Philosophy of service

Mondain Sesay

A Gwinn staple, Patti Boyd has lived a life of service to her family and to the people around her.

In an interview with The Falcon, one of the first things she said was, “I don’t mind being a service to people, I get a reward for that. … If I’m able to work then I’ll stay to 70!” She has lived by this philosophy not only in her time in Gwinn Commons, but throughout her life.

Boyd was the fourth child out of 10 in her family, and was born and raised in Seattle. At age 18, her parents got divorced and she had to get a job to help her mother support her siblings. It was at her job at a dry cleaners that she met her husband.

“I actually met my in-laws before my husband. And then in he walks, and it was like, hey!” At the dry cleaners, “they had three cleaners, so I ran one of their stores for them. And then were the [medical] bouts with my boys.”

Boyd has raised two boys with her husband, and they have experienced significant medical issues with both children. Her oldest son was diagnosed with diabetes when he was five, and her youngest had cancer when he was seven

They practically lived in the hospital for about two years during chemo treatments. After that long ordeal, Boyd said she“wanted to do something for my boys. And I prayed because I thought we should do something, and the position at Vasa Park opened up. We were really excited; it was like a new beginning for us.”

The job at Vasa Park, a camping resort on Lake Sammamish, was wonderful for Boyd and her family. The best part was being able to take their kids on vacations in their downtime.

“It was hard work, but it was good. I feel very proud of that,” Boyd said.
After working at Vasa Park, Boyd got a job with Sodexo, Seattle Pacific University’s food service company, and they sent her all over Washington. “I went from [the University of Washington] to Quest to the Federal building, Boeing, ATS and then SPU,” Boyd said.

The best part of those jobs for Boyd was interacting with people and getting to know them.

Patti is one of the workers in Gwinn who greets students with a big smile each day. Maileca Gontinas | The Falcon

“At ATS, the mechanics for Southwest Airlines, there was only about five gals and 250 guys,” Boyd remembered. She loved hearing those women’s stories, and learning how they started on their dads’ airplanes and other machines when they were young. “You know, with their smaller fingers, it was easier for them to get into the finer workings of machinery. … There were some great people over there.”

Boyd loves working at SPU now, because she gets to be right with the students. The best part of working at Cocina del Sol, Boyd said, is that “I had students working with me in that and watching them grow and develop a work habit and being able to be hands on with them.”

She remembers a coworker telling her that a student said, “it was so great because [Boyd] taught me how to roll a burrito!” Boyd said that she felt great when she heard this, because , “Wow, I got to teach them something.”
Boyd loves getting up early and having the morning shift at Gwinn Commons to just get the day rolling and start working.

She credits that to her mom and “just the structure that she had taught us. I don’t mind cleaning; that’s how we were raised. I can incorporate what I learned at home into my work.”

Boyd is excited for the changes coming to Gwinn, like the Avant Garden section. The Gwinn leaders have meetings, she said, and “they want to hear the input, because everyone’s got their own little idea, and if we can put them together then they can build a bigger support on that.”

“I think that’s important; you do learn a lot from letting other people talk and put their input into it.”

Some words of wisdom Boyd has for students is “to go out and live your life to the fullest. I think that everyday matters. Wake up and look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re going to have a great day.”
And if you want to avoid the rush hour? According to Boyd, the best times to go to Gwinn are 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.