A small-town community with big worries as a longtime elementary school custodian continues his battle with COVID-19.
Roger Harrington has served as a custodian at Jones Elementary School since the early 1980s.
“Rodger has been in the school since I was in grade school, so it's been a long time,” said former Jones Elementary School student, Chris Calvert.
Calvert is now 28 years old, with children of his own attending Jones. To this day when he thinks of elementary school, he thinks of Harrington.
“He is there for the kids, he’s known for calling the kids his friend,” said Calvert. “So, he is still there working with the kids every day.”
Calvert was shocked to learn Harrington was hospitalized on December 11, after coming down with COVID-19. The elementary school custodian feared even going.
“He had stressed that he had concerns about paying for the hospital which is why he did not want to go,” said Calvert. “Once I learned of that a few days later, I decided we needed to do something to help him out.”
That’s when Calvert launched a GoFundMe page which quickly took off. Funds raised, Calvert says, will help pay for the hospital stay and follow up visits.
Once word spread, generosity set in, raising nearly $7,000 as of Friday night.
“When I walk in the school, I may not see him (Harrington) directly but in passing he might be in a room somewhere and I might hear him say, ‘there is old Chris,’” said Calvert. “He doesn’t forget anybody. He is one of those that when you are a friend as a little kid, you’re always a friend no matter how old you get.”
A community throwing love back in the direction of a man whose impact spans generations.
“I don’t know what it would be like without him, It would be a less friendly place without that friendly face there,” said Calvert.
Harrington still has a long road to recovery. He continues to be admitted in and out of the hospital.
Calvert said Jones Elementary School administrators have stepped up and are taking care of Harrington and are helping make sure he gets to appointments when needed.