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To learn more, visit Bose.com. The thrill of forging your own path is powerful. Nissan is bringing that thrill to our community in collaboration with the Black Effect Podcast Network to create The Thrill of Possibility, a community impact program and summit curated to support HBCU students in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics, or STEAM, and introduce them to exclusive opportunities. Nissan is committed to creating opportunity for the whole community and ensuring that Black excellence is a part of the new future of automotive.
For more information about this program and how to apply, visit blackeffect.com slash Nissan. Hi, I'm Anahat O'Connor, a health columnist, and I'm passionate about learning and sharing how we can all sleep and live better. That's why I'm hosting Chasing Sleep, a brand new podcast from Mattress Firm and iHeartRadio, where we'll connect with the people who live, work, and perform in some of the most incredible environments, and we'll see how they adapt and use their sleep to perform at the highest level. Learn how you can sleep well to live well, too.
Listen to Chasing Sleep on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcasts. This is Lee Habib, and this is Our American Stories, and we tell stories about everything here on this show, including yours. Send them to our American stories dot com.
They're some of our favorites, and we like to tell great business stories and great entrepreneurship stories because it's the heart of the American dream. Bob Huff was born just outside of Dayton, Ohio, in the blue collar factory town of Moraine City. Bob's early life was anything but easy, but as you'll hear, that clearly didn't stop him.
Here's Bob to tell his own story. I remember we had a three room house. There was a kitchen, a living room, and a bedroom, and sort of a potbelly stove in the middle of the three rooms. The street had no plumbing. We didn't have any sewage. So as time went on, my mother and my father moved to another home, and at that time there were serious issues between them, namely alcoholism on my father's part. And I didn't realize that as a child.
I don't think you remember. So my mother and father got a divorce, so my mother became a sole income source for the family. She worked very diligently. She worked in a factory. My mother lost her job at the factory because the factory went out of business, and then it became a situation where she worked very diligently at whatever job she could get.
She just worked. So my brother and I were sort of left to care for ourselves. So it was a great learning experience for me to sort of grow up with a single parent and with a parent who did everything she could to make life as normal as possible. And as I became a teenager, the reality set in that it's time for me to get a job. My mother just told me, said, well, you know, you're going to have to earn your own spending money, Bob, because I can't afford to buy all the clothes you want and the expenses that you have, so you're going to get a job. So it wasn't anything earth-shattering.
It's just what you do. I saw that she worked, and so I thought, well, it would be fun to work. I did not take college prep in high school. I just took regular courses. I wasn't the best student in the class or the brightest, probably, and I really didn't have any idea what I was going to do with my life, but I knew that I wanted a life different than what I had lived over the past few years and the loneliness you have in taking care of yourself as a teenager. So on my birthday, when I turned 19, having experienced one semester at Wright State University, I got my draft notice for the Vietnam War. So I thought, well, I don't know if I want to be drafted or if I should just join where I could select my own career path in the military. So what I had decided was that it would be better for me to join the military for four years and choose the vocation which would best suit my personality and what I wanted to do in the future. So I chose Army Intelligence. I was an intelligence noncommissioned officer. I did get to travel to Japan for two years and enjoyed the beautiful beaches in Okinawa. Then I was transferred to Washington, D.C., and I was a young single person, and I enjoyed the nightlife in Georgetown more than anything. All of a sudden, I realize I've got about 12 months left, and I think, oh, this is great because I'm not going to have to worry about another transfer. I really like where I am.
However, the Army had a different idea. I'd received orders from my commanding officer to go to Turkey, and it was another living experience, shall we say, because it was very isolated. We monitored the Russian information from that area, and it was a good year. I got to take some college courses, University of Virginia professor, visiting professor who would come and give classes, realizing that when I got out of the military, I'd want to go back to college.
So it was a great year for me. I enjoyed the culture and the people of Turkey, and then I came back to Columbus. My mother had remarried, and she had a home in Columbus, so I went there initially, signed up for Ohio State University.
I was fortunate to get in there. I remember, I never thought that I would go to college because I had not taken college prep. But I remember Mrs. Drury, my English teacher in high school, and she said, Bob, all schools at that time, especially Ohio schools, if you applied, they would accept you, at least for one semester.
And so that's what happened at Ohio State. I was accepted, and I began my college career, and it was an interesting starting period. I knew I couldn't live with my mother, so I got a one-room rooming house that I lived in, and met my wife post-football game with Ohio State Michigan, and we really struck it off immediately. We were at this party.
Neither one of us wanted to go to the particular house the party was, but it was free. And I like to tell the story. We met by a fish tank. What she didn't know is that during this period that I was at Ohio State, I participated in Campus Crusade for Christ. And I said to her, she started talking to me, and I was talking to her, and I said, you know, if I'm a little weird just sitting here or standing here looking at this fish tank, I said, I'm just deep in thought. I said, I just became a Christian. I want to tell you right up front that if you have a problem with that, that's fine, but I've chosen this life. And she said to me, she said, well, Bob, I wanted to let you know that I'm a Christian as well.
So we sort of fell in love with each other at that very moment, I think. And you're listening to Bob Huff tell his story growing up in a three-room house with a potbelly stove in the middle of it, a divorce that had to rock his world. But, you know, he saw it as a learning opportunity and a growing opportunity, a great learning experience, he called it, being raised by a single mom who had to just work her tail off to provide.
As he put it, it was nothing earth-shattering, the idea that he'd have to pay his own way for things even as a teenager. When we come back, more of Bob Huff's story, an Ohio-born American-made story, here on Our American Stories. Folks, if you love the great American stories we tell and love America like we do, we're asking you to become a part of the Our American Stories family. If you agree that America is a good and great country, please make a donation. A monthly gift of $17.76 is fast becoming a favorite option for supporters. Go to OurAmericanStories.com now and go to the donate button and help us keep the great American stories coming.
That's OurAmericanStories.com. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound, so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.
To learn more, visit Bose.com. Hey, everyone. It's Anahara O'Connor here, and I'll be your host on Chasing Sleep, a brand new podcast from Mattress Firm and iHeartRadio, where we'll uncover the sleep secrets that help us achieve some of the world's most extraordinary feats. As a health columnist, I'm passionate about learning and sharing how we can live and sleep better. And when it comes to sleep, we can all enhance it to reach our own goals. That's why on Chasing Sleep, we'll be chatting with people who live, work, and perform in some of the most incredible environments and see how they not only find quality sleep in unique circumstances, how they also use their sleep to perform at the highest level. Together, we'll discover how these impressive individuals approach sleeping well, from astronauts in space to wildlife photographers in the remote wilderness, and learn to get high-quality sleep in our own lives. Alongside the sleep experts at Mattress Firm, join me as we dive in, because ultimately, we all benefit from sleeping well.
And when we do, we can all find new ways to live well, too. Listen to Chasing Sleep on the iHeartRadio app, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts. Make your way over to State Farm Park, located smack dab in the middle of iHeartland. It's the coolest new place to experience entertainment.
Watch performances from the biggest artists and events with your favorite podcasters, like us, and so, so much more. State Farm Park has it all. So this Halloween, meet us in iHeartland at State Farm Park starting Monday, October 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern. We'll be there all week until Halloween night. Learn more at iHeartRadio.com slash iHeartland. That's iHeartRadio.com slash iHeartland.
See you then. This is not sponsored, endorsed, or administered by Epic Games Incorporated. And we're back with our American stories and with Bob Huff's story. We just covered how he was raised by a single mom that taught him the value of a hard day's work.
Not wanting to be drafted into the Vietnam War, Bob enlisted so he could choose a career path for himself. Now back in Ohio, Bob was attending Ohio State University. And at an Ohio State Michigan football postgame party, he just met Lynn. And as he said, they fell in love in a moment.
Back to Bob. We got married within about six months after we had met. And Lynn was a nurse, a registered nurse at University Hospital. And I was sort of a full-time student working part-time at various jobs. After getting out of the Army, I decided that I would join the Ohio Air National Guard in a medical evacuation unit.
Because if I did that, I would be able to earn more money with the flight pay I would get for doing missions during the week. So that brought in about $40 per month in that extra income force. I was probably put on academic probation, I think, two times during that period. After two years, I had to decide whether I wanted to stay at Ohio State, which required a foreign language. And I thought, I could never learn a foreign language.
It's going to be impossible for me to do that. So I transferred to Capital University in Columbus. And now, you know, we had been married 18 months and we had a child on the way.
So our life was going to dramatically change. I graduated from there and I really didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. But my wife suggested, well, why don't you go into hospital administration?
And so she was able to arrange to interview for a position at Ohio State in administration. So I worked there for a couple of years, two years. It was a lot of fun. We were like the administrators after hours in charge of the hospital. Everything imaginable can happen in the emergency room in the middle of the night or two o'clock in the morning when the power goes off. And the surgery is going on.
You got to scramble for flashlights and that type of thing. So it was a great experience for me. However, I knew that without my master's in hospital administration, my career would be limited. And when I graduated, I was 27 years old. So I'm really getting into my 20s now. And it's time that I get a good job and move forward.
But now I have three children instead of one child. So I thought during that period, well, why don't I become a long-term care administrator, nursing administrator? Found out what was needed in order to become a licensed administrator. It was a very exciting period. And I was introduced to Ohio Presbyterian Homes. Now, Ohio Presbyterian Homes was a very large nonprofit organization.
And they had retirement communities throughout the state of Ohio. So I met with Mr. Uley, who was the president of the company. And so he offered me a position as the executive director of a very large retirement community in Youngstown, Ohio. So my wife and I moved to Youngstown and worked in that job. I loved it.
It was a great challenge. One of the things Mr. Uley told me was that the previous administrator was still there, but she wasn't producing very well. And it was a very political situation in the local community. So at any rate, every hour that I would work, she would work an hour later.
And I thought, this is really going to change. So I decided that I would work longer than her. She was single. I was married, three kids. And so if she worked 12 hours, I'd work 13.
And so this went on for quite a while, about six or eight months. And I finally told Mr. Uley, I said, Mr. Uley, something's got to change here because I have a family and I can't work seven days a week, although I don't mind it. And I planned to explain to her that she is not going to be able to work these hours.
And I thought, you know, she's going to be working nine to five, Monday through Friday. She finally resigned and then it was sort of smooth sailing there. And I was able to turn the facility around, fill all the units which had not been filled before. And then I thought, oh, I really don't care living in this city.
Youngstown, Ohio did not appeal to me. So I interviewed for a position in Cincinnati, Ohio, worked there for a few years. And during that period, I thought, oh, boy, you know, I really have the desire to be in business for myself. So I thought, well, I need to change jobs again. This is the third job that I've had after graduation.
And I was about 31 at this time. So I had some years behind me of experience. So I moved to a proprietary organization. However, the burning desire of business for myself did not cease.
It just increased. Well, the company I worked for wanted to expand their business. So I located a realtor and he and I started looking at various nursing homes for sale, if they were potential acquisitions for this large company I worked with.
However, they weren't. And so after about going through maybe 10 facilities, the realtor said, Bob, why don't you just buy a place yourself? And my response was, I would love to do that. That's my goal, but I have no money. And he says, you don't need any money.
Let me show you what to do. So that was the beginning of my relationship with George. George was a wonderful guy, very patient.
Fortunately, George knew how to put an organization together. So Lynn and I looked at a facility. It was a small 35-bed nursing home in Dayton, Ohio. They only had about 16 residents when we were able to negotiate a contract.
Mrs. Schultz, who was the owner of the nursing home, was very particular about who would take over her lifelong work. But she wanted $1,000 down, and I thought, $1,000? How would I ever come up with $1,000?
Well, fortunately, the Lord does provide, maybe not at the interest rate we want. It was in 1980, and the interest rates were like 18%, 19%. So I got a card through the mail from a loan company to borrow that I qualified for $2,500. And I thought, wow, I wonder if this is true. So I sent the card back in, and I was contacted. And they said, yes, we'll loan you $2,500.
I said, great, because now I've got my $1,000. This all occurred within about a month for Mrs. Schultz. And so we bought the facility. Lynn and I quit our jobs, our great jobs that we had in Cincinnati. She was a director of nursing at the facility and did some home health care and did a variety of different things. So we took over the operation of our first facility.
There was another home in Wilmington, Ohio that was an 18-bed facility, very small. The owners were going out of business. And I went over and negotiated a deal of $70,000. And fortunately, during that time, Lynn and I were successful.
We paid cash for that nursing home. And so I went to go over. I was the administrator. Lynn was the D.O.N.
at two facilities now. And so I did all the painting, wallpapering, finishing, carpentry, flooring. We actually had it going very well. And then I had a company that came in and wanted to buy it.
And I thought, oh, I don't know. But they wanted to pay me $350,000. And during this period, I'd also gotten a call from George. George had a nursing home.
It was a 140-bed facility in Caddis, Ohio, in eastern Ohio. And he asked if I would like to buy that facility. And again, I said, George, I don't have too much money.
I have more than what I had before. And he said, well, Bob, you just come and look at it. So I went to Caddis, Ohio. It was an older facility. However, it had one floor that had 60 beds on it. It's a 140-bed facility. So now we're getting up to a much larger nursing home. The census at that facility out of 140 was about 40 patients because it wasn't very well operated. It looked terrible.
And the management was terrible as well. And you're listening to Bob Huff. And you're listening to how American entrepreneurs do what they do, which is add value. After a lot of experience, feeling that burning desire to go out on your own and take a risk. And as he said when he got the loan, he longed for it. The Lord does provide. And then that pause, maybe not at the interest rate I'd like.
When we come back, more of Bob Huff's story, the story of entrepreneurs across this great country here on Our American Stories. Music When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2, sound shape to you.
To learn more, visit Bose.com. Sometimes, we all feel a little foggy in the morning. We forget our phone at home or leave a cup of coffee on the roof of our car and drive away. That's what junk sleep will do to you. It's that tossing and turning all night that comes from sleeping on the wrong mattress.
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No more putting your car keys in the dishwasher. Talk to a sleep expert at Mattress Firm and unjunk your sleep today. Visit a Mattress Firm store near you or go to mattressfirm.com. Hey, it's the guys from the Stuff They Don't Want You to Know podcast, and we're fired up to kick off the most haunted week of the year with a scary Halloween episode of our podcast that'll have your hair standing on end. So come join us, if you dare, in I Heartland on Roblox for a limited time starting Monday, October 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern, available all the way till Halloween night. Make your way over to State Farm Park, located smack dab in the middle of I Heartland, to check it out and be ready for a monster of a time. You'll love all of our spine-tingling supernatural stories. And while you're there, come explore the State Farm neighborhood. Take a ride on the ferris wheel, dress your avatar like Jake from State Farm, and even win rewards.
So this Halloween week, meet us in the metaverse. See you at State Farm Park in I Heartland starting Monday, October 24th at 7 p.m. Eastern. Learn more at iHeartRadio.com slash iHeartland.
That's iHeartRadio.com slash iHeartland. See you then. And we return to our American stories in the final chapter of Bob Huff's story. When we'd last left off, Bob and his wife, Lynn, who was a registered nurse, had begun buying and refurbishing less-than-thriving nursing homes with their business partner, a real estate agent named George.
Let's pick up where Bob last left off. I went into the facility, and it was very rough during those periods of time because there was actual patient neglect going on, patient abuse going on. Our philosophy is that we take care of patients the way we would want our own mothers and fathers to be taken care of. And that's been a philosophy we've had throughout our lives.
We did have a couple riots there. I came in one day, and I had a director of nursing there, and I said, you know, things have got to change here, and you must make rounds. I do rounds myself three times a day to make sure the patients are getting the care that they want. She came in a few days at that hour, but within a couple weeks I noticed that the quality of care was not improving, and I had a family that came down on Monday morning, and they were complaining rightfully so.
Their father had not been shaved. I said, let's go up and see, and they were right. This was about 7 o'clock in the morning, so I said, you know, I had that situation taken care of immediately, and I went downstairs and got a box out of the dumpster, and I went to the DON's office, and I started packing her up. So she came in around 9 or 10 o'clock in the morning and was curious why I was in her office. I said, well, I'm packing your things up.
She said, what do you mean? I said, well, you're fired. I said, do you remember what I told you a couple weeks ago about coming in early, making rounds? I said, did you come in early today? Well, I had things to do.
I said, me too. Taking care of patients was number one. And so I said, you're being fired. And so I terminated her immediately, not knowing what I was going to do. However, my wife is an RN, and I called my wife, and we got my mother, and my mother-in-law were able to care for our children for a few days, and Len became the new director of nursing at the building, the third building that we own. So she came up, and we sort of tag-team for the next few weeks, getting things under better control, getting better guidance direction to the staff, letting them know what our concerns were and what would happen if they did not follow our directions. So one day I got a call from Len. I was back home with the other facilities, and she said, Bob, they're rioting.
The staff was rioting. I said, oh, my goodness. And she said they wrote profanities, spray profanity inside the building.
They're outside. And I said, OK, I'll be there immediately. But in the meantime, we had an LPN, that workforce, who was an excellent employee.
And it just so happened that her husband was the sheriff of the county and the city. So he came in to the staff. He told them that if they didn't leave immediately, they were going to be arrested.
This is private property. And so they left. So we were left to begin the process of doing things our way, the family way. And the LPN came to us and said, thank God you're here to care for our community.
And so we were able to turn that around within about six months. Lynn would work one week, and I would work the next. And one of us were always there. Well, during the time that I was also working in the kitchen, because we had let the director of dietary services go, and I thought, I've got dinner to make, and not only to make the dinner, but also to wash the dishes. So I was washing dishes about 6.30 at night after dinner, and here comes George. And George said, hey, Bob, how you doing? I was worn out.
I was very tired. And I thought, oh, George, I can't believe you're here. He said, well, I've got another place for you. It's in Steubenville, Ohio, down the road. And he said, this place is a 120-bed facility. It's located next to the hospital. And it's actually, it has good bones, and it's a good structure.
But it's mandated very poorly. The owners want to sell. And can I take you over there to see it? I said, no, George. So within the next couple days, George and I went to look at the facility. And again, it was a situation where the census was around 60 out of a 120-bed facility.
So we were able to negotiate a contract by the facility. And it was in terrible condition. There were no patients on one complete floor. When I was walking around the facility, you know, deciding where I should start first with renovations, there was a lady on the third floor.
And the floor was empty. She was in an office. And she said, hi. And I said, hi. And I said, well, who are you? She said, well, I'm your home health care nurse. I said, you mean I have a home health care company? And Linda said, yes, you do.
And I'm the director of that. This is my office up here on the third floor. I said, well, Linda, I said, we're going to have to move you down to the lower level. I restored a locker room that I didn't think we needed. And she continued on.
And I said, well, just do what you have to do and keep me posted. So as I was the administrator there, and she was, you know, our home health care company, I did what I had to do. Linda kept growing the company, so I gave her some more space and a storage room that we had located for her. And over the next several months, we were able to do the renovations and make our contacts. We knew how to market our facility at that time. And a lot of it was just meeting people, going there, talking and convincing the hospitals and the social workers that we are for real, that we do care about patient care, and we're going to do what we say we're going to do.
And during that period, Linda kept coming back and back and back. I need more space. I need more space. Finally, I bought a trailer, you know, for a temporary office for it, but on the property, and it was very nice. It was designed as an office building. And, you know, she outgrew that space.
I said, well, I'll put a double white in. So I gave her a double white trailer, and she wanted to open up some other satellite offices because we were really growing. I mean, we had services at this time, or provided services in home health care, so we began growing that business through the hard work of Linda. And I started paying more attention to the business at that time, to the home health care division, and that took off. That business just took off like crazy. So fast forward, you know, about 10 years, maybe 15 years, and we get to the point where Linda and I have bought several facilities, and built several facilities, and also increased our home health care division. We started out with six employees, and now we had 1,500 employees, and it was just a totally different operation.
And you've been listening to the story of Bob Huff. He goes into one situation and doesn't just remove the leader of the pack. He finds out that they're a pack of wolves. They weren't doing their jobs. They loved not doing their jobs. And when asked to do their jobs, they, well, took over the place and rioted. And that is something he owned. And the next thing you know, he and his wife were pulling double shifts, and they're doing everything.
They're cleaning the dishes, they're cooking the food. So if anyone thinks starting a business is a duck walk and you're going to work less, think again, and you own it. It's your money. It's your time. We love telling these stories because they're real. And warts and all, doing business, starting a business, owning it and growing it, no duck walk.
The story of Bob Huff, the story of the American dream in many ways, an Ohio-born American-made dream, here on Our American Stories. When the world gets in the way of your music, try the new Bose QuietComfort earbuds, too. Next-gen earbuds uniquely tuned to the shape of your ears. They use exclusive Bose technology that personalizes the audio performance to fit you, delivering the world's best noise cancellation and powerfully immersive sound, so you can hear and feel every detail of the music you love. Bose QuietComfort earbuds, too, soundshaped to you.
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