Drew Weber, Chief Operations Officer of U.S. Pizza and board member of Our House. By Brave Magazine Staff Photographer
By Madison Monroe
It is not surprising that Drew Weber values hard work. His work ethic was modeled by his father and grandfather. The later waited tables his entire life for a New Jersey restaurant called The Robin Hood. His father worked for General Motors and told Drew as a young boy, “If you are not tired when you go home from work, you are stealing.” Drew purchased his first car with the change he made doing yard work. In college, while studying Chemistry and Biology, he worked various restaurant jobs, eventually ending up at Shorty Small’s, where he spent the next 15 years managing and opening restaurants. Seven years ago he came on board at US Pizza, as its Chief Operations Officer.
Drew Weber beams when he talks about the employee opportunities that are offered by his restaurant. It is clear that it is a source of pride for him. He says that the US Pizza business model is ‘take care of our employees.’ He tells all employees that turn in a resignation, “If you leave to better yourself, and people want you, that is a compliment to US Pizza’s, owner Judy Breece and me.”
People that have worked for Drew have described him as a mentor, friend, great boss and even family. Drew’s greatest wish, however, is that he “inspire the leaders of the future to give back.” He encourages a culture of giving, leadership and growth.
He firmly believes the only person holding you back is yourself. It seems incongruent that volunteering at Our House, a shelter for the homeless, is what he attributes to effecting the biggest change in him. How did he reconcile hard work with homelessness?
He explains, “Our House isn’t about hand-outs, it’s about hand up’s. In today’s economy, if you lose your job, that equals losing your house. Losing your house equals living in your car and that equals not being presentable for an interview.”
Our House is the most successful model of how to empower the homeless in America. They house over 1,000 people each year. They house 85 adults and children in their emergency shelter, thirty-five adults and children in their transitional housing and ninety families with their homeless prevention program. The need is so great, they must turn away approximately 200 people a month, 70 of which are children. The unique approach of the Our House program has heralded worldwide attention.
The services they offer to the clients in their program range from job training and assistance, to computer, parenting and budgeting classes. They provide quality child care to over 150 children each day in a state-of-the-art Children’s Center. The volunteers are passionate and exuberant with the wholehearted belief they are making a difference. They know they are not just helping the homeless, they are solving the homeless crisis.
Initially, Drew volunteered at Our House as a job interview coach. Impressed with the services that were offered, he asked to be on the Board. In the past, he had “…given money to various charities, but not (given) myself. That is the difference. Being involved makes me feel like a better person, a happier person. I didn’t know what I was missing by not giving my time. At first there was some uncertainty. I was apprehensive of the stereotypical, media-portrayed homeless person. But that wasn’t what I found. That just wasn’t true. For a lot of people, losing one paycheck is all it takes to make you homeless. Anything we can do to help people get off assistance makes this society better.”
Drew is a reconditioned Robin Hood. He doesn’t steal from the rich to give to the poor, he enables the poor to give to themselves. Bravo Drew, bravo.
BRAVE MEANING: noun: brave | 1.a brave person. | 2.to meet or face courageously:to brave misfortunes. | 3.to defy; challenge | 4.ready to face and endure danger or pain
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