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Chester County Press

Editorial: The invisible soldiers

02/12/2019 10:23AM ● By Richard Gaw
Southern Chester County awoke on Monday morning to a gentle but persistent snowfall, dropping its winter weight onto the surface of our vehicles, our homes, our lawns and the world that waited for us, beyond our borders, to “out there.”

While it is within the familiarity of our homes and dwellings that we carve out the largest definitions of our lives, it is our nearly daily march outside these confines that seems to derive some kind of pleasure in its demand on our time. It knows it has us in its' grip; it is occasionally daunting and often desultory, but the habits it calls for – to get up and go to work, to drop the kids off at school, to engage in the humdrum job of errands and must-dos – are of necessity.

None of these tasks are made any easier when the avenues that allow us to get there are covered in snow, or blocked by fallen trees, or flooded by the aftermath of torrential rainstorms.

There are in our townships and municipalities a nearly-anonymous construct of employees who rose from bed far earlier than the rest of us did when the snow fell this Monday morning, and to absolutely no fanfare or applause or even the slightest gesture of appreciation. They dug into the small mountains of surface salt stacked high at maintenance centers the night before and, with a fleet of vehicles, dusted our roads so that we could leave our driveways and travel safely.

They have cleared roadways that have been littered with tree limbs from storms.

They have restored our daily routes, turning potholes into leveled roads that enable us to arrive at our destinations on time.

They have maintained our township parks with the care of gardeners, made the vile graffiti that sneaks its way into our eye path magically disappear, and constructed walking trails and dog parks and rain gardens and children’s playgrounds.

With winter now at our doorstep and spring rains merely a month or two away, we feel it is appropriate to recognize the contributions made by our public works departments, our road masters and our maintenance crews, who toil in all weather and in all conditions, leaving behind the traces of their dedication in our towns and our neighborhoods.

We need to acknowledge them for who they are -- the invisible soldiers of our daily routines, helping clear the way for that which we need to do in order to live our lives – and the lives of our families -- more exceptionally.

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