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Vietnam Vet Inspires Students While Maintaining Custodial Excellence

Bob Wolk oversees 43 site custodians, visits each Carlsbad Unified School to make sure everything is up to his high standards and is always prepared to tackle anything.

Twenty-eight years ago, after two tours in Vietnam, a hard-working, plain-spoken guy who always had a kind word for folks, especially kids, began working as a custodian at the District Office on 801 Pine. Today, Bob Wolk works just as hard as Custodial Supervisor three nights and two days per week.

Bob still always has a kind word for folks, including Luke, a seven-year-old student with special needs. “He’s my little pride and joy,” Bob confides. “When I first met him, he couldn’t speak, but when I’d pull up in my truck, his arms and legs would start going to show his excitement. Now, when he sees me, he says, ‘Hi Bob!’ He’s starting to use other words, too. It’s great to see him progress.” 

When you joined the District in 1984, did you intend to stay this long? Yes. I liked the work right away. I’ve had five superintendents and five managers and I’ve worked with a lot of staff. I’ve never had a problem with anyone because I treat people the way I want to be treated.

What do you like best about your job? I like working with people. Former students remember me from my days as Lead Custodian at . I’ll be at the mall and some adult will come up to me and say, “Hey, Bob. I’d like you to meet my kids!”

What was your first car? A 1968 Plymouth GTX 440; bright orange with stripes. I paid about $4,000 cash for it with money I’d saved during my tours. Later, I sold it to a young sergeant who totaled it. I cried.

What was your favorite class in school? Business. I took typing and wanted to take shorthand, but the nuns wouldn’t let me. They said it was for girls.

Are you a good maintenance guy at home? Yes. I fix everything and I garden also.

Do you have a memorable CUSD moment? When the wildfires hit in 2007, Superintendent Roach called me at home in the evening to help him set up an evacuation center at the high school. Within four hours, we had products, food, everything we needed, including people. Lots of staff. My custodians volunteered. No one asked about getting paid. We all just did it.    

           

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