Your industry news - first
Cintas announces top three finalists in 2023 Custodian of the Year contest
After over 200,000 votes were submitted, Cintas Corporation has announced this year's winner and two runners-up in the Custodian of the Year Contest. Winner is Richard ‘Rich’ Toomey from Kelly Mill Elementary in Cumming, Ga., while the runners-up are David ‘Mr Dave’ Jeffers from Brokaw Early Learning Center in Owego, Ill., and Rodney ‘Mr Peanuts’ Esser from Park Elementary School in Cross Plains, Wis.
Rich was honoured in a surprise ceremony by students, teachers, administration and his family – including his second-grade son who attends the school. He was presented with a $10,000 cheque on behalf of Cintas.
“It’s so important to recognise the dedication and often thankless hard work that custodians provide to schools,” says Christiny Betsch, marketing manager, Cintas. “It’s evident that Rich is a deeply valued member of his school and looked up to by students, staff and the community. It was an honour to be a part of giving him the recognition he deserves.”
Rich is a perfect example of a custodian who goes above and beyond their required tasks. From climbing on the roof to get balls for kids at recess to digging through trash cans in the cafeteria for a student's mouth retainer, every job is done with a smile on his face. Once, a teacher came to him worried about a student with a compromised immune system, he took it upon himself to ensure the classroom received an extra thorough cleaning each day. His efforts to provide a healthy and safe environment show his consideration for everyone in the school.
In addition to the $10,000 cash prize, Rich will receive $5,000 in Cintas and Rubbermaid products and services to his school. On top of that, his school will receive a facility assessment and consulting package from ISSA, valued at $30,000 and enrolment in the Global Biorisk Advisory Council (GBAC) Fundamentals Online Course.
Rich, along with the two runners-up, will also receive an all-expense-paid trip for two to the ISSA Show North America in Las Vegas in November where they’ll be celebrated for their accomplishments.
As well as each receiving a $1,000 cash prize, the two runners-up were will receive a cleaning supply package from Rubbermaid and complimentary tuition to one ISSA Cleaning Management Institute virtual training event, valued at $1,500.
"Mr Dave and Mr Peanuts are two well-deserving finalists," adds Christiny Betsch. "It was amazing to see how much support they received from their schools and communities throughout the contest. We look forward to further celebrating them at ISSA Show later this year."
Mr. Peanuts is 83 years young and completing his 58th year working as a custodian at Park Elementary School. His story is truly one-of-a-kind, especially considering he sold his family's farm as a place for the school to be built. This is one of the many examples of how deeply he cares for the students.
Mr Dave has a special story of his own. In October of 2022, Brokaw Early Learning Center endured a significant amount of damage after a fire broke out. One of the therapy rooms was greatly impacted. He stepped in immediately, putting in long hours of work to mitigate the damage. He is a great advocate for all the students and goes above and beyond to maintain a safe and healthy school.
John Barrett, executive director, ISSA, says:
"It's so special to see the bond these custodians share with their schools and the involvement they have in their respective communities. Custodial work is physically demanding. This is why it's so important to recognise people who give unconditionally and expect nothing in return."
Robert Posthauer, SVP & GM Rubbermaid Commercial Business, says: “Rich Toomey is extremely deserving of this title, and we are honoured to be a part of recognising his hard work. The positive attitudes [of all three] and willingness to advocate for others is part of what makes them such special attributes to their schools. They work hard to make their schools happy and safe places for the children to learn, which makes all the difference."
18th May 2023