Imagine going to work 22 days in a row.
This is a reality for the Kennard Martin, Willie Deegan and Craig Johnson, whose jobs have become a round-the-clock responsibility.
Martin, Deegan and Johnson are the three members of the Goshen College grounds department, and are responsible in the winter for keeping campus sidewalks clear of snow and ice. Due to continuous amounts of heavy snow and ice, the department has worked a record number of 22 days straight since the beginning of the semester.
“We get called in about 3:30 in the morning,” said Johnson, department supervisor. “We’re supposed to be here by 4 a.m. We can usually say we’ve made a pass through all the sidewalks somewhere around 10 a.m.”
Martin, Deegan and Johnson get a call from Campus Security if there’s been two inches of snow or more. They will often put a pot of coffee on for the Grounds Crew, who have an early morning of snow clearing ahead of them. They use Hustler mowers, equipped with brush and blade attachments, as well as snow blowers. The campus parking lots are cleared by an outside company.
Their biggest challenge was a Saturday in early February. There was heavy snowfall in the morning, but a warm afternoon meant rain that froze over that sidewalks.
To stay warm, the three men “usually take a break at 7:30 a.m. to go to the cafeteria for breakfast,” Johnson said.
Johnson is looking forward to this coming weekend, for what he hopes will mean the first break in more than three weeks.
“We’ve been in 3-4 weekends in a row, and that’s hard coming in when you have other things you want to do,” said Johnson. “This weekend looks clear so far. You can’t help but look ahead to see what’s coming.”