COPPERAS COVE, Texas — No one knows Copperas Cove High School quite like Renee Beaton, the head custodian.
To the students, she’s known as Ms. Renee, or at least that’s what she told us with a big smile on her face.
She knows every hallway, every classroom, every nook and every cranny because she’s kept the school in tip-top shape for 13 years now.
“I've always been in hotels, cleaning hotels, things like that,” she explained. “It just kind of comes natural.”
Custodian work, it’s usually a job most people would take for solidarity, but not Renee.
For her, it’s the opposite actually.
“I just enjoy the people… we’re kind of like a family now,” she explained, talking about the students and her colleagues.
Like most other jobs, it’s one that had to be kicked into high gear during the pandemic.
Now, Renee and her team of 17 are responsible for making sure every table, floor and surface is 100% germ free.
The district ditched traditional bleach and wash rags early on in the pandemic and purchased electronic sanitizer machines.
The sanitizer was described to 25 News as being electrically charged, so that when it’s sprayed onto surfaces it automatically sticks.
“They're kind of the unsung heroes; you really don't notice them when you're here but when they're gone that's when you notice them,” Mark Stahl, the director of support services at the district said. “What they do is highly important.”
Stahl is the commander of the custodian team and when the pandemic first began, he knew it was going to be an uphill battle, but one his team would take on any day.
“They don't do it to receive credit or an ‘Attaboy,’” Stahl explained. “They do it because they have a heart to serve and that's where they get their reward serving others.”
Even if it means walking more in one day than most people walk in a week.
”I walk seven to nine miles every day,” Beaton said.
“Do you feel it?” 25 News reporter Paige Ellenberger asked. “When you go home?”
“My legs? My feet?” Beaton responded. “Yeah,” she went on, laughing.
Stahl explained that not only did COVID put their staff to the test, but so did the winter storm.
He said that if it weren’t for the custodians that came in while most everyone else was told to stay home, the district would have suffered thousands more dollars than it did in damages.