staff photo by rowena plett
Danny Maddox, 59, is eager to try out a new mower. He is groundskeeper for seven locations owned by the Marion-Florence school district. His responsibilities include preparing the football field for games. “It takes all day,” he said. Maddox also drives a school bus.
Groundskeeper provides safe environment
Danny Maddox describes his position with the Marion-Florence school district as “low on the totem pole,” but he does many things that are essential to its operation.
Maddox, 59, is a groundskeeper, custodian, and bus driver.
He mows, weed-eats, and clears snow and ice at all school locations, including the sports and aquatics center, football field, and transportation building.
Now in his seventh year at the school, he and maintenance man Quinn Trapp just completed a renovation of the transportation office — clearing out a storage room, removing a wall, and installing carpet.
Maddox, who also drives the high school and middle school bus route for Florence students, misses his riders in the summer. He rides a motorcycle and frequently goes through Florence looking for them.
“I love kids,” he said.
He got experience interacting with young people when he was a sheriff’s deputy and Marion police officer years ago.
“For the most part, students are pretty decent,” he said. “I wanted them to know I was there for them.”
His philosophy is to treat everybody with respect until they give him a reason not to.
During volleyball and basketball, his primary custodial role is at the sports and aquatics center. He cleans the facility throughout the year after special events.
Bus drivers are required to inspect their buses every morning before they begin their routes. They have a checklist of 19 items that must be examined, including tires, lights, suspension bolts, brakes, and flashers. If anything needs attention, it is fixed on the spot, or a spare bus is used.
“Kids’ safety is first,” Maddox said.
Every summer, Maddox gives his bus a thorough cleaning. He hoses down the outside and inside, sprays seats with disinfectant, and washes windows inside and out. He also makes repairs on damaged seats.
All buses are serviced and inspected at Rod’s Tire in Hillsboro. Kansas Highway Patrol provides a final inspection.
Maddox used to work in retail, so he likes having weekends and holidays off, although he still works during school breaks.
“I like my job, and I like to think I am doing some good for students by providing an environment in which they can continue to learn,” he said.
Maddox grew up at White City and married Marionite Brenda Friesen. Their three children — Todd, Allie, and Drew — graduated from Marion High School.
He is looking forward to a five-day vacation in August.