Allen and Leonie Hunt have been members of the UNHS family for the past six years, but at the end of July they are retiring to pursue other interests and become what Leonie calls, 'professional grandparents.'
After serving as an Institute/Seminary teacher for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in North Dakota, Colorado and Seattle, Washington for fifteen years, the Hunts moved their family to Blanding for the 1992-93 school year. Allen taught Seminary at San Juan High School for ten more years, before retiring in 2003. The family moved to Hawaii for one year, where they lived on the Big Island's Kohala Coast, before moving back to Blanding. Allen eventually worked for the College of Eastern Utah-San Juan Campus under a grant to help Native Americans become nurses. After the grant was cancelled, Allen said he was contacted by Donna Jensen and Donna Singer about working for UNHS overseeing quality improvement. He later moved to the Nextgen Team helping other employees learn the company's software programs.
Leoni was a medical transcriptionist, working from home, when Donna Jensen asked her to do transcriptions for doctors at Blue Mountain Hospital in 2010. She later transcribed notes for UNHS providers and visiting specialists who saw UNHS patients. For the past two years Leoni has also transcribed the minutes for various meetings.
Allen and Leonie have thoroughly enjoyed their time at UNHS and they are amazed at the quality and professionalism of the providers and staff. They've also enjoyed watching the growth of the organization over the past few years.
"It's been really wonderful to watch the company evolve. It just keeps getting better," Leonie said.
"One thing I have perceived about UNHS is that the Lord has his eye on it. One way you see the manifestation of the hand of the Lord is the people he brings here," Allen observed. "How on earth did it happen that Jason Duterte (Nurse Practitioner), a New York City Pilipino, how does he end up at Navajo Mountain and fitting in perfectly? Look at the Okemas (Laurie and David), Chicago guys and they both fit in perfectly. And the Hendys. Rick was just what we needed to take over and get behavioral health as a part of what happens. Susan has done just a wonderful job with the software and teaching people about standardization."
They also mentioned Lauren Hannibal, who somehow found her way from Cleveland, Ohio and numerous others.
"You just see it happening," Leonie added. "And they come out of nowhere. How could they have heard about Blanding, Utah? Just to have them come out here in the middle of nowhere and stay."
While Allen and Leonie will both miss their UNHS family, they look forward to the other work they have to do now that they have the time.
"We have a lot of work to do. Working with our music, a lot of family history and research to do. We've got lot of writing to do. We want to record a bunch of songs we've never recorded and get to be grandma and grandpa," Allen explained.
Their kids are grown and scattered across the nation from Florida to the Olympic Peninsula, in Washington; to Missouri and Chicago and Fresno, California and Phoenix to Eastland, Utah. According to Allen, they are getting a motorhome and he's building a trailer that can haul their two main toys - a side-by-side four-wheeler and a 15-foot sailboat. They plan to visit to Australia at some point. Leonie is a native of Australia and she's looking forward to seeing her brother and his family, and contacting cousins she hasn't seen in thirty years.
The couple also plans to work on recording some of the songs they've written over the years.
"We write our own songs. We've written 150-200 songs but we won't record all of them. There's a bunch we want to do. We've got some church songs we feel might be of value to church members we'd like to do and there's a bunch of family songs we'd like to get recorded for extended family," Allen said.
"It's kind of like our journal. Writing songs instead of keeping a journal," Leonie added. "Writing songs or family history."
Allen and Leonie might also finish some of the books they've worked on and self-publish them. Between travel to see their children and grandchildren, working on their music and family history, and finishing their books, Allen and Leonie Hunt will keep busy in their retirement and they will be missed. But if indeed the people attracted to UNHS are a sign of divine intervention, as Allen says, then he and his wife are definitely part of that roster of exceptional individuals who have helped make UNHS an amazing organization. And a sure sign of the Lord's hand in making the organization a success.
Good luck and happy trails!