Community celebrates longtime CEO (PHOTOS)

It’s farewell, but not goodbye. After 33 years of service, former West River Health Services CEO Jim Long retired. His last day was Thursday, June 2.

KNDC Manager Nolan Dix (L) presents Jim Long with a plaque for his time on the TTO Program. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)
KNDC Manager Nolan Dix (L) presents Jim Long with a plaque for his time on the TTO Program. (Photo by Cole Benz/The Record)

By COLE BENZ
Record Editor

It’s farewell, but not goodbye. After 33 years of service, former West River Health Services CEO Jim Long retired. His last day was Thursday, June 2.

New CEO Matthew Shahan has been in the position since April 1, but Long stayed on to consult Shahan as he and the hospital made the transition over the following two months.

A certified public accountant by trade, Long spent the first eight years of his career with West River as the facility’s CFO. On a whim, he said he really just volunteered his name for the CEO position when it was open 25 years ago, thinking someone else would be selected.

But lo and behold the board voted to hire him. And that’s where he has been for the past quarter century.

Long’s retirement commenced at the hospital with a reception to honor his time with West River. Gifts, and well wishes were exchanged; and a few inside jokes were brought to the surface for the crowd to enjoy.

Now that the moment had finally arrived, Long said he was feeling both excitement and apprehension.

“You hope everything is going to be as you planned, but you never know,” Long said. “It’s been a great 33 years, and I’m just looking forward now to the next stage and I hope it’s as much fun as it should be.”

Long also spent Wednesday, June 1 on KNDC’s TTO program, his final show after 17 years. KNDC and Station Manager Nolan Dix, in conjunction with Shahan and Western Horizon Care Center’s Mark Prischmann, presented Long with a commemorative plaque for his years spent on the radio.

Though Long will no longer walk the halls of West River, he still plans on being a presence in the community. He is currently serving on the Hettinger Armory Committee, and maybe in the future he will involve himself in other projects around Hettinger. But for now, he’s pacing himself.

“What I’ve kind of told most people is that I’m trying to keep away from going from one job to the next,” Long said. “The first year I’m trying to actually just retire, and then follow up there after.”

He may wait some time before finding a passion project within the community, he did say it is important to keep a connection with the community.

In a previous interview with the Record, Long said he had planned on spending much of his free time at his lake cabin in South Dakota, and when asked if he was headed there after the reception, he said “absolutely.”

Editor’s Note: The Adams County Record would like to extend congratulations to Jim Long. Good luck in your next endeavor Jim!

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