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National Finalist for Janitor of the Year Competition a Local Unsung Hero

Updated: Tuesday, November 26 2013, 11:10 PM EST
WYOMING, Ohio (Jeff Hirsh) -- Who do you remember most from school?  A teacher?  Principal? Coach?

There's a national competition underway to recognize an unsung hero of school, the person who keeps the building clean and comfortable.  Local 12 News reporter Jeff Hirsh introduces a tri-state man who's a national finalist for "Janitor of the Year."

For the past 23 years, Grady Harris has brought warmth to cold days and sunshine to cloudy days for the students and staff at Hilltop Elementary School in Wyoming.

Grady is the custodian at Hilltop; that's his official job.  

But unofficially, I don't think of Grady as a janitor or custodian. Hes sort of ambassador to the school system. 

Teacher Brian Pitman nominated Grady for the janitor of the year competition run by Cintas, a custodial supply company.  Grady is one of ten national finalists.

It may seem impossible to say Grady is always upbeat, but it's true.

He says, What I love about this job, especially kindergarten through fourth grade, these kids are totally honest and no matter what you're always guaranteed a smile or a laugh every day when you come to work and that's what's great about it to me.

Local 12 News reporter Jeff Hirsh tells about his experiences with Grady, I found out about the Janitor of the Year contest from my kids who went to this school 20 years ago, and Grady was the janitor then. My kids said everyone loved Grady back then and you have to do the story. One thing I found out about Grady, he never forgets a kid. He remembered my kids, no prompting. I didn't give him the names. 20 years after they were here he remembered them.

Grady says, Yeah it's kind of hard to forget your friends. I think of these little guys as my friends, so it's kind of hard to forget them.

It's hard to forget Grady, either. As he puts it, you do what you can to make life better.

The winner of the competition gets 2,500 dollars. The school gets another 2,500 dollars worth of supplies.

Its an online vote and you'll find a link under the Get It button HERE.

Besides Grady Harris, there's another Cincinnatian among the ten national finalists, Mike Woodruff, the janitor at McNicholas High School.

Video HERENational Finalist for Janitor of the Year Competition a Local Unsung Hero

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