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Selfless custodian seen as father figure by many

December 11, 2009
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STARR, SC — The custodian at Starr Elementary School is much more than just a man who vacuums carpet, sweeps hallways and empties wastebaskets, he is a father figure who impacts the lives of everyone with whom he interacts, according to the Anderson Independent Mail.
Charlie Howell, a custodian at Starr Elementary School for the past 20 years who also serves as a minister at the Iva Assembly of God, says he does not mind children other than his own calling him "daddy" because he appreciates their calling on him for guidance, the story stated.
Howell said: "I guess I could get a job that pays more money, but what would I get out of it? Here I can help a kid out. Sometimes, you know, I will tell them, ''If you have a good week, I will buy you ice cream on Friday,'' or I will give them money for the book fair if they don''t have any. It''s a way to just give back. I''m not a rich man, but I''m rich in other ways. There were people who helped me and who made me a better person. And it helped me realize, if you can make a difference in a child''s life, then you''ve really done something. I don''t want to be praised for any of it. I know they would do the same for me if I needed it. And I do it because I want to make a difference."
Howell goes far beyond what is expected of him as a custodian and has been known to drive the special-needs bus, get up at 4 a.m. and drive to Greenville to pick up doughnuts for a fifth grade fund-raiser for a class trip or drive to a co-worker''s house to sit with people after a death in the family, the story noted.
When Howell retires, he says he wants to work in a funeral parlor, where he can help people during their hardest times, the story added.
According to Starr Elementary School Principal Melissa Davis, what Howell does will make a lifelong impression on these children.
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