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Grounds staff member shares his story

James May

Contributing Writer As some of you may have noticed, we had a near brush with winter last weekend — temperatures dropped near or below freezing while snow threatened the area. Though this was just a hint, we all know the full brunt of the season will not be long to follow.

So when it begins snowing and the Grounds Crew starts its daily routine of waking up at 3 a.m. in order to plow our walkways, make sure you give Gary Beckler and company a huge thanks.

Beckler has been an employee of the College for 25 years. Beyond clearing the snow during winter, he has spent time working all over campus, including the athletic fields and the golf course. He also works to maintain equipment on campus. Beckler grew up in Wooster and began working here through his father-in-law, Richard Domer, who used to work in the paint shop.

“Knowing that we’re doing the best job we can to keep campus safe and clean for students is incredibly rewarding,” he said.

Beckler also really appreciates the connections and friendships he has made with students. Beyond simply seeing people each day, he has worked with students employed by the Grounds Crew, especially through programs like the now defunct Woo-Core program.

“I actually ran into two of the kids that worked together in that program over alumni weekend,” he recalled. “We’ll just text occasionally and stay in touch. It’s a great connection to have.”

In addition, Beckler currently participates in Professor of Religious Studies Charles Kammer’s Just Work class, where each student takes on an hourly-wage position on campus. Beyond enjoying the chance to meet students and make friends, he thinks the class is doing a great job of helping students grasp the amount of work that goes into the operations of this school.

“The stuff the Grounds Crew does is a bit more visible,” he remarks, “but there’s a lot of things that go on behind the scenes.” He thinks the interactions between staff and students has been fantastic.

However, that’s not to say that this relationship is in perfect harmony. Beckler says that one of the most challenging things that he has to deal with is the mess that gets left behind and all the damage that seems to happen on campus.

“It’s always been the norm on campus over my 25 years here, with some years worse than others,” he says. “I don’t blame students for it. I just don’t think they always think about how it inconveniences somebody.”

Nevertheless, Beckler is hugely appreciative of the College and the campus climate, saying that he does not think you could ask for a better place to work in Wooster.

Outside of campus, Beckler helps his nephew on his 500-acre farm, hunts, goes to basketball games, and, most importantly, eats out at his favorite restaurant, Coccia House.

“It seems like a lot of post-football Fridays are spent there,” he laughs.

If you see Gary around campus this year, stop to say hello!

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