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Unheralded and often unnoticed: Town’s public works crew on the job at all hours

By Jeanna Baxter White

Word Master Media Group

It’s 4:30 on a Friday morning.

While most folks are still sleeping, Mocksville’s Public Works Department is already checking manholes to make sure water and sewer lines are flowing properly before the weekend.

Their goal is to complete the work while usage is low and traffic is light and to be off the roads and out of residents’ way by daylight, said Director Brian Moore.

This is one of the many – often unnoticed – ways the department serves the community daily.

Ensuring uninterrupted water and sewer service means maintaining the water and sewer plants and pump stations; trimming, mowing, and maintaining sewer lines, water lines, and rights of way.

The crew supervises new water line installations and is overseeing a $3 million project at the sewer plant on Garwood Road.

They average 150 to 200 sewer and water line locations per month, and every other month, two members of the crew spend about three weeks manually reading the town’s 3,500 water meters.

Jacks of all trades, the 11-member crew, including Moore, also manages the town’s streets such as repairing potholes and sidewalks plus brining and plowing in the winter; services and maintains the town’s trucks; completes light building maintenance; waters all of the town’s flowers; hang flags and banners; assists with setting up and tearing down for town-sponsored events; and “pretty much anything else that is needed,” said Moore. “This little town is really growing and we are keeping up infrastructure the best we can.”

Although many would find the job daunting, he finds it exciting.

“I really do love my job, that’s for sure. It is one of a kind. No two days are ever alike.”

He should know, he has been with the department for nine years, the last four as director. Considering himself a “working director,” he still enjoys going out and helping the crew in the field whenever possible.

Moore doesn’t mind that much of the department’s work flies under the radar. He is proud of his crew and the work that they do.

“We like people to see what we do, not tell them. If they can’t see what you are doing you aren’t working hard enough. I couldn’t ask for a better group of guys. They work hard and keep everything in check. They each have different skills and work well together to make sure things get done. They make me look good.”

Town Manager Ken Gamble is grateful for their dedicated service,

“Our public works professionals work behind the scenes 24 hours a day 365 days a year to ensure uninterrupted water and sewer services and to maintain streets, sidewalks, and other essential public infrastructure. Brian and his crew do a phenomenal job providing great service under the most difficult work conditions.”