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Dawn Center director quits

After dedicating years of her life to Hernando County families, Lori Hoban has decided to spend more time with hers.

Hoban, 48, has resigned her post as executive director of the Dawn Center, effective Aug. 8. She has held the job since late 1998. Before joining the center, which helps victims of domestic abuse, Hoban was director of the county's Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.

"I love the work and will truly miss it," Hoban said.

Five of her six children live in the western United States, though. So when her husband, Richard, got a teaching job offer in Phoenix, Hoban and her family decided to jump at the opportunity.

"We don't get to see our grandkids," she said. "It's time."

Carol Peeler, vice president of the Dawn Center's board of directors, said the organization is sad for its loss but could not begrudge Hoban her move.

"She's a family person first and foremost," Peeler said.

Peeler worried, however, that the non-profit organization might struggle to find a new chief executive.

"The Dawn Center is so underfunded that it's going to be difficult," she said. "(Hoban) worked seven days a week. You aren't going to find a lot of people who are willing to do that."

Hoban also had a vision for a bigger Dawn Center, Peeler said. The center recently applied for a grant that, if successful, would provide for expanded administrative and shelter facilities.

Hoban also helped create an endowment fund for the center and set an ambitious goal of increasing its base from $10,000 to $1-million.

"We're going to miss her direction in making sure we get there," Peeler said.

The county also will lose a voice for the less fortunate, said Jean Rags, director of the Hernando County social services department, which has financially backed the Dawn Center.

"She has been a tremendous support to our community in identifying the domestic violence issues, bringing them to the forefront and assisting the victims and their families," Rags said. "You hate to see anyone leave a critical position such as that."

Hoban did not worry that her departure would create a void. A consultant will help the board select a new director, she said, and the remaining staff members can do the job quite well.

"The agency is in great hands," Hoban said.

Board members also will play a greater role in the center's daily activities, Peeler said.

"We'll certainly be able to get by until we find a replacement," she said. "But everyone involved will have to work harder."

Hoban has lived in Hernando County about 16 years. Her husband, Richard, was a science teacher at West Hernando Middle School.

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