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Profile: Linda Young

Linda Young

Bachelor of Science in social work, 1989
Executive Director, Welcome House of Northern Kentucky
Covington, Ky.

Winning the Lottery | “I won the lottery a long time ago,” says Linda Young, referring to her childhood in Mason, Ohio. “My family didn’t have much money, but we loved and supported each other. I grew up in a little town where it was safe to just sleep out on your porch. I not only had two parents, but I had the whole community who raised me. Working for Welcome House, I realize just how much that means, how valuable that is. Not everybody has that support. And it’s not something you can buy.”

Family Matters | Young grew up the oldest of six siblings. And although her brother and sisters now live in different areas of the country, they remain a tight-knit family. On their 50th birthdays, the six of them (sans kids, spouses and friends) vacation together and act like they’re kids again.

The Crash | In 1981, Young’s husband was killed in a drunk-driving accident. After the accident, friends and family supported her and her two small children. And while she felt blessed to have a strong network of people who cared for her, she wondered what life was like for those who didn’t have the same resources that she had.

The Second Chance | When she decided to go back to school, Young chose to study social work instead of furthering her career in nursing. The social work program proved therapeutic for Young because her classes allowed her to ask the questions that she had been contemplating since her husband’s passing.

Welcome Back | After earning her bachelor’s degree, Young worked as Welcome House’s program coordinator until she went to Case Western Reserve for a master’s program in social work. Upon graduating, the Welcome House offered her the position of executive director. “I feel a responsibility to the community,” she says. “It makes sense to me that if you have a strong community, you take care of or work with people who have challenges and less privileges.”

Problem Solver | She considers herself a pragmatist and feels in her element when she finds creative solutions to real-world problems, like homelessness and poverty. “My work is about creating a model that’s affordable for people to be able to pay rent and take care of both themselves and their family. We can eradicate homelessness. There’s no reason why we shouldn’t.”

Real Hero | Dealing with such real-world issues on a day-to-day basis can be overwhelming. When it becomes too much, Young turns to a poster from writer Brian Andreas hanging on the wall of her office for a little reflection and inspiration: “Anyone can slay a dragon, but try waking up every morning and loving the world all over again. That’s what takes a real hero.”

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Xavier Magazine

Alumni Profile: Carl Bergman

Carl Bergman

Master of Business Administration, 1972
Board member, Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity
Cincinnati

Hammer Time | For Carl Bergman, giving checks to nonprofits was always easier than giving time. But after he retired from his job as a marketing executive at Ford Motor Co., he wanted to take a more hands-on approach to serving the community. So Bergman did what he knew: He wrote a check to Habitat for Humanity. On the bottom of that check, however, Bergman wrote a note asking how he could get involved. Someone from Habitat got in touch with him shortly thereafter, and in less than a month, Bergman was hammering nails instead of penning checks.

Most Valuable Volunteer | From 2010-2011, under Bergman’s term as board president, Cincinnati Habitat for Humanity opened two secondhand furniture and appliance stores in Southwest Ohio called ReStores. Bergman recently received recognition for his efforts by being named the Ohio Habitat for Humanity’s 2012 Volunteer of the Year.

Presidential Perks | After receiving his undergraduate degree from Miami University in 1968, Bergman worked for Proctor and Gamble in Michigan. Nine months later, he was drafted into the Army. “I was extremely lucky—99 percent of the people I knew were going to Vietnam. I wound up in the Presidential Ceremonial Unit at Ft. Meyer, Va. I rolled out the red carpet on the south lawn of the White House when visiting dignitaries came in. I got to see the Nixons, British Prime Minister Edward Heath and Indira Gandhi of India.”

Wanderlust | From eighth grade until his junior year of high school, Bergman lived in Germany with his family. He credits his time spent there for his love of travel as an adult. “When I was 16, my brother and I both had mopeds. One Easter break, we rode them on a 450-mile trip from Munich down to Austria and back. We were gone for like five days. I can’t imagine that happening today.” And although he didn’t pick up a second language while living in Europe, he still knows his way around. “I know enough German to order another beer.”

Getting Around | He later upgraded his moped to a motorcycle, which he drives all over the world with his wife, Julie. The two of them have toured in countries as far away as Australia and South Africa, and in places as close as their home states.

Samaritan Scuba Diver | When he’s not riding his motorcycle or volunteering, you might find him under the water. Bergman is an amateur scuba diver and underwater photographer. And for Bergman, the volunteering doesn’t cease on vacation. It travels with him. “One of the best things about visiting these very remote islands is when I get to hang out with the kids at the local schools. I bring balloons and school supplies to the kids. You’ve never seen kids so happy.”

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Xavier Magazine

Gaming Strength

Imagine not being able to use one of your arms. Imagine how hard it would be to take out the trash, tie your shoelaces or eat a steak. Imagine how difficult it would be to wrap a holiday gift or unload the groceries.

Yet that’s a reality for thousands of stroke survivors. According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the United States, with survivors suffering from a range of injuries from impaired eyesight to slurred speech to decreased motor coordination.

Flaccidity, or weakness on one side of the body, is the most common issue, though.

So what does one do? Turn on the Xbox, of course.

From 2006-2007, occupational therapy students Amy Whetstone and Sarah Schuck researched the effects of playing video games on post-stroke survivors at the Drake Center, a long-term rehabilitation facility in Cincinnati.

The patients met with Whetstone and Schuck three times a week for three weeks where they played video games as part of their rehabilitation.

The video game, developed by Performance Health Technologies, is a computer program similar to the “Pong” game of earlier days. Instead of twisting knobs or pushing buttons on a console, though, a sensor is attached to the patient’s affected limb. When the limb is moved, the sensor sends a wireless signal to the computer, which tracks the patient’s accuracy rate and progress.

One of the study participants was a woman who, before her stroke, enjoyed traveling overseas and was able to drive herself to and from work. After her stroke, she was unable to perform house chores or drive herself anywhere.

She continued her physical therapy after the three-week study, and she eventually relearned how to drive and later was able to resume travelling.

Typical stroke treatments include physical therapy and electrical stimulation to the brain. The concept of using a video game to increase motor activity, however, is relatively new to the field of occupational therapy.

But, says Valerie Hill, a clinical faculty member in the Department of Occupational Therapy who oversaw the study, the treatment seems to be effective. It aids in the patient’s physical rehabilitation, plus it’s fun.

“Having as many tools as possible at our disposal gives our clients more opportunities to regain that strength,” says Hill. “Treatment is about learning mobility applications in a positive and encouraging way.”

While traditional occupational therapy techniques are effective, the unique feature about the video game is its real-time, encouraging assessment of the patient’s progress, says Hill.

“If something is able to give positive feedback, it’s more fun and encouraging for the patients. Rather than repeating exercises and motions, the video game acts like an incentive.”

By the end of the study, Schuck and Whetstone concluded that both participants experienced an increase in their quality of life, as well as a higher inclination to use their affected limb.

The participants also noted that the game proved more motivational than traditional rehabilitation techniques.

“These people struggle with things every day that you and I don’t even think twice about,” says Whetstone, referring to the study participants. “Strokes are debilitating both mentally and physically, but treatment is changing and improving quite a bit.”

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Promoting Nonviolence

Eunice Ravenna, Kristen Barker and Sister Alice Gerdeman refer to themselves as bodyguards. And in a sense, they are.

The three women comprise the staff of the Intercommunity Justice and Peace Center (IJPC), a small, non-profit organization created to protect underserved communities and promote nonviolence in Southwest Ohio.

Since its founding in 1985, the Center has been involved with women’s rights campaigns, environmental campaigns and economic inequality issues. And while the Center responds to any and all social issues, the staff now focuses most of their efforts on the anti-death penalty movement, immigration reform and conflict resolution training.

On the morning of each execution in Ohio, the three women, alongside students and volunteers, gather outside the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility for a prayer vigil service. They pray for the inmate who is scheduled to be executed, they pray for the inmate’s family, they pray for the victim and victim’s family, and they pray for the executioners. The prayer vigil is held so that “there can be healing among all,” says Gerdeman.

Ohio, which reenacted its death-penalty policy in 1999, ranks as one of the states with the highest number of inmate executions per year. In 2002, a woman whose brother had recently been executed called the IJPC looking for resources and support. The staff responded by organizing the Families That Matter (FTM) campaign, which connects families of death-row inmates to legal advice, anti-death penalty advocates and other families of Ohio death-row inmates.

“It’s a most wretched experience to think that your loved one is going to die in two weeks, two months or in the near future,” says Gerdeman. “And by connecting people with folks who have already gone through the same thing, or just by lending a listening ear, we can help.”

The Center’s most recent endeavor involves compiling the stories of 12 Ohio death-row inmates into a document that the staff plans to distribute to churches, elected officials and other families. The mission of the project is to tell the stories that often are left unheard, and to connect and advocate for families of death-row inmates.

In addition to the Center’s anti-death penalty activities and organizations, staff members focus on immigration policy reform. They help struggling immigrants in the Cincinnati area by providing legal advice, creating connections with other people and establishing an emergency relief fund for those referred to the Center by social agencies.

The three women also coordinate the YES campaign (Youth Educating Society), which equips young adult immigrants with the skills necessary to advocate for themselves.

“It is a leadership training program based on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,” says Gerdeman. “Because the people who suffer the most from unjust policies become the next leaders in change.”

The Center’s third focus is on peace, nonviolence and conflict resolution training. The purpose of the program is to educate people on how to develop skillsets that promote peace, like active listening and nonviolent intervention techniques. The Center also provides information on military recruitment, hosts lectures and holds open dialogue discussions on nonviolence and militarism.

“We want to help create a beloved community,” says Barker. “That means creating a community where all voices are heard, everyone is respected, conflicts are resolved peacefully and resources shared equitably.”

And while the staff takes steps toward making the world a more just and peaceful place, Gerdeman recognizes the breadth of the Center’s mission. She says its success can’t be quantified monetarily, but it can be quantified by the number of people who care.

“We can’t say that the world has become peaceful, but there have been enough signs of people caring, enough steps made in the right direction, that the work becomes a rewarding experience.”

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Xavier Magazine

Piano Man

Kevin Cranley had a moment of panic in the middle of his junior year. He wasn’t sure if he wanted a future in the music business, which is like a Kennedy not wanting to get into politics or a Rockefeller not wanting to get into business.

Music was the family’s legacy. His father, after all, was the president of Willis Music, the largest music store in Greater Cincinnati. Before that, his grandfather ran the company after acquiring it from Mr. Willis in the 1950s.

“I was wondering what I was being called to do from a spiritual aspect,” says Cranley. “So I went to Fr. Bill King (S.J.) and I spoke to him about it. He said, ‘Kevin, there are very few people that can be involved in a business that leads to a more fulfilling life for your customers. You’re going to sell music. You’re going to sell something that really leads to a more enriching life.’ ”

The spiritual—and family—crisis was averted, and today the 1980 marketing graduate approaches every day as an opportunity for him and his employees to give people the gift of music. Since its early days in downtown Cincinnati, Willis Music has sold instruments, sheet music and music lessons. It’s expanded to include seven stores located throughout Southern Ohio and Northern Kentucky. And this summer, under Cranley’s direction, it acquired a Steinway & Sons piano dealership, making it the exclusive Steinway representative in the region.

Today, Cranley walks around one of the locations and greets all of the employees by name.

With his tall stance and uncanny knack for face-name recognition, Cranley makes the job seem effortless, even expanding his duties to serve as a chairman for the National Association of Music Merchants and as a part-time instructor for Dale Carnegie Training. He parallels his leadership-training work at Dale Carnegie to his work at Willis, saying that he’s glad to have jobs that help people lead better, more fulfilling lives.

“It’s about being able to help people achieve something they’ve always wanted to do,” he says. We conduct a yearly Gallup poll, and 85 percent of Americans who do not play a musical instrument wish they did. Our challenge is to reach those people and show them that they can make music.”

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Profile: Col. Paul Fellinger Jr.

Col. Paul Fellinger Jr.
Bachelor of Arts in international affairs, 1990
Garrison Commander for the U.S. Army Garrison at Presidio
Monterey, Calif.

Army Brat | Paul Fellinger Jr., has been moving since before he had motor skills. His father, Paul Fellinger Sr. (see Paul Sr.’s profile on page 41), was an Army man. So they moved from base to base, house to house. “I was born in Cincinnati and probably within six months had moved for the first time. I’ve probably lived in 30-35 different houses throughout my lifetime. My favorite places growing up were Germany and Virginia.”

International Education | As a lover of both academics and athletics, Fellinger enjoyed high school. For his first three years, he studied at the International School of Hamburg, in what used to be West Germany. There, he befriended students of different backgrounds and was exposed to cultures from places as far away as the Middle East and Asia.

Going Back | Later in life, Fellinger returned to Germany, but this time, it was for his assignment—not his father’s. He spent two years there with his wife and two daughters. “We lived in southern Bavaria and spent a lot of time in town interacting with locals, buying their food and practicing their language. I’m glad that my girls spent some time living there and getting to know the lifestyle. I don’t know how much they appreciate it yet, but they will when they get older.”

Active Duty | Since 2004, Fellinger spent nearly three and a half years on assignment in the Middle East. While in Afghanistan, he assisted in establishing local military and police forces. He also assisted the Department of State to develop rural and war-torn areas, which included involvement in the construction of schools and roads.

Snapshot | “Many people in Afghanistan, at least where I was in 2010, lived in mud huts. They’re good at building these structures, but it’s a lifestyle that we as Americans don’t think is possible. Many people there don’t have electricity. They’ve got no sewage, no plumbing. Very different from the world that we live in. But that’s their life and that’s just how they live. It’s not bad or worse than ours, just different.”

A Good Sport | “I’m a huge fan of sports and have been my whole life. When I was deployed, Xavier basketball was my connection home. I would have a bad day in Afghanistan, and if I was lucky enough to have a cable TV, at the end of the day I could pull up a Xavier basketball game. It’s something that was and still is important to me.”

There’s No Place Like Home | “During one deployment I was the commander of a squadron of just under 1,000 soldiers. My school spirit must have rubbed off on them at some point, because many became fans of Xavier basketball. Whenever I visit Cincinnati, I pick up some Skyline Chili and buy Xavier garb for them. They love it.”

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Profile: Lt. Col. Paul Fellinger Sr.

Lt. Col. Paul Fellinger Sr.
Bachelor of Arts in history, 1967
Retired
Cincinnati

Blue Bloods | Four generations of Fellinger freshmen have now passed through Xavier’s doors—Raymond Fellinger, an English student who went on to become Xavier’s registrar; Paul Sr., a history major; Paul Jr., an international communications graduate; and Hannah, a current theology student.

Xavier Roots | “I remember when I was little and would go to the basketball games in Schmidt Fieldhouse with my dad. The building only held like 3,000 people, but it was a fun place to be during a game. The students would line the floor on temporary benches, and we would stomp on it and drive the place crazy.”

Service | When Fellinger Sr. started college, Xavier was still a field-artillery school that required all incoming students to join the ROTC program for at least two years. For his junior and senior years, Fellinger decided to stay enrolled in the program. Upon graduation, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant into the U.S. Army and soon after was sent to Vietnam. After returning from his tour in Vietnam, he accepted an assignment in Germany—where his wife and children joined him.

Found in Translation | “Coming back to Cincinnati after living in Germany, you gain an appreciation for traditions from other cultures. For example, people in Cincinnati often say ‘Please?’ instead of ‘I didn’t hear you.’ That’s a total German thing. When German-speakers can’t hear what you’ve said they respond by saying ‘Bitta?’ which is the German word for please.”

Military School | Fellinger Sr. moved to Philadelphia to earn his master’s degree while simultaneously teaching for Widener University’s ROTC program. “The course I taught was called Ethics in Military Environments, and most of what I taught had to do with leadership. The class showed the theory of leadership, and I actually made the students make decisions. It might be as simple as marching a group of people, but they figured out how to navigate a group of men by practicing.“

Boot Camp Advice | “Before they enlisted, I told my two sons that, one, the officers aren’t intentionally trying to kill you, and, two, if the person to your right can keep going, and if the person to your left can keep going, then you can keep going, too.”

Soldiering On | Fellinger Sr. retired this spring from his second career as an administrator at Shriver Co., a tax firm based in Cincinnati. “I’m enjoying retirement and staying busy. My wife and I still have friends in Germany, and my son (see Paul Jr.’s profile on page 43) just moved to California. So I’m sure we’ll be doing some traveling.”

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