A lone candy wrapper lies on the gym hallway. No one seems to see it—until Caron Manion walks past the wrapper, spots it instantly, and swoops down to pick it up and to throw it away. Meet Caron Manion, MBU custodial staff and cleaner extraordinaire.
As a child growing up, Caron and her family were Catholics. But as an eighteen-year-old cook who was working at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, she knew that something was missing from her life.
“I had been searching for something,” Caron said. At the time, her cousin attended Faith Baptist Church in La Crosse. A ride was arranged, and Caron started going to a Bible-believing church. At the end of the first service, she raised her hand at the invitation. The person who brought her to church noticed her raised hand and led her to the Lord that night.
Through faithfully sharing the gospel with her parents, two brothers, and sister, they became believers too. But God was not done working with her yet.
Enter Mr. James Wright, a member of Faith Baptist Church. “Mr. Wright challenged me to attend Maranatha to finish my education,” Caron shared. Seeing potential and a zeal for God in Caron, Mr. Wright encouraged Caron to enroll at Maranatha Baptist University. Meanwhile, another church member, Susan Hermes, helped her pack and get settled on campus.
Caron graduated with a degree in Elementary Education. It was at Maranatha where Caron also met and married her husband, Dennis, in 1985. After their marriage, she was a teacher’s aide at Calvary Baptist School, where she had student taught during her last semester.
When her first child was born, Caron became a stay-at-home mom and homeschooled all her children. After her youngest child entered second grade, Caron applied for the part-time position on the custodial team. And just last year, Caron switched to a full-time job on the custodial team.
Caron makes her family and church a priority. Caron and Dennis have four children—Tim, Rebecca, Christina, and Joe—and three grandchildren. Two of her children now live in the Midwest, one on the East Coast, and Rebecca and her husband live in Albania. Caron and her husband both try to visit their children and grandchildren as often as possible.
At Calvary Baptist Church in Watertown, WI, she teaches Sunday School to the twos and threes, helps out with Junior Church, and volunteers for the bus ministry on Wednesdays. Caron’s compassionate heart shines and draws people toward her.
But why did Caron stay on the custodial team? “I really love working at Maranatha. I love coming to work, working with the students, and cleaning the campus. Basically, my work is everything that I love to do,” Caron answered. “[To me], cleaning is relaxing, fun, and rewarding. Making things clean and sparkly is something that I enjoy doing. I also believe that the Lord led me into cleaning, and that’s the place where I am most content.” And the contentment shows on her face as well.
Besides making the campus clean, it is also the custodial team’s responsibility to set up and take down chairs for chapels, recitals, and OSA activities—which means they have the job of unfolding and refolding a few hundred chairs every day. And guess who sits on those chairs?
So what—as a student body—can we do to help make Mrs. Manion’s job easier? “Recycle. Definitely help us by recycling. Because sometimes, if we have time, we will put gloves on and sort through the garbage to take the recycling out,” Caron replied. “Also, it is the law in Wisconsin to recycle!”
Maybe next time you see Mrs. Manion, or any of the custodial staff, walking around campus, take some time to say thank you. Thank them for keeping our dorms and facilities clean. Thank them for setting up chairs for us to sit on. And the next time you see a candy wrapper on the floor, help out by throwing it away and making our campus more beautiful.