A custodian from the Bay Ridge Library was honored for cleaning up a big fireworks mess outside the branch after the Fourth of July.
Brooklyn Public Library custodian Eddie Rodriguez went to work at the library at 7223 Ridge Blvd. on July 5 and saw a huge mess over the drain on the property.
“That was the first time in the six years that I’ve been at that particular branch that after the Fourth of July there was such a mess,” Rodriguez said. “It seemed that everyone happened to congregate on that corner with their fireworks and then just left. There was a mountain of powder, paper rings, debris. It was difficult to pick up.”
Rodriguez, a lifelong Dyker Heights resident, started to clean the debris as best as he could and also got some assistance from the neighbors.
“They felt bad that it looked so awful,” he said. “Some of the other neighbors were not involved in fireworks but they enjoyed the fireworks and felt partly responsible and cleaned. I do my best to have a good relationship with the community. We all want a nice and safe place to live.”
While Rodriguez was finishing up, his supervisor told him that Councilmember Justin Brannan’s office had received photos of the mess. When asked if he wanted the Sanitation Department to come and clean it up, he told him it was all done already.
“He was in shock,” Rodriguez said.
According to the BPL, Rodriguez has “also been coming in throughout the entire pandemic, in spite of some of his own health issues, and is a favorite staff member, going above and beyond with patrons and neighbors and treating the library as if it were his own property.”
Rodriguez received a citation for his efforts on July 22.
“It was extremely overwhelming,” he said of the ceremony. “I’ve never been recognized for anything in my professional life. So something like this hit me emotionally. It was a nice and very humbling experience.”
Brannan expressed his appreciation for Rodriguez’ work on Facebook.
“This isn’t Eddie’s job, but he did it anyway because he cares and takes pride in his job and his community,” Brannan said.