The Upper Darby Board of School Directors Honored UDHS Head Custodian David Olsen with its annual School Board Leadership Award, better known as the Unsung Hero Award.
In 2002, the Upper Darby School Board established its first ever School Board Leadership Award to go to an unsung hero within our school community. All past recipients have served as role models for our students and community by providing exemplary, caring service in a loyal, dependable, friendly, and humble manner. No one could fit that description more fittingly than our recipient tonight.
This gentleman gives his heart and soul to his school each and every day. He approaches each day with unlimited energy and devotion. His dedication to the Upper Darby School District has had a positive impact on students, parents and staff for many years, but never has he made such a difference for so many people as he has for the past year and a half as the high school’s head custodian. This year’s unsung hero is none other than David Olsen.
Nobody knows Upper Darby High School better than Dave Olsen. From his days here as a high school student (Class of ’78), to the 22 years he spent working in food services at the high school, to the 5 summers he spent working in the maintenance department, Dave has spent most of his life in the halls of UDHS. The only time he wasn’t actually in the high school, “Mr. Dave” was transporting our students as a UD bus driver. There isn’t much Dave hasn’t done or anything Dave wouldn’t do for this school district.
Dave became Head Custodian in July 2013, and his incredible work ethic and pleasant attitude has not gone unnoticed. His job is to maintain the building – no small task considering the size of Upper Darby High School and the fact that it houses nearly 4000 students and staff members every day. Dave has a crew of 11 maintenance workers to handle all of the electrical, plumbing, and general maintenance issues that arise each day. According to Dave, “There is no such thing as a typical day!” He views this as a positive thing. From fixing broken lockers to dealing with plumbing issues to accepting deliveries, every day is different, and Dave never misses a beat handling whatever comes his way. Even after the never-ending winter of 2014, where Dave shoveled snow, and more snow, and more snow from the high school’s walkways and parking lot, Dave always answered a call with, “What do you need?” and always responded to a request with, “No problem!”
Dave often works well beyond his usual hours each week, but he never complains and does whatever is asked of him with a smile on his face. According to Dave, “I’m just doing my job.” And on the rare occasions where Dave does make it home right after his regular shift, it is not rare for his wife to hear him answer his phone, say, “I’ll be right there,” grab his keys, and head back to UDHS where he is needed. His boundless energy, tireless efforts, and positive spirit are simply unmatched.
While the amount of work that Dave Olsen does is remarkable, it is not what makes him an Unsung Hero. He earns this title because his love for the students and staff at Upper Darby High School and the Upper Darby community leads his every decision. His selfless attitude and incredible work ethic serve as a model for children and adults alike. Somehow he is everywhere, fixing everything and making our lives better in every way. At home, his family refers to him as “the Mayor of Upper Darby High School,” and they are right on the money. Dave makes it evident in his daily interactions with everyone just how special his family, friends, and co-workers are to him. He shows us by keeping Upper Darby High School in top working order and conducive to teaching and learning. For that, he is a hero who truly deserves the 2014 Board Leadership Award.