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Rivera dedicates time, maintains FC grounds

Many of the athletic duties at FC are performed by the grounds keeper and equipment manager, Valentine Rivera. His work includes keeping the fields and athletic supplies maintained. In addition to maintaining the grounds, Rivera does repair work at both FC campuses.

When Rivera first started working at FC, the job was not a full-time position. He decided to come out of retirement to start working for a small period of time each day.

“It was only supposed to be a part-time job,” Rivera said. “I had been retired for seven years already, and Chris Schultz, the athletic director at the time, offered me the job. I decided I?d take a whack at it since it was minimal hours when I started. I was working probably around 15 hours a week, only setting up athletic fields for sporting events.”

Before retiring and later coming to FC, Rivera inspected buildings for sixteen years in Sunnyvale, California.

“I worked for the city of Sunnyvale in the Bay Area as a building inspector before I retired,” Rivera said. “I worked there for approximately 16 years. I finally retired in 2004.”

Rivera’s main duties before football games include managing the equipment and setting up the gate and concessions. He also repaints the fields so that they are fresh for sporting events.

“I basically get everything set up for all the sporting events,” Rivera said. “Football takes a lot of work before every home game. The set up entails painting the fields, making sure that all the equipment used for the games is in working order, preparing the gate, and sometimes helping concessions get ready.

Along with the equipment needs, Rivera takes care of the fields and gyms, making sure they are ready for games.

“I also make sure that the grass is cut and ready,” Rivera said. “At any given time, there may be several games each week, so I have to make sure that the playing fields are prepared. Additionally, I set up the gym for the games inside. Setting up for all the high school and junior high games is a lot of work, but I work together with my athletic staff and we keep everything maintained.”

When necessary, Rivera pulls in lights for night games. He also also helps fix anything that may need repairs.

“I do some handiwork, depending on what needs to be done,” Rivera said. “If there is a light that needs to be changed or a door that needs to be repaired, I go and do it. I’m a bit of a handyman, I suppose; I do a little bit of everything.”

The atmosphere of a Christian school is one of the things Rivera appreciates about FC. He is glad that he can speak about his faith to any of the students or staff.

“One of the most common questions people ask me is, ?How do you like it here at Fresno Christian?? Rivera said. “I coached Little League baseball and football in Bay Area public schools for 26 years. I was never able to speak my faith to the kids because it?s simply not allowed. That?s one of my favorite things about Fresno Christian: I can talk to anyone about Christianity, whether it?s teachers, coworkers, or students.”

Being able to give Christian advice to the people at FC is one of Rivera’s favorite parts of working at a private school. He thinks that the ability to talk about Christianity can change the lives of the people at FC.

“Sometimes I have to speak for an event or a particular student wants an opinion about something that is troubling them, and I?m able to speak to them about God?s Word and try to steer them in the right direction,” Rivera said. “The atmosphere here at Fresno Christian is that we are able to talk about our faith, and sometimes that is a great thing that can change a person?s life.”

Rivera sees the contrast between the sports teams in the public schools he used to coach and FC. The number of people participating in the games is different from what he use to see.

“I don?t have a specific favorite [memory]; I have a lot of good memories,” Rivera said. “When I coached in the Bay Area, the baseball teams were quite large, and only a small portion of the students were able to play. Here, if you go out for a sport, you are going to play. I like that idea because at other schools, if the students were not star players, they would sit on the bench for most of the game.”

Rivera appreciates that students can show their talent even if they are not the best on the team. He thinks that colleges are more likely to see and give scholarships to students that wouldn’t normally get to play.

“Here, students can show their skills because they get to play,” Rivera said. “They may not be the best athlete on the field or in the area, but because they get to play, other small colleges are going to be able to see how they play. In a bigger school, they wouldn?t get that opportunity, but here at Fresno Christian, they do.”

According to Athletic Director Mick Fuller, Rivera is important at both FC campuses, mending equipment doing various other necessary tasks

“Val[entine]’s ability to accomplish the variety tasks required at FC is invaluable,” Fuller said. “Without his work many things would take longer to get done or would cost more because we would have to hire outside contractors for those jobs. His work helps us limit expenditures and use our resources effectively.”

Fuller is grateful for the number of tasks that Rivera is able to do around campus. He also appreciates Rivera’s personality and attitude around the other staff and students.

“Val is skilled at so many things,” Fuller said. “His background in construction gives him expertise in a variety of fields such electrical, plumbing, landscaping, and carpentry. In addition, he is able to make contacts with people who can provide materials or services for various projects. He is patient and relates well with coaches, students, parents and administration. Val blesses everyone at FC with his servant heart. He always has a good attitude and is a pleasure to work with.”

Lucas Lopez, ’14, is pleased with the condition of the field and thinks playing performance is better on a good baseball field.

“Without him, [Rivera] the baseball field would not be in the condition it is now,” Lopez said. “It always helps to have nice grass, soft dirt, and have a good field. It is just far nicer to play on a well-maintained field.”

Amy Savage, ’13, appreciates that Rivera maintains the quality of the soccer fields. She is grateful for the care he puts into them.

“He [Rivera] has kept the soccer fields looking really nice,” Savage said. “The grass is always green and lush. The lines have also always been perfect for games; it’s awesome what he does.”

In his spare time, Rivera enjoys fishing and spending time with his family. He also likes playing golf and traveling.

“I like to do a lot of fishing; I?m an avid bass fisherman,” Rivera said. “I also like to play golf and spend time with my grandchildren. I use to travel a lot with my wife; we did most of our traveling when we were younger, so we could go to places we might not be able to later in our lives.”

According to Rivera, there are plenty of benefits in going out for sports and people should take advantage of the ability to play at a private school.

“I encourage kids to play as many sports as they can,” Rivera said. “They will have fun, they will hone their skills, not only in the sport, but also by learning how to deal with situations and learning how to play and talk with others. In other schools they would get cut, so they should seize the opportunity.”

For more features, read the Feb. 15 article, Juniors produce ‘The Karate Kid’ parody for NOTS.

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