September 30, 2013
This week's hero is no stranger to education. Tom Short is a retired Orange County principal. Even after spending decades working in the Orange County School System and filling in as interim head master at Grymes Memorial School in Orange, he's still finding time to help students, faculty and staff.
Grymes has looked the same since 1955, but now thanks to Tom Short, there's a new addition called Gardner Hall.
The much needed building project had been at a standstill for months. The sight had been prepared, but there hadn't been any construction. That's when the former interim head master stepped in to lead the project. He agreed, but under one condition and that was that he would not get paid for the job.
"I was here every day...seven days and eight to ten hours. I spent a lot of time in the ground myself with pipes and trenches and saved quite a bit of money also," said Tom Short, Lead Building Project at Grymes Memorial School.
"I think we'd probably still be waiting to get into our new building (without Short's help) but as it is, we finished everything the Saturday before school started," said Penny Work, Head of Schools, Grymes Memorial School.
Soon Short had contractors on the site building the new facility. It houses about a dozen new classrooms for 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.
"I feel good. That's the good thing about doing good things for others, you're actually doing good things for yourself and it makes me happy," said Short.
Teachers say Short and his hard work have made a big difference for their school.
"He's worked so hard to help facilitate all of what you see here and he's generous in spirit and he's just a warm kind and loving man," said Melanie Handelsman, Teacher, Grymes Memorial School.
Many at Grymes call him a hero for leading this project and getting it done, but Short says it's just something he felt lead to do.
"I don't consider myself a hero. I'm just part of a team that motivated people," said Short.
That motivation has helped to create a better learning environment for students.