Plumbers, Landscapers: Unsung Heroes of Winter Storms

Unsung Heroes of the Winter Storm

GREENSBORO, NC – First responders, 911 operators and NCDOT road crews work extremely hard during winter snow storms, responding to calls, rescuing people and animals and clearing the roadways day and night. We thank them and appreciate all they do.

But, we can’t forget about the countless other people who work long and hard hours making sure our lives can return to normal as quickly as possible.

Gene Oliver and Austin Webster are two such men, working round the clock since the storm hit. Oliver, a landscaper with Creative Scapes and Webster, a plumber with Webster and Sons, worked non-stop in the bitter temperatures and slippery conditions.

“Cold and tiring,” said Oliver. “I’ve probably done between 20 and 25 since 3 o’clock Saturday morning.”

Oliver, in his own truck, cleared parking lots of ice and snow and sprayed salt mixture to help treat the slick surfaces, so businesses could re-open quickly. It’s much needed work for Oliver; as a landscaper, business drops significantly during the cold months.

“Winter time is kind of the slow time of the year. There is certain things you can do in the winter, but this is good extra money for the bottom line,” he explained.

Thanks to dryer conditions and a fluffier snowfall, plowing parking lots has been easier this time around. But, Oliver remembers many storms, where snow mixed with rain made for dangerous work.

“In the past, I’ve been up for 48 or 52 hours straight. A lot of people don’t realize how stressful it is, staying up the long hours and the risk you take as far as injury.”

Webster understands Oliver’s winter workload. On the Monday following the storm, as temperatures barely got above 25, calls from customers about frozen pipes doubled.

“You’ll probably see anywhere from 8 to 10 on an average day. We got 20 to 25 calls today in Winston-Salem, Kernersville, Greensboro, High Point,” said Webster.

One of the final calls of the day on Monday, an Arby’s restaurant on Holden Road in Greensboro. The business was forced to close due to frozen pipes.

“Today’s been really slammed, really swamped,” Webster said as he and a co-worker moved as quickly as possible in the freezing temperatures to fix the outside pipes. Webster will respond to many more calls over the next few days, due to poor insulation causing frozen and busted pipes.  

It’s important to note, neither Oliver or Webster minded the extra work. They said they would do whatever necessary to help the people in their communities.

Copyright 2016 WFMY


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