RETIRING Cooma Health services manager Elizabeth Mendes fought back tears as her colleagues gave her a heartfelt farewell last week.
Mrs Mendes retired on Friday after serving as the hospital manager for four and a half years at Cooma, and more than 30 years in the health service.
Members of the hospital consultative committee, hospital auxiliary and colleagues had a special afternoon tea for Mrs Mendes on Thursday. At the afternoon tea, Mrs Mendes said she was overwhelmed by the response and loved all her time at the hospital.
Mrs Mendes, a registered nurse and midwife, took over as manager of Cooma Hospital on September 15 2008.
"The highlights have been the wonderful staff and wonderful care they deliver to the patients, and the community support we received at the hospital," Mrs Mendes said.
"And we have a wonderful bunch of doctors."
After spending time in Cooma as a child, Mrs Mendes began her career as a registered nurse at Bathurst hospital, then completed management qualifications at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst with the support of her husband Raymond.
She worked for Greater Western Area Health Service for seven years during which time she managed Oberon Hospital in the eastern cluster.
Mrs Mendes has also acted in the role of area director of nursing up to and just after the amalgamation of the mid western area health service and acted as general manager of the Mitchell cluster where she was responsible for 10 hospitals.
She has also been a health service manager at a small sized hospital at Narrabri and worked in a small Aboriginal community at Goodooga.
Mrs Mendes is now looking forward to spending time with her family in retirement.
"I plan to spend as much time with my family and grandchildren, and travel and enjoy time with my family," she said.
Manager of in-patient services Denise Green will be acting manager until the position is filled.