Man On The Beat: George Birch

Kaplan, Michael

Every morning (except Sundays) George Birch gets in his car around 5:45 a.m. and drives the 42 miles, more than two hours, from Dixmoor, Ill. to the Alpha Phi sorority house. The father of nine children, Birch has been a chef and all-around Mr. Fix-It for the A Phi girls for ten years. Birch is not a big man, no taller than many of the girls passing by to get their lunch, but what he lacks in size he makes up in unadulterated attitude.What is the best part of your job?Just being at the sorority house. All my friends and cousins want my job. Every delivery guy that comes here says the same thing. I enjoy it. I thought it was going to be hard at first because it was a house full of women and everybody got different mood swings, but the ladies actually sit down and talk to me even when they have problems. It’s a cool job.What’s it like working here, with girls coming and going and you constantly having to meet new girls?That’s my problem. It’s like I’m at home and my 19-year-old son getting ready to leave for the Marines. You’ve been around them so long, you get to really know them. When their senior year comes up and the ladies are moving out of the house, it’s hard because I have to start all over again. But, I do get emails and they do come back and see me or call me or text me. When the parents come down here, they know me before I know them. I could imagine that a household with nine kids can get pretty hectic. What’s that like?It’s just like the sorority. It’s work when I get home, cooking and just enjoying each other. We love music. I’m a drummer, my son’s a drummer, one raps, one plays lead guitar, and a couple play the keyboard. We’re a Rock Band family. We love Rock Band and Guitar Hero. We’re video game crazy. The responsibility is hard because everybody wants to be the special one. I have to constantly stay on point in terms of shopping, getting food in the house, heat bill, gas bill, water bill, whatever. It’s not easy, but I work it out. I always wanted a big family.Is the job worth the long drive?Yeah. Just to come here every morning to help out, cook and get things going so they can be on their way out to go to class or to work makes it worth it. Every year when my birthday comes around (January 12), around the time of rush, they sing happy birthday to me, they buy me cakes, it’s great. To get up and come to that is no problem. I’ve never had a problem because I love my job.