Name: Edward Welker
Hometown: Mount Vernon, Ohio
Occupation: AVI Foodsystems Worker
Favorite Peirce Meal: Country Fried Steak
Relationship status: Married
Edward “Ed” Welker is the reason I go to Peirce everyday. While Peirce’s Facebook status updates of M&M cookies and brookies (brownie + cookie) would be enough to send me in a full-on sprint to the servery, the real treat is seeing Ed.
While this “Campus Cutie” differs from our normal format (nixing questions like “What are your thoughts on James Franco?” and “How do you get laid?”), sometimes we need to remember the value of getting to know some of the other great guys on our campus–to lay aside the dating game and make some great friends. For me, that perspective comes from Ed.
Ed works the 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. shift Monday-Saturday. He mops the floors, wipes the tables, puts out the fires at the toaster section and always finds the time to ask me how I’m doing—slipping me a pack of Skittles if he knows I’m having a particularly rough day.
Born and raised in Mount Vernon, Ohio, Ed has worked for AVI Foodsystems for the past five years, drawn to the job by the prospect of having summers off. Both of his sons also work for AVI. He’s been married for 32 years to his high-school sweetheart, who he met right here in Mount Vernon.
Though he initially chose Kenyon for the vacation leave, it’s become something more than that over the years. When asked why he likes coming to work every day, he responded without hesitation, “Being around the kids.” It’s obvious with every big grin he flashes at students as they walk by and asks, “How’s your day going?” that he means it.
Whenever I sit and work in New Side Thomas Hall, I watch as Ed stops at each table and asks students what they’re doing, how they’re work is coming, and then at those people’s seats who he knows particularly well, he starts talking about his Thanksgiving trip to Las Vegas or asks about our opinions on Obama. Sometimes, he’ll throw a Hershey’s kiss or Starburst our way if he’s too busy to talk—his way of letting us know that he can’t converse now, but he’s thinking about things he wants to talk about with us later.
To those athletes who stagger into Peirce after the dinner rush, sweaty and worn out from a particularly rough practice, Ed is a resolute reminder that someone is looking out for them. He’ll frantically search for the oft-missing Tabasco sauce that most of the men’s varsity teams are mysteriously obsessed with. He’ll talk to them about his side-business as a rental homeowner, making them forget the long night of work ahead.
Ed’s kindness, generosity, and bright smile are why he’s our first Campus Cutie of the year!