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A 45 Year Journey... A Sit-Down with Rick Heist

Tue, Mar 6th 2018 10:00 am

A life devoted to positively impacting the lives of those we serve. A life dedicated to promoting devotion to Our Lady of Victory. A life dedicated to continuing the work of Venerable Nelson Baker and ensuring that his City of Charity lives on. On June 28, 2018, Rick Heist – the executive director of the OLV Homes of Charity - will conclude his illustrious 45 year career with the OLV organizations. The Voice spoke with Rick to reflect on his career, proudest achievements, and his fondest memories.

Please tell us your history with Our Lady of Victory:

Well, I’m blessed to have worked in many positions inside the OLV organizations. Starting in August of 1973, I joined Baker Hall as a child care worker where I cared for and counseled adolescent youth. From there, I was promoted to Cottage Manager in April of 1976, and supervised child care workers in an intensive care unit named after Msgr. McPherson. In 1979, I was promoted to Cottage Director where I oversaw the operations of the cottage, and provided therapy and counseling services to individuals and families. In 1981, I was appointed Department Head for Special Services (the critical care program) where I oversaw the care of some of the state’s most difficult to place young men. In 1984, I was transferred to the position of Director of The Preventative Services Program – a program that began with serving 90 individuals and eventually expanded to 180 children and their families. In 1988, at the request of Msgr. Wurtz, I accepted the position of Assistant Director of Development for the Homes of Charity; I then assumed the position of Director of Development in 1990. Following the death of Msgr. Wurtz, I assumed the role of Executive Director in April 2007.

What is the single largest blessing you’ve received during your time at OLV?

I think the blessing that has given me the most fulfillment is knowing I’ve contributed to the care and treatment of those in need, either directly when I worked at Baker Hall or indirectly during my time at the Homes of Charity. My work has hopefully contributed in a small way to the great legacy passed on to us by Father Baker.

How has your work personally impacted you?

First, my work at OLV is very different from other jobs I’ve had in the past. The primary difference is that my work here at Father Baker’s has truly been a ministry. Our work is in service to others and being part of OLV is continuing a ministry began by Father Baker. This has done two things … first it has allowed me to profess my faith through my work. Secondly, it has reinforced my faith by being able to serve in a charitable capacity. Whether working in the shadow of the dome or striving to continue Father Baker’s legacy, the experience has been a tremendous honor for me.

How did the youth you worked with impact your life?

I’ve been gone from Baker Hall for almost 30 years. To this day, I have individuals I cared for directly or indirectly come back to visit or call me to see how I am doing and how things are going at “Father Baker’s.” Although they are adults now, they still talk about the people who worked with them. They talk about how we impacted their lives. What a tremendous blessing – to hear them tell their own life stories and their successes since they left us many years ago.

As a new CEO assumes your role, what is your advice for that individual?

I’d tell that individual to recognize the level of talent, dedication, and commitment our employees have, both department heads and staff. Beyond that, I would say to watch, listen, and learn from the experience and expertise each individual brings to their job. There is a formal structure to the organization and an informal structure, and this individual should strive to understand those environments. Lastly, I would advise the individual to grow toward being a servant leader. True leadership comes from being a servant to our mission, as well as to those whom we work for and those whom we work with.