To Mississippi County, Wayne Breckenridge is many things: a full-time Blytheville fireman, a community volunteer, a gamer, a helping friend. To the Mississippi County Library System, he’s all these things and more. For the last three years, Wayne has been the System’s handyman, taking on odd jobs and projects and working hard to help make the county’s libraries a fun, attractive, and safe place.
Most of the library’s buildings are aging. The Osceola Branch is over 100 years old; the Blytheville Branch is pushing 50. Older facilities require constant maintenance and improvement projects. “Wayne helps us stay on track,” says MCLS director Lowell Walters, “as a fireman, he’s very up-to-date on safety issues. If he sees something that could be a problem, he lets us know and takes care of it right away.” Wayne stays on top of fire alarms, exit signs, and entrance issues. The door at the Osceola branch was coming out of its frame, which kept it from locking properly and allowed pests into the building. Wayne not only rebuilt the frame, he produced a custom-made door that will keep the branch secure and draft-free for years.
While Wayne enjoys helping out with maintenance issues, the real thrill of the job comes in working with wood. “I enjoy taking a pile of wood, working with it, and finding an outcome,” he says. Wayne has made king-sized farmhouse beds, bookcases, shelving, and various other hand-crafted items for friends and family. “Hand-made means that no two items are the same. I can take a picture of something you like, then customize it to your needs, wants, and styles.” Wayne has put his creative flair to good use for the System. In addition to the Osceola Branch doors, he’s built a custom vanity for the Blytheville Branch and risers for the children’s area at the Keiser Branch. Next up on his to-do list are giant checker pieces, customized computer consoles, and a LEGO play table. Why does he do so much for the MCLS? “Libraries are always there,” Wayne comments, “What is the community’s need? The library is there to fulfill it. I like to be a part of that.”
Helping the Library System is a natural extension of Wayne Breckenridge’s full-time job: Blytheville Fireman. He’s been a Fire & Rescue professional for 19 years, starting out in upstate New York and moving to the Blytheville department 12 years ago. “The job stays interesting,” he says, “it’s a constant adrenaline rush. Everything changes, nothing stays the same.” Wayne started working as a fireman because “I enjoy helping people, being of service to the community.” Perhaps it is this sense of connection and community involvement that helped develop his interest in games. Wayne loves to play games, of all sorts (except Scrabble!). He’s looking forward to helping out with the new game night at the Blytheville Branch, Monday evenings at 6. Come out to meet Wayne and play a game with him!