On May 30th, 2019, Miki Gudermuth made her drive to work for the last time. After 26 years of developing, managing, and leading SADI, Miki is set to retire. For those 26 years, her name has been synonymous with SADI. In fact, in the early days, Miki, along with a couple of volunteers, was SADI. This not for profit started out in a small office with used furniture and an old copy machine that was held together with duct tape and regular repairs by her husband Chuck. The small staff held local disability resource fairs to spread awareness. Soon SADI began to grow and meet the needs of the disabled population in southeast Missouri.
Today at SADI there are over 135 employees with offices in Cape and Charleston. As a center for independent living, all services are geared toward promoting independence and empowerment for the elderly and persons living with a disability or chronic condition.
Miki has been a wonderful teacher and mentor to her staff, giving them autonomy to expand programs and create new services. She worked to develop future leaders at SADI to ensure persons with disabilities in southeast Missouri would always have a place to go.
SADI is very family oriented and that is not by accident. Miki was always concerned with her staff-making sure moms were not out on the icy roads with their little ones, erring on the side of caution to make sure staff and consumers were safe. She liked to close the office early on days before big holidays to make sure everyone had a great start to their holiday. It’s not unusual to see someone’s pet hanging out at work for the day or a child or two playing in the hallway. That’s SADI. Miki created that culture. She has always wanted SADI to be a great place to work. And it has been. It still is.
So, Thursday, May 30th was a bittersweet day. Miki definitely deserves a well-earned retirement to spend more time with her sweetheart Chuck and little dog Sandy but it will be sad to see her go. It will feel strange to walk into SADI and not see Miki cruising the halls in her power chair wearing head to toe bling and coordinated eyewear.
But southeast Missouri has not seen the last of Miki Gudermuth. She plans to serve on the governing board at SADI in the future and volunteer at the center every now and then.
For now, we hope Miki enjoys her well-deserved retirement. SADI staff will continue the work that she once helped pioneer, being the voice for those who can’t always speak for themselves.
Miki: Thank you for all your tireless years of advocating, empowering, teaching, protesting and paving the way. You have truly been an inspiration to those who have known you.