Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agency Janitor, a Volunteer Tutor, `One in a Million'

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Agency Janitor, a Volunteer Tutor, `One in a Million'

Article excerpt

WORKERS AT Belleville Area College's Programs and Services for Older Persons invariably smile when asked about their agency's janitor, Cecil Crowe.

Though born with cerebral palsy, Crowe, 46, has made his life a huge success - if you measure success by such things as reaching worthwhile goals, accumulating friends and winning the respect and affection of associates.

For the past three years, Crowe has served as a volunteer tutor in addition to his janitorial duties.

"His disability does not limit him in providing help for other people," said Gene Verdu, agency director. "He's one of the kindest people I have ever met."

Verdue continued, "He has a very positive attitude - never complains. He's just an example to all of us. He loves it here, and everybody loves him."

Like any popular employee, Crowe gets his share of verbal jostling from fellow workers.

When Pat Etling, an information and referral specialist at Programs and Services for Older Persons, saw a news photographer snapping pictures of Crowe, she asked whether he now intended to become a big shot.

"Do we have to bow?" she asked.

"Just curtsy," Crowe replied, without a moment's hesitation.

"We already know he's the boss," Etling quipped, as Crowe emptied her office trash cans.

Perhaps his photos should be included in the "wanted" collection displayed at the Post Office, she joked.

Seriously, she added, "He always has a kind word. If you need somebody to brighten your day, Cecil will brighten your day. He's the glue that holds things together."

An agency receptionist said Crowe could be summed up in one short phrase: "He's one in a million."

Crowe worked for Programs and Services for Older Persons from 1977 to 1986, then left to work as a security guard and later for a cleaning company. "Then I heard they were looking for another janitor back here," he said. …

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