Nursing director retires after 29 years

Steve Hecox is retiring this year after 29 years of teaching and supervising in the Allied Health department of the college. Hecox grew up in Tyrone, Okla. where he graduated from high school. He went to college in Alva, Okla. at Northwestern Oklahoma State University where he started dating his future wife Vicki. They married when they were sophomores. When Hecox first came to Seward County Community College/ Area Technical School, the Allied Health division was not a separate division but was part of the math and science division. The biggest change he’s seen is when it was moved to the Epworth Allied Health Center in 1983. Hecox is now the director of nursing and Allied Health division chair. Hecox decided to retire this year because he felt it was a good time in his life to devote more time to his family, church and other activities. After retiring, Hecox has two simple plans for his time. “Family and golfing,” Hecox said. “Outside of work, those are the most important parts of my life.” It was easy for Hecox to explain what he has enjoyed most about his work. “I’ve always enjoyed working with students and helping them accomplish their goals,” Hecox said. “In doing that I’ve also worked with a wonderful faculty who is very dedicated. It’s something that I’ll miss.” Hecox has a big heart for students. During the past few years, one of his students was having issues. Hecox had the chance to work with and spend time with her, and she was able to work out her issues, graduate and become an RN. “That could apply to quite a few students,” Hecox said. “Each year I’m watching students as they struggle, and to watch them go through the graduation ceremony and see them out working as an RN is a special time.” Hecox is praised by the people he works with. “He is an awesome boss,” nursing instructor Sandy Brisendine said. “Working with him is such a relaxed atmosphere. We know he’s always on task and organized and very approachable. The thing that’s so nice is that he trusts us to do our job.” Ed Anderson is the respiratory therapy instructor and coordinator. He started in 1999 and Hecox was the primary reason he came. “He was someone I wanted to work for,” Anderson said. “I think the best way to describe him is fair. He’s very honest and there’s no doubt where his heart is. He’s always been a student advocate. His primary focus is on student education, and there’s never any doubt about that.” Hecox speaks as fondly of the people he works with as they do of him. “I’ve enjoyed working with all of the Allied Health instructors,” Hecox said. “We’ve been able to provide quality graduates to meet health care needs in our area. I have also appreciated the support of the Board of Trustees and administration who have all provided support for Allied Health.” Hecox will be missed by those who work with him. “I’m devastated,” Brisendine said. “I’m happy for him but we sure will miss him.” Anderson agreed. “I’m happy for him but not happy he’s retiring,” Anderson said. “I’m apprehensive and disappointed to see him go. He’s a role model for not just students but also faculty. He’s very ethical and has high moral character. He’s just a great guy. I have been a respiratory therapist for 35 years and worked various jobs and he’s the best supervisor I ever had.” According to Hecox, one of the most important values he’s had over the years is having a caring attitude. “As I reflect on the years and ask ‘Why did I become an RN?’ and ‘Why did I go into education?’ it all reflects on having a caring attitude. I enjoyed helping students accomplish their goals over the years.”