WHEELING - It was a "casual Friday" for a good cause last week at the City-County Building in Wheeling.
In return for a donation to benefit the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center on National Road, city of Wheeling employees got to leave the dress clothes in the closet and wear jeans to work.
"It's one of those things we've always done and we enjoy doing," said city Human Resources Director Leslie Waechter.
Photo by Ian Hicks
City of Wheeling employees dress down Friday to benefit the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center. Shown, from left, are water department employee Cathy King, human resources department administrative assistant Lisa Gruber, finance department employee Jeff Sengewalt, operations department employee Chad Long, City Clerk Janice Jones and Easter Seals Community Relations Director Jess Puglisi-Sanders.
In an environment where professionalism is expected, Waechter said having an annual Jeans Day seemed to be the perfect way to get as many involved as possible in raising money for Easter Seals. She said it's nice to be able to cut loose for a day and see co-workers in somewhat of a different light.
"We tend to always dress up here on the third floor," she said, referring to the floor where most city offices are located. "It's kind of a nice way for our floor here to do a little more casual environment. To have a dress-down day every now and then is kind of nice."
Lisa Gruber, an administrative assistant in the Human Resources Department, takes charge of organizing the event each year. She's happy to do it - especially because it gives her an opportunity to give back to an organization that had a profound impact on her family's lives.
Gruber's daughter was a client at the Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center on National Road in Wheeling. Though it's been seven or eight years since Gruber's daughter was a client, the city's annual Jeans Day fundraiser gives her a chance to keep in touch with those who helped her child overcome those early obstacles.
"It's something I've always held true to my heart," she said.
Gruber said the Easter Seals therapists are among the most dedicated around.
"They were all wonderful," Gruber said. "They were very good with my daughter, helped us out and corrected the problem," Gruber said.
Waechter said she also knows a number of other city employees with similar personal ties to the organization.
It costs $2 to participate, Waechter said, and the city usually raises between $150 and $200 - not a huge amount, but every donation helps for organizations such as Easter Seals that rely heavily on community support to keep up the important work that they do.
Some city employees, by the nature of their job, can't take part in Jeans Day. Imagine, for example, a police officer stopping a motorist for speeding and asking for license and registration clad in a pair of Levis.
But that doesn't stop many of them and other uniformed workers from making a donation each year, Waechter said.
"We have some very kind employees who donate more than the $2, as well," she added.