The wooden sign reads, “You have changed the world because you touched our lives.”
The sign, given to Robert Cole at his retirement party on September 15, was the perfect parting gift for the longtime executive director of Human Support Services.
The party itself was a testament to the many lives Cole touched in his 11 years as executive director of HSS. The board room at the nonprofit was filled with staff, clients, board members, local officials and community members eager to offer their gratitude and well wishes.
Waterloo Mayor Tom Smith presented Cole with a certificate of appreciation that thanked him “for 11 years of outstanding service and dedication to helping the citizens and community of Waterloo, through your successful career at Human Support Services.”
Cole joined HSS after 20 years of leadership roles in community mental health centers in Wisconsin and Minnesota.
During his tenure at HSS Cole led an expansion of the agency’s residential programs and provided strong financial leadership during a prolonged period of financial stress due to State of Illinois funding cutbacks.
Cole is only the second person to fill the leadership role at HSS. Jim Poschel served as executive director of Human Support Services for the first 33 years.
In his retirement, Cole said he plans to spend time visiting his children and traveling. An avid cyclist, you’ll find him exploring new trails in and around southern Illinois. He’ll also be volunteering his time to his church, St. Paul United Church of Christ in Waterloo, and various community organizations.