Craig Nelson is the man, the myth, the legend

Kyle Marks, Staff Writer

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There is one staff member at LHS who is especially popular with students but isn’t a teacher. That man is Craig Nelson.

Nelson has had an eventful and exciting life throughout the years. This man went from being a soldier to an immigrant in the east, all to returning and becoming our faithful hero and janitor.

Nelson started working here entirely by accident. Nelson said, “I started in maintenance. I was only supposed to be here for two weeks. That was ten years ago, maybe nine.”

But, he has stayed  here through the years. Full of ups and downs, Nelson keeps coming here because, he said, “It’s just a fun job for me. Coming to school every day for you guys, that’s what keeps me coming here.”

Before coming here, Nelson did a lot of other things. He said, “When I was [17], I was already in the service. Vietnam was staring everybody in the face back then. You kinda didn’t care about school. I enlisted when I was 17, I spent the first year in the states, and after that, I was gone for almost six years. I came home maybe twice in [those] six years.”

It’s crazy to think about how when Nelson was the same age as many of the students here, he had something as big as Vietnam right in front of him. It should help to put things into perspective for students as to how lucky they are today.

From there, Nelson said, “[He] worked for a manufacturing plant building scales. [He] went to China, went to Israel, [and] did a lot of overseas stuff.”

Overseas, Nelson did “Inspection, quality control, manufacturing. I had a busy life,” said Nelson.  He also said, “I lived in the Philippines for 3 years. I went to school.” This detail is rather fascinating, but to Nelson, it is just another part of his life’s story.

He talked about how in commercials, people are seen living with tin roofs with cardboard for homes. “I’ve been in those places; I know those people. I know how they live. It makes you really appreciate this country when you live somewhere else for a while.”

He wants students to remember how lucky they are to live in the U.S.

Nelson said, “Going to all these different countries, you see how all these different people live: in cardboard shacks and tin roofs. That’s why when I came back home in 1976, I really, really appreciated this country more than ever.”

Students here are especially lucky, and are even luckier to have Nelson.

Nelson retired when he was 55. Now, work for him is just for the students; it is what keeps him coming back.

In fact, he said, “I got a whole shelf in my office of pictures of you guys [that] I’ve connected with. That stuff makes me happy.”

He said, “[The job] is really a blessing for me. I don’t have to work full time. You reach a certain age and a point in your life where work is more important for the mind. So, I wake up every morning and enjoy coming here, for you guys; you guys give me [the] incentive to come here every day. That’s what I enjoy about this school.”

When asked about his outstanding popularity amongst students, Nelson was baffled at first. He said, “I don’t feel like I am, but if you think that I am, that’s good. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I relate to you guys.”

Craig said, “For some reason, this year, in particular, I don’t know if it’s the class of 2017, they just all have been really good to me, and it means a lot to me. I go home every day happy.”

He sees school as a very important service. Craig wants to remind students that, “This is a small school and you [have] a huge staff. I know that this school is well-staffed with teachers, good teachers. You know what that does? For you guys, that gives all of you in the school the opportunity for higher wages and better jobs. That’s really, really important,” said Nelson.

Craig Nelson: He’s a prominent and important member of the LHS family. Plus, he has a lot to say. So, as he wanders about the school, feel free to stop by and have a chat with him. You won’t be disappointed.

 

[Originally published in the Spring Break print issue of the LHS Tom-Tom]

 

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Craig Nelson is the man, the myth, the legend