Mad for…Larry

Be grateful for small things, big things, and everything in between. Be grateful for today and never take anything or anyone for granted. Life is a blessing.

He’s an unsung hero working to make sure the children and his co-workers are safe. I have been watching him for the better part of two decades as he stands guard, often wearing many layers of clothing, topped with his signature bright orange coat. He hustles dozens of cars filled with little children in an out of the parking lot each day, genuinely concerned for the safety of each child. He does it everyday, in pouring rain…and also in frigid cold like today.

Meet Larry Banther. It’s currently 9 degrees here in Central Indiana. That’s actually several degrees WARMER than it was when he was managing the morning carpool, as always, at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School in Fishers. He’s the man in charge of building maintenance at my son’s school. However, Larry is much more than that. How many building maintenance guys at schools across the state who you suppose are also certified school safety specialists? I don’t know the answer, but I’d be surprised if there were many others. He’s literally taken the time to be fully trained to know how to make the parish he works for as safe as it can possibly be. THAT is cool and inspiring.

Larry’s not a fancy guy, but he’s a steady and vital contributor every single day. Also, I learned some time ago he’s a big fan of Mountain Dew– so consider the Taco Bell gift card and keep the McDonald’s one for someone else. I’ve watched him deal patiently with rude, obnoxious and difficult people. They serve as important reminders of how NOT to be. Mostly, I really do think he is appreciated and loved by the folks around him. However, sometimes I’ve wanted to raise my voice and yell “Don’t be condescending to Larry. Try his job for half a day first.” This guy scoops snow, spreads salt, and climbs up to check out a leaky roof. He mops up a lunch room floor covered in spilled milk and smashed grapes. He’s called in when someone had the stomach flu and the 3rd grade room is essentially uninhabitable. He’s a jack of all trades, he’s reliable, and he’s kind. He also has a great smile and a really terrific laugh.

In the midst of the everyday chaos, Larry is treasure to many for his steadfast care and helpfulness. THANK YOU, LARRY for keeping my 3 boys safe, warm, and dry these last 16 years. I truly appreciate you!!

Mad for…Hugh

Saint Joseph was a just man. A tireless worker. The upright guardian of those entrusted to his care. May he always guard, protect and enlighten families. -Pope St. John Paul II

Meet Hugh Ross. Hugh is first and foremost a husband and dad. From my perch nearby over the years, I’d say Hugh embodies what it means to be a holy and present father. In fact, the photo above is one from him attending a Lacrosse event cheering on one of his kiddos– on a freezing cold day as many dads often do to show love and support. Just out of the frame is his cheerful wife Amy, a holy woman I also greatly admire.

I chose the quote above about St. Joseph for today’s entry owing to the fact that Hugh Ross seems to me a wonderful modern day model of the virtues we see present in St. Joseph. He’s of uncommon faith, and he’s a tireless worker for Christ in all he does.

When my mother in law died rather suddenly a few years ago, it was Hugh who stepped up on very short notice to be the cantor at her funeral mass. This effort was no small sacrifice on his part, and his presence was an enormous gift to the entire extended Thieme family. The gentle loveliness of his voice lent reverence and beauty to a truly difficult day. It’s merely one anecdotal example of the sort of selflessness and kindness that he displays everyday.

Love the children first, then teach them. –St. Mother Theodore Guerin

Also, Hugh is a high school physics teacher at Guerin Catholic High School. It’s patroness, when she spoke of what an educator should be, might as well have been describing Hugh Ross. He teaches a challenging subject, yet his class is invariably a favorite among his students. My middle son in fact named it as his very favorite during his four years there…and Drew is FAR from alone in that selection. It’s because while Mr. Ross is brilliant, attentive, and affable, he more importantly exudes the kind of care and love that Mother Guerin described. There’s a reason he’s received prestigious awards for his work with his students. Christ uses him to show others what His love is all about.

Hugh is an exceptional human being. He’s a leader in faith and a model for what the Lord means fatherhood to look like. His witness of gentle strength and selflessness is a blessing to all with whom he interacts, including yours truly! THANK YOU, HUGH, FOR WHO YOU ARE AND ALL YOU DO EACH DAY!