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Recycling Guru Honored for Humanitarian Efforts

By Ioana Patrigenaru | June 16, 2006

Alonso Noble
Principal Exemplary Employee of the Year
Alonso Noble
Assistant Superintendent Landscape Services and Refuse and Recycling

More info: his daughter, Cymbeline, is an Airman 1st Class in the Air Force; his son, Rowan, is an engineering student at UCSD

Get to work at 6 a.m., supervise 17 UCSD employees in the Facilities Management department. Find ways to boost recycling on campus. Head home around 2:30 p.m. Go visit the county jail in Vista and take part in a Bible study there. If necessary, drive your wife to work at Camp Pendleton in the middle of the night.

This is what one of Alonso Noble’s days can look like. And Monday, he was rewarded for his work on and off campus with the Principal Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Award for 2005-06. In his spare time, Noble also volunteers to feed the homeless and collects donations for them through his church. He also is a devoted father to his 26-year-old daughter and 22-year-old son, said Noble’s boss, Chuck Morgan.

Noble received his award, including $2500, during a ceremony at the Faculty Club Monday. Nine other employees also were honored, receiving $1500 each.

“We all know that without staff, the whole institution would close down,” Chancellor Marye Anne Fox told the honorees, their families and university administrators. “You’re compiled a superlative record of achievement.”

Noble said he at first had trouble believing his boss when he told him about the award. Noble was in the carpool lane, driving one of UCSD’s hybrid cars on his way back from a meeting about recycling at UC Irvine when Morgan called to tell him the news.

“I said ‘Praise the Lord,” Noble recalled. “All Glory and Honor belongs to God.”

Indeed, faith is an important part of Noble’s life.

Exemplary Employees
Ten employees received Exemplary Staff Employee of the Year Awards last week. They pose here for a group picture with Assistant Vice Chancellor Rogers Davis.

Click here for more information about the awardees.

“This is work I do for man,” he said of his job as an assistant superintendent for Landscape Services and Refuse and Recycling. “What I do outside is work for the Lord. I consider myself a Christian and as a Christian, you go and do what you can to help your fellow man.”

For Noble, that means spending at least three hours twice a month at the Vista Detention Facility, where volunteers organize services and Bible study groups for inmates, male and female. He says volunteering there was one of the best decisions he’s ever made.

“I feel like I’m doing something meaningful,” he said. “There’s a lot of pain, a lot of misery, a lot of bitterness there, especially among women.”

To alleviate some of that pain, Noble said he tries to share the message of hope that the Bible brings. And Noble is very, very good at it, said volunteer Chaplain Cliff Sumerall, who coordinates the program for the Catholic Diocese of San Diego Detention Ministry. Noble is dedicated, he’s always on time and he knows his Scripture, Sumerall said.

“I think his heart is in the right place with God,” the chaplain said. “He just says he’s having the greatest time of his life.”

Noble also said he plans to work with North County Solutions for Change in Vista, a shelter for homeless women and children. He says religion has been part of his life since childhood. But it has taken on a more important role in the past decade.

“I matured into faith,” he explained.

He belongs to the Faculty and Staff Christian Fellowship, a non-denominational group which holds a weekly Bible study meeting on campus. At UCSD, he calls some of his co-workers “brother.”

Noble is originally from the Philippines and came to the United States in 1982, looking for better opportunities for his family. He started out in Ventura County and then moved to San Diego. He got a job at UCSD on Jan. 15, 1985, and has been on campus ever since. In the past 21 years, he worked his way up from groundskeeper to assistant superintendent, working as an equipment operator and lead groundskeeper along the way. His son, Rowan, is an engineering student at UCSD. His daughter, Cymbeline, is an Airman 1st Class in the Air Force based in Nevada. His wife is a nurse at Camp Pendleton and sometimes gets called into work in the middle of the night, said Morgan, Noble’s boss. She doesn’t like to drive, so Noble takes the wheel to get her from their home in Vista to her job in Fallbrook, he said. He shows similar dedication at work, Morgan added.

“Alonso just has a heart for always doing the very best,” he said. “He feels responsible all the time.”

Noble is always willing to help out, said Daniel Fonseca, a customer service representative in Facilities Management. Fonseca said he calls Noble every couple of days with questions. Noble always answers, even if he’s on his way out of the office. He isn’t just about work, either, Fonseca said -- actually, he’s a really funny fellow.

“He comes in on rainy days and he does the ducky dance,” Fonseca said.

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