J.L Long Middle School janitor Enrique Mendez has been named a finalist for a nationwide Janitor of the Year contest. Sponsored by Cintas Corporation, the contest aims to recognize the best-of-the-best in school janitors. Mendez is one of 10 finalists competing for a $5,000 cash prize along with $5,000 in Cintas and Rubbermaid products and services for his or her school—not to mention bragging rights.
Mendez often works 12-hour days and even some weekends in order to keep the school in tip-top shape, according to Cintas. During last year’s ice storm, Mendez spent several nights away from his family to maintain the heat in the building to keep pipes fom bursting. He also took care of the science departments’ numerous live animals, including two guinea pigs, a turtle, four aquariums, and even watered the staff’s personal plants.
“One of my most vivid memories of Mr. Mendez is seeing him through the window of my office while he was helping a teacher cleaning the windshield of her car under heavy snow,” one teacher said.
The Janitor of the Year Contest is open to janitors of educational facilities of all levels—elementary through college. In its third year, the award shines a spotlight on those who work behind the scenes and often go unnoticed.
“When we started this contest, we were looking for a way to honor those who work so hard year-round to make schools a safe, healthy, clean place for our children to learn,” said a statement from John Engel, Senior Marketing Manager, Cintas. “But what we learned was that there is so much more to a janitor’s relationship with their students and staff than we ever knew. These janitors truly are a beloved part of their school.”
To cast your vote for Mendez, or to read more about the other nine finalists, visit www.cintas.com/JOTY. Voting will close Friday, April 15. People can vote once a day.