Senior Connections Senior Connections Mar 2019 - Page 12

Rod Bell shares happy memories of 40 years at Humphrey Elementary in Waverly JAN ENGELHARDT Correspondent Care for loved ones, Care for loved ones, keeps everyone strong. Care as it should be. The Center for Senior Behavioral Health provides regional innovative mental health services improving the quality of life for our older adults and their families. The polar vortex cancelled school at Humphrey El- ementary in Waverly Jan. 29, leaving the halls empty and quiet, but, despite the brutally cold weather, Rod Bell was there to watch over the building as he has done for nearly 40 years. Bell said simply, “This was my building.” However, Feb. 1, Bell began a well-deserved retire- ment from his work as a custodian with the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted School District. Sitting in the lunch room, Bell recounted how he was hired by the HLWW schools in the summer of 1979 as a grounds keeper, a job “which I never actu- ally did,” he commented. Instead, he worked the summer to help get Hum- phrey Elementary ready for fall classes. That summer position led to Bell’s longevity within the district. Bell has seen generations of students and staff pass through Humphrey Elementary. “So, I’m on my 4th principal and my 6th superintendent,” Bell said. “Ac- tually, one of the paras who works here, her husband, he was my helper, my summer help when he was 16, and now he has a daughter who is a junior in college ... I had a little girl say the other day, ‘My dad remem- bers you.’” According to Bell, the best part of his job has been his relationship with the staff. the quality of life for our older adults and their families. Avenue South / Litchfi eld, Minnesota 55355 / www.meekermemorial.org ������������������������� �������������� ������������������������ Senior – Rod Bell, longtime elementary school custodian “I never felt I wasn’t appreciated ... I’ve become part of a family, per say. I never kept myself off to the side ... I don’t eat lunch at my desk. I’m in the lounge ... The kids come and go, but a lot of the staff, you see them for years. The camaraderie, we have a lot of laughs here ... a lot of bantering ... I don’t feel like work for them. Like I told Jen (Principal Jen- nifer Olson), ‘I feel like I work with you, instead of for you.’” Bell’s upbeat personality and his generosity with his time explains why he will be so sorely missed at Humphrey. “They’re all worried now about who is going to make the coffee in the morning ... The guy who is going to replace me, he doesn’t drink coffee, he doesn’t make coffee, so who’s going to make the cof- fee? They’re just little things, you know, that you do ... When they ask for stuff, I go, ‘OK.’ I don’t say, Quality Care & Quality of Life Hospital (320) 693-4500 / Center for Senior Behavioral Health (320) 693-4535 612 Sibley Avenue South / Litchfi eld, Minnesota 55355 / www.meekermemorial.org 12 ‘There isn’t a day you come here that you don’t laugh. I thought that was pretty important’ Connections March 2019 ��������������������������������� Heritage Place Cokato Manor (320) 286-3118 Home Health Medicare Certifi ed Brookridge Home Health Agency (320) 286-3196 Pro Rehab (Contracted) Speech, Occupational Edgewood Gables and Physical Therapies (320) 286-2159 Cokato Manor (320) 286-2158 Senior Connections HJ.COM