Singing high school janitor uses her voice to offer hope
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A janitor at Ben Davis High School might become the next YouTube sensation after a video of her singing Gospel hymn “Unseen Hand” was posted recently.
Susie Mask, 59, sang the song as a way to comfort those who have lost their homes and their livelihoods in the deadly hurricanes, fires and flooding that have afflicted various parts of the country.
Mask, who sings in her church’s praise band, grew up in a musical family.
“I’ve been singing since I was 10 years old,” she told IndyStar. “I can remember at family gatherings we would all sit around the piano, and my dad and my brothers would get their guitars out, and we would just sing for hours.”
At 15, she traveled with her sister Becky and another sister duo as part of the Calvary Sisters gospel group. She married at 17 — husband, Donny, was the drummer in the band at West Newton Youth and Worship Center. The couple recently celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary.
Mary Lang, communications officer for Wayne Township Schools, said Mask stopped by her office Oct. 24 and mentioned that she had a song uploaded on YouTube. Lang couldn’t wait to see it and shared the video on Facebook that day.
“She told me she was inspired to record this song after seeing the devastation caused by the most recent hurricanes in the South,” Lang wrote. “The world is blessed by people like Susie.”
Mask has worked as a janitor at the high school for 18 years and for a while would sing to the students in the cafeteria. She said singing still brings her joy, but more importantly, it brings others joy.
Her heart was touched by coverage of disaster victims she saw on TV.
“I wanted to send them some kind of hope and peace in this time of their lives,” she said. “I know what it is like to lose things, but the Lord always gives back.”
Her husband is on disability after a kidney transplant; her mentally handicapped son, whom she calls her miracle child, works alongside her as a janitor; and she suffers some medical ailments of her own, including a surgically repaired knee and a bad back.
None of that keeps her down.
“I have an unseen hand that gives me strength and helps me every day.”