200 Days in the Life of the College

Monday, January 17

A spirit of giving across generations

By Leigh Ercole ’11

What drives custodian Ray Cyr to participate in community service events like the fifth annual Employee Community Service Day? “My father,” Cyr says. “He’d be proud of me.” Cyr describes his father, whom Cyr lost when he was 12, as an individual who always went above and beyond for others. One winter, his father lost his job as a construction worker. Looking for work, he ended up repairing the stairs of a church. “How much do I owe you?” the minister asked when the work was done. “Nothing,” Cyr’s dad replied.

Cyr now emulates that spirit of giving by participating in Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Days on the Hill. Cyr has moved furniture at the Johnson Park Center, painted the halls of a youth center and a home for the elderly and, once, with fellow custodian Matt Gaston, helped complete a house for Habitat for Humanity.

Cyr began working on the Hill six years ago, cleaning the bathrooms in Carnegie Residence Hall before moving on to his current post in the Alumni Gym. He enjoys getting to know the students. “If they need anything, they know to count on me,” he says. Cyr is saddened when students graduate, but happy to see them move on to the next phase of their lives. Hamilton students have the same fondness for Cyr. In 2009, a group of them nominated him for the Tobin Employee Award for service to the College. Given in honor of former President Gene Tobin and his wife, Beverly, the award pays tribute to employees who constantly exceed expectations.

Cyr was gratified to be named a winner, yet he confesses, “I felt kind of guilty. There are many others on campus who are deserving.” Like father, like son.