Mr. Crawford

Just a Janitor?

I was speaking with a good friend over lunch the other day when he began to share his frustration at having to deal with pretentious people in his line of work.  As he put it, many of the people that he deals with are primarily concerned with prestige and unabashed promotion of their personal accomplishments. Often, he observed, those accomplishments come at the cost of personal integrity and therefore are nothing to be proud of. For my friend, who is a far more humble man, this has become a cause of frustration and anxiety.

His comments put me in mind of an article I had recently read about a man named William “Bill” Crawford.  Bill Crawford was a janitor at the U.S. Air Force academy back in the 1970’s.  Crawford, or Mr. Crawford as he was referred to by the cadets, performed his janitorial duties with an inconspicuous dependability that one would expect of a man who worked at a military academy. Col. James Moschgat who was a cadet at the Academy during Bill Crawford’s tenure remarked, Sadly, and for many years, few of us gave him much notice, rendering little more than a passing nod or throwing a curt, “G’morning!” in his direction as we hurried off to our daily duties.“ “Why? Perhaps it was because of the way he did his job-he always kept the squadron area spotlessly clean, even the toilets and showers gleamed.  Frankly, he did his job so well, none of us had to notice or get involved.  After all, cleaning toilets was his job, not ours.

What then cadet Moschgat and his fellow students did not know, but were soon to find out, was that their janitor, Bill Crawford, was a highly decorated WWII vet.  The following are the impressive list of military awards that Mr. Crawford had won in his career as an infantryman in Europe and later as a Master Sergeant in the U.S Army:


crawford-smKnowledge that Bill had such a stellar military career would have in itself, immediately raised Bill’s image in the view of the Academy cadets, but what catapulted him into star status is that along with the impressive list of commendations and medals, Bill Crawford was also one of a very small number who have received the Congressional Medal of Honor.  The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished him or herself at the risk of their own life, above and beyond the call of duty, in action against an enemy of the United States.  Such was the case with Bill Crawford.

When cadet Moschgat approached the seemingly unremarkable janitor about this new revelation Bill Crawford replied, “That was one day in my life and it happened a long time ago.  Bill Crawford was anything but unremarkable.  He was in fact, a remarkably humble man who had led an exemplary military career.  If anyone had reason to boast, William Crawford certainly did, but that was not his nature.  crawfordHe chose instead to live his life quietly while faithfully serving the staff and students of the Air Force Academy; however, from the moment that Bill’s accomplishment became public knowledge, he ceased to be an unremarkable fixture at the Academy.  From that day forward, Bill Crawford was viewed by cadets and staff alike as an honored asset of the Academy, a model of heroism and humility.  Though he never ceased serving as a janitor at the Academy, he was honored in many ways throughout his Academy career.  William Crawford died in the year 2000 at the age of 81.  He is the only non-U.S. Air Force enlistee to be buried at the Air Force Academy cemetery.  “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” 1 Peter 5:6

You think about that… (This text should be at least 12)

God Bless You and See You on the Road. (and this text larger than the line above it.)

Bob Anton: Christian Motorcyclists Association

For more information on CMA or questions or comments concerning this column, please contact Bob Anton at 631-897-8122 or

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