LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- During her tenure at the Center for Women and Families, Marta Miranda-Straub has been called a fighter, a champion and a warrior in the battle against domestic abuse, but soon she'll be known as something else: a retiree. 

Marta Miranda-Straub will step down as CEO in 2018 after 43 years of helping victims of domestic violence and trauma, but she says her heart will be there forever. 

The former veterans social worker turned Eastern Kentucky University professor took the helm at the Center for Women and families in 2010. 

"This organization is my proudest work," Miranda-Straub said. 

During her time at the center, Miranda-Straub has implemented programs that teach schools, hospitals and police how to better spot signs of abuse. She also has worked with children to end the cycle of abuse -- a cycle she knows firsthand. 

"I was 8 years old and my favorite aunt came home with my brand new baby cousin and she was breast feeding her in the kitchen and I ran in and she had two black eyes and a broken jaw. I asked her why didn't she leave and she said because I can't afford to feed my kids."

"And my aunt stayed, and she eventually was killed by my uncle."

The Center for Women and Families serves more than 8,000 people each year, and now it is looking for someone to take over when Miranda-Straub steps down.

When that happens, she has this advice for her successor: "Respect the fact that we are an empowerment, advocate, and education agency. not your traditional non-profit. If what you want is a steady easy pace, 9 to 5, then please don't take this job."

Miranda-Straub says her greatest trial at the center also marked her biggest triumph. 

"My biggest challenge was finding safe locations for folks in danger of being killed," she recalled.

In 2013, 200 people had to be evacuated when frozen pipes and a bad roof forced the center to close its main shelter in Louisville. 

With no money in the budget to make the necessary repairs, Miranda-Straub launched a massive fund raising campaign, including what she calls a "$6 million lemonade stand" to get the shelter reopened. 

It would take 19 months before that happened. During that time, Miranda-Straub is proud to report that "my staff didn't lose one minute of service, one phone call, one walk-in during that whole transition. Nineteen months, that's what I'm proud of. That's who I lead, and that's who leads me."

Miranda-Straub says she plans to help the center's next leader. "We've done a lot of work we don't want to backtrack."

Miranda-Straub's exact last day has not been set -- it will depend on when her replacement is found.

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