Pulaski Street School head custodian Carl James was surrounded by friends, family and co-workers June 24 as the Riverhead school board congratulated him on his retirement after a 54-year career with the district.
Mr. James, 79, was featured in the News-Review last December after the paper learned he had worked in a school longer than any other district employee from Riverhead to Orient. Wearing a button-down shirt and tie, Mr. James balanced himself on crutches due to a foot injury as school board president Ann Cotten-DeGrasse fought back tears while reading his proclamation.
The Rev. Charles Coverdale of First Baptist Church in Riverhead also praised Mr. James for his dedication. He said Mr. James is a member of the church who opens the building every day before he goes to work and stops by on his way home to lock it up.
“Carl does what he does well because of who he is,” Rev. Coverdale said. “His character and his love of service to children and, above all, his love for God.”
The school board also presented Mr. James with his office chair — a large, shiny black chair bound with years’ worth of duct tape that a friend found for him about 25 years ago.
“Thank you” is all he uttered as people hugged and kissed throughout the ceremony. Mr. James has said his retirement plans include remodeling his house and visiting family.
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