Serving With Her Heart and Hands
Celebrating 42 Years with Housekeeping’s Irene Brazier
In the calm darkness before dawn, Dana (Guzman) Adeoye ’99 would head toward Housekeeping, where she would meet up with Irene Brazier to begin her morning shift as a student worker. During the early hours on the quiet campus, Adeoye remembers Brazier’s inspiring work ethic and heart for the Lord.
“I would hear her sing beautiful praise songs at 5:30 in the morning as she worked before most people started to come on campus,” says Adeoye. “She also showed me what true ‘fruit’ really is: love, peace, joy, goodness and self-control. She … showed me that loving and seeking God is something that becomes a part of your everyday life.”
Brazier, a mother of 14 who was married to her husband for 51 years (until his passing), worked full-time on the housekeeping staff into her 80s, then 20 hours per week until her retirement this past December at age 87.
Her morning praises and mentorship continued during her astounding 42 years of service. In the midst of all the changes to campus during her time at Bethel, her quiet presence, steadfast faith and strong work ethic left an indelible mark on the college.
“She most definitely inspired me more than anyone else,” says Karen Horvath ’97, who also worked alongside Brazier from 1989 to 2001. “She made me feel so loved, and [it was] genuine. [She is] a true Christian in every sense of the word … I loved her saying ‘Bless this mess,’ … that was our favorite.”
Brazier’s co-workers loved her famous singing and sayings, but they also admired her extraordinary work ethic.
“She’s still a very hard worker,” says Paula Snyder, team leader of custodial services. “Some days, she could still run circles around me.”
In the eyes of her co-workers, Brazier’s dedication was a result of her love for the college and the people who were a part of it.
“She worked here for so long because of her passion to do things for people. She always said, ‘It’s the people.’ Bethel is her heart and her second home,” says Snyder.