Celebrating 40 years of LifePath

Steven is the Reason

June 1, 2018  

People always ask me why I stick around.

“’Why should I leave?’ I say, ‘I love what I’m doing.’”

…and she's stuck around for 40 years.

This Sunday, LifePath celebrates Kathleen Weitzel’s 40 year work anniversary. An anniversary that would have never happened if it weren’t for a very special friend named Steven Rhoades.

Steven is an individual with intellectual disabilities. He doesn't speak nor walk and is dependent on other people for many things.

“I used to take him out every day,” said Kathy. “Over time we became very close.”

Kathy and Steven began their friendship when Kathy was 12 years old and Steven just 6. As a young girl, Kathy used to love spending time with Steven. She would push him for walks in his wheelchair or just hang out and watch TV with him. Over time, Kathy’s care became popular among the families of individuals with intellectual disabilities and Kathy soon found herself “babysitting” for others with similar disabilities.

Eventually, Kathy found employment with LifePath taking care of people just like her friend Steven.

Steven soon came to live in a LifePath home and Kathy continued to care for Steven, except now as an employee of LifePath.
Kathy’s care, however, extended far beyond the job description of a Direct Support Professional. When Steven’s mother became ill with cancer, Kathy brought Steven to visit her. When holidays occurred, Kathy would pick up Steven and they would celebrate together. They took walks in the parks and watched TV together. Just like old times. And still today spend many of their days together just hanging out.

“When I’m not at his house on Hieter Road, he signs for me,” said Kathy. “His sign for me is hitting his two wrists together, and when staff see this they know he is calling for me.”

In reminiscing on 40 years of service, only one quote comes to Kathy’s mind:
 “…Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matt 25:40

by Annette Kaiser