Working at Home Helpers of Altoona (Pennsylvania), Jeff Householder is a beloved “Mr. Fix-It” who is not only adept at fixing motors and mechanical objects, but also volatile situations that, left unattended, could spiral out of control.
Originally assigned to work with elderly clients, Jeff has proven to be adept at working with clients with special needs—an assignment that can be very rewarding, but also challenging.
“Jeff has a unique quality that allows him to bond with people,” said Home Helpers of Altoona owner Lynn Gardini. “He’s able to be both a buddy and a role model at the same time.”
Going above and beyond is one of the criteria for earning Exceptional Caregiver status. Jeff, like his fellow finalists, is often lauded for this trait. One single mom, whose son is one of Jeff’s clients, states emphatically “we love him!” and cites both Jeff’s ability to bond and his willingness to always “do more.”
“Jeff fits right in with my son and they have bonded . . . my son and I both have PTSD and we can get into some heated arguments,” she wrote in her nomination for Jeff. “When Jeff is here, he has an instinctual ability to know when things are starting to get heated and is able to diffuse the situation rapidly with some witty humor.”
She also appreciates that Jeff serves as a male role model to her son.
“He has gone so far as to teach my son basic mechanic ‘stuff’ so he can fix his broken lawn mower. Jeff taught him how to fix it; now my son is able to volunteer to mow the neighbors’ yards and sometimes they even pay him a few dollars!”
Another client is unable to drive a car due to his disability, but he was able to drive a golf cart around the camp where he lived—until the golf cart broke down. The client was devastated—but not for long. Jeff researched the problem online, found the part needed to fix it, then worked with the client to show him how to fix the cart. Now both the client and golf cart are running strong again.
There are many more examples of Jeff providing Exceptional Care—like the time a client suffered a seizure and Jeff stayed with him, well after his shift had ended, then went back and checked on him again later in the day—but you get the idea. I think Lynn sums it up best:
“Jeff truly cares about the people he takes care of and, because of his calm demeanor and humor, he has a fantastic gift of working successfully with all different types of individuals,” she said. “We’re proud to have him represent our office!”