I hope everyone had a Mr. Bernhardt at their elementary school. He was our custodian at Masonville Elementary School and we all loved him.

Like my favorite bus drivers, Mr. Henderson and Pat, Mr. Bernhardt was just as expected and welcome a presence at school as the teachers were. Plus, from my camp, he got tons of bonus points for cleaning up puke with that funky-smelling substance that looked like pencil shavings.

I'm getting the impression that Daniel Lyne, a custodian at East View Elementary School, is a modern-day Mr. Bernhardt.

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Lyne--or "Mr. Daniel," as he is known--has been nominated for the 2021 Fred Award by the Kentucky Association of School Administrators (KASA).

The organization presents the honor annually to support staff members who are "the heart and soul of our public schools today" as the KASA press release says.

Since Mr. Daniel is a nighttime custodian, he doesn't see the students very much--just a few minutes each day. But he gets around that by emailing them messages of encouragement and also a daily joke. According to the release, he challenges the kids to "embrace character, values, and responsibility."

And, he gives out awards, in the form of bonus points, to students with the cleanest classrooms.

Plus, the PANDEMIC was not a hindrance to Mr. Daniel. While students were engaged in virtual study, he sent them videos and told them how much he missed them.

As for the Fred Award, it's named after Fred Shea. He's a postman and the subject of the book The Fred Factor by Mark Sanborn. And it is Sanborn and American Fidelity who have partnered with KASA to present this award.

Congratulations, Mr. Daniel, who will compete against two other finalists.

And while the phrase "it's great just to be nominated" is kind of cliche, Mr. Daniel DOES already seem like a big winner in life.

The positive effect he's had on so many young people speaks for itself.

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