Centralia Fireside Guard

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R-VI District’s Countryman earns respect through dedication

Posted on Friday, August 21, 2020 at 6:17 am

Stroke, dip, stroke, dip… That is one way to spend a Wednesday afternoon. That was how Gary Countryman  spent it, painting the 84-year-old wooden bleachers in the top rows of the Chester Boren Middle School gym.

Countryman has been a school district custodian for three years and making sure the bleachers are painted the right shade of gray for the first day of school is one of his many tasks, but August 12, it was the task.

“it would go pretty quick, except for all the edging,” he said as he patiently brushed an edge. “Otherwise I could just use a roller on the whole thing.”

Gary Countryman pausing during a painting job at Chester Boren Middle School.

He estimated he would need five gallons of paint to repaint the bleachers.

That was one of the several tasks, Countryman and his coworkers are doing.

This is his third school year opening and in some ways he said it is no different than the others, but it is, he said very different in at least one, cleaning.

“We always got things clean and kept them clean,” Countryman, who came to the district after 30 years as an mixer operator for JM Eagle, a PVC pipe company in Columbia. “But now things are a lot more intense, more detailed. We’ve always cleaned floors, disinfected and wiped things down. Now we just do a lot more of it and we are more detailed about it.”

Either way, he said he is happy to be there and working for the district. “I really enjoy the people I work with, they are good people. That’s what I like about the job.”

He said he had originally applied for a part time job.

“I was retired after 30 years and was looking for a part-time job. I got a good one and it turned into more than part-time.”

For the complete article, see the August 26 edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard