When the cafeteria staff at Sterling College learned of the unexpected death of coworker Ben Leake, they wanted to give their respects by attending the funeral service. Unfortunately, there was not enough staff to serve lunch at the College and allow everyone to attend the funeral – until the students stepped in.
“A cafeteria staff member asked me and Renard [Ballard] to find volunteers to help with lunch on Saturday so the staff could attend the funeral. We didn’t even have to think twice. Of course we wanted to help,” said senior Saul Olivares-Rodriguez of Pinole, Calif.
Chartwells Manager Quintin Eason followed up on the request and helped prepare for the volunteers. Nine students and staff helped in the cafeteria from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Saturday to fill in for the employees who wanted to attend the funeral. The volunteers filled in by helping on the serving line, doing dishes, scanning I.D. cards, cleaning up the cafeteria and other odds and ends.
“It was a way for us to give back and serve the cafeteria staff. They work hard for us every day, so it was a privilege to give back to them. We are sorry for their loss and wanted to support them,” said Rodriguez.
Volunteers for the morning included: Senior Eddie Adesodun of Mesquite, Texas; Junior Renard Ballard of North Hollywood, Calif.; Sophomore Caden Ford of Haven, Kan.; Freshman Austin Mettling of Udall, Kan.; Senior Erica Nua of Palmdale, Calif.; Senior Megan Reed of Mulvane, Kan.; Senior Saul Olivares-Rodriguez of Pinole, Calif.; Resident Director Addie Swihart of Sterling, Kan.; and Sophomore Lamar Whitson of Blue Rapids, Kan.
Ben Leake had worked for Chartwells, the dining service that runs the Sterling College cafeteria, since 2010.