Home Away from Home

Jimmy Guss, RV’s head of campus security, shares his story

Lynsey Johnson, Staff Writer

Very few members of the Ralston Valley faculty and staff have been here since the very beginning.

Jimmy Guss, head of RV Campus Security, is one such individual, having spent the last 18 years safeguarding the Ralston Valley campus.

Guss does his job well, and he does it with a smile on his face, at least most of the time.

But beyond the Segway, beyond the mammoth sneezes, and beyond the deep voiced “Hey!”, that Guss bellows frequently, there is a story that very few know about Guss.

Years prior to becoming the face of RV, and years prior to becoming a grandfather to a four-month-old granddaughter, Guss had a run of luck that, in no way, could be classified as “good”.

After getting kicked out of his own home as a teenager, Guss lived a homeless existence for for nearly a year and a half. And while it’s a time in his life that was quite traumatic, it was because of these struggles that helped him overcome that part of his life.

Admittedly, Guss spent some time running with a Denver gang, and since he didn’t have a home to return to, he would break into vacant homes and sleep on the floors. If he couldn’t find a home to break in to, he would literally sneak into his own home, get some sleep, and then sneak back out before his parents realized he was ever in the home.

“Somedays,” Guss reminisced, “my parents didn’t even know I was sleeping at the house even though they kicked me out.”

Finding food was also a struggle. However, on certain evenings, Guss sister would leave food out in the backyard by the fence because she knew he would need it.

Today, Guss looks back at those days both with regret and as a stretch in his life that helped him get to where he is today. And today, Guss is at RV, protecting the school and securing a peace of mind for those who show up every day.

Still, despite all he has done for Ralston Valley, many students don’t thank him or treat him the way they should.

While he’s not doing it to garner attention, his ability to take every day as it comes, and his ability to do it with a smile and a heart of compassion should not be overlooked.

In addition to his regular job requirements, Guss chaperones numerous school trips every year. Guss loves traveling, whether it be with the school or for pleasure.

One of his big traveling habits is to get a new pair of shoes in every location he visits as a symbol of all the memories he made.

His latest trip was to Ireland this summer. His favorite part of the whole trip was hanging out at the farm all day.

His favorite place to be is Ralston Valley. He loves being around the students and his colleagues.

If you can’t find him at RV, just take a look at a local Starbucks, ordering a skinny Vanilla latte. He goes almost every day on his way to work.

Guss is a funny man who is always reliable. Looking back at his past being homeless was a huge blessing to him because it made him the amazing man he has become.

“I brought my mom to my house for the first time, and she was so proud,” said Guss. “I hadn’t been in a house for a year and half and the one thing she said to me was how proud she was of me and how far I’ve come.”

Guss is a true blessing to Ralston Valley.

He is nothing but dedicated to make the school a better place and build relationships with all the students.

Some of his favorites are the students who remind him of himself, just because he relates to them, and he knows his story can be of assistance to them.

A lot of people don’t know much about Guss because no one really asks, and the ones that do ask end up meaning the world to him and have helped him grow into the person he is.

The ones who simply sit and listen to how is he doing and what his plans are, the ones that are interested in knowing him as a person.

Those are the relationships that he cherishes.