Faces of Rosecrance: Jeff Whalen

Jeff Whalen oversees six maintenance and housekeeping staff at Rosecrance Harrison Campus. His position as Environmental Services Supervisor involves maintaining the grounds & pond, performing boiler and air conditioner checks, and working on general maintenance around the building. Jeff previously worked as a traveling carpenter, and he has been with Rosecrance for seven years.

“I get to see clients at both ends of the treatment process. We have a detox unit here and I see them come in very groggy and out of it, but by the time they leave they’re having a conversation with us and they know our names.”

“Not every day is the same here. You could start at 7 AM and by 7:05 your goals that you set are gone. You can get pulled in a direction and that’s where you are the rest of the day. In my line of work there’s not a lot of repetition.”

“We had a pipe burst in the Access Center, early spring/late winter. We had gallons of water dumping into the department and we had to relocate them all for a short period of time until we could get the pipe fixed and get them all moved back in. In a few hours we had it back up and running.”

No matter what happens, Jeff and his team have to be prepared to handle the difficult situations that come their way and make sure the Campus continues to maintain its fresh look and functionality.

“The philosophy & standard that has been passed down to me is that if it looks new, it should stay new, no matter how old the building.”

Jeff shared about an experience he had with some clients at Rosecrance. It’s important to understand that so many of the clients in treatment here are working very hard to maintain their sobriety and continue living life in recovery from their addiction. Jeff has seen some clients that have gone above and beyond:

“I’ve met several unique individuals. Ed Pillow and I re-did the ball field a few years ago. The day after we started, the temperature went from 80 degrees to 110 degrees. We had four clients that volunteered to come out and work with us, pick up the sod, and put the new gravel down. For four days these guys worked alongside us like regular workers.”

The theme of volunteering on a ball field is a familiar one to Jeff:

“I volunteer for Stateline Pony Baseball. I’ve been coaching for 13 years and I’m on the board for SPB. The little kids who don’t know how to play; once they get it and that smile comes across their face, it makes it all worth it. I coach ten months out of the year, take about eight weeks off and start up again. Currently, my son is a freshman in high school and I told him I was done coaching, but now my godson who’s ten dragged me back into it. So I never really got out – I’m starting over. It’s always about giving back.”