Arriving at 5:30 a.m. every morning, before the sun rises, before most people even crawl out of bed, head library custodian Dean Whitesel has already cleaned seven restrooms, vacuumed a 28,000-square-foot facility, sanitized the public computers and performed a walk-through of all mechanical areas.
Dean changed light bulbs and filters. He mowed and mulched. He fixed what was broken.
And, even on the coldest, most treacherous days of winter, he cleared our walkways of snow before we opened at 9 a.m.
He did all of this for the past 20-plus years, and he never complained. Because Dean cared.
You see, it’s no small feat to have an employee who gets along with everybody and is good at his job.
But it’s something truly special to have somebody who genuinely cares — somebody who cares about a building and the patrons who use it, who cares about a town and the people who live there, and who takes good care of himself so that he could continue to do strenuous physical work for all those years.
As a retirement gift, Dean asked each of his co-workers to sign his very first library shirt.
With Sharpie in hand, we all wished him congratulations on a well-deserved retirement.
When it was my turn, I wrote a simple, but true sentiment: “Dean is Superman!”
Hobbs is the director of the Pendleton Community Public Library.