by Lisa Tome
In the event you cross paths with Jimmy Young, expect service with a smile.
For the past seven years, Young, 56, has been charged with the task of cleaning up after people in the Town of Elkton's municipal building on Railroad Avenue.
He keeps the town offices, parks and recreation department, and police department ship shape. He also welcomes and accommodates the many groups which use the building on a regular basis. These groups include the Child Advocacy Center, Upper Bay Counseling, Union Hospital, the Woman's Club of Cecil County, and others.
Young, technically the building's custodian, works Monday through Friday beginning at 7 a.m.
"On a daily basis, I meet a lot of people. I like dealing with people. I'm a people person," said Young. "Everybody wants something different. A ladies auxiliary group wants me to set up tables. I cater to everybody."
He also spends his day keeping up with all the typical tasks associated with cleaning and maintaining the 28,000 square foot building.
"I'm a man of great faith. I love the Lord. If not for God, if not for that, it would be difficult. I believe that (faith) gives me an edge," he said.
Young used to work for the Cecil County Roads Department. He got hurt at work and had leg surgery. After two years off work, he found out Elkton needed someone to look after their building.
"A friend of my wife called me up. She said there was a job open for the town. So I applied for it," he said. "I came here with a suit on. It is kind of weird that a custodian would (apply for a job) with a suit on."
His job landing strategy was successful.
He also works hard to be trustworthy. Since he keeps the police department tidy, he knows there is a lot of confidential information there.
"I keep my eyes to myself when it comes to the police department. There's a lot of stuff I don't want to see," he said. He also cleans the four prisoner holding cells. "There are all kinds of people in different situations in there. There could be blood," said Young. "You just never know what to expect."
The day to day duties change with the seasons.
"Winter changes everything about my job. The number one thing is safety," he said.
When it rains he points out signs indicating that the floor is wet. When it snows - that's another story.
"Winter puts a whole damper on everything. Sometimes I scrub this floor twice a day," he said.
Summer also brings a few challenges.
"Summer camps add a whole other dimension. We have 80 kids here and everywhere they go, they make a mess," laughed Young. "They get a drink of water (from the fountain) and there's a puddle on the floor."
He's not certain which is a bigger challenge - the children or the snow.
Later this month, a lot of visitors are expected to be in the building. Elkton's town election is set for May 27.
"I need to make sure the building is in tip top shape. I take care of this place all by myself. This is a big building for one person," he said.
"I'm the clean up man. Just a custodian," laughed Young.
But in actuality, he also lends an ear to anyone who needs someone to listen.
"I do a lot of counseling here. People come to me with their issues," he said. "I'm a listener. Some people just want to be heard. Even the people who come in here with the police because they are in trouble."