Chief Brad has been with the Pressley Ridge Residential Program in White Oak, WV for 7 years. He has been a Teacher/Counselor and Master Teacher/Counselor in multiple groups, currently leading our youngest group, Comanche. Chief Brad has done an outstanding job in each. He firmly believes that “In growing up, a child should know some joy in each day and look forward to some joyous event for the morrow.” He is as warm and friendly with staff as he is with kids, often seen as the jokester within either team. This attitude/outlook on life helps to ease the tension during a stressful day helping his teammates or his groups to unwind and know some joy in each day.
His presence is felt across campus, whether in response to crisis or proactively setting the tone for the day. Chief Brad is able to turn almost any situation into a game to redirect the focus of a kid’s problem into an educational or learning experience for kids and staff. When Chief Brad is on shift he makes sure that he checks in on each of the 61 kids on the White Oak campus. He uses humor to bring a smile or at least a grudging smile to every face, through storytelling, and sometimes by making fun of himself.
Chief Brad also hosts the White Oak talent show, which is open to all kids and staff in the program. He encourages group members and staff to get up in front of the dining hall and have fun to show off their talents, and unique abilities. Chief Brad encourages participation and joins in with them to help them deal with any fears they may have. This enthusiasm for fun is evident in all aspects of his life, both at work and at home, as he involves his soon to be three year old son Linkin in every activity that he does.
Chief Brad knows the value of engaging his group, frequently jumping in and taking them on nature hikes that generally last for hours. His summer plans include leading his Comanche group on a hiking/backpacking trip across the Appalachian Trail which will cover over 40 miles and cross multiple states. Chief Brad encourages physical fitness and shows the kids that it is important to take care of one’s body so they can take pride in their appearance.
He teaches his kids about the benefits of eating a balanced diet, even those pesky vegetables, with his group cultivating their own garden every year just outside of their cottage. He has found that younger boys often eat more vegetables when they grow them themselves. He shows his group how to till the soil by hand, grow the seeds in a small greenhouse and pull the weeds as the garden grows. Once they have completed the harvest he teaches them how to make dried vegetables and salsas for them to eat. His groups always take pride in their garden and look forward to sharing their harvest with anyone on campus that may want some. For all of those reasons and many more, Chief Brad has been our White Oak Wellness Ambassador for the past few years. Chief Brad lives the value, “The Body is the Armature of the Self, the physical self around which the psychological self is constructed.”
Chief Brad is a great person to have as part of the team and he is devoted to the kids and staff he works with. It is a pleasure to nominate Chief Brad for Teacher/Counselor of the month as he has surely earned the opportunity through his hard work and dedication.
– Kurt Echard