Joyce Fennell, who has served as a Pharmacy Technician since 1998 at Strickland's Pharmacy in Glennville, has retired as of Thursday, August 25, 2022. Pharmacy owner Sindy Strickland and staff surprised her with a farewell dinner last week at noon on her last day at the pharmacy.
"This is the first and only place that I have ever worked since becoming certified as a Pharmacy Technician, first hired by Billy Strickland, and then by Dennis Strickland, a few years later when he bought the pharmacy from his father," said Joyce.
Joyce's husband, Wayne Fennell, was killed in an automobile accident in 1996, in which Joyce was injured, also. During her time at home healing from her injuries, her daughter-in-law, Michelle, asked Joyce if there was something that she had always wanted to do but had not pursued. Joyce was 48 years old when her husband died.
"I told her that I wished that I had completed a technical or college program, and had been interested in pharmacology, but that it was too late to start back to school after 31 years out of the classroom. However, Michelle kept pushing me and encouraging me.
“I first started at Southeastern Technical Institute (STI) and then changed to Savannah Tech after two semesters and enrolled in the Pharmacy Technician Program. I was even surprised that I didn't need any remedial courses to begin the program," she said, and Joyce completed her training, passed her test with flying colors, and was officially certified on July 18, 1998.
Joyce excelled in her pharmacy tech program, which included an internship at a pharmacy. Strickland's Pharmacy was her choice in March of 1998, and she simply never left after her internship.
"I never really wanted to work anywhere else, and Dennis taught me what community is all about. He showed me valuable lessons in serving others. Sindy has been so supportive and good to me over the years, too, but I just knew that it was time to go home," said Joyce, who will be 75 in October.
“Joyce has been an invaluable member of Strickland’s Pharmacy staff for the past 24 years. We appreciate her dedication to our business and her faithful service to our customers. We wish her well as she embarks on this new phase of her life. We will miss her greatly,” said Sindy Strickland, wife of the late Dennis Strickland.
"I have really enjoyed my time at the pharmacy, meeting the people and especially helping the elderly and explaining their medications to them," she said.
She has worked full time since she began as a pharmacy technician, and now looks forward to some "me" time and tackling some home projects that she has put on hold over the years. She looks forward to taking care of her lawn and hedges once again. Joyce plans on a few updates in her kitchen, and she loves to read as well, preferring the Bible and health-related reading.
Even though she has missed her husband since his death, she recalls quite a bit of traveling with him, including a memorable trip out West. She and a few close friends will embark on a short vacation for several days about once a year, which she enjoys.
"I worked in the factories for 18 years, the last one being Ithaca. I am grateful that God gave me the intellect and mental capacity to pursue my pharmacy technician certification after my husband's death. My sons and their wives have all been so supportive, too, over the years, and saw the potential after Wayne's death for me to invest my energies in a new career that I have loved. After God and my family, pharmacy is my passion," said Joyce.
Her sons and their wives are David and Susan Fennell, who live on Colonel's Island; Daniel and Michelle Fennell; and Dana and Haley Fennell, who all live in the Glennville area. Grandchildren include Macy, Micah, and twins Noah and Isaiah Fennell.
"I had always prayed that I would be blessed with good, Christian daughters-in-law, like Naomi was with Ruth, and I certainly have been," said Joyce, who resides in nearby Long County.
"If you have a dream or a passion, you are never too old to pursue it," said Joyce.