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Killdeer students honor retiring custodian

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 2:24 PM CDT
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KILLDEER, N.D. - Thirty years is a long time to work at the same job.

So, when someone reaches that milestone, it’s worth celebrating.

Students and staff at Killdeer school spent the past few weeks honoring a longtime employee before he clocked out one last time.

Wade Barnes is a man of few words.

“That’s correct,” he said.

Mr. Barnes, as the kids call him, has been a constant at Killdeer school for nearly three decades.

“Mr. Barnes was a janitor here when my dad was in 8th grade,” said Killdeer student Landry Dvorak.

Now, Mr. Barnes is calling it quits. He’s ready for retirement.

“I’m planning on doing some hunting and some lounging and reading books, tinkering in the garage, things like that,” Barnes said.

The students and staff wanted to help Mr. Barnes start retirement off on the right foot.

“They kind of got carried away,” he said.

So, they decorated classroom doors in his honor.

“They must want to get rid of me pretty bad!” Barnes laughed.

“He needs to know that we’re going to miss him,” said Denice Sayler, Killdeer Elementary records manager.

Which is why they pulled out all the stops on his last day, including a special party to say goodbye.

“He thinks we got carried away. I don’t think so,” insisted Sayler.

As Mr. Barnes closes the door on this chapter of his life, he can’t help but smile knowing how much he will be missed.

Mr. Barnes says his favorite day of the school year has always been Halloween, because he likes dressing up and seeing the kids’ costumes.

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