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San Mar's new board president will use her nursing experience

August 07, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - Becoming the president of the board of managers for the San Mar Children's Home seems a natural step for Linda Lee Altizer, a nurse with a long history of working with adolescent girls.

"I used to come to San Mar to visit with the girls who had no family," Altizer said. "I love young people at this age."

Remembering how important mentors were in her youth, Altizer said she feels it is her calling to give back to these children.

"One girl went into nursing, and I helped her with that," Altizer said.

Beginning her two-year term as president, Altizer will be assisted by Ross Rhoads, vice president; Tracey Bowman, secretary; and Jefry Bohn, treasurer.

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Altizer joined the board in 2001 and has served as vice president since 2005. She succeeds Robert L. May II whose two-year term has expired.

"The board here is a good team," she said. "Their hearts are in the right place."

With an extensive nursing background, Altizer, 59, holds a master's degree in nursing administration and is a certified orthopedic nurse and a forensic nurse examiner.

Involved with the Washington County Child Advocacy Center, Altizer also does forensic work in Hagerstown for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of Maryland.

"I'm just starting to get my doctorate in nursing practice in trauma and forensics," Altizer said. She will be traveling to Memphis, Tenn., periodically and doing her clinical work locally.

As a registered nurse, Altizer has been on mission trips to Ecuador and India, where she works with doctors. Once she has earned her doctorate in nursing practice, Altizer said she will be able to operate independently.

"This is where the Lord is leading me now," she said of her advanced educational quest. "They interviewed 157 candidates for the doctoral program and only seven were chosen."

Altizer taught nursing in India in March and plans to return in October, then go back to Ecuador next March.

Married to the late Dr. Tom Altizer for 27 years, she is now married again. She has three grown children, two stepchildren and five grandchildren.

"Linda has been an exceptional board member," said Bruce Anderson, chief executive officer of San Mar. "She brings great empathy for our girls and business acumen to the office and will be leading the board during a very exciting time in San Mar's history."

San Mar Children's Home operates three residential group homes, a shelter and a treatment foster care program on its 60-acre campus near Boonsboro.

The residential programs are for adolescent girls who have experienced family problems and/or abuse, or who are in the juvenile service system due to behavioral problems or other issues.

Treatment foster care places boys and girls, and children with other problems, with foster families throughout the area.

San Mar has served hundreds of local children since its founding in 1883 as the Washington County Orphan's Home.

"San Mar will be 125 years old next year, and we are looking to do a big event," Altizer said.

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