Eric Day

Operations Manager

Eric got his bachelor’s degree in Outdoor Education from Georgia College and State University, which was the culmination of a lifetime spent exploring and learning in nature. He joined the Boy Scouts of America at a young age, which fueled and developed his passion for outdoor activities, especially backpacking, climbing, and whitewater kayaking. He started his professional work in the outdoors as a canoe guide/chief guide for the Boy Scouts of America in North Maine, and continued on as a whitewater canoeing instructor in Brevard, North Carolina, an outdoor education instructor in Runnings Springs, California, and a master recovery guide for Red Oak Recovery.

Eric came to the Foothills at Red Oak Recovery after spending 2.5 years at Red Oak Recovery®, the young adult men’s campus as a recovery guide, where he helped develop the ceremony program. Eric transitioned to Foothills at Red Oak Recovery and now is the Logistics Manager, where he brings all of his experience to support staff and clients alike in doing the work we need to do. In his free time, Eric likes to rock climb, cook plant-based food, watch nature documentaries, and play with dogs.

Michelle Reichl

Animal Caretaker

Michelle is from the small town of Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania and has been living in North Carolina for the last twelve years. She is a Registered Veterinary Technician and has been practicing veterinary care since graduating from Central Carolina Community College in 2016. She has experience working at multiple small animal clinics from Central to Western North Carolina and has most recently enjoyed working with a local animal control department.
With her degree, Michelle is qualified to see to the housing and care of all the animals who reside at the Ellenboro facility. She ensures that all of the animals are happy and healthy and oversees their interactions with everyone who visits the facility.

Michelle has had a life-long passion of caring for animals and has grown up with cats, dogs, and horses. She enjoys spending her free-time with her animals at home which includes three horses, two dogs, two cats, an Amazon tree boa, a Rose hair tarantula, and a bearded dragon. When she isn’t busy caring for all of her animals, she also enjoys hiking, practicing mindfulness, and working on outside projects.

Nick Aust

Kitchen Manager

Nick is a native to Asheville and is the proud single dad to his 14 year old son. He loves music and plays the bass guitar. He also loves sports and played baseball for Blue Ridge Community College. His passion for cooking is what brought him to Red Oak and he looks forward to being able to impact someone’s life through nutritional therapy.

Julia Hughes

Compliance Officer

Julia grew up in Germany where she spent her youth snowboarding and biking before moving to the U.S. in 2011. After coming to America, she spent her early adulthood exploring and experiencing a different way of life. When she moved to Western North Carolina, Julia fell in love with Asheville’s captivating outdoors and beautiful weather. Being a life-long learner, she pursued a bachelor’s in psychology with a minor in neuroscience from the University of North Carolina at Asheville, graduating in 2017.

After joining the Red Oak Family in August 2017 and working at The Willows campus as a Clinical Technician, she joined the Compliance Team in the summer of 2018. She is grateful for the opportunity to support the company in her role as Compliance Officer. With her love and attention for details, she is looking forward to creating, providing, and maintaining a positive healing environment for young adults in recovery.

In her free time, Julia can be found hiking on the parkway with her two dogs, doing yoga or enjoying the beautiful weather.

Forest medical and holistic team

Forrest Smock

Operations Support Specialist

Forest grew up on a family farm in Southern Indiana before heading to college in Boston, MA. While in college he studied Environmental Science, concentrating in Biology and Chemistry, and completed the Pre-Health track. He also became a Wilderness EMT while in school and worked for the college EMS service during the year. During the summers he mentored at risk youth in his community. Forest moved to Western North Carolina in the fall of 2017 to work for the National Park Service as a conservation biologist. When his contract ended, he was feeling drawn to return to helping people and transitioned into working as direct care staff within the mental health field. Forest worked for a wilderness based program as a guide for adults with co-occurring disorders and fell in love with his work. Forest’s move to Foothills at Red Oak Recovery enables him to bring together his passion for working with people, his love of medicine and a profound understanding of the importance of patient advocacy in mental health.

Forest loves hiking and backpacking in the mountains, cooking heavenly vegetarian food, playing old time music and is beginning to dip his toes into the world mountain biking.

Wyatt Schaefer

Program Manager

Wyatt has been working with young people struggling with addiction and mental health issues for the past eight years in the role of direct-care staff, hypnotherapist and instructor. Wyatt values a well-rounded holistic approach to mental well-being with a focus on calming the mind, opening the heart and connecting to nature. His role is to help create an environment where young people can learn the skills necessary to lead a healthy, productive and happy life. He is inspired by the ability and power of people to change and continually grow. He is happiest when gardening, hiking in nature, and practicing meditation.

Jeff Brown

Shift Supervisor

Jeff Brown is one of our Shift Supervisors. He has over 10 years of wilderness therapy experience.  He is a Wilderness First Responder, a Wilderness Lifeguard Instructor and an American Canoe Association Instructor. Jeff enjoys hiking, kayaking and playing his guitar.