John Roach will proudly tell you he has been working with a lot of ‘great people’ since 1981, when he stopped spending his days in a workshop and began his employment at the family-owned George H. Rohde & Son Funeral Home in Mt. Lookout.
“I’m not sure if I interviewed anybody other than John – I might have – but it was the best thing that ever happened to me,” said Steve Rohde, the president and owner of the funeral home. “John was very nice – a happy guy. He’s taken a lot of pressure off things because of his reliability.”
The business recently won the Employer Excellence Award, which recognizes leaders who provide employment opportunities for the people Living Arrangements for the Developmentally Disabled (LADD) serves.
“I sweep, mop, wash cars and do everything the right way,” Roach said.
Faith Maynard, who has worked with Roach for years through LADD, has seen him thrive as a result of being part of the Rohde’s business.
In addition to providing Roach with steady work, Steve Rohde and his staff consider him a valued part of their lives. They include him in social functions, take care to remind him of his medical appointments, and even provided financial assistance during a challenging time.
“The funeral home has been a blessing to John in many ways in it has lent stability to his life, given him a stable source of income and it has helped bridge the gap between family members and care providers,” she said.
Over the years, Maynard has seen Roach lose many stakeholders in his life, but Rohde and his staff have stepped up as advocates. They have played a key role in educating the entire Mt. Lookout community about Roach’s strengths, and, as a result, other businesses have hired him for temporary needs.
“I am like a brother for him and Steve is like a brother for me,” Roach said. “I won’t quit my job for nothing. I like where I am now.”
Story adapted from LADD website recognizing the Taking Flight Awards ceremony recipients.