Students honor the memory of Luray Middle School custodian 'Beetle' Bailey

Published: Mar. 6, 2017 at 11:01 PM EST
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UPDATE (Apr. 7):

"We just hope this helps to keep his memory alive," said Luray Middle School teacher Tricia Runyan.

In March, WHSV took you to Luray Middle School, where a group of students and their teachers were making a "Blessing Box" to help feed people in the community.

The school dedicated that box Friday and installed it in its permanent location in front of the school.

Its name is "Beetle's Blessing Box," in honor of the school's custodian who suddenly passed away last month.

The students said dedicating it to him made sense, because he was the most giving person they knew.

Now, they hope it will continue to give back in his honor.


Board by board, students with Campaign for Christ are building a blessing in the shape of a box.

"Just to know that somebody's going to be fed tonight makes your heart a little bit warmer," Luray Middle School teacher Tricia Runyan said.

The box will sit outside the school with food items donated by students to help other students and their families who don't have enough to eat.

"They can come and help themselves after hours and nobody ever has to know," Runyan said.

"It makes me feel good inside that I get to help other people," seventh grader Lucas Atwood said.

It started as an idea from their teachers.

"We saw it a couple months ago originally. It intrigued us because we knew we had some families in need," Luray Middle School teacher Nicky Clark said.

The box gained inspiration last week, when the school's custodian Leonard "Beetle" Bailey suddenly passed away.

"It still hurts to hear that garbage can rolling down the hall in the morning," Runyan said.

"We just sorta threw it out there and said 'knowing what you know about him, what would you think about calling it Beetle's Blessing Box?'" Clark said.

"I think it's a good thing we're doing that. Beetle would give you the shirt right off your back if you needed it," Atwood said.

That's how everyone knew him.

"Whether it was a candy bar on your desk or you'd walk in and find a sausage biscuit sitting on your desk, there was no question where it came from," Runyan said.

"The thing I liked was when I would come out of lunch and he would give me a high five," Atwood said.

"Or a hug. That was his famous," Clark said.

Knowing that a box could never contain the blessings Beetle Bailey gave out everyday.

"We just hope this helps to keep his memory alive," Runyan added.

Food is being collected for the blessing box. Once the box is finished, Luray Middle School will honor Beetle Bailey with a ribbon cutting ceremony.

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