This story was originally posted in The Oklahoman
OKLAHOMA CITY – Max Melot picks up his keys and tool pouch and heads to work at Concordia Life Care Community, stopping on the way to grab a $1.18 cup of coffee from 7-Eleven.
That’s the daily routine of the environmental employee of the year, an award given by LeadingAge, the state association for nonprofit nursing and assisted care facilities.
“It is just an award; the real reward is the people here,” he said.
With his award now resting at home on a shelf, he continues to do any job that is at hand, no matter what day of the week it is.
“It is just his nature. I think he is just a good-hearted person, who genuinely cares about the people, not just the job,” said Jerod Buttram, associate director of Concordia.
“He just goes out of his way to make sure the residents are taken care of.”
Arriving at 8:30 a.m. in a 2000 Ford pickup well-seasoned with dents and scratches, he looks over work orders, making a list of what needs to be repaired.
He has worked at Concordia for about three years and seldom misses a day.
“You can always paint in a place like this, because as I tell everybody, as long as they make walkers and wheelchairs, they will make paint,” Melot said.
He often stays past 5 p.m.
“He puts in whatever time he needs to,” Buttram said.
Melot has often made repairs on weekends and at night, all of which are volunteer hours. Somebody is always on call at Concordia.
“He is wonderful … everybody loves Max,” resident Harriette Boatright said. “They wait on us hand and foot … with a smile, too.”
Boatright has lived at Concordia for two years and said the residents rely on Melot.
Last year Melot, 58, had back problems and was out for more than two months.
“I hated not being here,” he said.
Three things he is never without are his .07 size pen, his reading glasses and his tool pouch.
Melot has worked in the maintenance business for several years, previously at Epworth Villa and LaQuinta, after he closed his family business.
“This is the right job for the right person,” he said.
His tool pouch includes a 16-in-one screwdriver, channel locks and a pair of needle-nose pliers.
During one Christmas season, a resident asked Melot for help putting up lights, which he did over the weekend. It was noticed by his superiors.
“I left on Friday night and there were no Christmas lights and came back on Sunday evening and saw all this lit up,” Buttram said.