Highlighting housekeepers who care from Ford to Dana

Jamison Guice, Campus Carrier features editor

Zander Carver, Campus Carrier asst. features editor

Berry buildings do not clean themselves. The housekeepers who clean up after spilled papers, crusted-up soda drinks now sterilize against the virus that causes COVID-19 and make connections with the students that pass through the halls. While these connections may be meaningful, their names sometimes remain unknown. We have highlighted a few housekeeping staff to provide a look into their personal lives. 

Michelle Carver’s son, Zander, takes a photo with his parents on his first day of college. Photo courtesy of Michelle Carver

Housekeeper Michelle Carver has worked at Berry for four-and-a-half years after hearing about the job through a family member. She said her previous job took an emotional toil since she worked with children in the mental health sector. A Rome native, she said she has always loved Berry and could not imagine working anywhere else. 

One of the benefits of working in housekeeping is that Carver is able to learn about different cultures from her coworkers. Through each other’s experiences, she said they are able to learn about people’s lives whether they are from different states or countries.

“We work in housekeeping and we get student workers,” Carver said. “Some places you see people more often than you do in other places, so you can kind of develop relationships where you learn them and, in a way, they’re kind of like your kids too.”

An introvert at heart, Carver enjoys connecting with the people she meets. She mentioned that once she starts talking about something she enjoys; she could stop and chat awhile. During a past Mountain Day, she met two couples who were interested in the different movies filmed on campus and they were able to bond over the movie Sweet Home Alabama.  

“That’s what I like about it,” Carver said. “Just, you know, running into people that chances are you probably wouldn’t talk to any other way and just being able to learn things from each other.” 

In her free time, Carver spends time with her family which includes her two children twenty-year-old Zander and fourteen-year-old Sid Carver. When not at work, she said she enjoys spending time by the pool, watching movies or even traveling to nearby cities such as Kennesaw and Chattanooga.

Melissa Johnson takes a picture with her
grandchildren Makennly and Paisley Ledford.
Photo courtesy of Cheyenne Ledford

Housekeeper of Athletics Melissa Johnson is over housekeeping for The Cage Athletic Center, Ford Gym, Richards Gym and Valhalla. She has worked at Berry for 14 years but in housekeeping for 10 years. She previously worked in dorms like Morgan and Deerfield, Morton Lemley and Dana.

“My sister-in-law Pam Smith, who works here at Berry also, told me that they had positions in housekeeping and told me about the benefits,” Johnson said. “So, it was just a perfect fit for me.”

Johnson said one of many things she enjoys about her job are the student workers. Due to students being away from home, most likely the first time in their lives, she finds it important that their job teaches them how to clean up after themselves.

“I think it is a good idea for freshmen to work in housekeeping, anybody especially, I think it’s a good experience for them to learn how to kind of take care of themselves and maintain their area,” Johnson said.

Due to how busy she is with her job and quarantine, Johnson planted a pollinator garden over the summer where she is able to spend time with her children Blake Oliver, Cheyenne Bedford and Matt Johnson along with grandchildren Makennly and Paisley Ledford. She planted sunflowers, hibiscuses, lantanas, and a butterfly bush to attract bees, butterflies and hummingbirds.

As for future plans both professionally and personally, Johnson hopes for life to return to normal and plans to retire from Berry.

A family photo featuring Dale Young, her husband
and two children. Photo courtesy of Dale Young

Housekeeper Dale Young, stationed in the Evans building, was born and raised locally in Armuchee, Georgia. Deciding not to stray too far from where she was raised, she built her current house right across the road from the house she grew up in Armuchee.

When she is not working Young keeps life simple by spending time with her husband of 16 years, her fifteen-year-old daughter Addison, her thirteen-year old son Cole. Addison Young is in tenth grade and Cole Young is in eighth grade.

She also lives with her family’s four dogs and her daughter’s pet rabbit at their home in Armuchee or out at her family’s lake lot on Weiss Lake in Alabama.

“We take the kids out tubing, they ride the jet skis and we just kinda chill,” Young said.

When not at their lake lot, Young and her family enjoy their lives at their home.

 “We set out at the house, we have a little fire pit,” Young said. “We also sit out there every once in a while and look at the stars and chill by the fire, we watch our kids ride their side-by-sides, and their four wheelers and dirt bikes, making laps.”

Young prefers to spend time with her family and at home, rather than going out and about.

Jamie Forsyth’s daughter, Gracie, snaps a shot
of her mother as she poses on the steps of a building.
Photo courtesy of Gracie Forsyth

Housekeeper Jamie Forsyth has worked with Berry for about four and a half years. Forsyth comments that she loves her job working as a housekeeper on campus.

Originally from Palmetto Georgia, Forsyth moved to Rome before coming to work at Berry. She now lives in Rome with her husband, and her three children. Her two daughters, 22 years old and 19 years old, and her 14 year old son.

When she is not working hard to help keep Berry clean, Forsyth enjoys spending time with her family.

“I just like to spend time with my family,” Forsyth said, “we do things like go on hikes from time to time.”

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