Missing Blair Taylor
Head of maintenance, Blair Taylor, has been away from BC since Jan., and faculty, staff and students miss seeing him around campus.
April 4, 2012
It’s that time of year again when students fill the quad and the smell of fresh cut grass fills the air, but this spring everyone has noticed something’s been missing.
It’s the familiar face of Blair Taylor.
Taylor is head of maintenance at Bluefield College but currently is on leave for health reasons.
Maintenance team hard at work, even with Blair's absence
Around Christmas, Taylor wasn’t feeling well so he went to the doctor who told him he had a herniated disc in his neck. Taylor had surgery and now he’s working on rehabilitation. Taylor has been out since mid-January, and his absence hasn’t gone unnoticed.
“I miss seeing Blair’s smiling face around campus and can’t wait to have him back,” said Judy Vannoy, the bookstore manager at BC.
Vannoy says Taylor is scheduled to be back around June, maybe earlier, according to how he progresses with the therapy.
Taylor has been an employee of BC since the early eighties when he started with housekeeping. During that time Taylor worked with Clayton Wagner, who now works for grounds at BC.
“We’ve worked together for so long,” said Wagner. “He’s friendly, outgoing, never gets upset; he’s just a real nice guy to be around.”
Wagner said it’s been a challenge working without Taylor for the past few months.
“I’m having to fill in his position, plus do mine,” said Wagner. “And here lately we’ve had a lot of sickness on staff so we’ve been shorthanded for about two months.”
Wagner said he and Taylor have been through a lot and their hard work is what makes them close.
“We work hard, and when you work hard together, it makes you closer,” said Wagner.
Dr. Carolyn Lewis, professor of nursing and chair of the nursing division, sees their hard work.
“They are such hard workers, and they don’t just work hard, but they’re always so friendly,” said Lewis. “They always have a smile on their face or a nice thing to say to you, and you know, that just makes you feel good.”
Lewis said Taylor is one of the kindest, most compassionate people she’s ever met.
“He never complains and always does what you ask him,” said Lewis. “I just can’t say enough how much I appreciate him.”
Lewis said it’s clear to see that Taylor and the other maintenance staff have loyalty to the college, even though they aren’t actual employees of the college.
“They’re proud to be here,” said Lewis. “They want things done well and they want things to look nice. I see this in them every day, so I’m just thankful that they’re a part of this college.”
Eric Wohlford, manager of network services and campus facilities, said something similar.
“Blair has an unparalleled dedication to Bluefield College,” said Wohlford. “His dedication and work is appreciated more than he will probably ever know, and the college community definitely misses him, and wishes him a quick recovery.”
Wohlford was a student at BC before he started working here in 2003, so he’s known Taylor for over eight years.
“It has not been the same with Blair out,” said Wohlford. “I know that I from the college-side and folks from the Aramark-side have been scrambling to make sure we do not get behind; it is a hard space to fill with him out.”
Faculty, staff, and even the students have nothing more than nice words when it comes to Taylor.
“Anytime someone in the dorm needs something, he’s always there,” said Drew Hinton, a junior and resident advisor from Salem, Va. “The campus would look terrible without Blair and the crew; they deserve much credit.”
Barbara Harvey has worked in the cafeteria at BC for 24 years and Taylor was the first man in maintenance that she met.
“He was always so helpful, did anything that you’d ask, and he’s the kindest man you’d ever want to meet,” said Harvey.
Those words seem to speak truth for everyone who knows Taylor.
“He’s a great boss,” said David Gilmore, who also works for maintenance. “He’s one of a kind; you’ll never find another like him.”
Oscar and Midnight, the two cats the maintenance staff practically adopted, would even agree to that.
So as the lawns are being mowed and the flowers are being planted, Wagner said he wants everyone to remember Taylor in prayer.