The Argosy sat down with Brent Tower at the public works building to talk about his work as a transportation foreman for the Town of Sackville. Tower plows snow for the town and manages seven others who do the same.
Kavana Wa Kilele: Can you walk us through your day after a snowstorm?
Brent Tower: There are five of us on call. We usually wake up in the morning or get called at 3-3:30 a.m.
We come in and I drive the tandem plow truck. We have two trucks, three loaders, and a grader [a piece of equipment used for snow removal]. We all have our own specific route and we all head out and start plowing.
KWK: Which route do you plow?
BT: My route starts here and I go up Queens Road to Lower Fairfield. From there I plow across Crossman Road.
I come out on Charlotte Street, turn around, go back to Crossman Road. Then I go down to York Street as far as Rayworth Heights. Then I turn around and go back Crossman Road and onto King Street.
I go through King Street right down to Main Street by Sassy’s. I turn around and go back and I plow all the way to Dorchester. Then I come back here and if it is still snowing I turn around and start all over again.
KWK: How long does this route usually take?
BT: It usually takes me in the vicinity of two to two-and-a-half hours to complete the route.
KWK: When you are working your route, are you also plowing driveways?
BT: No, that is the private contractors. We only do the roads and the driveways attached to town buildings. Basically, we take care of the town buildings and public roads.
KWK: What are some of the things you like about plowing snow?
BT: It’s different and every snowstorm is a challenge.
KWK: Why did you choose to do this job and how did you get started?
BT: I started out here 39 years ago as a heavy equipment mechanic – I worked out there in the shop doing mechanic work. Prior to that, I did a little bit of heavy equipment operating for a couple of summers.
Then I got here and did mechanic work, but I was still operating equipment – I enjoyed operating equipment.
The opportunity arose that I could take this position here, and so I took this position and I hung up my tools. Sometimes it gets a little stressful, but other than that, it is not too bad.
KWK: Can you expand on the stressful part of the job?
BT: We are doing long hours. I am going to take this last snowstorm as an example. Last Sunday morning, we got a phone call at 2 a.m., and we plowed until 1 p.m. that day.
The next morning, we were up at 3:30 a.m., and we plowed again. We went over our routes and made sure everything was bare, plowed the snowdrifts back, [and] put down sand and salt.
The next day – this would be Tuesday morning – we did a complete cleanup of downtown. So we were back out 3:30 a.m. After a while with the longs days, you get tired and run down.
KWK: With 39 years of experience, what is the one thing that you would like the public to know about this job?
BT: For the most part, the people and the town of Sackville are pretty good people. It’s those who complain. Somebody always complains, those are the ones I have a problem with.
We are out there trying to do the best we can, working through snowstorms, icy roads and everything else.