EL RENO — Gerry Ward remembers well the day she was hired to work full-time as a custodian at Canadian Valley Technology Center.
It was 1982, and she had just turned 18.
Times seemed good. Gasoline cost 91 cents a gallon. Ronald Reagan was in the second year of his first term as president, and Hollywood sequels “Star Trek II” and “Rocky III” opened in theaters.
Ward, of El Reno, was hired on a handshake in May 1982.
Just two months earlier, her stepbrother, Mark Self, of Union City, was also hired as a custodian.
Ward's parents, George and Mary Ellison, and brother, Edward, also worked as custodians at the school at one time or another.
Ward and Self were honored recently with 30-year anniversary pins. They have seen people come and go. Brick and mortar have changed, too, but not their dedication, said Superintendent Greg Winters.
“They're just really good, solid people,” Winters said. “They're hardworking, and it shows. They are both very conscious of doing their job and doing it well. You would like to have all your employees dedicate their lives to an organization as they have. Can you imagine what a workplace like that would look like?”
Ward said she looks forward to many more years at Canadian Valley.
“I love my job,” she said. “I love the kids and the adult students we have here. Everybody is just really sweet.
“The Lord has provided for me so well. I have a house and a great family made possible partly because I work here. It's a great place to work.”
Bill Kramer is communications and marketing coordinator for Canadian Valley Technology Center.