Off the Beaten Path: Swept away

Off the Beaten Path featured a signing janitor at Hoosier Prairie Elementary (WTHI Photo, Mike Latta)

VIGO COUNTY, Ind. (WTHI) – Looking around our country these days, it doesn’t take long to notice turmoil at every turn.

So, News 10’s Ross Rowling took a turn for the better at a local elementary school. He’s stopping ‘Off the Beaten Path’ to meet a school employee who uses his talents to bring people together; no matter their point of view.


From the outside, Hoosier Prairie feels like most elementary schools. Some unique architecture for sure, but still comfortably familiar.

There’s a flag hanging over the entrance to their gym, the stars and stripes a perfect match to the one janitor Richard Goodall lowers at the end of each day.

“A lot of us janitors are really jokey and jovial and walk down the hallway with a whistle and a pep in their step you know,” Goodall said.

He mops, polishes and does everything you’d expect a janitor to do.

“I like cleaning, making things clean making things look nice in the whole school.”

And then some.

“It’s just about the singing and making the people smile and forgetting about their problems. ”

As he sweeps, he sings. Loudly too.

“I would have one headphone in my ear and I’d be just in that moment and there would be a kid come up and say man you sound pretty good,” Goodall told News 10.

Of course, the kids think it’s cool. But lately there’s even more behind Goodall’s favorite tune.

“So many things are going on in this country and I don’t care what political arena you’re in, people are just so beside themselves either one way or another.”

So whether it’s while cleaning the school, in a contest, or at a local karaoke hotspot… Goodall keeps one thing in mind.

“For me, singing that song people just stop and they forget about democrat republican. It’s just one nation, under god, indivisible, for all.”

Just one guy trying to do his part until the curtain closes.