Today’s guest blogger: Tom

Today's guest blogger: Tom
Today's guest blogger: Tom

Hi,  my name is Tom and I am the Facilities Supervisor here at St. Joseph’s Indian School. In a few months, I will have 30 years of experience in the maintenance department. When I started, I planned to work just during the winter; but I’ve been here ever since.

St. Joseph’s is a multi-complex campus that has residential homes, a school, dining hall, maintenance garage, chapel, health care facility, museum, maintenance shop, printing shop, central receiving building and business offices. We have a geothermal system that uses the warm water from artesian wells to heat our buildings.  Over the years the cost-savings from this renewable heat source have been tremendous. We also do as much recycling as we can to save and help the environment.

We have a great maintenance staff that includes licensed electricians and plumbers. We have qualified and experienced carpenters, painters, grounds workers and custodians. We also have an electronics technician, two vehicle mechanics and a safety supervisor.

Like other departments on campus, the summer is a very busy time for the maintenance department.  We are responsible for 51 buildings and several acres of outdoor spaces that require upkeep.  In addition to these day-to-day duties, our crew also works continuously on upgrades and renovations.

This summer we are renovating the last of the Lakota homes. There are four Lakota homes which were built in 1984 and after 27 years they were in need of a face lift.  Our maintenance staff does about 90% of the renovation work and it takes about a year to complete each remodel.

There are many other projects that go on over the summer as well.  The custodians are kept busy getting the school and dining hall ready for the coming school year. With all the rain we have had the grounds department is kept busy mowing daily. They also trim trees and bushes, plant and water flowers, repair parking lots and sidewalks and keep St. Joseph’s Indian School’s campus looking beautiful.

The plumber, electronics technician, painters and electricians are busy doing daily maintenance work and repairs when they are not working in the home remodeling. The mechanics work on all of our vehicles and equipment and always have one of the vehicles or pieces of equipment in their shop for repairs or general maintenance.

With all the buildings and grounds that are within our campus you may wonder how we get all the work done and keep track of it.  We have a great facilities administrative assistant who doesn’t miss a thing!

Hope you are all having a great summer.  If you get a chance, stop at our campus and visit our Akta Lakota Museum & Cultural Center.  We’re proud of the work we do and enjoy showing it off.

Author: St. Joseph's Indian School

At St. Joseph's Indian School, our privately-funded programs for Lakota (Sioux) children in need have evolved over 90 years of family partnership, experience and education. Because of generous friends who share tax-deductible donations, Native American youth receive a safe, stable home life; individual counseling and guidance; carefully planned curriculum based on Lakota culture and individual student needs and tools to help build confidence, boost self-esteem and improve cultural awareness. All of this helps children to live a bright, productive, possibility-filled future.

4 thoughts on “Today’s guest blogger: Tom”

  1. Another impressive informative post. That post makes me want to express an opinion I have. Your campus is staffed with skilled tradesman, who know great useful trades that serve them well through life. Are there any opportunities for the kids too learn trades? A blue collar trade offers a frantastic living. I am sure qualifies trradesman are in demand.
    Are trades offered as an option to going to college?

    1. David & Jean,

      Thank you both for your comments. St. Joseph’s does provide opportunities for student’s to attend college’s and vocational school’s. We also have programs where the students work with our maintenance department during the summer. Other students have the opportunity to work in St. Joseph’s Thrift Store or Atka Lakota Museum. This arrangement benefits the students and the maintenance department gets their rewards by watching the students grow and learn.

      The Best to You,

  2. Tom, like David before me, I found your blog impressive and highly informative. The facilities at St. Joseph’s are truly impressive and you are all doing a wonderful job keeping it all in “ship shape” condition. Your jobs are unceasing and extensive. It’s good to know your staff is so capable and so hard working.

    A note to David’s comment: I totally agree with the sentiment he expressed and I hope St. Joe’s does offer apprenticeships or some other means of training some of the Lakota youth who come to school there in the manual trades.

  3. Hi Tom,
    To plan on working for a few months and then staying for 30 years says alot about St.Joe’s and you.Sounds as though you have a capable staff and all the bloggers I’ve read from all seem dedicated to the children and each other.
    Wishing all of you many blessings!

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