Everyone knows that Bo Jackson, the only athlete to ever be an All-Star in two collegiate sports, is an advocate for our school and is considered a celebrity on the Plains. Jay Gogue and Gus Malzahn, leaders of our prestigious academics and beloved football team, are names that every student says with reverence.
These men are local heroes and we credit them for their part in making Auburn what it is, but they are not the only ones who contribute to the success of our school. Some names that most students may not recognize are John Harris, Kyaw Htay and Mrs. Brenda.
While these three names are not as well known as the three men mentioned above, they are the true unsung heroes of Auburn. The work they do everyday keeps this school safe and running smoothly. They often go above and beyond the call of duty and it is time they are recognized for all that they do.
John Harris is an Auburn Library Security Escort that normally works between the hours of 8 p.m. and midnight, escorting Auburn students to their vehicles. Harris worked as a mechanic for thirty years until he retired in 2000. (Photo, right: Carson Williams)
After three months at home, Harris decided that retirement wasn’t for him and he went back to work as a security guard. He has worked at the Auburn Library ever since and has enjoyed every minute of it.
“This is home to me. Home away from home. I enjoy coming here,” Harris said.
Harris feels especially connected to the building because his own father was the contractor who laid the concrete for the foundation. Harris was there when the building was established and now works to protect students within the very walls his father raised.
Harris takes his job very seriously and often goes beyond what is required of him. Every hour he takes the time to walk the halls of the massive library to make sure the students know that he is there if they need him.
“You know, we don’t have to do that, but I need to make sure everyone is ok. I have kids of my own and I would want someone up there checking on them,” said Harris.
Like Mr. Harris, Mrs. Brenda is another Auburn hero that goes above and beyond the call of duty. Mrs. Brenda is a custodian for Magnolia Hall in The Village and is well known among the residents for her gregarious personality.
Former resident Hannah Rolader recalls that Mrs. Brenda would always make a point to ask her about her day. She really tried to get to know everyone that she ran into and made each person feel special.
“She would make you feel like you were a million bucks because of how genuine and sincere she was when she would be talking to you. She was always giving me the best advice!” Rolader recalls.
Rolader remembers that Mrs. Brenda would ask the residents if they were attending class or if they were on their way to class. If you ever said that you were skipping a class she would reprimand you like a parent would.
“I remember whenever I would say goodbye to her she responded with 'it's not goodbye it's see you later' which I just love,” Rolader said.
Like Mrs. Brenda, Kyaw Htay also worked in the Village in The Village Dining Hall. Htay works at the sushi counter and people often refer to him as the “sushi man.” Htay has been serving up sushi for two years now and has loved getting to meet the people who come through his line. (Photo, left: Carson Williams)
“They are so excited about the sushi and they really like watching you make it!” Said Htay.
His favorite part about working at the sushi line is the educational aspect of it. Htay says that most people who come through his line have never seen sushi rolled before and he enjoys teaching students how it is done. He also enjoys making sushi for the students who have never tried it before.
“I enjoy the live show, meeting the students and talking to them,” said Htay. “I like asking them what they like and figuring out how to make a roll from that. It’s a very creative job.”
These three people do more for Auburn than most would expect and they deserve to be recognized for their commitment to making Auburn great.
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