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Self takes helm of Senior Services

Senior Services of Island County has named its deputy executive director, Jim Self, as the new executive director.

Beginning Feb. 1, Self will assume leadership of the non-profit organization from outgoing Mike McIntyre, who has served as director for eight years.

“There’s a horrible need (for senior services),” Self said. “I was privileged to travel the world and see how well it treats its elders — we don’t do that here.”

Self inherits a program that has seen significant growth as of late. The opening of a thrift store in Freeland and numerous grants have pushed the organizations budget to above $2 million. The agency manages several meal sites, including Oak Harbor, Coupeville and Bayview.

“We took a big jump with the thrift store,” Self said. “After its first full year of operation, its going outstandingly well.”

Self said that the biggest challenge the organization faces is preparing for the surge in the geriatric population.

In the next 20 years, Island County’s senior population is expected to more than double. Given that, Self said the agency needs to grow along with it, but he said he is not sure how.

“We’re already crowded,” Self said. “We have no specific plans at the present time on how to do that.”

Self, who has a Bachelor of Science from Iowa State University and an MBA from Florida Institute of Technology, served in the U.S. Navy for 22 years, retiring in 1992. He joined Senior Services as Nutrition Program director in 1993 and became deputy executive director in 2003.

McIntyre said that he is finding it difficult to leave his post, which he said he has occupied for twice as long as any of his predecessors.

“There’s never a good time to leave,” he said. “If things are not going well, I wouldn’t want to leave until I fix them. If things are going well, people will say “Why do you want to leave now? It’s going well.’ “

McIntyre said he will spend his free time getting to know his two college-age daughters.

“It’s nice to get a different look,” McIntyre said. “I think it will be good for the organization and it will be good for me.”

Before his departure, Senior Services’ board of directors honored McIntyre’s work with a resolution.

“During his eight-year tenure, Mike has steered the ship of Senior Services on a steady and forward course,” the resolution states. “Mike’s was the vision and the guiding hand which transformed a cramped, rented space of a shop with annual sales of $69,000 when he first came to SSIC to what is today Island County’s largest thrift shop. In the year just past, Community Thrift Shop reported a profit of $104,000 on gross sales of $550,000. Its revenues are reasonably expected to grow in the future to insure a reliable source of independent income to accommodate the needs of a steadily expanding senior population. The record shows that Mike leaves SSIC more sound and stronger, and we honor his achievements with this resolution.”

You can reach News-Times reporter Eric Berto at eberto@whidbeynewstimes.com

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