Terri Hagenlocker: Retiring from Office on Youth after 20 years

hagenlockerIt’s dawning on Terri Hagenlocker that this time, it’s real. This is her fifth attempt at retiring from her job as finance manager at the Central Shenandoah Valley Office on Youth, but with boxes in her office, the day is finally here.

“This is going to be hard. This is my second family,” said Hagenlocker, the finance manager at the Office on Youth since 2005.

Hagenlocker, whose retirement is effective March 1, has been at the Office on Youth since 1995. She was hired as a secretary in what was then a small office.

“When I came to work here, there were only four people in the office, and there was only one computer that we all shared,” recalled Hagenlocker, adding that at the time she took the job, she didn’t even know how to use a computer.

She had to take a computer class as a precondition for getting the job, and ran into a problem when the class that she signed up for was canceled for lack of interest.

“I was scared to death that I wouldn’t get the job,” said Hagenlocker, but she was able to do enough to get by until computers had become second nature.

When former executive director Carol Blair restructured the Office on Youth in 2005, she created the finance manager position to manage the budget for the growing organization, which sprung from a small office across the street from city hall into a regional government agency with 30 employees serving Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County.

“When you’re in charge of a budget that’s as much as a million dollars, you’re responsible for every penny coming and going. I’m the one that the city auditors come to, the grant auditors come to. I’m very meticulous about what I do. You have to be that way in this job,” Hagenlocker said.

The office’s “mother hen” isn’t the type to punch a clock. “Some people can do that, but I am totally the opposite. I love coming to work,” Hagenlocker said. “I love being with my other family. In 20 years, I’ve gotten to know so many people. It feels like I’ve gotten to know everybody in the city, coming and going. You work hand in hand with so many good people in city government. They’re people I’ll stay in touch with after I leave.”

But there is that sad part of the story to deal with. As much as she is looking forward to retirement, spending time with her grandchildren, having more time to work out at the Waynesboro Family YMCA, to travel to see more lighthouses, the Office on Youth is family.

“I guess this time, I’m really coming,” Hagenlocker said.

– Story by Chris Graham