Unsung heroes

Thursday, December 7, 2006

Barry County was hit with its first onslaught of winter weather last week as freezing rain and snow fell right after the area experienced unseasonably warm temperatures over the Thanksgiving holiday. Area schools cancelled classes and business slowed down to almost nothing as most people who could stay home and off the treacherous roadways did just that.

The first storm of the season proved treacherous. Freezing rain followed by sleet and snow covered the roadways with a dangerous coating of thick ice. The problems were made worse by the fact that temperatures were frigid and remained in the teens for most of Thursday and Friday. Some relief came in the form of sunshine on Saturday, but travel was still a challenge, especially on side roads.

For most Barry Countians, the winter storm provided a reason to stay at home enjoying some extra time off with family. I know area students were thrilled to have another three-day school week. As most of us admired the sparkling ice on tree limbs and the snow-covered pastures from inside the warmth of our homes, others in our community were busy working around the clock to clear roadways, restore electricity and provide emergency law enforcement and medical care.

I manned the newspaper office by myself on Thursday afternoon after sending employees home early in advance of the accumulating ice and snow. I watched from the front desk as one Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) truck after another passed by, spreading salt and attempting to clear ice off the roadway. This got me to thinking that these workers are the unsung heroes during every winter storm.

I would like to commend our local MoDOT workers, city public works and road district crews and Barry Electric employees who are all on call during severe weather. These individuals work around the clock, away from their families, in conditions that keep most of us at home. As Bob Cannon, MoDOT regional maintenance supervisor, said this week, his workers have a big responsibility and take great pride in knowing they're making area roadways safer.

The same holds true for local law enforcement officials, electric cooperative employees, ambulance crews and emergency room personnel. These everyday heroes risk their comfort and safety for ours, and they deserve our respect and appreciation. The next time you see one of these community heroes make sure you tell them 'Thank You" for a job well done.