St. Joseph Home

Pillars in Action: Servant Leadership


St. Joseph Home has a culture of caring and respect for others, the individuals we serve, colleagues, families, vendors, volunteers, and guests. This type of culture could apply to any of St. Joseph Home’s four pillars, but the one that comes to mind for me is Servant Leadership. Robert Greenleaf defines Servant Leadership as a philosophy and set of practices that enrich the lives of individuals, builds better organizations and ultimately creates a more just and caring world. He goes on to say, “The servant-leader is a servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first.”

We had a young resident, Brandon, join our community and at that time we were under the assumption that he would always be bound to a wheelchair as well as always needing the assistance of a ventilator. With our staff being as amazing and dedicated as they are they continuously worked with Brandon to test that theory. As staff began to work with him they noticed that he would start grabbing onto to things and pulling himself up. This prompted staff to work with him to see if he would try to walk, and sure enough, he did. The only small complication was that Brandon’s mobility was still limited due to the need of a ventilator.

When I think of putting others before yourself and serving in a way that enriches lives I think of Jim Kellinghaus from the Maintenance Dept. Jim makes frequent visits to this cottage to visit with another resident that he has built a relationship with and he heard about Brandon’s difficulties with being mobile due to the need for a ventilator. After learning of this Jim decided to make a small wheeled cart with a push handle so Brandon could be mobile and still be on a ventilator. This freedom was life changing for Brandon and from that point forward he could be seen navigating the hallways more than he could be seen in his cottage. When seeing these types of examples of wanting to serve or enrich the lives of someone else, you know that you truly have something special.

I thought of Jim in this scenario for the main reason of his act not necessarily being his “job” but something he chose to do. Jim knew that just by building a simple cart for Brandon that it would have a huge impact on his day to day life. It is hard to pick just one person or one scenario as an example because our community is lucky enough to have some form of this happening every day.  It makes me truly grateful to be working with such dedicated people and thankful to be able to be a part of this community.

By: Drew Curtis, Community Facility Manager