General Maintenance Department: Will Blackman, Dave Spreng, Johnny Moore, Steve Suvar

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

General Maintenance Department: Will Blackman, Dave Spreng, Johnny Moore, Steve Suvar

Interview by: Enzo Cabili

The workers of Oberlins General Maintenance Department are at the heart of our community, making sure the town runs smoothly in rain, snow, and sunshine alike. I spoke with Will Blackman, Dave Spreng, Johnny Moore, and Steve Suvar about their work and lives in Oberlin.

Q: What words or images would you use to describe Oberlin?

Will: Nice place to live, nice environment, small town with small town atmosphere. More in depth about social rights, green living, all that kind of stuff that other cities are just starting to worry about.

Dave: I think Oberlin is diversified and state of the art really, we always try to stay cutting edge.

Steve: College town, that doesnt grow like other communities because we try to keep a lot of the industry out. Making sure things stay grassroots.

Johnny: Unique... the different makeup of individuals that come together in the community, it attracts different people from other locations, which allows residents to get to know different types of people.

Q: What does sustainability mean in your life?

Johnny: Being able to use resources, and yet not to take away the opportunity for others to use those same resources. We dont want to do something that damages the environment to a degree that no one else can come and use that resource after you. We should consume natural resources adequately so others can use them. Sharing and working together to conserve as a community.

We should consume natural resources adequately so others can use them.

Dave: Sustainability to me overall is saving the planet, and everybody has to have a part of that.

Will: Making sure everything is in line. You want your life to be as sustainable as it can be. You dont want to have to worry about something that would mess up your stability in terms of the environment. A community that provides security.

Sustainability to me overall is saving the planet, and everybody has to be a part of that.

Q: What actions are you engaged in that relate to sustainability?

Will: Plowing snow, I mean everything with the maintenance, its not automatic, and its a lot harder than what people think. Were public servants. We handle the grounds work, the streets, the sewers.

Steve: Totally. I mean, we work with wastewater, we chip brush, suck up leaves, plow snow, fix storm sewers, clean sanitary. We pretty much do everything in the town dealing with environmental aspects.

Q: Any advice for your fellow community members regarding care for the environment/sustainable living respect for nature?

Dave: Well, especially being a garbage man, and being able to see the landfill firsthand, I know how important it is to keep certain materials out of the landfill. I try to educate people. Also for recycling I try to steer people to be sustainable, to be able to reuse, renew, and do all that. To me personally, Ive always done that but I think that people dont understand the environmental aspects of what the world is going to be in 25 years if they dont do their share. People get in this rut its kind of like people who dont vote they think, "Well, what can one voice make a difference?" but it can! Think about it, it takes a few families to make a big difference, but there is still a lot of people in Oberlin that just recycle plastic, and they think thats recycling. I think they need to be more educated, to the fact of exactly what all you can recycle, and why its a responsibility. You know thats why we make it free, so itll enhance people to do that.I get more kids to do it than parents! I used to go speak at schools, take my truck down there, and explain to them what recycling is all about. Sometimes you have to get to the kids to get to the parents. If people would understand that bottles take 125 years to decompose, that glass takes that long to break down. People whine about how big landfills are, but theyre not doing anything to make them smaller.

Johnny: What I would like to see is for people to be more conscious of the way we use our resources, so that it doesnt create a negative impact for the ones that come after us.

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