By Brigid Mark
Mike Kreitzer has been making a quiet difference at our school for 16 years as a member of the custodial staff. While his work might often go unnoticed, it does not lack in dignity or value.
One of his jobs is to empty the trash cans in every classroom. Kreitzer often takes it upon himself to pick out recyclables carelessly tossed in the trash and puts them in the proper container. He chooses to make the world a better place even when no one is watching, a testament to his character.
Aside from his work at our school, Kreitzer plays saxophone in a rock and roll band. In December of this year, his band, The Fabulous Armadillos, played at 20 shows, each show drawing a crowd of at least 180 people. Last semester, his band played a tribute to Pink Floyd at the Paramount Theater in St. Cloud; Kreitzer had two songs full of solos that brought thunderous applause from the audience. “Mike’s face lights up when he’s on stage. You can really see how much he loves what he does, and that joy comes out in every piece he plays,” CSB junior Julia Abell said.
Kreitzer has toured the country, making his living as a musician. He met his wife at one of his concerts and married her soon after. After travelling with the band for a while, he and his wife settled down and raised a family. Now, he and his wife have been married for 37 years and his daughter has children of her own. Kreitzer enjoys seeing his grandchildren as much as possible and they often come to watch him play saxophone.
Kreitzer’s salient values of family, hard work and music were shaped by his upbringing. He began playing saxophone in 1966. With a family of seven siblings and little money to go around, he was surprised that his parents supported his love for saxophone. At one point when Kreitzer considered quitting, his father encouraged him to stick with it.
To Kreitzer, music is incredibly powerful, allowing him to forget about everything else. He wishes he could thank his father for giving him the gift of music. When Kreitzer plays saxophone today, he hopes that his deceased father can hear it in heaven.
Kreitzer’s father worked his whole life in a factory and was only allowed to rest for two years in retirement before he passed away. Like his father, Kreitzer works incredibly hard, bringing beauty and value to all that he does, whether it be to music or to custodial work.
When asked what he wishes he could tell students of CSB/SJU, Kreitzer encouraged students to find happiness in their work.
“I guess it would be to not be afraid to change jobs or careers, even if it was to be for less money, or something you didn’t go to school for,” Kreitzer said. “If you’re in a good mood at work every day, most the other things in life will be a lot easier.”
Kreitzer is just one of the many people on campus with an untold story. It is important to get to know the everyday heros around us.
FEATURE PHOTO COURTESY OF MIKE KREITZER, GRAPHIC BY JILLIAN SCHULZ • [email protected]