Deployed soldier’s workplace keeps him connected to home and friends

Kelly Cothren

The Campus Environment and Operations employees make it a point to help deployed employee Kyle Frazier, 43, feel closer to home. Since he left for duty on Aug. 24, they have used their own money to send him care packages.

“We hope to send Kyle something every other week,” said Michael McDonald, director of Campus Environment and Operations. “When you work at a place for so long you become part of a family. Kyle is definitely a major part of this family and it is our hope to make him feel not so far away.”

Frazier is the paint shop supervisor for the department and has worked for Kent State for 22 years.

Frazier has just recently moved to Ellet with his wife, Helen, an education assistant in Ellet schools, and their four daughters, Kara, 21; Kristen, 20; Cortney, 20; and Candace, 18. Kristen and Cortney are twins and Kara and Candace are currently students at Kent State.

Frazier’s call to duty was not a surprise to his family.

“We were actually expecting the call,” Helen said. “We got the call in June, and he was deployed at the end of August, so we had time to prepare.”

Currently in Iraq, Frazier is in training to repair generators for hospitals. Frazier is no stranger to the army and his military background is apparent in his work ethics, said Ed O’Connell, structure superintendent for Campus Environment and Operations and fellow employee.

“He worked as an (non-commissioned officer), so leadership comes very natural to him,” O’Connell said.

Along with his military work ethic, he also brought to the job a religious aspect.

“He was always saying proverbs and quotes from the Bible,” O’Connell said.

Despite his military persona, Frazier is known around the department as a fun and easy-going guy.

“With him, there is always a sense of friendship,” O’Connell said. “He is a very likable guy. No one has met him and not liked him. He is just so bubbly and he really lightens the atmosphere.”

His fun personality is apparent in some of the items placed in his care package.

“Sometimes we put in work orders for him with an attachment asking, ‘Why haven’t you done this?'” McDonald said. “This week some of us put in a coupon that is worth two beers at Ray’s.”

Frazier is scheduled to come back in roughly two years. He is still the supervisor; he is just on a leave, McDonald said. When he comes back he will have the same classification, rank and pay.

Ian Lucas is currently taking over most of the responsibilities for Frazier, but everyone in the department is doing their part, O’Connell said.

“He is a major loss to the department because he is such a valuable worker, but then again, he is a great gain to the military as well,” McDonald said.

Contact building and grounds reporter Kelly Cothren at [email protected].