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Hot layers,
clothes and climb
Cold steals through,
Backs in snow,
bare treetops, sky swirls
refreshing,windblown laughter


Be Kind to your DPW Drivers!

Write, Share, Give
So I was sitting with my husband last night, and he was talking about how frustrating it is to work on our local Town Highway Dept. It really bothers him that so many people badmouth the town crew. If you know him and many of you do, he is very Smart, very kind, and a HARD worker, raised on a farm and taught to always give his work 110%. Frankly, the crew he works with now is extremely competent and hardworking despite rumors and badmouthing of surprisingly unsupportive local and prominent mouthpieces, who seem to feel it is their duty to stir up trouble, or keep the stereotype of the lazy town employee alive and well.

So imagine his dismay, when he stops to get some food after being out almost 24 hours, and is told to go out and re scrape a road, because someone called to complain that the job he did wasn’t “up to standards”. The reality, his supervisor confirmed, he did a fine job, the snow on the road came from snow filled trees after some wind . . .of course it will need to be rescraped, but that is no fault of the man driving the plow. What? You think the town crew should keep trees from overhanging roads? They would be glad to, but so many residents are against tree maintenance/removal that many roads are left with poor sunlight (necessary for melting), poor drainage (necessary for reducing ice buildup) that they must just do the best they can with the situation at hand.
So, back to my hungry husband, here he is rescraping a road after the snow stops falling. He passes driveways all day, he is plowing a road, that is his job. Yet instead of a friendly wave from residents, folks yell obscenities and raise their middle finger as he passes as if he could somehow magically divert snow from landing at the edge of the road each driveway . 
Just think how that makes a person feel. . . 
When he does finally get a break, or stop for coffee at the local store, he is publicly ridiculed for hanging around, lazy. . .Do people think the running joke about lazy highway workers is funny? (he tries to ignore those comments, bc well .. . who has the energy when he's left his bed at 2 am and hasn't been home in 16 hours, 3 hours, 8 hours, 24 hours, (what does it matter, he left his warm bed, his baby's birthday party, a newborn and mom, a wife fighting cancer, a daugter's dance class. . (I could go on and on, the possibilities are endless because those guys are human after all, they are not the enemy) They do that job for however long it takes to get it done.

My challenge is this: 
  • If everyone who sees this could share this message, that would be fantastic. (time @ 3 seconds)
  • Then, if you have another couple seconds, when you see anyone driving a town/state plow truck, give them a wave and a smile, that's all. . .
  • If you are feeling ambitious, and you happen to see town crew around town eating or chatting alone or as a group, ask them how long they have been out or expect to be out, ask them how it has been going? or when's the last time they sat down for a hot meal. . . say thank you! A little empathy goes a long way. . .
  • Have Patience: and keep in mind a few facts. . .
    • In Northfield 6 guys (actually 5 right now bc one was injured falling on the ice recently) each have a route that can take from 3-6 hours to complete depending on rate of snowfall, ice, visibility and so on. . .
    • Breakdowns happen. . . equipment fails. The trucks and equipment see a lot of miles and hours, and despite frequent and regular maintenance stuff breaks.
    • The reason the plow goes by . . . again, and again after a storm ends, is to push back banks, especially on a year like this where storm follows storm, otherwise the roads become very narrow as the winter progresses.
    • Unexpected things happen, even when drivers are carefull. . . ***think glare ice, steep hills, and curves, 20 foot or less visibility and one tired guy in a very BIG truck with a sander and a plow. . .
    • Despite what might occur in a perfect world, all this happens with a budget in mind, a budget for sand, maintenance, overtime and so on. . . these guys are doing the best they can with what they have and those resources are naturally depleted as the winter goes on and on as this one does. . .

If you made it this far, thank you for reading and educating yourself! PLEASE share this message with others and hopefully we can all share the Love, for the hard work and tenacity of the Highway men everywhere this winter.
Amy Boyden,
Wife, mom, teacher, and highway department supporter, lover of humanity