Necessary Heroes

It’s Monday again. It’s raining and 35 degrees. Out of the corner of my eye, on the floor below me, I can see several street staff trying to fix the cherry picker in the garage. They’re all wearing variations on the same shirt/sweatshirt,


which makes them look like they’re part of a special club. Which, I suppose, they are. No, I don’t feel left out, in case you’re wondering. They talk and point.  One hard-hatted guy wrenches down a screw on the bucket. No doubt they need to take out some broken tree limbs.

By the way, the garage’s floor space is nearly consumed by the street sweeper, sanding truck, paint machine, roller and vactor truck. Oh, and the mechanic’s truck tucked ‘way in the back.

We have a lot of equipment. Most if it lives on the lot. Pickups. Garbage trucks. Dump trucks. You name it.

But it makes sense because we have a lot to take care of. Streets. Drains. Sewer connections. Sidewalks. Stoplights. Pump stations and how they intersect with creeks. Some parking lots. The structures onsite. Not to mention water monitoring, metering and all the accoutrements with it.

I just want to give a shout out to these guys. The fact that Shelton keeps running testifies to their dedication and care. Most grew up here and have worked for the City all their lives. They serve in the worst weather. They clear drains. They come in to work early on days when everyone else opts to stay home. They pick up roadkill. They come in on holidays and weekends and nights.

Makes me think of the scripture that talks about the parts of the body. It says in 1 Corinthians 12:22:  In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. In our bodies, that might be our livers or hearts. Hearts and livers stay tucked deep inside the body, yet remain vulnerable. You can’t live without either. We don’t give them a second thought until we feel a stabbing pain or a blood test reveals high cholesterol.

Likewise, nobody considers the soundness of infrastructure until it fails. A bridge collapses into the bay or a sinkhole opens up. Until then, the road holds and carries us, getting us where we need to go. When it disintegrates, life gets upended, sometimes literally. People traffic ceases. The flow of commodities, both in and out, breaks down. We face food shortages and loss of wages.

These men are everyday heroes. Perhaps not as glamorous or well-known as a certain red-booted someone who soars in the sky, cape flapping behind him in the wind. But so necessary.