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Café Named After Bob Yankowski, 28-Year Aladdin and Wilson Workforce Veteran!
April 27, 2018, Fishersville, VA — It’s not every day that an employee is named after the location they work for. This honor was recently bestowed upon Aladdin Food Service Director Bob Yankowski when the Yankowski Center for Culinary Excellence at the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) in Fishersville, Virginia, was named after Bob for his 28 years of dedicated service to the WWRC and its dining partner, Aladdin, a member of the Elior North America Family of Companies. Although Yankowski is humbled by the honor, the real honor for him is preparing and serving meals for the more than 750 people every day at the center he calls his home.
“When I first came here with Aladdin 28 years ago, I wasn’t sure what the WWRC did. But once I started serving the people who we call ‘clients’, I was proud to experience their miracles. Our clients are here receiving services anywhere from a week to nine months. People who arrived in wheelchairs, are now pushing others in wheelchairs and even working for us,” says Yankowski.
The WWRC provides vocational training and medical interventions for people with disabilities to assist them in obtaining employment and to live more independently. WWRC exists to provide the skills and supports necessary to enable these people to accomplish greater independence and achieve competitive employment.
Yankowski stated that this is more than a job for him. The clients he prepares meals for and serves, as well as the people he works with, are like family. “It’s unique to work at an organization as long as I have, but when you see quadriplegics drawing with a pencil in their mouth to people who have been fully rehabbed and now work for us, is just fascinating,” he says.
Yankowski’s evening staff consists of 12 people who are clients of the WWRC. Similar to a work study program, these individuals are employed by Aladdin to work in the dish room, are front-of-the-house servers and provide clean up in the dining room. “This experience helps them with their rehab, and with their assimilation to professional opportunities outside of the WWRC,” Yankowski says.
The decision to rename the dining hall after Bob was an easy one for WWRC Director Rick Sizemore. “Bob is a person who Aladdin should feel represents their highest traditions in customer service and dedication, a vision that aligns perfectly with the WWRC.”
Yankowski, along with his staff, prepares and serves 18,000 meals per month. “Bob has never missed serving one meal. He’s an inspiration and always puts our customers first,” says Sizemore.
In addition to serving daily meals, Yankowski and his culinary team create a home for clients by hosting special events like fall festivals and Halloween parties to holiday celebrations such as Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.
Sizemore states that there are eight like centers across the nation that offer medical rehab and vocational training programs. “Since I’m very familiar with their operations, I can say that Bob Yankowski has exemplified the leadership, dedication and service to individuals with disabilities throughout his career. His name on the dining hall facilities at WWRC will stand as an example of what it means to be truly committed to those we serve.”
The Yankowski Center for Culinary Excellence is open Monday through Friday from 6:20 a.m. to 6 p.m. preparing breakfast, lunch and dinner; while a brunch is served on the weekends. A snack bar is also open from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. when the main dining hall is closed.
Never taking credit for where credit is due, Yankowski is always grateful for the team who supports the WWRC clients. In his closing statement, “I’ve always been fortunate to work with some of the best people in the area… my success is due to the hard work of my staff and the support of friends and co-workers who are my family.”
About Aladdin Food
Aladdin Food entertains and feeds millions of people in schools, colleges, businesses and health care facilities throughout the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest and Northeast region of the United States. Aladdin is a part of the Elior North America family of companies.
Contact: Grace Hoyer, Manager of Public Relations for Aladdin and Cura
Phone: 610-349-0844; firstname.lastname@example.org