JASPER, Ala. (WIAT) — The work of a custodian may not appear glamorous, but Travis Kennedy has become a staple at Jasper High School for his dedication to the work and the students.
Kennedy really made an impact on JHS sophomores Sam Hice and Preston Reed.
“I never knew I was living like that. You know, you didn’t know you were impacting them. I didn’t know I was impacting them. But, you know, you got to live truthful. You’ve got to be honest. You have to try to do things right. And I was made to do that,” says Kennedy.
Kennedy makes a 20-mile commute to and from work every day, but he does it with a servant’s heart.
“I try to do the very best I can every day to make things better for the kids or whatever. I try to make sure they got what they need.”TRAVIS KENNEDY, JASPER HIGH SCHOOL CUSTODIAN
The two students noticed that their school’s janitor was getting to and from work in a truck in poor condition. At the same time, they wanted to make their appreciation to Kennedy known.
“He’s always been such a hard worker and we really admire him.”SAM HICE, JASPER HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE
The students decided they had to do something. So they started a GoFundMe page in order to help “Travis the Janitor” get a new ride.
“‘Travis the Janitor’ is an honest, hardworking man who deserves much more than just a new truck, but this is a start,” the page stated.
“It’s just so great when they give back to you and show you how much they appreciate you,” says Kennedy.
The students are attempting to raise $20,000 and have already raised nearly $8,000 in just a week!
Hice and Reed say they did not expect the effort to grow as quickly as it did.
“We were hoping it would,” says Hice.
“We did not expect it to make nearly $1,000 a day like it has,” says Reed.
Kennedy says he is overwhelmed with gratitude by the gesture. He’s worked at JHS for 22 years, and says he didn’t realize what an impact he was making on the students.
Hice and Reed first encountered the custodian during their 8th grade year. Since then, Kennedy says they always make an effort to greet him.
“He’s a great example of the ‘Viking Way’ here at Jasper- which is summed up with humility, and he is always working with a smile, just hard-working and when you come up to him and say ‘Hey!’, he will always tell you something about the gospel, a great quality to have, and that’s what stood out to me,” says Reed.
“They run through the halls and ask how I’m doing, and I just say ‘I’m blessed’ and ‘I love y’all’.”TRAVIS KENNEDY, JASPER HIGH SCHOOL CUSTODIAN
The students told Kennedy what they were doing and why in this heartfelt video taken by JHS principle Jonathan Allen. The video brought Kennedy to tears.
A local car dealership has even gotten on board. Carl Cannon Chevrolet Buick GMC in Jasper offered to match GoFundMe donations up to $10,000.
The students started the fundraiser on National Custodial Workers’ Recognition Day.
To donate to the GoFundMe page, click here!