Sheryl Inman practices respect and responsibility—indoors and out
People Who Matter
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Family: Husband, Edward.
Education: Degree from UW-Madison in meat and animal science and agricultural journalism. Started her career in meat inspection and then tested medical supplies. At the Rock County Health Department, she inspected establishments including tattoo parlors, restaurants and campgrounds. She now works in property maintenance for the city of Janesville.
Why her job is important: "When people call us with a complaint, they usually call us when they are at the end of their ropes … They want to be a good neighbor, (but) by the time they call us, they're just outraged. When I think about looking out my own house and looking at garbage, or having loud noises, or seeing someone running an auto shop, I would be incredibly frustrated, too. That's where you should be most comfortable, in your home. Why doesn't someone know how to take out their garbage?"
Nobody thanks inspectors for telling them to clean up their properties, she acknowledged. "It's rewarding in its own bizarre way."
What she does in the warmer months: Delivers meals to her husband and the farmhands in the fields; does what she can on the farm, although she admits she failed dismally when she tried driving combine; tends a garden and maintains a huge yard—eight to nine hours a crack on the riding lawn mower. She loves the rural life.
Some of her favorite things: Cardmaking and scrapbooking; traveling with her husband; spending time with her nieces.
A perfect day: A sunny, spring day on her deck with coffee, listening to a nearby stream and birds sing. She would work a bit in her flowerbed, have lunch with friends and a nice dinner in with her husband. "I like home," she said. "Our house is so peaceful."
JANESVILLE Sheryl Inman was brought up to respect other people, be responsible and take care of what belongs to her.
Perhaps that is why she tries to bring order, civility and kindness to her world.
Her respect for others and her sense of responsibility make her a valued volunteer and strengthen her commitment to the environment.
They also have affected her career.
Inman, 48, wanted to be an inspector since she was young. Today, she works in property maintenance for the city of Janesville and was recently named an employee of the year.
"I think if you are more of a rules-oriented person, you migrate more to the inspections," Inman said. "You want things to be a certain way."
"Sheryl is unique," said Linda Lyke, volunteer coordinator at Cedar Crest.
Inman hosts a weekly game night for elderly residents there, and Lyke said she does a fantastic job. Inman tailors the games to the interests and abilities of the residents. And she is reliable.
"And that is so important, somebody who is going to come back week after week," Lyke said.
Inman said she has as much fun with the residents as they do with her. They are fascinating, she said.
"They do have a lot to offer if you take the time to listen to them," Inman said. "Their stories, to me, are just incredible. They have such a sense of humor that sometimes I'll just get to laughing. They really can bring you so much joy."
Inman also volunteers through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Rock, Walworth and Jefferson Counties as a weekly lunch buddy.
"You're there to help because a child needs you," Inman said.
She provides companionship and mentorship for children in need.
"Sheryl's fantastic," said Melanie Wittman, lunch buddies program coordinator. "She's just consistently upbeat, cheerful, very positive and dynamic. She's always smiling.
"I can count on her to be dependable and always be there for her little buddy."
Inman's respect for others carries over to the outdoors.
Inman and her husband, Edward, are original members of the Friends of Carver-Roehl Park, which was formed a decade ago to rejuvenate the Rock County park down her road. The couple farm 1,000 acres in rural Avalon.
Inman writes the newsletter for the parks group and was instrumental in creating a fundraising cookbook. She helps with the annual Easter egg hunt and harvest festival.
"Anything you ever call on her for, she's there," said Nancy Pope, president of the park group. "You can always count on Sheryl. If she says she's going to do something, it's going to get done."
"We just thought it was important to get the park cleaned up and to get people to know about it," Inman said.
She lauded the park, saying many call it the "Little Dells."
Inman is talkative and friendly and likes to laugh. When things get difficult, she tries to find something lighthearted.
"You have two choices: either laugh or cry," Inman said. "And I prefer to laugh."
Inman begins each day thinking what she should be thankful for.
It keeps life in perspective.
"Even if today is a bad day, it may not be as bad as someone else's day," she said.