Wanda Fannon

After 41 years, Wanda Fannon is heading home.

She won’t be returning to the Patient First office on Ewing Boulevard in Florence anymore, where she’s worked as a registered nurse, coming in even when there were blizzards.

She’s helped thousands of people, sometimes seeing three generations of one family.

“It’s been a long, amazing trip,” the 64-year-old Florence resident says. “The patients expected a lot, and we gave a lot. We shared their joys and sorrows. It was a bonding experience, and many folks felt they were being cared about, as well as being cared for.”

For 41 years Fannon took gallons of blood, administered thousands of shots and helped deliver lots of babies.

But her health is poor now, she says. Her knees are weak, and she needs to take it easy.

On Thursday, the office threw a going-away party for her.

“There was a camaraderie with everyone,” Fannon says. “We had a deep friendship there, and we love what we do. We went through all the good things and bad things people go through.”

But the most interesting part was watching people grow up.

“We cared for those people who turned into teachers, golfers and politicians,” she says. “It was always interesting to see how people’s lives turned out.”

Kevin Widener, Fannon’s son, said 65 people have left the office during the time Fannon has worked there.

So what is next for Fannon’s life, then?

“I’m going to take some computer classes, and I’d like to start scrapbooking because I have so many photographs,” she says. “And my husband and I want to start traveling. We love Gatlinburg, and I know there are a lot of other places we want to go.

“Now we’ll have the time.”

Know of someone in your community with a good story to tell? Let us know. Submit nominees to Ryan Clark by e-mail:rclark@nky.com.