When it comes to cleaning up after students, it's not the most glamorous job but someone's got to do it but for one Mukwonago Area Schools janitor, he's not only doing it, but he's cleaning up with awards.
Andy Wegner, affectionately known as "Mr. Andy," is up for best janitor in the country by Cintas. Wegner is one of 10 janitors across the country up for the award.
"You're making quite the mess," Wegner said to a student during lunch.
Wegner's focus is on cleaning up the messes but his job is about more than pushing a broom at Big Bend Elementary School.
"We're here to work with kids and do the best we can to make it better for them and staff to keep it safe," Wegner said. "The most rewarding part is seeing the smile on the kids face and working with them. Chokes me up a little bit but I'm a sentimental kind of guy. It's working with people and seeing smiles on their faces at the end of the day."
"I've worked with a lot of janitors, a lot of good ones," said Shawn Waller, Principal of Big Bend Elementary. "Andy goes above and beyond his job duties. He's well liked among our whole school community."
Waller frequently goes around the lunchroom, talking with the kids as he goes by, encouraging them to eat their raisins as opposed to dropping them on the ground. He knows he can do more than just clean up the messes and spills around the cafeteria. He can have an impact on the kids lives.
"Things they deal with," Wegner said. "A situation with a child having an off day. They may have come from somewhere that isn't great for upbringing kids. You work with them, not put them to the side. That's the most rewarding part for me is working with them and make a positive outcome at the end."
Wegner's impact is immediately seen in the lunchroom, as multiple students shout out to "Mr. Andy" to figure out why TODAY's TMJ4 is there. It's their recognition he's happiest about but getting an award would be pretty cool too.
"It's humbling to know others have put their faith in a guy like myself that just comes to work every day to do a little more," Wegner said. "There are a lot of stereotypical custodians or janitors. We're all here to do more than push a broom. It's a nice award but I look beyond me because there are a lot of other good people in the district."
And they feel he's pretty deserving.
"Our theme this year is 'go the extra mile," Waller said. "Andy does it all. He's one that will interact with the kids in the cafeteria, pays great attention to detail. I remember one time one of our staff members lost a diamond on her ring. He was able to find it in a half hour. He's pretty amazing."
Wegner also travels around the school district to do energy management for the schools and leads fire prevention efforts, as he works as the Assistant Fire Chief for the Mukwonago Fire Department. He does whatever he can to help the kids.
"I've always given my best," Wegner said. "I think that's what we instill here in the children is to do their best."
Voting takes place until Friday, April 14 on the Cintas website.
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