I Spy Someone making a difference.
Sylvia Savage gives a good 'first impression'by Corrie Lee Lacey
Sylvia Savage is a “first impression” person. For the past three years, she’s been a custodian in the Singleton building at Coastal Carolina University, and she devotes extra effort to ensuring that the front entrance of the building is spic-and-span – sure to leave a lasting impression on any visitor who walks through the door.
Savage was nominated for I Spy recognition through the employee recognition program initiated by Human Resources.
Born and raised in Conway, Savage moved to Socastee 10 years ago with husband Johnny. The two have opened their home to Sylvia’s daughter Cecily, 22, and two grandchildren, Andrew James, 3, and Antanasia Nicole James, 2.
“It’s a crazy household,” says Savage. “But we love those babies, and Johnny loves to spoil them.”
In 2009, Sylvia’s husband fell into a coma due to complications with a routine appendicitis surgical procedure. He was taken to the Medical University of South Carolina Hospital (MUSC) in Charleston, where he remained in a coma for three weeks. And although she had to take time off work to be with her husband, Sylvia stayed by his side.
“It was a really difficult time – emotionally and financially,” says Savage. She says she turned to God for comfort, and the CCU community was a big part of her support system. “Coastal really took care of me,” she says.
“Unfortunately, when the work stops and the income stops, the medical bills don’t stop,” says Savage. “But Coastal really helped me out. They allowed me to take time off but still ensured I was financially secure.”
Other Coastal community members stepped in to assist Sylvia as well.
“I am forever grateful for all the support I got from everyone at Coastal,” says Sylvia. “I am so lucky to be surrounded by such loving individuals.”
After the three-week coma, Johnny made a full recovery and will retire from groundskeeping at the Dunes Gulf Club next year.
Although the nightmare is over, Sylvia still has plenty on her plate.
In addition to raising her two grandchildren, Savage is a member of the Bethlehem #1 Missionary Baptist Church. She is a member of the choir (although she claims she’s not a very good singer), and the usher board, and she also mentors a child in the congregation.
Before coming to CCU, Savage worked for two years as an assistant manager at Shoe Show in Surfside Beach and at AVX for 22 years. But says she has fallen in love with the University.
“The people are so great to work with – from co-workers to Will Garland to President DeCenzo,” says Savage. “It is such an awesome community to be a part of.”
Savage works the first shift in the Singleton Building – paying particularly close attention to the front entrance.
“The front of the building is what everyone sees,” says Sylvia. “I make sure the entrance makes a good first impression for anyone who walks in the building.”
And people notice.
“Sylvia has the daunting task of keeping this floor spotless – and she does a stellar job,” says Melanie McKitrick, administrative assistant for the Provost. “There are a lot of important visitors and students who walk through our doors, and they are always greeted by a clean and inviting lobby.”
Sylvia says her goal each day is to provide a clean working environment –while working around everyone’s schedule.
“Some days are so hectic for the president’s and provost’s offices. I just want to get in and get out,” says Savage. “I don’t want to be in anyone’s way or be a distraction.”
Although Savage attempts to go unnoticed, many employees do, in fact, notice her.
“She always has a smile on her face, kind words to speak and cares about not only her job, but people as well,” says McKitrick. “She is a terrific person and a wonderful asset to CCU. We are lucky to have her taking care of us.”
Employees not only appreciate her work ethic, but her charismatic personality as well.
“Sylvia has joy about her and it shows in her smile and her work in the Singleton Building,” says Anne Monk, special assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of the President. “She makes Coastal a better place for our students, faculty and staff.”
To nominate someone on the CCU campus for I Spy recognition, go to the Human Resources link: