During Veterans Week in Cherry Creek Schools, Nov. 5-9, 2018, we salute all veterans and active-duty servicemen and women, including those who now work for CCSD. We thank them for their service to our nation and to our students, staff, schools and community! It’s our pleasure to introduce you to Navy veteran Ricky Alemany, who is the district roofer.
Most people probably don’t realize that Cherry Creek Schools has a district roofer. But with 86 facilities built at different times over the past 68 years and more than 3 million square feet of roof surface protecting some 55,000 students and 8,000 staff members, it’s an important position.
“We make sure we keep water off your heads,” Alemany said with a smile. That means he is always on the go, visiting buildings across the district’s 108 square miles to perform preventative maintenance or respond to reports of leaks.
“I check it out and determine if it’s a plumbing leak, an HVAC leak or a roofing leak,” Alemany explained. “I find it and fix it.”
He also works with the district’s roofing consultant and roofing contractors on large repair and replacement jobs. He says the best part of his job is the instant gratification that comes when he can fix a leak, minimize damage and keep students and staff dry and comfortable. The most challenging part of his job is the temperature extremes he faces.
“In the summertime, if it’s 90 degrees outside, the roof temperature is about 150-160 degrees, so it’s pretty hot,” he said. “But the other extreme is if it’s cold out and we’re working on a ballasted roof, which is a roof that’s held down by rocks, and it’s completely frozen, we have to take torches and heat guns up there, just to thaw out the area we’re trying to fix.”
But handling challenges is nothing new to Alemany, who spent seven years in the Navy as an aviation electrician.
“Electronics and aviation fascinated me. I got to work on different types of aircraft and with different types of people. I got to learn a lot,” Alemany said. He was stationed in San Diego and served on aircraft carriers, where he worked on aerial refueling systems on Navy planes. He did two, six-month tours of the western Pacific, visiting Australia, Tasmania, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the Persian Gulf. He says the travel was a double-edged sword.
“It was amazing. I know I wouldn’t have been able to do that on my own dime, but it was challenging too, because I was leaving my family behind. I’m all about family and being with family, and leaving them was not something I liked at all.”
In fact, family is what led Alemany to the military in the first place. He was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the U.S. when he was ten years old. He married his high school sweetheart, Jennifer, and became a father to daughter Tori, when he was just 17.
“I knew that working at the local grocery store or working for my dad at the car dealership wasn’t going to pay the bills. I Joined the Navy mainly out of necessity at first, but I felt a duty to serve as well.”
Alemany and his wife had a second daughter, Katie, while he was still in the service. Son Ricky Jr., who goes by R.J., arrived after Alemany retired from the Navy. A few years after R.J.’s birth, the family moved to Colorado. Five years ago, Alemany began working for Cherry Creek Schools, first as a building engineer at Ponderosa Elementary, then as a member of the district Facility Operations team, and finally, as the district roofer. In 2015, he was named a Cherry Creek School District All Star because of his outstanding service to the district. He later joined the district’s Employee Recognition Committee, which hosts the All Star Awards Dinner and other employee recognition events.
“When I got the All Star Award I was completely honored. It was so great,” he recalls. “So to be able pay it forward and recognize other people – it’s one of the greatest things the district does and I’m proud to be part of that as well.”
He’s also proud to work for a school district that that takes the time to recognize the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans and active-duty military members.
“I’m honored, humbled. It’s just amazing the support the district, the students, the parents, the community puts toward Veterans Week. It makes me feel proud.”
Cherry Creek Schools salutes Ricky Alemany and other veterans on our staff for their dedication to our country and our district. We thank them and all of our nation’s heroes for their service and sacrifice. Veterans and active-duty servicemen and women will be celebrated during Veterans Week events at every school in the district. Get a complete listing of those events here.