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Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016

Remsen 'scrub woman' honored for her industry and caring

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Like Carol Burnett's Char Woman character and Mrs. 'Arris, the honest, hard-working cleaning woman, a series of Paul Gallico stories, Kathleen Groepper, Remsen's Citizen of the Year, takes pride in her work of cleaning for others.

"I love it," said Groepper, whose official title is custodian for the city; but who calls herself the city's scrub woman.

"I like cleaning, I always have. I like helping older people, too, so, when I get done here, I do that."

As City Clerk Steve Pick said before her name was announced at Remsen's Chamber of Commerce dinner this weekend, "This person's humbleness is saintly."

Pick described Groepper as a person who has worked hard her whole life, going above and beyond any call of duty whether it is with her job, her neighbors, her church or in day-to-day living.

For example, although it is not her job to pick up litter on city streets, she does exactly that when she's out and about. "I don't like to see it and I've got the pickup so I just throw it in," she explained.

Said Pick, "This person is on the move from sun-up to sundown. If there are 10 minutes of sunlight left in the day, maybe the lawn could get mowed."

Pick pointed out that Groepper volunteers for numerous tasks, seen and unseen, which are often taken for granted, at St. Mary's Church.

Groepper also enjoys seasonal decorating which she shares with the community at city hall, often making the most attractive creations out of nothing, according to Pick.

In his announcement he also told how Groepper is "constantly looking out for neighbors and other elderly in the community" looking for, and finding, ways to make their lives a little happier.

"It would be nothing for her to bake a batch of cookies, brownies or cake to bring to a neighbor who wouldn't have that opportunity to savor the flavor of home baked goods.

"Children in the neighborhood know her as grandma from all her fussing and attention she gives them," revealed Pick. He said she was "MOM" to many she treats as her own.

Her "scrub woman" duties were also examined at the Chamber dinner.

Said Pick, "At work, it's nothing but business! Dust and dirt don't have a chance to settle and dirty windows never get too dirty. She redefines the word immaculate."

But she goes beyond the required often beginning with the question, "Is there anything else I could help you out with?"

Groepper volunteers to organize, head and assist in the planting of flowers on Remsen's boulevard. She tends to the weeding and watering of one of the beds herself and, "if there are five minutes of light left in the day, she may pull a few weeds in another bed."

Said Groepper of the honor, "It's just wonderful. I have just wonderful people to work with. I'm proud to be part of this community."

She concluded, "But don't say too much. I don't like that."

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