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Team effort includes scrubbing floors
By Abby Zylstra
Sandy Palmatter and crew
Left to right: Lesa Holleman, Charis Larson, Sandy Palmatter, Kristen McDonald, Brittney DeRoos, Rita Ouwinga

Sandy Palmatter grew up in Hastings, Mich. She’s married with two kids and a grandson. She began working at Calvin January 2, 2001. Palmatter and her husband were working in Michigan City and things weren’t working out. She saw a little ad in the paper and applied for the job.

“I knew from the first interview I had the job,” said Palmatter. “There are some things that are meant to be.”

Palmatter is the building services supervisor for the Fieldhouse, pool and engineering buildings. She is responsible for a broad range of duties, including 20-25 students who work for her. Five of those students are on the women’s basketball team — seniors Rita Ouwinga, Kristen McDonald, Lesa Holleman, Brittney DeRoos, and freshman Charis Larson.

The winter season is the busiest for Palmatter. She works 3 to 11 p.m. every day and comes in Saturday if there’s an event at the Fieldhouse. Most of the girls work the 9 to 11 p.m. shift.

“I’m in the right building. I like the sports,” Palmatter said. “I like the busyness. It’s just not the same without the students.”

According to Palmatter the best part of her job is working with the students. She says that no matter what, there is always something for everyone to do.

“Even the ones that you think might not fit in find their niche,” said Palmatter.

“Even when you think everything has been done, she finds some job for you to do,” said DeRoos. “She never gives us jobs we cannot handle!” said Holleman.

Palmatter loves teaching every aspect of the job. Her theory is that you never know where life is going to take you, so it’s important that you learn all you can.

“Someday their major might not work out. Stripping the floors might come in handy,” said Palmatter.

“I’ve learned how to change paper towels, use a pressure washer and how to test the pool water,” said Holleman.

“I have learned responsibility and the value of time management. Managing school work, basketball and a part-time job can be hectic at times but it also keeps me accountable and on schedule,” said DeRoos.

“Sandy’s great. She cares about what’s going on in your life. She’s a boss, but more importantly a friend!” said Larson. “We don’t just talk work stuff. She supports us and is always good for a joke or a laugh.”

“The best part of the job is when we get our work done, and we chat about what’s going on in our lives and about basketball,” said Mc Donald. “She cares about all of us and it shows.”

Surprisingly, Palmatter can’t find the hardest part of her job. “I haven’t found the hard part yet. There’s no stress in the job.”

“Nothing is bad about this job. Maybe moving the bleachers from the baseball fields to the gym,” said Larson. “That was an experience.”

Palmatter loves sports and loves supporting the girls in their activities.

“I love watching sports. I made the effort to go to all the softball, volleyball and basketball away games so the girls don’t think that I just have to be there because I’m working,” said Palmatter. “It’s for the whole team. It does something for their self-esteem.”