Jodie Unke’s Caring Spans All Ages in Dousman
Jodie Unke, a Wisconsin native, grew up in Waukesha and currently resides in Dousman, where she raised her family. Wife of 35 years to Mark and mother to Peter & Michelle, she’s an all-around family woman who works hard in her community.
For the past 18 years, Jodie’s huge heart has led her to spend every weekday with elementary school students, high schoolers, and seniors – all in a day’s work. She starts her days driving a high school and elementary route for Dousman Transport, then serves in the restaurant at Three Pillars over the lunch hour, and finishes her day with the afternoon bus route. Since the recent addition of her granddaughter, she often spends time with her in the afternoons, rounding out the broad span of special people she shares smiles with every day.
In 2001, after a few years of working at Dousman Transport, a job opportunity at Three Pillars’ restaurant arose, and it fit perfectly in between Jodie’s morning and afternoon bus driving schedule. Once she started, she quickly realized that the combination of roles was exactly what she needed. Between the two, she works full-time during the week, with evenings and weekends off to spend with her family and friends.
“It’s perfect,” she says. “I find both my roles so fulfilling, and I walk out the door of each knowing that I did something that matters for each population. The two part-time positions go hand in hand, and together, it’s my ideal full-time career.”
For her, the fulfillment comes from helping others, taking good care of them, and building relationships with people of all ages throughout the Dousman area. She gets to know each student on her bus and their families at the stops. She learns about every resident and staff member who eats in the Three Pillars restaurants. She knows who’s excited for the Packer game tonight, or which student is going on a family vacation soon. She remembers who loves the chicken pot pie entree at Three Pillars, and anticipates needs by innately adding the extra lemon on the plates of those who want it for the fish fry. For Jodie, she gets to treat the children and older adults just the way she’d want her kids or parents treated, and she takes that responsibility seriously. With a contagious smile and a fierce work ethic, her jobs are done well and with great care for the people she serves.
“Plus, the daily variety is wonderful,” Jodie adds. “I’m never sitting at one job for eight hours, looking at the clock. I spend the morning driving, then get to be on my feet for a few hours at Three Pillars, and by the time I’ve gotten all my steps in and feel like I just want to sit down, I have a seat to drive the afternoon route!”
Jodie didn’t keep the joy of her jobs all to herself – both her children also worked in the restaurants at Three Pillars during high school and college, too. Each developed their own special relationships with the residents, and those bonds are some they’ll never forget. Last summer, Jodie’s daughter, Michelle, returned to the place that’s also close to her heart as she got married on the Three Pillars grounds.
“Three Pillars is such a special place because of the people you work with, the residents, and the flexibility. The supervisors, the residents, and the co-workers are the best. No matter where you’re at in life, there are career options to fit all schedules and abilities, and it’s a team where you feel valued and important for the role you play in the mission,” Jodie comments.
“It’s one of those situations where when you give, you receive way more in return.”Jodie Unke
Jodie values that both companies prioritize work-life balance. As a part-time employee at Three Pillars, she receives generous paid time off. At Dousman Transport, she gets summers off. She’s a person first – a mom, a wife, a grandmother, a friend – and she loves that both organizations prioritize that as much as she does.
As far as Jodie’s concerned, she’s set to continue doing what she loves at both organizations until she retires. “I have the best of both worlds. I’m grateful for the chance to work with all the amazing people – the young and the young at heart – every day,” she says with a smile.