apply for jobs.

She left and returned to the depot several times as her children were growing, working on a temporary basis until they were older and she decided to return to full time.

She returned to the depot the final time when her daughter was in the 10th grade, in part because, with the additional income, they could send her to college.

"We would surely not be enjoying retirement quite so much if I had not returned to work like I did," said Hill.

In retirement, Hill's days are typically spent helping take care of Gene's mother and spending time with her children and grandchildren.

"I'm not sure I do anything different than I did when I was working. I just have the time now to enjoy it more," she said.

Page last updated Thu March 31st, 2011 at 11:38