I Am Coleman – Bob Powell

Dec 3, 2020

“Seek Examples, Not Excuses.”

That is a phrase that Bob Powell has been saying for years. Bob is a great example of someone who lives by his motto.

Coleman was in its infancy in 1978 when Bob became a client. There were not many options for behavioral healthcare in Portage County when what was then called Kevin Coleman Center opened. Bob was diagnosed with schizophrenia and severe social anxiety. Bob recalls that the therapist he saw helped him understand and adapt to his illness. He said prior to coming to Coleman, his ability to communicate was very limited. He let feelings and emotions “get in the way.”

Treatment gave him the skills to manage his emotions and communicate in productive ways. As if having a severe mental illness wasn’t enough, Bob was homeless. The combination of mental illness and housing insecure is very common. Coleman helped Bob find housing – first with a roommate, and then independently. When he needed vouchers for his housing because he could not afford to pay,

Coleman’s staff assisted him through the process of obtaining them. Coleman has always understood that getting better from any illness is so much harder if you don’t have a safe, affordable permanent place to live.

As Bob’s life became more stable, he wanted to be able to earn an income and support himself. Again, Coleman was there. Coleman’s Employment Services helped him secure a job at Coleman Data Solutions. He did data entry, processed batch files, and performed various other jobs for the company.

Bob enjoyed working for Coleman Data Solutions and became friends with his co-workers.

Over time, Bob left Coleman Data Solutions for other job opportunities, but he never forgot his friends there. Years later, Bob inherited some money. Instead of keeping it for himself, he chose to establish an endowment at Coleman with the intention of helping support people at Coleman Data Solutions who have extra needs. Coleman’s CEO, Nelson Burns, says of Bob, “I admire Bob tremendously. He is a wonderful, caring person who focuses on others and not himself.”

Bob has lived his motto of “Seek Examples, Not Excuses.” He has always worked to improve himself and those around him and not focus on the challenges in the way.

When asked what he would say to someone who was in a similar situation to the one he started in, he replied, “

Walk through the door and ask for help. You will get it at Coleman.”