Juniors raise funds for custodian facing health issues


Betsy Wait

During second lunch, Custodial staff member Ollie Caruthers sweeps the floor.

After learning that custodial staff member Ollie Caruthers was facing serious health issues, juniors Emily Wind and Shannon Anderson began their own philanthropy project to involve the entire school in helping Caruthers.

“We have raised about $150 just from student donations during lunch periods to support Ollie,” Wind said. “He’s just one of the guys that always makes you smile when you see him, so we wanted to show our appreciation for everything he does for West and let him know that we really care about him.”

Students’ generosity and willingness to help Caruthers astounded Wind and Anderson.

“When we were walking around to various lunch tables asking for money, I was deeply moved by how students would just dump their entire wallet after hearing about Ollie’s situation,” Anderson said. “A lot of high schoolers can be stingy with the little money they have, so seeing students donate whatever they had- whether it was just some change or a $20 bill- and not think twice about was really refreshing.”

Along with raising money, Wind and Anderson made cards for Caruthers as yet another gesture to their gratitude.

“On the first day we collected money, we brought huge ‘get well’ cards along with us for students to sign if they wanted to. It was amazing to see how sweet and heartfelt the messages were and how much students really appreciate how Ollie always goes the extra mile even if he doesn’t get recognition for his hard work,” Anderson said.

As well as fighting his own health issues, Caruthers’ wife has also been severely ill in the past few months, so the money students raised will benefit her as well.

“With the $150 we collected, Shannon and I are planning on getting Ollie a Visa gift card. It’s a flexible way he can access what he needs; whether it being paying for groceries or medical care,” Wind said.