Dwight "Skip" Beadle Jr. walked into Clearmount Elementary School in 1975 at the age of 21, signed on to be a custodian and, for the most part, hasn't left.
The head custodian has spent 38 years working at Clearmount, ensuring the interior of the school is clean and that the grounds are well maintained — and building relationships with students and staff along the way.
His final day before retirement is Wednesday.
To Beadle, it's been 38 great years.
"I've enjoyed the work," he said. "This place has been a home away from home for me. I'm in charge of the building and grounds. I really take pride in it."
The Glenwood High School graduate has even seen one Clearmount student graduate and become a teacher at Clearmount, all while he's been a custodian.
Not only that, he's seen Clearmount students' children, and the children of those children attend the school.
There's more. Beadle has worked under five superintendents, six business directors and five Clearmount principals.
"So it's like I'm the dinosaur here," Beadle said laughing.
Beadle is married to wife Deborah and has one child, Nicole Bester, and three grandkids, Nathan, Madison and Chloe.
When asked what the best part of his job was, Beadle said it's the students.
"That's the neat part about it: You get to meet a lot of people and a lot of kids," he said. "It's just been a good 38 years."
Looking back on his years at Clearmount, Beadle recalled one story that always makes him smile. He thought back to a snow storm, just after he started working there, in which then-Principal Dave McDaniels and himself helped a mother who was stuck in her car just outside the building.
The two men pushed from behind the car as the mom stepped on the gas pedal — or, as the story goes, slammed on the gas pedal — causing mud to splatter from the bottom to the top of McDaniel's khaki overcoat.
"I couldn't stop laughing," Beadle said. "And here I am thinking, 'Maybe I should have done that ... that was my boss!'"
Cafeteria employee Helen Pool, who's worked with Beadle on and off since 1992, shared her sentiments about his retirement.
"We have been through the usual mishaps in a kitchen: broken faucets (with water shooting 3 feet up in the air), jammed food disposals, help with lifting the heavy stuff, sharing our love of the outdoors, whether fishing or his love of hunting," she said.
"Skip is good at taking care of the creepy crawlies that tend to come inside when the weather turns, and has even chased a mouse down the hallway and 'disposed' of it," Pool said.
She described Beadle's personality as "fun loving and likable."
"He will be missed by all the gals in the Clearmount kitchen — Robin Popa, Betty Wolfe, Cathy Berkshire and myself," she said. "We sincerely hope the new guy doesn't mind helping us with spiders."