Public Works finding role as “first responder” team

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Photo by Lisa Pyatt

Granby Public Works delivered almost four full trucks of food to the Granby Food Bank on May 29. From l., Public Works crew members Rick Morton and Joel Faria, Food Bank Director Annabelle Dinse and Director of Public Works Kirk Severance.

Police, fire, ambulance—these are the resources we think of as first responders in the case of an accident, fire or other emergency. What we don’t realize is that the public works department is also a part of some of those situations: a tree falling across a road, a motor vehicle accident blocking traffic, a snowy road hindering an ambulance’s mission — any of these benefit from the actions of the town crew: sawing up the tree, re-routing traffic, plowing snow.

The New England chapter of the American Public Works Association has been leading a campaign to make the public aware of this aspect of its departments. It recently spear-headed the Fill-a-Truck program to alleviate the reduction in contributions to food banks in the summer season. When Granby’s Director of Public Works, Kirk Severance learned of the program, he tapped department members Rick Morton and Joel Faria to organize a plan to have a truck stationed at various locations in town during the week of May 21–25, which happened to be Public Works Awareness Week in all the New England states. Geissler’s and Stop & Shop were obvious and successful locations, but Morton reported that the biggest response came from the schools. The truck was stationed at Kelly Lane on Tuesday, Wells Road on Wednesday and the middle/high school on Thursday. The students and staff were very enthusiastic about the program and made huge contributions.

Public Works Departments in 60 Connecticut towns participated in the program. Granby Public Works thanks the managers of Geissler’s and Stop & Shop and Superintendent Alan Addley for allowing them to respond to the needs of the community.

Donations of food and money are gratefully accepted at the Food Bank at any time.

The sandwich board in front of the building on Rte. 10/202 indicates what products are in the shortest supply.