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Carolyn Paden recently replaced Charles ‘Bud’ Salanski as executive director of the Center: A Samaritan Center.

The Center: A Samaritan Center has a new executive director.

Carolyn Paden replaced Charles “Bud” Salanski who retired last year after serving as the executive director of the mental health agency for 15 years.

“I think she’ll do fine, we have a good staff and things seem to be moving smoothly,” Salanski said.

Paden, a longtime St. Joseph resident, worked as a nurse in the community for 35 years. She served as a nurse for the old Methodist hospital and most recently for Mosaic Life Care before coming to the Samaritan Center last June.

Paden said health care and community have both been part of who she is for a number of years.

“Mental health is something that is so needed because without a good, strong mental health your physical health goes down too,” Paden said.

Paden added that she loves working for the Center and feels it’s a great national organization that gives the local center lots of support. She feels her role is not to make changes but maintain the level of service that’s been established by the Center before she came on board.

“Bud, the previous executive director set up a good organization here and I just want to maintain what he has done over the last 15 years,” Paden said.

The Center provided more than 8,500 counseling sessions in 2016. That number includes approximately 200 clients who needed financial assistance.

For more information on the Center, A Samaritan Center and its services, visit their website at thecenterlistens.org or call its offices at 816-364-4300.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at alonzo.weston@newspressnow.com. Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.