Unlikely Volunteers for Snow Clean Up

Unlikely Volunteers for Snow Clean Up

With just over three inches of snow in Winchester and Frederick County; Public Works and other local agencies are scrambling to get things cleared up.

Frederick County, Va. - The Frederick County Solid Waste Company has their work cut out for them when a snow storm hits.

"It takes us all day to get around to all of [the convenience sites]. From start to finish, we travel about 100 miles," said Solid Waste Coordinator, Rick Devinney.

In order to ensure the snow gets cleared, they've enlisted the help of unlikely volunteers.

"The inmate program is invaluable to us. We have ten sites across the county, and when we get weather conditions like this, they let us have some of the inmates come out,” Devinney said. “The plow can only do so much, and then the rest of it we have to do by hand."

A four man crew of trustees saves Frederick County about $600 a day, and they put in the back-breaking work, so others don't have to.

"These are a great group of guys to work with,” said Gloria Puffingburger, the Solid Waste Manager for Frederick County. “They're non-violent [criminals]. The benefit to them is that they do get to come out and serve their community, but they also get to come out and be active. And it makes their time go faster," she said.

"I just shovel so people don't slip, and it's a fun thing to do when it's cold outside to stay warm," said Michael Powell, a current trustee in the program.

Frederick County solid waste isn't the only one benefiting from inmate work programs when the snow hits. The city of Winchester uses the trustees to clear snow from sidewalks and other shoveling opportunities, too.

"It wasn't as popular as it was,” said Devinney. “They wanted to see how it was going to work. I think a lot of the municipalities in the area use the fellows for different jobs."

Without the inmate workforce program, Frederick County Solid Waste says it would have absolutely no litter crew to help assist in picking up roadside trash.

They say their efforts save the county $40,000 a year.

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