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Devereux employee retires after more than 50 years with the organization

After an amazing 51 years of service, Bob Wheeler – Devereux Massachusetts / Rhode Island maintenance specialist – has retired. The Massachusetts / Rhode Island team recently honored Wheeler and his achievements during a retirement celebration in Devereux’s Rutland, Mass., office.

“Bob is truly a cornerstone of Devereux, and his innumerable contributions over the years have helped the Massachusetts / Rhode Island center survive and thrive,” said Devereux Massachusetts / Rhode Island Executive Director Steve Yerdon. “We have been extremely fortunate to have Bob’s strong, reliable presence in a never-ending quest to keep our facilities safe and intact for students and staff, but also for his ability to establish great relationships with everyone around him. We are proud that he has devoted his life to this organization to benefit the children and families we serve.”

The Massachusetts / Rhode Island maintenance worker / clerk explained his longevity with Devereux: “When I started at Devereux, Bob Young was my supervisor. He turned out to be a good friend and mentor. He always told me that if I liked what I was doing stick with it. I started down this path and found no reason to stray.”

Cool facts about Wheeler …

  • After joining the Devereux Foundation in Philadelphia in 1965, Wheeler started working directly with our founder – Helena Devereux.
  • In 1967, he moved to Massachusetts to help run the relatively new center.
  • When Wheeler started working at Devereux Massachusetts / Rhode Island, there were about 30 boys who lived on campus. Today, we have a co-ed population of about 180 students on our campus and in group homes.

The ‘Devereux Expert’ 

Yerdon said that while Wheeler’s official title is maintenance specialist, the team refers to him as “The Devereux Expert.” 

“Bob has an extensive knowledge of Devereux and its history, and he is often sought out as an advisor on events and happenings,” said Yerdon. “He knows the ins and outs of every cottage and building on the Massachusetts campus, in addition to the group homes in the community and in Rhode Island. He can tell you when certain buildings were constructed, renovated and changed to handle various student populations over the years. That’s because Bob, himself, did a great deal of the work on all of them.”

As he looks forward to this next phase in his life, Wheeler offers this advice for newcomers to Devereux: “Give whatever position you apply for a real try. If you don’t like it and you have the qualifications, look within the company and try something else. Regardless of where you end up, keep your mind open and always try to learn something new.”

Sage advice indeed.  

To learn more about Devereux Massachusetts / Rhode Island, click here.