Six groundskeeping employees and a foreman maintain nearly 400 acres of property year-round at Copperas Cove ISD. For 11 years, groundskeeper Darrell Kirk has taken pride in ensuring that the lawns of schools and district facilities are pristine. Shrubs are trimmed, tree branches are cut, and playgrounds are ready for students to play in a safe environment.
Although school is not in session, the grass is still growing and needs to be mowed, especially with the heavy rains Central Texas has sustained over the last couple of months.
CCISD Maintenance Department Director Mark Stahl selected Kirk as the CCISD Maintenance Department Employee of the Year.
“Darrell stands out because he is always busy. He has a very strong work ethic. Darrell is not the type of person to wait for work to come to him. He tends to create tasks, as there is always something to do,” Stahl said. “Many times, people have witnessed him picking up trash on his lunch break.”
Kirk’s background includes ranching which helped develop his strong work ethic and his gift of being able to quickly problem solve.
“Many people may not be aware that he lost his vision in one of his eyes while working for the school district,” Stahl said. “However, this injury has not slown him down one bit, and he still maintains a very positive demeanor about work and life in general.”
Stahl said Kirk is not one to complain and accepts direction and moves forward in a positive manner.
“This has a positive effect on employees who may be disgruntled at times,” Stahl said. “Darrell is humble and kind. He would gladly do whatever it takes to help someone else in need or to get a job completed.”
Although Kirk is assigned to the grounds department, he willingly assists with other areas in the maintenance department when needed.
“Darrell’s strong work ethic, friendly behavior, and humble spirit have a lasting positive effect on all of his colleagues, including me,” Stahl said. “I wish I had ten more Mr. Darrell Kirks in my department.”