Students demonstrate those core values and live the mission through community service projects and mission trips abroad. Professors do the same through community outreach classes and civic speaking and teaching ventures.
But, no other members of the BC family exhibit the service-minded mission and caring community value more than the four men who make up the school’s maintenance staff, and even students acknowledged that fact during the brutal winter of 2010, which featured a record-breaking 80 inches of snow for Bluefield.
“We had snow on the ground since December 19 of last year — almost three months,” said BC student Greg Kane, “and for nearly three months the maintenance guys had to come in early and leave late in order to clear the snow so we (students) didn’t die getting to and from class.”
The workers — Carl Gilmore, Carl Rogers, Blair Taylor and Clayton Wagner — averaged 12-hour days during the heart of the record-breaking winter. During one particular storm, which included snow and ice, the men worked 24 consecutive hours to keep the campus clear and safe.
“We definitely had an all-nighter the day the snow and ice hit,” said Taylor, a 26-year veteran who serves as director of the maintenance staff. “We had so much snow this winter we didn’t have anywhere else to put it. We had to come in on weekends just to find some place to put it.”
In addition to snow removal during the winter, the meager staff of four is responsible for maintaining the interior and exterior of 14 campus buildings, not to mention faculty housing; looking after the roads and grounds, including landscaping and cutting grass; and keeping up facility heating and cooling systems.
“When we start cutting grass, it’s even busier,” said Wagner, who has served the campus community for 30 years, “but that’s fine. I’d rather be busy. That’s the way I like it. If I work 18 hours a day, I’m happy.”
Wagner said he also enjoys meeting new students every year on campus and then later watching them grow and ultimately graduate. His co-worker, Rogers, is particularly thankful when students and other members of the campus community recognize his hard work.
“It makes me feel happy,” said Rogers. “It shows me my job is well done, and it keeps me motivated. I enjoy my work, and I like the people I work with.”
From plowing snow to cutting grass and fixing boilers to repairing plumbing, the typical workday for BC’s maintenance staff can be long and hard. But, they just don’t see it that way. To them, it’s an opportunity to serve and a way to show care and respect to the campus community.
“They don’t get paid enough,” added Kane. “They are the unsung heroes of this campus, and some of the most good-natured people I’ve ever met. “The students don’t realize how much back-breaking work the maintenance guys have to do so we can go to school.”