BUFFALO — In the 26 years West Seneca Central School District Unit President Darryl Hertel has been a custodian at the district, he’s made an impact on numerous people.
Whether it’s existing CSEA members, new employees or countless students, Hertel truly knows how to leave a lasting impression.
That’s why Hertel is the 2023 recipient of the CSEA Membership Achievement Award, which was recently awarded at our union’s 113th Annual Delegates Meeting.
“No one epitomizes the words steadfast, strong, influential, strong willed and compassionate like Darryl does,” said West Seneca Central School District Unit Treasurer Sheri Hawley, who nominated him.
Hawley, who’s worked alongside Hertel for years, cannot say enough about his commitment to helping others.
In her nomination, she described how he went to every single school in the district to visit with members, as well as nonmembers to hear their concerns. In a little over a month, Hertel got 35 people to become members.
“Not only did he get them to join, he put a face with a name, he gave them the important feeling of being welcomed and valued and he let them know someone cares,” said Hawley.
Hertel said he loves to help people and he knows being in the union helps his colleagues.
“My favorite part about being in the union is helping people – helping good people,” said Hertel.
Hertel had once stepped back from his role as a unit president several years ago to focus on being a resource for newer activists, but he couldn’t stay away from our union and his desire to help people. He became active in the Erie County Educational Employees Local and now serves as 1st Vice President of the local.
Soon afterward, Hertel’s unit president passed away. Hertel stepped up and reassumed the role of President because he knew that unit members needed a leader.
“As a fellow officer, I cannot begin to tell you how Darryl advocates for all of us,” said Hawley. “How he is the first to lend a hand, listen and tackle a problem. His passion for the union is infectious. We are better because of his advocacy and that he is our brother.”
In addition to his union activism, Hertel has managed to leave a lasting, positive impression on the countless students in his district. Hertel has worked in the high school since 2019, and before that, he worked in the elementary school, middle school, and eventually made his way to where he is now in the high school.
As many of the students progressed through their academics and moved schools, Hertel moved with them. That’s why one student recognized Hertel as a positive role model for her for a school assignment.
— Madison Ruffo