I saw my former colleague this afternoon at our local McDonalds restaurant. Mike was one of the hardest workers that I have known. His humble manner and quiet disposition caused him to be the kind of person that you could place in any campus building, and he would work successfully and without incident. He was appreciative of the opportunity that was afforded to him by Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale and he worked like his career depended on his professionalism and work-ethic!
As we were leaving Mike told me that he had enjoyed working with me and that I always treated him right. He made my day! For you see…it was my honor to work with him!
Mike was illustrative of the Building Services staff at SIUC. I have never been associated with a finer group of skilled technicians and a group of elite, as the Marines would say, ‘Shock Troops’ who worked so diligently to keep their University alive and thriving!
I reflect, often, on the hidden gems of our school. The Building Services staff is not given to seeking praise or applause. They labor quietly behind the scenes to ensure that our
Campus is clean and well maintained. No administrator is watching when they bring food in each evening to feed the student workers on their housekeeping crews. No one is keeping records when the civil service staff is mentoring their students colleagues and encouraging them and being a surrogate mom or dad to them.
Oftentimes our university leaders are focusing on major plans for the revitalization and renewal of SIUC…and they are meeting with important people and officials with official titles…and the Academic Cabinet is toiling over the knotty conundrum of recruitment and retention….while the Building Service Workers are inviting their students, who have nowhere to go, to their homes for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
There are many heroes in this world…many are unseen and unheralded!