Becky Cooke came to Hamm five and a half years ago and has been making a difference for our clients each and every day. We recently reflected on her years at Hamm as we gratefully celebrate her on her retirement!
When Becky came to Hamm, she says she did not know much about mental health. What she did bring to the job was her extensive experience in administration and a deep belief that clients coming to the front desk should have a caring and supportive experience from the first moment on. She was invested in being a team member with client’s providers to ensure that client’s needs were met. She felt from the very beginning that Hamm was the right place for her; she immediately loved the clients, enjoyed working downtown (though she was born in St. Paul, she had not spent very much time there) and she was even able to enjoy lunches with her daughter who worked in the historic Hamm Building as well.
Most importantly, Becky adopted an approach to her work with clients, consistent with the Hamm Clinic Model of Care that, in her words, “you need to look at the whole person, the situation around them.” She believes that communication is particularly important. She drew on her previous experiences as a teacher and a scout leader in meeting client needs intentionally and compassionately. What a gift it has been to have Becky be that first person our clients met when they arrived at the clinic! Her colleagues note that Becky is such an important part of our clients connection to Hamm that they would leave voice mail messages specifically for her – even when they called the general line!
Becky sees the biggest accomplishment of Hamm in recent years as the community outreach to underserved people. She heard the need in the intake calls she took, and she thinks the growth in the Hamm community has been “wonderful”.
Asked about her plans for retirement, Becky says that she will miss people and that it is bittersweet to retire at this particular time. She also says, “I will find some hot beaches to comb and some babies to squeeze!” Becky has three grandchildren: one granddaughter in Minnesota and two grandsons in South Carolina. Her youngest grandson she has not been able to spend time with because of the pandemic and she is looking forward to that, riding with her train enthusiast husband on some train rides and a house project or two. Whatever she chooses to do, she deserves all the fun and relaxation she can get!
We asked Becky for advice to Hamm as she is leaving. She suggested that we “keep doing the great job that we are doing.” She encourages us to keep our practice of seeing everyone who comes in the door as human, deserving of our attention and respect.
That is a very appropriate legacy for Becky as she leaves us. Her deep commitment to our clients is inspirational. We have deep gratitude to her for all her contributions and will miss her. Thank you, Becky!