Redeemer's Maintenance Men

Our maintenance team stays busy all year round, but the winter time provides a little extra work for them.  Since we're predicting snow this weekend, let's all take a minute to appreciate what they do and get to know the names & faces behind all the hard work!


So, tell me a little about yourselves - who are you guys?

MaintenanceMy name is Jon Dierlam (left). I have been working for Redeemer full time for 2.5 years. I currently go to Ivy Tech. Between class and work I stay busy. But outside of work and school some of my hobbies are mountain biking, downhill skiing and in the summer I like to wakeboard.  I also really enjoy wood working and working with my hands, God has given me a great gift of being able to work with my hands and understand how things work. As a little kid I was always liked taking things apart to see how they work and liked fixing broken things. This gift makes working at Redeemer something that I enjoy.

My Name is Sam Earnest (right). I have been working for Redeemer part time for almost 4 years. I graduated from Herron High School in 2014. I am taking a year off with plans to attend college in the fall. I am still thinking of possibly joining the military. I like music, painting and working on my truck. I also like to bike and lift weights. I have a dog and her name is Lucy.

My Name is Jeff Earnest (middle). I have been with Redeemer a little over 4 years and currently manage the facility. My career has been evenly divided between sales and operations / facility management. I’ve been married to Julie since 1987 and we have two sons: Sam (mentioned above) and Kyle, who is a Marine. We live in a house built in 1925 which, as expected, is in constant need of attention. I enjoy reading and, back before my days filled up, wrote poems, painted and made jewelry. I enjoy most every (reasonable) music genre both old and new.

What kind of hours do you guys work?  What's the latest you've ever stayed at the church?

Maintenance Team: We are on call 24/7 and have been at the facility all hours in the night to take care of false fire alarms and equipment default alarms.

We are typically staffed Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 10:00 pm with a long break in the evening between the two shifts. Event cleaning typically happens between 10:00 pm and 3:00 am. We are staffed 7 days per week.

Wow!  That's a lot of hours. What are some of the big tasks & projects that you guys take on year round? 

MT: Except for scheduled, seasonal maintenance like winterizing building, gutter cleaning and carpet cleaning, etc., large projects change from year to year depending on the facility’s needs. We do all kinds of projects from rust remediation of the gym windows, patching roof leaks, stabilizing the stained glass windows to relatively smaller projects like plumbing repairs, painting, pew repairs... the list goes on!

What are some additional projects you have to add in the winter?

MT: In the winter, it’s all about keeping an eye on the forecast and keeping on top of the situation. Because our building is shared and used at all hours, plowing the parking lot is a tremendous challenge. The plow has never been able to plow an empty lot and finding a place to pile the snow has not always been easy.

What is the biggest or most unusual winter maintenance project you've ever had to take care of? How about in general?

MT: Removing as much as 6-8 inches of ice from the sanctuary roof (a BIG thanks to Doug Jesch!!). The flat sections of the roof must be shoveled if we get too much snow & ice.

Geesh!  Shoveling the roof.  Winter sounds rough on you guys. How many pounds of salt does it take to keep the parking lot and walkways/sidewalks clear each winter? How many did you go through last winter?

MT: A typical application which gets all the sidewalks, stairs, ramps and parking lot uses anywhere from 300 to 500 lbs. Last winter we used 4800 lbs. of salt

What is the strangest animal you've ever had to get out of the building?  Tell us the story!Bat

Jeff: A bat was found in our maintenance office hanging from the ceiling. I was able to get him airborne with a spray of water and then spent a minute or so doing an awkward ducking dance. He disappeared within the exposed block wall that supports the metal ceiling joists and would not come out until I played some bat vocals found on YouTube; worked like a charm. With broom in hand, I convinced him to rest on the floor until we got him covered with a container bottom to take him outside. He was not happy (See picture). Once outside, he flew away and Jon replaced the worn vent screen in our attic space. Hopefully we won’t have any more bats!

To wrap us up, what are some of the ways we're trying to save money?  What about reducing our environmental impact?

We are using occupancy sensors where possible, changing lights in the facility to LED or florescent,  replacing old T12 lights and ballasts with newer, more efficient, T8 technology. We have sealed most of the gaps in the windows, upgraded to programmable thermostats, and are replacing old sections of the facility roof using a white membrane instead of black and having them installed with extra insulation.

Thanks to the maintenance staff for all of your hard work, and for taking time out of your VERY busy day to help us get to know you a little better!  Thank you for taking good care of our building - keep up the good work!