If you came to the Dumb Friends League Leslie A. Malone Center for a job interview or to drop off a package, chances are you were greeted by a smiling blonde woman with the demeanor of a protective mama bear. That bright, shining personality belongs to the one and only Tami Regan, receptionist extraordinaire. If you ever needed something, Tami knew the answer; she knew everything about everyone all the time. On Friday, April 9, after 23 years of dedicated service, Tami will be setting down her telephone receiver and turning in her candy jar in exchange for a peaceful retirement. I sat down with Tami as she reflected on her time at the League.
Tami, tell us a little about yourself and your position at the League:
I’ve been working at the League for almost 24 years.
I started as a volunteer and worked in the Lost and Found department when I heard about an opening for a receptionist position. So, I went ahead and completed an application. The human resources manager at the time had me come into her office, and I thought it was an interview, but she said, ‘If you want the job, you got it!’
As a receptionist, I handle administrative tasks like managing the closets for staff uniforms and supplies to make sure we’re always well stocked, maintaining calendars for payroll, conference rooms and birthdays, metering all of the mail, making sure the mailboxes are in order, and during Furry Scurry time, inputting registrations.
And, just kind of keep everybody in order. Who’s doing this? Who’s doing that? Where do I go for this? Where do I go for that? It’s just knowing a lot.
We know you’re an animal lover. Tell us about your pets at home:
Baby, my first dog, was fostered, and then I adopted her. She passed away about five years ago from a tumor. We had it removed, and they didn’t get it all, and it came back three-fold.
I brought Abby home, and [my husband] Pat knew he was in trouble because Abby’s birthday was the same day as Baby’s. We wanted to name her Abby after a character in the TV show “NCIS,” and it has the same letters as Baby. And, that’s his little girl now.
I got Gibbs through Adams County Animal Shelter. I sat down on the floor, and Gibbs jumped right in my lap, and that was it.
Your support of the League goes beyond your employment. You’ve helped advocate for pets in need and raise money to support the work we do. Tell us a little more about that:
I donated to the Capital Campaign, Building a Better Way Home. I did a three-year deal on that. I’ve also raised money for the Furry Scurry since I started.
Anybody who needs anything or wants a pet, [I tell them] you gotta go to the League. It’s the best place you are going to get a pet. My dad wanted a dog so bad, and he had Alzheimer’s. Finally, my mom agreed, and I said, ‘well if you agree, I got the dog for you’. At the time, the dog’s name was Harold. He was a Bichon Friese. My mom and dad came to see him. He was 3-years-old, and they fell absolutely in love and named him Buddy. My dad loved Buddy until the day he passed, and my mom now has Buddy. If she did not have Buddy, she would not know what to do with herself. It turned out to be a joyous thing.
There have been many changes over the last 23 years at the League, and we have another significant change coming up with your retirement. What have you learned about yourself working in this position?
It takes a lot of patience. You need to learn to think before you speak. You never know who is going to be standing in front of you. You just never know. You have to be prepared for just about anything.
I mean, something is always changing. I think, probably, one of the biggest changes is, of course, the construction that’s almost complete, but I have been through like three construction project. At one point, my office was at the end of the hallway. That is where I sat at a little round table when they were redoing the reception area and doing the elevator and all that. So, it was very bizarre.
What are you going to miss most about working here?
The people. Definitely the people.
It’s probably the hardest thing I have to do to leave. I don’t know anything else. I’ve done this for so long that I just don’t know anything else. And it’ll be hard.
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Tami Regan has touched the lives of everyone she has met. She will be greatly missed at the League but will be peacefully settling into retirement with her husband, Pat, and her two dogs, Gibbs and Abby. We wish the best of luck to Tami as she starts her journey into retirement.
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