Employee Spotlight Series: Cathy Ash
In our 2019 Employee Spotlight Series, we are creating space to highlight the 62 employees of Buckeye Hills Regional Council. Every year, we celebrate as a region the tremendous impact of our programs and services - an investment of nearly $1.3 billion into southeast Ohio since our inception in 1968 - but it’s our employees who work hard every day to breathe life into our mission and pour out into the eight-county region we serve.
Follow along as we feature three different employees every month!
Cathy is a Program Manager for Buckeye Hills Regional Council and has been in her current position since April 1998.
What led you to your current position at Buckeye Hills?
Cathy: I am a Licensed Social Worker and a graduate of The Ohio State University. I’ve been with Buckeye Hills since 1998. I was initially hired as, and spent 17 years as, the Ombudsman Director. After that I became the Trainer. In 2011 I was offered the position of Program Manager and have been in this position ever since. We’ve added to my responsibilities and I’m also the HOME Choice and Beyond the Grant Program Supervisor and the Caregiver Advocate.
How would you describe your job to someone who is completely unfamiliar?
C: As you can tell, I wear a lot of hats in my position. As the Caregiver Advocate, I talk to caregivers and find out what they are doing for their loved one and what stressors they may have related to caregiving. Then I help them find ways to reduce their stress and find resources to help them meet their own and their loved ones’ needs. As the Program Manager, I oversee program operations such as the Older Americans Act programs, the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program, Project Lifesaver, the Housing Program and Program Development.
What do you find most rewarding about your position?
C: I find it rewarding to have a positive impact on someone’s life. This can result from a conversation, a referral for assistance, being able to help a senior to be able to obtain fresh produce or to be able to keep a loved one safe in their home. And, none of this would be possible without all of our community partners.
Why do you think the mission of Buckeye Hills is important to our region?
C: We live here. We want our family, our friends, our neighbors, our communities and our businesses to have the means and resources to live healthy lives, thrive, improve and grow. Buckeye Hills, our staff and our partners work to leverage funds and resources to make that happen.
What is one thing you wish more people realized about Buckeye Hills?
C: I wish more people realized just how much we do. A program, partnership or initiative of Buckeye Hills has most likely positively impacted someone that you know or the community that you live in.
If you had to choose a favorite program, service, or initiative of Buckeye Hills, which would that be and why?
C: Project Lifesaver! I have been committed to this life-saving program since we first brought it to Buckeye Hills in 2004. It is my goal, that before I retire or die, for the Project Lifesaver program to be in every county in Ohio. In Southeast Ohio, Project Lifesaver is a search and rescue partnership between Buckeye Hills and the Sheriff’s Offices. We are part of Project Lifesaver International. The program is designed for “at risk” individuals who are prone to the life threatening behavior of wandering. The primary mission of Project Lifesaver is to provide timely response to save lives and reduce potential injury for adults and children with the tendency to wander due to a cognitive condition.
What are you looking forward to most in your position this year?
C: Having individuals, agencies and business step up to donate to the Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition program so that EVERY senior who applies can get coupons and nobody who applies will go unserved! It happened last year; let’s make it happen again this year!