If you ever venture off the walking trail over to our campus pond, you’ll notice a lot of beautiful scenery – the rolling hills, the glistening water, the greenery. And now a couple of new additions may catch your eye. If you know us at all you know Cumberland Heights was built on tradition, and now we’ve added a new one. Employees who have been here for 35 years or more will get an honorary tree plaque, thanking them for their many years of service. This past week we were able to celebrate two long-time employees; Paul Citro who has been with CH for 37 years, and Tim Dies who just celebrated his 35th anniversary. Now that’s what we call dedication!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics employees change companies every 2-3 years on average, so a 35th anniversary is unique. You may be wondering what kept these two men around so long.
“It doesn’t seem like I have been here that long. Time has flown by. I have had several positions during this time; I have been a driver, recreation counselor, float counselor, youth program and young men’s program director, men’s program director, coordinator of Thompson Lane Intensive Outpatient and counselor at our co-occurring program at the Parthenon Pavilion. I even worked as recreational counselor and in referral relations with Business Development,” said Paul who is currently the Associate Clinical Officer.
Paul said when he was asked to interview at CH for a job it was a dream come true because the facility has always been so highly respected in the recovery community. Some days it still feels like a dream come true.
“It’s all about the person who comes here struggling, leaves here with hope and begins to repair their life. Being in touch with patients, families and alumni who have a new life in recovery makes a normal work day an exceptional work day,” said Paul.
You better believe you see a lot of changes being at one place for nearly four decades. Paul shared with me some of the more memorable ones.
“I worked here before we had electronic medical records and our water supply was a well (sometimes with sulfur smell). I remember when we built Templeton Hall/Cabin 700 to open our new youth program and I was acting Clinical Director when we separated the men and women’s programs,” said Paul.
Paul looks forward to all the new and exciting things to come.
“The past 35 plus years have flown by, I have worked in many different positions at different locations. I am proud and extremely grateful to have had the friendships and opportunities at CH. Having said that, I enjoy working with millennials and I think we learn a lot from each other. I look forward to seeing what is around the corner,” said Paul.
For Tim Dies, the opportunity to work at Cumberland Heights showed up one day at his front door, literally.
“At the time my roommate was James Threadgill (our head chef who has been here 41 years) and he asked me if I wanted to work there. I also like the schedule,” said Tim.
The reason he’s stayed so long?
“I like the schedule and I love the positive input I get from the patients. It feels good to be part of a team that contributes something to the program by bringing something positive to the rehabilitation experience. It was also my father’s mission to work in the field of alcohol and drug addiction, and I like to think he would have been proud of me for working in the same field. Unfortunately, he did not live long enough to see me follow in his footsteps,” and Tim.
Tim says he’s seen a lot of changes over the last 35 years, the biggest being his waist size.
When asked what it’s been like to work in the same place for over three decades he had this to say:
“Long! I have had only one wreck on River Road and I never hit a deer. I wish I still had all the hair I had when I started working there. I have seen a lot of good people come and go, but for those who have stayed, well, I’m not going to make it as long as James Threadgill!”
On behalf of Cumberland Heights, thank you Paul and Tim for your many years of dedicated service. You are what makes CH so special to patients, their families and our employees.