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Custodian recognized as top county employee

LAWRENCEVILLE - As pastor at Faith Free Full Gospel Church, Randy Stamper knows cleanliness is next to godliness.

But Stamper doesn't just take out the trash at his Buford home; he takes responsibility for cleaning all 500,000-square-feet of the Gwinnett Justice and Administration Center.

"If you didn't have people cleaning a facility or a school, just think about what a mess," said Stamper, who began working as a custodian for the county 20 years ago and now is the building services coordinator, supervising a crew of 10 and overseeing cleaning contracts. Last month, Stamper was named the government's employee of the year.

"First impressions mean a lot to people," Stamper said, "We want it to be clean so everybody gets the right impression of us."

He often relays to his staff how housekeeping is located in the basement of the county courthouse in Lawrenceville not because it isn't important but because it is "the foundation" of the government.

It isn't just about dusting, he said. For the past several weeks, his crew and the 25 county inmates who scour the courthouse every day have been concentrating on door knobs and handles, sanitizing the public facility to allay concerns about the swine flu.

"We want the public to feel comfortable," Stamper said.

While supervisors have lauded Stamper's work and his attitude, the Most Valuable Person prize was also awarded for the Buford native's community involvement.

For 12 years, he has been the head pastor of the church he grew up in, and in 1999 he helped found a teen center in Buford.

"As I grew up, we had an old gym we played in, but a lot of times kids had to play in the street," he said, adding that the Buford Youth Community Center had about 100 kids taking summer school classes, meeting with tutors and participating in activities.

"We're trying to do a lot in the community," he said of the center. "I'm quite proud of it."

A member of Buford's first championship football team in 1978 (he was a backup quarterback that year, but started the next two seasons), Stamper knows about hard work.

After attending a training session for custodial technicians last year, he created his own training session for his staff and graded them at an even higher level. Every staffer passed, he said with pride.

The father of four also takes the lessons he preaches in church and brings them into his day job.

"I try my best to treat everybody as fairly as I can," he said. "Most people will reciprocate that."

Judged by alumni from the Leadership Gwinnett program, the MVP award includes a $1,000 savings bond and a reserved parking spot.

"Randy is a very dedicated individual who is very passionate about his service to Gwinnett County on and off the clock, and we are certainly grateful for his commitment," County Administrator Jock Connell said.