Life is a constant rush for everyone at East Lyme High School. But one man, in particular, can put the craziness aside with a simple smile or wave while cleaning the commons floors.
Custodian Roger Estey has worked here for 26 years and is thriving at the age of 85. Before coming to ELHS, Mr. Estey worked at United Airlines as a mechanic from 1957 to 1962, and eventually moved to Niantic in 1977 to work at Millstone for 11 years. His prior career is what made him desire something closer by.
“I was 59 and a half when I came here so I got tired of traveling jobs,” Estey said. “I was looking for something local.”
Mr. Estey has three granddaughters who currently attend ELHS: freshmen Olivia and Ella Estey, and sophomore Julia Smith. He enjoys seeing them almost every day, as a lot of grandparents only see their grandchildren a few times per year.
“It’s nice to know I have someone to go to,” Smith said. “Working here keeps him happy. It’s special to him.”
Mr. Estey works Tuesday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. He can be found stacking chairs or riding the blue “Chariot” while cleaning the commons floors.
“He is very nice and friendly,” said Smith. “You can go up and introduce yourself and he’ll remember you.” Working at a high school, Estey has gotten used to seeing students everywhere.
“He’s a great guy and a hard worker,” said fellow custodian Don Robbins, who has been working with Estey for almost 13 years. Despite his day to day positivity, Mr. Estey has recently gone through some hard times.
“My wife passed away in June 2018,” Mr. Estey said. “She had several heart operations and this job covered them all.” Even with that hardship, Mr. Estey continues to smile and keep up his hard work. Every job can impact someone’s life, but continuing to work into your mid-80s has its own story, and Estey is living it.
“It’s a nice place to work,” said Mr. Estey. “This fit the bill perfectly.”