Charlie Wiehaus - GCB Staff Spotlight
Charlie Wiehaus has been on staff at GCB for longer than there’s been a GCB – 34 years and counting, with ‘no plans to retire anytime soon.’ He started off as an intern for what was then Cincinnati Restoration, Inc., (CRI) while still a psychology student at UC. Upon graduation, he worked as a case manager for a number of years, but decided he was ‘better suited for residential.’ At the time, he worked at a former CRI group home in Price Hill, where a recent UC grad Jeff O’Neil and now GCB CEO was also working. “Look at him now!” he laughs.
For at least the past 25 years, Charlie has been working the third shift (approximately midnight to 8a.m.) at the Kemper House, a GCB residential facility that provides temporary housing for approximately 15 men and women, most of whom have been recently released from Summit Hospital. “Clients can take a deep breath here,” he says. “They get the opportunity to pick up independent skills and get in the habit of taking their medication before they transition into permanent housing.”
Charlie also maintains an additional part-time job working in apartment maintenance for another company. “My sleep pattern changes over the weekend, when I’m off,” he says, “so Mondays are usually a little rough.” The house always has at least two staff on-hand at anytime, and Charlie has been happily sharing this shift with his trusted colleague Marilyn Day for the past 15 years.
Charlie and his sister share responsibility for caring for his younger brother, who is developmentally disabled. “I think growing up with a special-needs sibling made me a good fit to do this kind of work,” he says. “I used to read the client’s files when they first got here, but I realized that would color how I interacted with them. Now I wait to read their files – I prefer to get to know them carte blanche first.” Charlie has a 25 year old son who lives close-by, and a significant other named Omega, who he met ten years ago at his cousin’s wedding.
When asked what has made him stick around so long, Charlie replies that “this agency has a good bunch of people with a real spirit of camaraderie. We are also client-centered to the nth degree.”
“It’s been a blessing working with this agency” he says. “I really can’t complain about anything. And yes, this generation is still kickin.’”