SPOTLIGHT ON STAFF: Sandy Haldeman
Thirteen years ago, Sandy Haldeman sat in her car and asked God to give direction to her life. She had just interviewed for a position with Willamette Family, and she prayed that the right door would be opened for her. She and her husband Greg had just retired from the Navy and were ready to take “the next step.”
The number of lives that Sandy has touched since that time is beyond measure. She is the first face most women encounter after they’ve made the life-saving decision to enter treatment at Willamette Family. As Admissions Coordinator, Sandy welcomes each person and provides loving encouragement at a time when most feel lost and hopeless.
“I want each lady to know that she will be treated with dignity and respect by all of us. I try to inspire hope and belief in each person as she starts a new life.”
Alcohol and drug addiction is a reality for one in four Americans. This disease touches each of our lives either directly or through someone we love. In spite of its prevalence, there still is a stigma attached that can prevent people from seeking treatment and that assaults their self esteem and self worth.
“I want each woman who enters treatment to know that every staff member is here to help her succeed in her treatment. And that one of our goals is to help her learn to love and to treasure herself.” In every way that she can, Sandy conveys this during the intake process.
Over eighty percent of all women in treatment have been victims of abuse and violence that not only injures their bodies, but destroys their self-worth and confidence. Effective treatment helps them rediscover their individual dignity.
Sandy’s warmth, acceptance, and loving spirit is the perfect beginning for this journey of discovery. Her smile, the warm hugs she generously gives, and the encouragement she inspires along the way helps to changes lives. She glows as she talks about the hundreds of newborn babies she has held who were born substance-free because their mothers received treatment for their illness. When she met them, most of the women were pregnant, homeless, and desperate. It’s quite a testament to the important role that she plays in their lives, that Sandy’s desk is often the first stop these ladies make when they return from the hospital with their healthy babies.
In 2007, 32 pregnant women entered treatment at Willamette Family, and because they did, their precious babies started life healthy and free from alcohol and drugs. Celebrating these mothers’ recovery is one of Sandy’s greatest joys. This year, Sandy will be moving to Utah to join Greg in his new position at Symantec. They will also welcome their first grand child this spring. New beginnings!
She will be greatly missed. As Micki Knuckles, Director of Treatment, notes, “Sandy wears a hundred different hats at once and is the most organized person I’ve ever known! Her nickname - SandyBee - fits her to a tee. She gets things done and I can depend upon her to do it right. I will really miss her.”
Sandy’s organizational skills have helped make the annual Recovery Rocks Celebration a success. She has played a central role in organizing Willamette Family’s participation in the annual Great Rotary Duck Race. Development Director Susie Dey comments, “Sandy is always there to help out, wherever there is a need. Her willingness to give of herself is truly remarkable.”
Sandy says that Willamette Family will always be part of her life. “I learned so much here and was given so many opportunities by Micki and others. I hope that I am remembered as someone who helped make the world a better place and that I helped those who really needed encouragement and belief in themselves.
Without a doubt you have done that, Sandy. We wish you love and every success, always.