Mallory Meets…Dan Leonard

Butler flowers. Always appreciated but never really thought about. In the case of flora, appearance garners appreciation. If their beauty doesn’t catch the eye, flowers aren’t given a second glance.

One man’s mission is to help Butler’s flowers get that first glance, along with the second.

He has spent most of his life behind the scenes with his handiwork in plain sight.

Working outside has always been the best part of his job.First as a park ranger in Virginia, and now tending to the myriad of flowers around campus.

With no wife, no kids and no immediate family to go home to, this man pours his life into his work.

You might catch him riding his tractor, pulling a tank of water or watering the vast nursery Butler boasts.

To him, his job is his life, and his flowers are his family.

Flowers, much like kids, need to be nurtured and fed from the day they are born. With a steady hand he meticulously plants them then continues to water them every day. Wind tousling the hair that isn’t trapped under his Butler cap, he makes sure every bloom is watered.

For 23 years, they’ve grown in his care.

People talk about having different “seasons of life.” His consist only of spring, summer and fall, the seasons his flowers are in bloom.

I guess you could say he does have children. Children of many shapes and sizes that come in and out of his life every few months.  His job really is a labor of love. But everyone can enjoy the fruits of his labor. It is in the array of flowers that catch everyone’s breath around campus.

His family really is his flowers, and he couldn’t be happier.

Editor’s note: This new weekly column explores the thought that everyone has a story to share. Most people, however, aren’t asked to share their stories, so these people go unheard and unnoticed. We in “Arts, Etc.” want to find those stories and bring them to light. We hope to introduce many people to the greater Butler community through this weekly column. The catch is that we are sticking to a 300-word limit to share these stories from across campus. 

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