81st MDG executive assistant retires

  • Published
  • By Steve Pivnick
  • 81st Training Wing Public Affairs
There's an old saying, "No one is irreplaceable."

Well, the 81st Medical Group command section - and the entire medical group - is soon going to learn that may not necessarily be true.

Kay Hymel, executive assistant to the 81st MDG commander, will be honored today at a retirement ceremony in Keesler Medical Center's Don Wylie Auditorium as she marks the end of 29 years and one month of federal service. Retired Lt. Gen. Clark Griffith, former Air Education and Training Command vice commander, will officiate.

Recalling her service, Hymel said, "My first Civil Service job was at Bolling Air Force Base, D.C., at the headquarters judge advocate office as a legal secretary. When my husband was transferred to Keesler in 1987, I worked from June 26-Aug. 29 at the 403rd Wing and then was hired at the medical center. I started at Keesler Medical Center on Aug. 30, 1987, and was the secretary to the administrator until October 1992 when I was hired to be the hospital commander's secretary."

Since then she has worked for 11 commanders.

"My duties change with each new commander, but the constants are the calendar, travel, VIP visits, telephone, correspondence and Promotion Recommendation Forms," she said.

Looking back, the most memorable event during her tenure was the devastation and recovery from Hurricane Katrina.

"It is amazing how my medical center family pulled it all together and here we are with an amazing facility, "said Hymel.

Born in New Orleans, Hymel has an affinity for Mardi Gras and has had a long-time affiliation with the medical center's "Krewe of Medics."

"I attended my first Krewe of Medics ball in 1988," she said. "I joined the group immediately afterwards. I grew up in New Orleans and loved Mardi Gras. I felt, and still feel, that is a wonderful idea to give those assigned here a little taste of Mardi Gras and its traditions."

Speaking of her background, she noted, "I was raised in St. Bernard Parish in a small town called Arabi. My parents, Eva and Bertrand, raised seven children. I was No. 3.

"I married V.J. Hymel, who was also from St. Bernard Parish, in 1973. We have two wonderful children, Heather and Michael, my son-in-law Randy and four wonderful grandchildren, Cullen, Brennan, Jacob and Brody."

Hymel has definite post-retirement plans.

"I have a long to-do list of that I will share with my husband," she said. "Our family will go to Orange Beach, Ala., for a few days after my retirement. And I have been taking some pottery classes and plan to do lots more."

Summing up her lengthy association with the medical center, she commented, "Keesler Medical Center has been part of my life since 1987. I have been lucky enough to work with many wonderful people. My job has been amazing and I will take many wonderful memories into retirement. We are the best hospital in the Air Force and Keesler is the best base!"