For being a “secret,” Darlene Pettibone loves to talk about King’s Daughters Apartments, where she serves as the property manager.
“Some people say this is the best kept secret in Frankfort,” Pettibone said. “People say it’s a good place to live.”
King’s Daughters is privately owned by the Silent Workers Circle, which has been in existence since 1894, Pettibone said. The silent workers worked in hospitals taking care of patients.
“They took care of the patients so nurses could get a break,” she said.
King’s Daughters Apartments was the original hospital in Frankfort. When Frankfort Regional Medical Center was built, the Silent Workers Circle took over the property and opened the apartments in 1981. There are 60 apartments.
Pettibone, originally from Letcher County, worked for years as a property manager for Hyatt in Lexington before being offered an assistant manager position at the apartments in 2007. In 2010, she became the property manager.
Pettibone is married to Ron Pettibone. They have four children, Melissa Jarus, Raymond Pettibone and daughter-in-law, Shanna, and Travis; and three grandchildren, Danny, 6 months, J.J., 4, and Kayleigh, 6.
FRANK.: What do you like about working at King’s Daughters?
Pettibone: It’s like extended family. The residents became part of my family. We do lots of activities together. We do crafts and play bingo. Resident come to us when they’re not feeling well or when they’re lonely. I listen to them. You wear many hats when you work here. I’m a manager for the property, a counselor and a shoulder to lean on.
FRANK.: What was the main difference going from working for Hyatt to King’s Daughters?
Pettibone: At Hyatt you have some repeat guests. You see them for a week at a time, but you don’t get as involved. Here, you get to know the residents and to know their families. I do enjoy it.
I grew up without my grandparents. They died when I was young. I’ve always connected with older people.
My grandchildren love to come down here and sing and dance, craft and paint rocks with the residents. They come and sing carols and give out candy canes during Christmas. We’re trying to teach them community service.
FRANK.: Have you volunteered with other organizations?
Pettibone: In Eastern Kentucky, my husband and I volunteered for a volunteer fire department. My kids were always at the fire department.
We wanted to install community service into our children and grandchildren. We do acts of kindness all of the time. We hide money around town.
FRANK.: What’s it like for you to see your children and grandchildren giving back?
Pettibone: You have your child, and that’s the best filling in the world, but to become a grandmother and seeing the life cycle be completed — it’s amazing to see them involved and want to be involved. They come in and give the residents hugs. I’m very proud of my children and my grandchildren.
FRANK.: What kind of changes have you made since being director?
Pettibone: We are doing more activities. We are doing activities like gardening, more shopping, more outreach in the community. We are working with Frankfort High School. They had sophomores come by and help with the gardening.
Our residents like when groups of children come in and do things with them. A lot of them don’t get to see their grandchildren as much.
FRANK.: What are the challenges of your job?
Pettibone: I do enjoy my job very much, but you do get overwhelmed sometimes with some of the needs of residents and financial things going on, but when I go home, I can’t think about doing anything else.
No two days are the same and making sure my residents are good, makes me happy. I have residents that come down every morning to say good morning. I had residents bringing me snack cakes every morning. It’s a diversity of residents from all walks of life.
Our staff is a very strong team. The best we’ve had in 12 years. Everybody works together and everybody helps. It makes it fun when you come to work and everyone works well together.
It’s an awesome place to work.
FRANK.: What do you like to do when you’re not working?
Pettibone: I read a lot. I like to play bingo. I spend time with the grandkids. I like flowers and working in my flower beds at home. My husband is a movie person. We go to a lot of movies.
FRANK.: Will you ever retire?
Pettibone: I’m probably looking to work until 70. I do like what I do. As long as I’m able to do my job, I will. I have no retirement plans. I don’t want to be bored. When I do retire, I’ll keep myself busy by volunteering here.