Custodian by day, Photographer by night

One WSC custodian reminisces about 2014 tornadoes


Justise Brundage

Joe Reklaitis

Justise Brundage, Staff Writer

One man on campus has many hats and a huge heart.

Joe Reklaitis is the custodian of Bob Cunningham Field, Stadium Services, baseball and softball buildings and part of Anderson Hall. He also works at KTCH/KCTY Radio in Wayne. Born in Sheboygan, WI, Reklaitis grew up nearby the city and graduated from Trinity Bible College, Ellendale, North Dakota with a degree in Biblical Studies and a minor in business management.

“I also lived in Miller, S.D. and Sioux Falls, S.D. I worked at KNWC Radio in Sioux Falls for 3 years part time,” Reklaitis said. While living in Sioux Falls, he met his wife in Wayne when visiting old college friends. They have been married for 12 years and have two boys, ages ten and eight, and one girl who is seven. Reklaitis said there are many reasons to love Wayne State College, but the students are what makes the college. “I enjoy the balance of alone time and interaction with students. I am here for the students,” Reklaitis said. “I hope what I do makes life for the students at Wayne State a lot better.” Reklaitis has seen a lot while working at WSC; one memorable moment he mentioned was running from a tornado.

On June 30, 2014, two weeks after the Pilger and Coleridge tornadoes, Reklaitis was in the basement of Berry Hall during a tornado warning at 8 a.m. with the American Red Cross, which was staying there after giving assistance to Pilger and Coleridge.

“Later that morning, I drove home to try to beat the second wave of storms. A tornado warning was issued a few minutes after I was north of Wayne. I had to make a decision to go back to Wayne or head north,” Reklaitis said. “I headed north back home, which turned out to be the best course of action because large tree branches fell on campus.” Relaitis has always been interested in weather, as well as photography. “I like to take weather related photos or videos and send them to TV stations in Sioux City, Sioux Falls, Omaha and Lincoln,” Reklaitis said.

He has had photos or videos on all four TV stations in Sioux City and at least one in Sioux Falls.

“WOWT in Omaha used my video when John Dunning returned and was welcomed back to Wayne last year,” Reklaitis said. “Not all of my photography has been weather-related, but has been used also on the news portion of newscasts.”