Rayshawna Allen, Housekeeper at UMD College Park Anne Arundel Hall

“I love it, I love to clean, it’s something I like to. I don’t like going home smelling like food, but I made employee of the month in 2014! My picture is still up there in North Campus Diner. I left my mark…I love these kids, I do. One time, Valentine’s Day came, and they gave me a card, it was so sweet. Most of the students wrote down how they felt about me and everything and it was very appreciative. And they gave me some chocolate. I really appreciated that. One of the professors, she gave me a gift card too. It felt good, because sometimes when we work, we don’t feel appreciated about how our work is done and how we did. But once the kids did that for me, I felt so good…One time, I would speak and the kid wouldn’t speak back, but as I continued to speak to him, and as I continued, he finally answers me now. I’ll be like “Good morning!” and he’ll be like “Good morning, Ray!” So now I get it every day”

“My daughters are 9 and 6 years old. They’ll be 10 and 7 this year. One of them wants to go to Penn State. As they get older, things change, but I’m with whatever they want to do. I love my girls. I work for them, I do everything for them. Like now, I go to school online here. I do everything for my girls. I am nothing without them…My greatest accomplishment [is] being the best mom. I don’t have a car, but my kids get to go wherever. Me, living alone, taking care of two kids…and I do it on the regular and I get things done? I’m excited, I really am. I’m proud of myself.”

“My greatest struggle, was starting over from the beginning with two kids, with no help. so that was like the biggest ever. Because I got to a point in my life like “How am I gonna do this?” I kept questioning myself “Why am I not doing it? Just stop talking about it, just get up and do it.” I kept talking and talking and talking to myself like “You can do it, you can do it, you can do it!” and then I just got up one day and I did it and I never went back down. I kept myself up, and now look at me! I’m in school, that’s an extra higher level. No more down, no more…My dream is always to give me and my kids a peaceful place, as in a house for me and my kids. I always dreamt of that. I always travel you know. The biggest place I ever took them was the Disney cruise, we went to the Bahamas. It’s providing for them, that is the only thing on my mind. It’s my kids. I love them I really do. I love my girls, this is all for them…No matter what age, no matter if you’re a single mom. You can always accomplish your goals, no matter what. Nothing should stop you, keep moving forward, count your blessings and keep the faith.”

“I have become an independent person. I have become that. You know…once you have kids, you’re not a kid no more. Your time is up. It’s all about you trying to take care of this child, and that was my problem, like, how was I gonna do this on my own? I have my days where I’m tired. We get up at 4:30 every morning and I gotta get them ready before 5:30 and then hurry up to the train station. But I tend to make it, never late…I made it, I can say that. By the strength of God, I made it. And I’m proud of myself. Especially to be my age, with two kids…so, I thank God every day and I hope he continues to bless us because my next step is trying to find a better spot for my kids.”

We would like to thank our Unsung Hero, Rayshawna Allen for sharing her story, advice, and encouragement for the Terps! The Unsung Heroes of UMD College Park are always working hard for the community, and a quick word of appreciation is all it takes to make their day.

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Gary Crisp, Housekeeper at UMD College Park Calvert Hall, South Hill Community

How did you start working here?
“You know, it’s been a long time on this campus for me, and I’ve seen a lot. I’m 62 now. I used to live in Lanham Mill in Prince George’s County. Then I moved here to College Park. This is my first job. I was young when I came down here. Never looked back…Every morning around 6:30 I’m here. While you guys are sleeping, I’m up, ready to go. I punch out 5 minutes after 4, then go home. Just an everyday thing. Come into work, then go home. That’s me. I’m up here working all day until it’s time to go home…It’s pretty good, it’s alright. It’s a job. It pays the bill. Everyone’s friendly.”

How do you like the way campus has changed?
“It’s alright. It’s not like it used to be. I like it now. But it changes. Renovating of the whole dorms and everything…In Kent Hall there used to be a lounge in the hall, right there in the basement and old lounge. And in PG [Prince George’s Hall] there used to be a big lobby with a glass door. Everything stopped since then. In the eighties is when everything stopped, and they built all this stuff. Resurrected. They tore everything apart didn’t they? Everything. I don’t understand how I do it, but I do it. I mean you can see that it’s not like it used to be. They’ve got different steps in there now. They’ve got different stairwells.”

“…Good ol Calvert. You can see the doors are different. Different doors, different numbers. They had to do it cause they found asbestos in this building. They had to close it, and they made it like this. Now it’s different, and it is what it is. It’s more quiet… Not the same, but it has to change. Can’t be the same like it used to be, believe me. Everything changes. But I like it, it’s okay. Keeps me happy. What else am I gonna do? It’s good around here, it’s quiet…..

[Campus has] All changed. Believe me it has.”

Have the students changed at all?
“A little bit yes. Not throwing beer on the steps anymore. They used to do that and play with the fire extinguisher too. Well, times have changed. Gotta just keep on moving. That’s it.”

We would like to thank our next Unsung Hero, Gary Crisp, for sharing his story with us! The next time you see an Unsung Hero, we encourage you to extend a word of thanks to those who work tirelessly for the UMD College Park community. Have a great rest of the week!

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Sherry Clark, Housekeeper at Harford Hall, UMD College Park South Hill Community

“Seeing that I’ve been here for only three years, I don’t gather a lot of friends, but I have family, which is my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. In the summer, on weekends, if her church has bus rides or is going to New York to visit other family, I will go with them. But as far as partying, I haven’t gotten involved with that this year.”

“At The Diner, it was very nice working there. When I’m preparing the food and see the students coming every day for the same pasta, I would feel happy. Also, when the semester finishes and students have to go to another building, I would miss them. I do [miss them]…Here I got familiar with the students and some of them will ask me where I’m from…but I don’t get into their personal business. Sometimes I will try to cheer them up by telling them “Have a nice day” or “How was your day at school?” or “How are things going at school?” and that makes me feel good…I asked a student in my building “Oh, how are you today?” and she said “Not so good.” She broke her laptop. I felt so sad and told her “Don’t worry, just try and see if you can get another one,” but if I could be in the position to assist her with buying a laptop, I would have.”

We would like to thank our fourth Unsung Hero, Sherry Clark for sharing her passion and dedication to the University of Maryland, College Park community, especially for the students!

The next time you see Resident Facility or Dining Service workers, we encourage you to express a word of thanks for their continuous service for us.

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Denise Stone, Food Service Worker at UMD College Park Adele’s and Sbarro

“I met my best friend here. She used to work in Chick-Fil-A. She passed away last year, of cancer, but she came to work every day, fighting through the pain. We used to tell her- her name was Tessa Massiah-“Stay Home.” She still would come to work and we’d be like, “Oh sit down! Go sit in the corner and rest.” She kept coming to work and fighting through it. I met her, probably like six years ago, and we were like two peas in a pod. You see Tessa, you see me. You see me, you see Tessa. They’d be like, “Denise, where’s Tessa?” “She’s downstairs in production.” “Where’s Tessa?” “She’s over there eating her lunch.” I miss that because I don’t get to see her no more, walking through the hallway. She used to always pinch me, I’d be like, “Stop pinching me! You know that hurts, right?” I know she’s my angel. That was the hardest thing… losing her last year. Not to see her walk through the hallway. That was the hardest thing.”

“I always say laugh
ter is the best medicine. I enjoy laughing…I have a group of ladies that work in the front. We just laugh all day. They say the craziest things to me to where I have tears in my eyes and I’m bending over because I’m laughing so hard. Enjoy life and laugh. Sometimes it can get rough, sometimes you want to give up, but don’t give up. That’s a part of life, wanting to give up, but don’t give up. Always find a reason to laugh and smile because it comes and goes like that.”

We would like to give a warm “Thank you” to our next Unsung Hero, Denise Stone. We thank her for sharing her wise and touching story with us! 
We encourage everyone to greet an Unsung Hero around campus the next time you see them! Thank you for the support as always. We hope you had a great Spring Break!

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Tesfaye Bogale, Electrician at the North Campus Dining Services at UMD, College Park

“I was in high school when I first started working on campus. I feel like I know everybody and everybody knows me and it feels like home. You know you never want to leave home because you are familiar with everything and everybody, that’s the kind of feeling I have here.”

“I don’t really have free time, I also run a family business, but I have a son so I hang out with him. Funny story, he had a science project and they couldn’t figure out something so he said, “You should call my dad, he’ll figure it out!” They asked him, “What does your dad do?” and he said, “He’s a fixer!” He has the confidence that I can do anything and it is a pretty cool feeling. One thing I tell even my son, who’s only 11 years old, is that just because it can’t be done this way, doesn’t mean there is not another way. Life is not always going to be straight, so you have to figure out another way to make it happen. Giving up easily, that’s not me. I want everybody I know to feel that way because you’ll find a way to get it done. When there is a deadline we do whatever it takes to make it happen. When I say whatever it takes I mean if we have to stay here till 1:00 in the morning… It’s all about the students. We have to make sure that we make it happen. There is no “I can’t”, option B is not an option for us…If you guys get a chance to see them [dining facilities workers], just say “Hi”. These are the people that make everything in the dining halls happen.”

THANK YOU to Tesfaye Bogale who has dedicated his time working on the campus for more than 20 years!

 Follow Unsung Heroes of UMD College Park to learn more about the heroes who keep UMD College Park’s campus running behind-the-scenes!!