Keith, Laura and Gary Vinson are the children of Paul and Sharon Gobrecht Vinson. Keith went to Bucyrus schools and liked math and history. He took distributed education in the mornings his senior year and spent his afternoons working at Murphy Mart in the Southern Lights Shopping Center. Keith graduated from Bucyrus High School in 1980 and then went into retail management until 1992. He worked for GC Murphy Co., Ames and Hills Department stores. The jobs took him to Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maine, New York and Illinois. He was required to move to each place, but the companies usually paid the expense, so the moves were rather easy.
Then Keith moved to Illinois to be near his son until he graduated. Next, Keith returned to Bucyrus to care for his dad who had Alzheimer’s. At that time, he took a job with Ohio Specialty Services as a bus driver in 2010. They provided transportation for the developmentally disabled at Fairway/Waycraft and also for preschool children. He worked that job for 5½ years until he started driving a delivery truck for Waycraft Industries. Keith left for three months, until he was offered the plant manager position at Waycraft in September 2017.
Keith has so many jobs at Waycraft — overseeing production, transportation, personnel — it’s amazing how much the job involves. Their production is with various companies in the community with specific tasks to finish on a timely basis. General Electric’s job requires sleeving lightbulbs, and they also make boxes for Timken so roller bearings can be shipped. Waycraft serves the developmentally disabled individuals in the county and some surrounding counties. The workers enjoy coming to the workshop, and more than anything, they have a place to go and be part of the community.
Besides Waycraft workshop, they also have vocational training sites located at the roadside rest stops on US 30 West and north on US 23. They provide janitorial service and groundskeeping. If workers are able, they will mow, use weed eaters and trim with lawn maintenance. They have supervisory staff for each individual, one at a time, working the job on day shifts. They are provided transportation during the day shift.
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Sometimes they also do enclaves, sending people to various businesses that reach out for the individuals to perform tasks. Keith, or Waycraft CEO Vincent Ponziani, usually go to the business and check out the jobs. If they already know “our people” can handle them, Vince can write a contract. It depends on the job, shift hours, etc. The direct support professional will accompany the individuals on site for these jobs, usually from 8:30 am to 3 pm
Waycraft’s Second Chance retail store is at the front of the building at 513 N. Sandusky Ave. just before the hospital. It is open 11 am to 5 pm Monday to Friday and Saturday 11 am to 4 pm The individuals really enjoyed working there and meeting the people prior to COVID. Hopefully they will soon be able to work there again.
Keith is married to Judy Powers and combined they have six children. Keith enjoys woodworking, and Judy likes to sew. She’s been a supervisor and job coach for Fairway/Waycraft for 18 years and works at Waycraft as a direct support professional (DSP) supervisor. They also have five other DSP supervisors in the building.
Keith was unlucky as far as COVID-related illness, ending up in the hospital for a week right after the new year. His first day back at work was Feb. 28. The Waycraft individuals were surprised and were very, very happy to see Keith return; they called out his name over and over. It’s understandable. Keith’s been with them for 12 years now in various capacities — bus driver, truck driver and plant manager. He has driven different school buses, but the reason he likes the Waycraft bus — the “kids” of all ages appreciate it so much. Judy also had COVID and the individuals were so glad to have her back too. It’s a family atmosphere at the Waycraft workplace, and if someone is sick and missing, it affects their routine. That’s the way they are oriented, and they are so happy when all is well.
In closing, Keith says this is not work to him; it’s the greatest job that he has ever had. The best part of all of this is when you know you can make a difference in their lives.
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