A well-manicured cemetery doesn’t just happen. Calvary’s 40 acres takes a mountain of maintenance, especially during a season of challenging weather.
To help Caretaker Terry Miller whack weeds, prune trees, assist visitors, excavate sites and deal with the never-ending cycle of mowing is the Calvary Summer Crew, Hunter Wick and Jake Winch.
Jake, on his fifth summer at Calvary, is a student at South Central College, and just graduated from the Auto Body program. He’s in the process of sliding into a full-time spot at the family business, Fromm’s Auto.
Hunter is a biomedical student at Minnesota State University – Mankato, and has been on the Summer Crew for four years. Eventually, he’ll be going on to become a doctor or medical researcher.
While still young, Hunter and Jake are now seasoned veterans at Calvary and work together with Terry in smooth coordination.
Some people have wondered by two young men would want to work in a cemetery.
“People say it’s scary,” said Jake. “It’s not.”
“It’s like a park. There’s a lot of life here with the visitors and the wildlife,” added Hunter.
Most of all, the pair enjoy working outside and with Terry, their “favorite boss.” While there is a lot of hard, physical work at Calvary, they work as a team. Terry, they say, isn’t a micromanager; he expects professional results and treats them as valued team members. Hunter and Jake also like Terry’s progressive stance on constant improvement. The two have learned a lot about customer service and running an enterprise. Under his management, they’ve seen the cemetery constantly improve with new sections, a new watering service (done by Hunter) and new efficiencies with better equipment.
“He’s like an entrepreneur. It’s like it’s his business,” said Hunter about Terry’s constant push for improvement.
Terry says he’s been blessed with great help over the last 25 years, and that Jake and Hunter are no exceptions.
“What I tell everyone is that a man is only as good as his tools…and help,” said Terry.
Terry says he strives to develop teamwork and coordination with his crews.
“It’s a huge help when the right hand knows what the left hand is doing,” he said. “It’s also important to have a little fun somewhere in the mountain of work we have.”