Twenty six years ago Leo Gaeta was working long hours for the county counseling
services where he frequently was on call. He remembers the situation not
sitting well with his pregnant wife who wanted him home more.
Leo had previously met CBHA’s Chief Executive Officer, Leah Layne,
and she offered him a position as Program Coordinator with no on-call
duties. He agreed to try the position for two years. “Now here I
am - 26 years later,” he said.
Leo laughs when he says he has worked from the time he was ten years old.
It isn’t a joke, though, as a unique set of circumstances brought
his family to the Othello area at that time. The children worked the fields
in addition to attending school.
“Education was important in my family and we weren’t allowed
to neglect our studies. Child labor laws were more relaxed back then,”
he said. “We had paper routes; I boxed groceries at Akins grocery
stores. I worked at Soil and Crop Services part-time beginning my sophomore
year in high school throughout college.”
Leo’s dream to become a mechanical engineer were dashed when he wasn’t
able to afford the tuition at WSU. However, he had enjoyed prerequisites
he’d taken earlier for a social science class. That was the educational
path he pursued graduating with a Master’s Degree in Social Work
a few years later.
Leo began his duties at CBHA by developing the First Steps Program –
now called Maternity Support Services. His background in mental health
enabled him to provide counseling to pregnant moms who might be depressed
or suffering from crisis situations. Leo’s responsibilities increased
as CBHA worked to provide more services to its patients.
“Sometimes the going was a little rough and I would be reminded to
stay focused on our mission to ‘provide equal access to quality
health care to all persons regardless of sex, color, ethnicity, national
origin or the ability to pay.’ Now, all these years later, we continue
to be guided by this mission. I’m so thankful I have had the opportunity
to work with so many needs and to develop programs that help make health
care better for families in our communities.”
If you want to be a part of the CBHA Experience we are always looking for
talented and passionate individuals.
Learn more about CBHA and explore current career opportunities.