McCaughn retiring from Morton ChamberBy JAMES PHILLIPS,
Brenda McCaughn has been a permanent fixture at the Morton Chamber of Commerce for over 35 years. Even good things have a beginning and an end. The end for McCaughn as executive director of the chamber will be June 28 when she retires. She is not retiring to take life easy by no means, she is retiring to become a full-time “farm-her”.
McCaughn says she has enjoyed every day of her work with the Morton Chamber, but she now has other priorities that require her full-time attention and she has put-off retiring as long as she possibly can
On June 28 she will hand-over the reins of the Morton Chamber of Commerce to Lisa Alford. Alford has been on the chamber’s Board of Director’s for over two years and her husband Donavon Alford currently serves as the board’s president.
McCaughn started with the chamber in the early 1980’s and has enjoyed her job and working with the community immensely. “I have loved every minute of my time here,” she says. In a small town setting, the chamber of commerce plays a very important role in the livelihood of the town. Morton has been blessed for the last 35-plus years with a chamber executive director that truly did all she could to help better the city.
Her husband, Edward McCaughn, died in December of 2013, and since that time she has “had to learn how to do everything” around the farm. She says her new job of “full-time farm-Her requires her complete attention and requires all the hours she has to give every day.
While she is not completely alone in overseeing the day-to-day of the farm she shoulders the responsibility of making it all work. McCaughn’s son helps her with some of the daily tasks as best as he can. “My son cuts the hay and I’m right behind him raking it,” she says. “It takes a lot of hay to feed my cattle throughout the winter.”
It is the time required to tend to the cattle on a daily basis, not the work at the chamber, that has led to this day of inevitability we all must face she says, “I really should have retired a couple of years ago.” It’s her love for the job and her devotion to working with the community that has led to her putting this day off for as long as possible.
“Morton is unique, I’m just a helper, all the real work is done by the 14-member board of directors and they have made my job easy,” McCaughn states. Easy or not, as she starts her next chapter of being a one woman “farm-her” she will deeply miss her work at the chamber.
The position McCaughn held for the past three-and-a-half decades is a part-time position that finds her in the office two days a week, but that did not stop her from making the events wonderfully successful. She says, “It takes a big commitment when you have a part-time chamber as we do,” and “the chamber is like an event planner for the city, but our chamber also gets involved in economic development.”
McCaughn is very proud of the work the city, and the chamber, have accomplished working together. She believes that other towns took notice. She says, “a lot of other chambers have copied some of the events we have done and that is the best compliment we can get.”
There is not a doubt that McCaughn will be missed. She has given a better part of four decades of her time working with the community, and it’s is her work with the people, and the supporters, of Morton that she will miss the most as she retires to a life as a “farm-her”.