Plowing through the holidays in Westfield

After the snowstorm that the area received over the Christmas holiday, I would like to commend the efforts of the Village of Westfield Department of Public Works staff.

I have the privilege of working with these great people on a daily basis, and don’t thank them nearly often enough for all they do. The winter storm event that started on Christmas Eve once again provided these people with an opportunity to shine.

At around noon Christmas day, we received calls for power outages and a tree down across state Route 5. A line crew was called in and responded immediately. Upon arrival they surveyed the damage. Four other employees were called in, two of whom were supposed to be on vacation.

They all answered the call and responded as quickly as possible. Because of the outage, we also had two sewer pump stations that were down. Two additional people came in to monitor those stations. These people worked for almost six hours in blizzard conditions to restore power. This was in addition to two calls on Christmas Eve and one on Dec. 26 for power outages or wires down.

The Westfield Fire Department provided traffic control on Route 5 for the entire time our crew was working. The time and effort these volunteers put in is nothing short of amazing. While this was going on, our DPW employees were also dealing with all of the snow, plowing almost around the clock. Our employees are paid for the time they put in, but I can assure you that not one of them was giving up spending time with their families on Christmas for the money. I am certain that this same situation played out in several other municipalities, fire departments and police agencies throughout the area.

Please keep events like this in mind when you see these people in public or out doing their jobs. Nothing means more to them than knowing the people they serve appreciate what they do. I am extremely grateful to all of our employees for all they do on a daily basis, but events like this really highlight the dedication they all have to their jobs and the community. Not everything we do is perfect all the time, but Westfield residents can be assured that someone will be there to respond, regardless of the weather or what day it is.

Andrew Thompson is director of Public Works for the village of Westfield.