What started as a summer job for Jerry Cleaveland at the Mundelein Park District has become a 40-year career that is still going strong.
This October marks Cleaveland's big anniversary. Times are much different from when he started cutting grass for the park district.
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"A buddy and I were looking to earn some money and responded to an ad in the paper; we got the jobs, and I never left," he said.
Since those early days, the park district has grown with new neighborhoods and covers more than 785 acres.
Cleaveland's responsibilities grew over the years from a member of a staff of two. Now, he oversees the maintenance of 33 parks and manages a staff of 12 full-time, as well as seasonal employees.
What has kept him with Mundelein Park District all these years?
"It was fun and interesting working here and still is," he said.
Another aspect that keeps Cleaveland in Mundelein is his deep roots in the area. Both he and his wife, Eileen, attended high school in Mundelein. Together they raised daughter, Rachael, and son Ryan in this tight-knit community of avid park-goers.
"Mundelein has really grown into an outstanding park district, and there is plenty to keep me busy," he said.
In his spare time, you're likely to see him teeing it up at Steeple Chase Golf Club (www.steeplechasegolf.com).