Eileen Koehler has been the Director of Nursing for Echoing Hills of Northeast Ohio since 2018. She will soon say goodbye to this position as she prepares for her new role, Director of Quality and Strategic Implementation, a new position at Echoing Hills.
Eileen has worked with individuals with disabilities professionally for over 20 years; however, she has a lifetime of personal experience.
As a young child, Eileen’s mother contracted polio, leading her to develop intellectual disabilities. Growing up, Eileen would help with her mother’s needs, such as helping to make change for a purchase. Eileen recalls her mother’s gift for music – playing the trombone and singing beautifully. A talent Eileen herself embraces as she sings in the church choir and plays both the trumpet and baritone.
When she was just 13, Eileen’s father suffered a massive stroke. Her older brother was away at college, leading Eileen to become the primary caretaker in the household. She recalls her father being on a ventilator for three months. Before his discharge from the hospital, Eileen had to learn how to provide the intensive care that he needed. Within a year, he was taking care of his own needs. Eileen credits this to his steadfast belief – no matter what, if you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
This experience, along with her father’s determined attitude, directed Eileen in her decision to become a nurse. She enjoys caring for others and especially enjoys working with individuals with disabilities.
“The best part of working with people with disabilities,” shares Eileen, “Is doing what I can to assist with improving each individual’s quality of life; helping to ensure each individual achieves and maintains optimal health.”
Eileen married her husband, Christopher, in 2018. They initially met when they were 16 and were partners in a group of choir students that would sing and dance at local events. Eileen jokes they were always at the end of the line because although they could sing, dancing was not their strong suit.
They dated, often talking about getting married and having a daughter named Sarah (after Eileen’s aunt and Christopher’s mother). Both would happen, just not the way they had planned.
Breaking up after graduation, they were no longer in each other’s lives. That is until they reconnected over 30 years later at a meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. At that time, they discovered they each had a daughter. Both named Sarah!
When not making a difference at work, Eileen enjoys cooking and baking, using many ingredients she grows in her garden. She enjoys making pies and cobblers, recalling how she made pumpkin pie for her staff this past Thanksgiving. It must have been good! One nurse volunteered to work every Thanksgiving if she were to get one of those pies.