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Four Years at the Mount

Senior Year

Challenges of the everyday hero

Kyle Ott
MSM Class of 2015

(11/2014) Maybe itís the recent end of Halloween and the impending arrival of Thanksgiving that makes me think the way I do. From the latter holiday, I am reminded of turkeys bursting with herb-encrusted bread and thin strands of steam rising slowly from baked corn. The other mental picture that pops into my mindís eyes is the image of a tightly cramped ship stuffed to the brim with Puritans dressed in clean black and whites, waiting to arrive at a new world. Halloween conjures up images of monsters, bags of candy, and ghosts.

A ghost is a funny thing. I donít say that to be cute or smart, but when you really sit down and think about it, the idea of a ghost is rather strange. Itís the concept that some part of a person remains unseen in the waking world. In a lot of ways, the world is populated by people who we sometimes donít think about, but who play an instrumental role in our lives; people who remain unseen despite the work that they do. These are the figures that take the mundane moments of our lives and transform them into something incredible. More than pilgrims, or turkey, or bags of chocolate, we should be thinking about those who make our lives so much better, and where better to start than at our own campus?

You can look anywhere around Mount St. Maryís University and find examples of unsung heroes in our lives. One of the first people in my career at the Mount who reached and grabbed me on a deep personal level was Bessie. Those of you who have been reading my articles since the beginning will remember my undying love for this wonderful, pastry-wielding goddess. In a lot of ways, the workers who serve our food are somehow the first to be overlooked, and thatís nothing short of a crime. Every day that I came into Patriot Hall, Bessie was there, waiting for me with a scone and a smile. She taught me that I should not only appreciate the great things happening in my day, but also take the time to get to know every single person who worked hard to make our daily meals. Kinte at the grill is nothing short of a miracle worker with a deep fryer, ketchup and pickles. Nancy has a knack for picking out the best slice of pizza any time, every time, and thatís not just friendship or admiration; thatís science. To some, they are the people who make our meals, but to me, theyíre so much more than that. These people are reminders that I have something to look forward to every day, even if it is something as simple as a warm meal on a day when Iím otherwise feeling down.

Beyond the cafeteria, there are so many other figures that play an incredible role in the things we experience at Mount, but these individuals may not always be in the front of our minds. The men and women who work for Public Safety come front and center in my mind. Of all the officers who work so hard to keep our campus safe, Lieutenant Macintosh is the one who impacted my life in a way that I never thought would happen. Two years ago when I joined Mount St. Maryís RA staff, I was wildly intimidated. As a college sophomore I felt like I wasnít even qualified to make microwave popcorn, let alone take care of an entire group of boys younger than me. Summer training rolled around and the RAs got the chance to meet the Public Safety staff.

I remember the first time I met Lieutenant Macintosh. I recall thinking that she was the most powerful looking person Iíd ever met. She was confidant, collected, and more than anything, she was in control. At the start of my training, it felt wonderful to be confronted with someone who wasnít fazed by anything that was happening around her. To a young RA who needed an example of strength under fire, she was the perfect mentor, and she did it all without saying a word. As time stretched on, the moments when I worked with Lieutenant Macintosh proved what I already knew, that she was a consummate professional and the thing to aspire to be. Despite this, she remains one of the Mountís unsung heroes and someone who has made my life considerably better.

This month, in between stuffing your face, and facing your stuffing as the case may be, try not to forget about the people who make your life better than you had ever thought. More than simple capstones on your day, appreciate that these people are the ones who can transform your lives, most likely without you even realizing it. Take a moment to appreciate them, even if itís some small gesture to show them how much they mean to you. Small or not, they most certainly deserve it. Iím Kyle Ott. Wonít you sit and read for a while?

Read other articles by Kyle Ott