Alena Fox shows photos of some of her creations from her time as a cake decorator. Currently busy at Mt. The Vernon Developmental Center believes that voice over work may be in their future. (Photo: Lisa Miller)
Alena Fox is one of the village idiots. That’s pretty good for someone who worked their way up a long list of jobs and then opted for two college degrees. And she is part of the locally known Fox family.
The Village Idiots is the name of the team she plays on at the Old 30 BBQ during Wednesday night’s quiz games. Her jobs ranged from managing the deli when Geyer’s had a shop in Bucyrus to her current title of home care supervisor for the Mount State. Vernon Development Center.
As for the Fox family, she said, “I’m the eldest born to the youngest, Tony.”
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She misses her late father. The foxes who lived next to Holy Trinity Church on Mary Street had 16 children. There were 11 boys, who often served as acolytes, and five girls, two of whom became nuns.
“The Catholic faith is very strong in our family,” said Fox. She attended the Catholic School of the Holy Trinity, but said, “I actually grew out of the Catholic faith.” She feels like a spiritual person and attends funerals, weddings and other masses, but “so I choose now, mine To continue to express faith. “
She has more than 60 first cousins.
“There are a lot of us, I know,” said Fox. “It’s hard to keep track of things.” She has three siblings, named alphabetically as in the film “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers”. After Alena came Bernadette, then a child with a C-name who died, followed by David and Eunice.
From bratwurst to pastries
Fox was 13 when she started working at Bob’s Sandwich Shop, one of the town’s old sausage makers. Her father cooked bratwurst, and her uncles and cousins all worked in the restaurant that is now the Kennedy Layne Salon.
After graduating from Colonel Crawford High School in 1981, Fox worked her way up at Geyer, where she also decorated cakes. When she found she had “gone as far as I could” at the grocery store, she moved to Columbus and got a job at Fourbakers, a family-run bakery across from Capital University.
The change of ownership there resulted in Fox’s decision “if I want to move up, I have to go beyond” decorating cakes.
She became a pastry chef at The Limited and Victoria Secret, which had one of the first buildings in Easton Town Center. Once again, Fox rose the ladder to a leadership position in the company’s high-end catering business, which included groceries not only for corporate events but also for some of owner Les Wexner’s fundraiser for Columbus Arts.
From there, she followed a chef to Cardinal Health’s food service and was a pastry chef at the Columbus Convention Center. She eventually became a freelance pastry chef where she often flew to different cities to realize her pastry magic. She enjoyed the big city life for culture, art and diversity and spent two years in Las Vegas.
“I missed my family,” she said, even though she came home for most of the holidays, as it was easier for her as an individual to visit than for her siblings to travel with their families.
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“Everyone but me got married,” said Fox. “I am the favorite aunt. … I just never met the right man. It just never happened. “
A return home and a new career
When her grandmother’s home became available, she returned to Bucyrus and the Cape Cod home that her great-grandparents built 80 years ago.
Fox was working as a manager for Chipotle when she was asked to learn Spanish. She had always enjoyed studying, but never took the time to graduate.
“I’m so grateful that you can do this in America,” she said, saying that she could advance without a college education.
Realizing that food service may not be the field to stay in in her golden years, Fox went to school. She was usually the oldest student in her classes, and was 48 when she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2012 after studying at three of Ohio State University’s four branches. She did her Masters in Behavioral Health from the University of Phoenix in 2015 and found that she appreciated the diversity of students in her online courses.
Now Fox commutes 48 miles to her second or third shift job for an hour, spending the time listening to audiobooks.
“I love to work,” she said of her current job, which combines her customer service and employee skills with her education.
In addition to trivia, she enjoys craft beer, listens to live music at Dillinger and other venues, cooks and her three cats Lilith, Tabby and Spooky.
“These are my babies right now,” she said.
Her parents owned a kennel and she spent numerous weekends at dog shows. Given her work and life schedule, and with dogs that need so much more attention, “I’m more of a cat girl.”
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A mental health attorney
Fox is also on the board of directors for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Marion and Crawford Counties. The organization, which provides group therapy, education, and advocacy, works with the Crawford-Marion Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Board.
She’s not just a random volunteer. Fox describes herself as a survivor of childhood parental abuse. “I don’t know,” she replied when asked if her mother was still alive.
She described her mother as “Mommy Dearest,” with her family walking on eggshells. Neither of Fox’s siblings have a relationship with his mother, who she said likely suffered from borderline personality disorder, which can be very difficult to diagnose and treat.
As Fox stayed overnight visiting other parents and children, she remembered thinking, “Our family is not like this.” She credits other family members for support. “I’ve forgiven her ever since,” she said. “That’s why I work with NAMI.”
As mental health receives more attention during the global pandemic, the group is hoping to grow and will attend the first Fridays in Bucyrus in July and August.
Fox was a lacto-ovo vegetarian for most of her life before Diabetes and for 27 years. She followed a low-carb keto diet and lost 40 pounds.
She is also an election worker and former literacy volunteer.
Next up: audiobooks and voiceovers
At 58, she plans to stick with her current field for the time being, but you might hear her in one of these audiobooks. Striving for voice-over work, Fox has met with a group of amateurs and professionals to attend studio sessions and table readings.
Not afraid of public speaking, she said, “I have talent and I hope I can retire that.”
Editor’s Note: To contact the local NAMI office call 740-375-0796 or go to namimcc.org.
Lisa Miller is a former reporter and editor for the Bucyrus Telegraph forum and the Mansfield News Journal. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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