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On the Job: Staying Warm in the Winter

Outside workers find the secret is in layering.

Some people just don’t have the luxury of working inside a warm office. They are mail carriers, crossing guards, construction workers, refuse collectors, police officers, firefighters and the men and women who work for the various utility companies that provide heat, water, lights and electricity.

Most of them find that the secret to keeping warm is in layering. Joseph Jordan, a veteran mail carrier who delivers to Collingwood and part of Waynewood, said that he wears cotton jacket and thinsulated underwear. He said that the U.S. Postal Service gives the mail carriers an allowance to purchase what they need.

“I’m cozy, I like being outside,” Jordan said. “I just keep moving. Now if I could just keep the dogs away ...”

“At least three shirts.” That’s what Travis Harris, crossing guard at Carl Sandburg Middle and Groveton Elementary Schools, wears.

“I need to get better gloves, but it’s not too bad out here,” Harris said. “It doesn’t bother me. I used to work in security so I’m used to it.”

OVER AT Mr. Kleen Car Wash, owner Raj Patel said that he supplies his workers with windshirts and heavier jackets. They wear t-shirts underneath and can buy their own thermals if they wish. They also get the benefit of the heat from a warm car as they move it and can warm up inside the main office. With all the salt and ice, there is a demand for the car wash in the winter months.

Tom Harvey provides the workers at Hollin Hall Automotive with their uniforms, and contributes towards hats and jackets.

“I wear my hat and gloves,” said Frank Brown, a familiar face at the station. “I also wear long underwear and heavy socks and shoes.

Stewart Berry, another station employee, recently purchased the new type of thermal underwear.

“It’s comfortable both inside and out,” Berry said.

Throughout the Mount Vernon area, various utility crews could be seen repairing water mains, power and sewer lines. Several trucks were called out to the Groveton area Saturday morning, after a car crashed into the utility pole at the intersection of Fordson Road and Sherwood Hall Lane. A neighbor said that she heard a crash around 4:30 a.m. and then the lights went out. The power was restored by noon that same day. A water main break down in Yacht Haven had a crew working in the cold and sludge. It took at least half dozen men in three trucks to repair the break.