Local elementary janitor decorates school, goes above and beyond for children

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CHOCTAW, Okla. - School janitors often go unnoticed, but so many of them have an impact on children's lives. One local custodian's love for her kids is evident as soon as you step inside the school.

Jill Faust said taking the job as the custodian at Indian Meridian Elementary was never a permanent plan for her.

"A lady that worked here needed help, and she called me and asked me to work for two weeks and that's two weeks ended up being 23 years," she said.

Now - nearly a quarter of a century later - staff and students don't know what they'd do without Faust.

"This building is spic and span from top to bottom," said Assistant Principal Michael Barrick.

But, for Faust - no matter how clean the halls were - it just never felt right.

"The cafeteria was just bland, and it needed something," she said. "So, I said 'You know what, I'm going to start decorating.' So, I did!'"

Now - every holiday - Faust fills the walls on her own time and on her own dime. It's a passion of hers she doesn't view as work.

"Because I love it. I love the kids. I love them. I have eight grand kids, and they're my heart and soul and these kids are too," she said.

A labor of love that goes far beyond Faust's duties as a custodian.

"She always brings out the lost and found stuff if a kid is looking like they need a coat or something," Barrick said." If it's not being claimed, she'll say 'Take this coat.' Or, she'll go get a coat for them or anything like that.'"

Faust's favorite part about working with the kids?

"The hugs. I love the hugs and the 'I love yous.' Yeah, yeah. You're going to make me cry!" she said.

Faust - proof so much of what our kids can gain from school - can't be found in any textbook.

In case you're wondering, Mrs. Faust is already planning ahead for her Christmas decorations.

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