Ridgefield Employer, Philanthropist Allows Ability to go Beyond
At Ability Beyond, our mission is our people, but equally important are the caring individuals who make our mission possible. The inspirations and examples they carry through life are often forces that lead them to us.
For the past 8 years, Ron Herman, Jr. has been an Ability Beyond employer and a welcoming oasis for breakfast and lunch on Route 7 in Ridgefield. Ron balances his world of investment consulting, multiple corporate and volunteer boards, and past chairman of the Ridgefield Chamber with life as the genial host and owner of the Wooster Hollow Café.
Involvement with Individuals with Disabilities
Ron credits his mother’s unfailing hospitality and a charity in Abu Dhabi for bringing him into our mission.
Having spent 15 years as president and CEO of GE Equity and six years in Abu Dhabi as CEO of GE Capital in the Middle East, Ron’s career at GE Capital spanned more than 30 years. Ron’s wife, Kathryn, is a landscape architect with an international list of clients and creations to her credit, and they both have long shared a philanthropic commitment to the needs of children.
While in Abu Dhabi, Ron volunteered for an organization to assist children with disabilities. As the children advanced through school age programs, he and others saw the need to provide services and opportunities for them as young adults and throughout their lives. They founded the Future Center for Special Needs – Abu Dhabi, a commitment that Ron continues as a current board member, and enthusiastically promotes as a small business owner.
Ron grew up in York, PA with a mother who loved people and loved to entertain. He credits his mom’s incredible hospitality as a force that led him to the purchase Wooster Hollow Café. Associating big family gatherings, great food, home baked desserts, and lots of friendly locals around the table with his life growing up—Ron re-created that warmth in the café, and the community and staff are finding a home at Wooster Hollow as well. A number of Ron’s employees, including Ability Beyond’s Deb Muhlfeld, have been with him since opening.
Employing Individuals with Disabilities
Everything at the café is made completely from scratch, and the café perfectly pristine, a tribute to Deb Muhlfeld who works as dishwasher and throughout the café helping Ron keep it spotless.
“Small business owners a perfect fit for individuals with special abilities, we can adapt more quickly to their needs and work more closely with families.”
And, he is a man who practices what he preaches: “Deb lives at home, and there isn’t any direct public transportation on weekends between Deb’s home and the café so I hired her mom, and helps us out on weekends—it’s a win-win.”
“I love coming to work here”, says Deb. At close every day when the customers have all gone, her co-workers blast her favorite tunes during the big clean up. “It’s so much fun, they play Rascal Flats (Deb’s seen them in concert many times), Backstreet Boys, Justin Timberlake and Florida Georgia Line; this is a great place!”
Ron’s entrepreneurial savvy was a win for Ridgefield; a win for his biggest fan and dedicated employee, Deb Muhlfeld; and a win for the compassionate spirit that makes our beyond possible—a trifecta for Ability Beyond’s caring community.
It's supporters like Herman who make our mission possible, to discover, build and celebrate the ability in all. Learn what you can do today to get more involved and help individuals like Muhfeld.