Outwood celebrates 30 years

Outwood in Western Kentucky has been serving individuals with disabilities since the 1960’s, with the last 30 as a ResCare-operated facility.

Outwood in Western Kentucky has been serving individuals with disabilities since the 1960’s, with the last 30 as a ResCare-operated facility.

DAWSON SPRINGS, KY (February 7, 2014) — Outwood has a long history of helping individuals with disabilities grow and learn. It is a place that many call home. Recently, staff at Outwood celebrated the facility’s 30th anniversary during their annual staff appreciation event.

Outwood opened in 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson signed a bill to fund the building of a new hospital in Western Kentucky that would treat veteran victims of gas warfare and tuberculosis. At that time, Outwood housed over 350 patients and employed over 350 doctors, nurses and therapists.

In the 1960’s, advances in medicine greatly reduced cases of tuberculosis. Under the operation of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Outwood transformed from a hospital to a care facility for those with severe and profound disabilities.

The core management team at Outwood served fellow staff snow cones during an appreciation celebration.

The core management team at Outwood served fellow staff snow cones during an appreciation celebration.
From left, Assistant Executive Director Diann Menser, Plant/Ground Maintenance Supervisor Lesa Anderson, Director of Education and Enrichment Jennifer Mitchell, Director of Quality Assurance Stephanie Arnold and Coordinator of Therapeutic Supports and Services Henry Porter.

With the new agreement, the facility reduced its occupancy to provide specialized care to 80 residents. In July 1983, ResCare assumed operation of Outwood and its staff have been providing skilled and compassionate care ever since.

Executive Director Jodi Wilson has been with Outwood since 1988 and has set a day aside each year to appreciate her employees and challenge them to be the best they can be.

“Our staff members do some amazing things and change lives,” Ms. Wilson said. “They also challenge me every day to become a better person, a better leader. I see Outwood very much as a family and we are in this together.”

The celebration took place on all four shifts, allowing each employee to attend and indulge in the goodies prepared for them.

But the real treats were stars given to each employee. The stars, inspired by ResCare CEO Ralph Gronefeld’s leadership training where Ms. Wilson learned the importance of encouragement, featured thank you messages from one employee to another. There were 892 stars on display for the celebration.

“Every employee got at least one star,” Ms. Wilson said. “I’m hoping this will encourage and inspire people to be more aware of the contributions of their co-workers and recognize their efforts.”

Outwood recently celebrated 30 years as a ResCare-operated facility, while also appreciating their dedicated staff with “stars” thanking them for their service.

Outwood recently celebrated 30 years as a ResCare-operated facility, while also appreciating their dedicated staff with “stars” thanking them for their service.

Author: Moriah Dietrich