If you have ever visited our Main Office, you have probably met Robert, and he probably made you smile.
Robert joined the Life’s WORC team in 2003 and is a critical member of the staff in his role as Maintenance Associate. “I stock supplies in the kitchen like the water and milk, and I collect the shredding bins and I take stock of the cleaning supplies in the basement,” Robert explained. “I talk to everyone because I love everyone.”
And the feeling is mutual. “Robert is a great example of the Life’s WORC spirit and mission,” says Janet Koch, CEO. “He is a wonderful success story for our supported employment program, but his positivity and enthusiasm are what make him an asset to the office. His long tenure here combined with his genuine interest in all of his coworkers make him a great agency historian. He really does know everyone.”
Robert first connected with Life’s WORC as a teen, receiving services through the agency and then attending one of the agency’s Day Habilitation programs. The support and encouragement he received from then CEO Peter Smergut and other members of the executive team inspired him and gave him the confidence to pursue a job with Life’s WORC.
“I loved working with Peter Smergut – he took care of me,” Robert said. “He always told me to come to him if I need anything. When I came in to talk to Peter about a job he said to me, ‘You come with shorts, sweatpants and sneakers to an interview?’” Of course Peter and the rest of the team found Robert a job right away – with the caveat that he would have to dress the part.
“I came in and started at Lake Success [Day Hab] as a volunteer,” he said. “I cleaned the bathroom and helped other staff members with making copies. They gave me a stipend and taught me how to do better at my job.”
Since that first job, Robert has enjoyed continued employment with Life’s WORC in varying facilities and maintenance roles, all of which he takes very seriously. When he’s not at work, Robert likes to take it easy and enjoys listening to music. “I relax and I go to my mom’s house,” he said. “But when I don’t work, I miss it here, because it’s all my family here. They treat me wonderfully!”
Life’s WORC’s 50th anniversary this year is particularly meaningful to Robert as well. “I’m 49 so the agency is one year older than me. It’s nice that we have the 50th anniversary because Life’s WORC has been part of my life since I am a kid,” he said. “Life’s WORC is wonderful work. It’s like Disneyland! There are loving, beautiful people here. But now I’ve got to go – I’ve got to go stock the milk!”
Always dedicated to his job and the agency! Thank you, Robert, for representing Life’s WORC’s values so well and bringing your enthusiasm to us all.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC, we will be sharing the stories, people and events that have made Life’s WORC the organization it is today, along with our goals and vision for the future. Thank you for celebrating with us!