A high school in Arlington is rallying behind one of its custodians, who desperately needs an expensive surgery he can’t afford.
For 13 years, Joe Smith has been a custodian at Mansfield Summit High School in Arlington. And for 13 years, he’s cherished his job.
“I just like everybody around,” said Smith.
But these days, it’s an uphill battle for him just to make it through a lunch shift.
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“Some days it hurts a little bit and there’s other days it hurts quite a bit,” said Smith.
He has a bad hip that needs to be replaced, but he doesn’t have the money to pay for the expensive procedure. He simply fights through the pain, which causes him to walk with a limp.
“It made me cry,” said Dena Schimming, an assistant principal at Mansfield Summit High School. “To think he serves our campus and cleans our campus, surely we can do something serve him, too.”
Earlier this year, she approached the school’s student council with an idea.
Each year, the Mansfield Summit Student Council organizes a “Friends Reaching Out & Giving,” or FROG, week, where they raise money for a charity. When Schimming told the students about Smith’s situation they agreed that this year’s FROG week should be for him.
“He definitely deserves it,” said Student Council President Evelyn Stewart-Johnson. “He’s hard working. I see him constantly working in the hallway. He has to cover a lot.”
All this week, they’re doing different fundraisers at the school, including a 5K run and a contest where students can make donations to have an assistant principal pied in the face. All the proceeds will help pay for Smith's hip replacement surgery.
Smith was brought to tears when he found out about the school's plans.
“I really didn’t know there were that many people that cared,” said Smith. “It’s amazing. It’s actually amazing. And I appreciate everything they’re doing.”
The students and staff say he’s worth it.
“It’s definitely going to be more motivational for everyone around us to donate to someone we know, someone who serves us every single day,” said Stewart-Johnson.
And they remain optimistic the end goal will become reality.
The school has also set up a GoFundMe account where anyone can donate to Smith.