Letter: Wish you could have been there

Published: Friday, March 15, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor:

Snow is God’s way of pulling a comforting blanket over his sleeping babies of farmland, open spaces and family lawns during January, February and March.

But, for many of us, more than three inches presents challenges of getting to and from work and getting kids to their many scheduled activities. On Feb. 26, I had the privilege to ride along with Bill Edwards, the crew supervisor of Kane County’s fleet of 30 snowplowing trucks.

Plowing west through snow along Keslinger Road from Geneva, the Metra commuter train overtook us on its parallel course taking fathers and mothers, sons and daughters home to their families. With snow and slush billowing away off the huge blade of the yellow plow, you could see the passengers inside the compartments of the train as it cut through the darkness like the “Polar Express.”

I wish you could have been there, 10 feet above the road surface, as Bill concentrated on his duties, and we talked.

Bill has worked for Kane County’s Department of Transportation for 24 years, where he started as a mechanic, caring for our collective county assets. After 14 years, he was promoted to additional duties, operating a plow in the winter and eventually earned further promotion to supervise the entire fleet.

Like a modern-day Admiral Nelson, armed with dispatch radio and GPS in the cabin of our frigate, Bill described in the most beautiful terms what it looks and feels like to have three plow trucks clearing waves of snow like schooners running “flying wedges” up and down four-lane county highways, keeping fellow citizens safe.

He spoke about his genuine affection for employees whom he supervises. He described his deep respect for Kane County Chief Engineer Carl Schoedel, who recently won rock-star status in his profession as “County Engineer of the Year.” He especially values Carl’s sincere interest in listening and understanding the people he directs.

Above the whistling turbo on the powerful diesel engine that Bill and his team take special pride in maintaining during all four seasons, he knows exactly how expensive equipment is and how proper maintenance extends useful life and increases resale value to save taxpayers money.

You pay lots of taxes. Our job at Kane County is to hold the line against increases, especially during these harder times, and to deliver the maximum value for your safety and prosperity. 

Chris Lauzen

Kane County Board chairman

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