Many families get together for the season across North Dakota, but there are some hidden heroes that are helping make sure you have a happy holiday.
When you’re driving down State Street in Bismarck around the holidays, you’ve probably noticed snowplows working, no matter the time of day.
“I know that one year, I think it was 2010, we went from right after Thanksgiving working to our first day off was in February,” said Chad Schiermeister, a crew leader at Bismarck Public Works.
It’s more than just jumping in the plow and going, as there are plenty of tasks that need to be done before clearing the streets.
“We’ll go through all of our equipment, make sure all of our plows are greased up. We do that even after we’re done with an event, we grease everything up. We change cut edges, make sure they are all good, screws on there. Make sure everything’s ready to go,” said Schiermeister.
He has three kids and says that while it’s hard to miss holidays with his family, they’ve learned to manage it over his 16 years with Bismarck Public Works.
However, if you find yourself sliding off one of the roads, or have any other sort of emergency, dispatchers are ready to answer your call for help.
“As a dispatcher, we dispatch for local law enforcement. Bismarck PD, Mandan PD, Burleigh County, as well as Lincoln PD,” said Logan Leingang, a Bismarck dispatcher.
They also dispatch for local emergency medical services in the event of a medical emergency.
Dispatchers work 12 hour shifts and rotate nights and days every four weeks, making for a tough schedule — which is also tough on their families.
“The older they get, they recognize it more and they start to ask more questions as to where are you and how long,” said Leingang.
Although it is tough, Leingang’s service in the Navy got him used to spending holidays away.
Now, from service on the water to the water coming out of your tap, the water treatment facility ensures you will always have clean drinking water to wash down a holiday meal.
“We’re making sure it meets all EPA and state regulatory standards, and just making sure all the equipment is running properly, and that nothing blows up,” said Jim Kershaw, water treatment manager.
Kershaw has been in water treatment for 30 years and says he has missed a holiday or two…or five, each year.
These hidden heroes go the extra mile to make sure you have a very happy holiday and are excited to serve the City of Bismarck.
Kershaw said working for the city is a lot like a team sport, with the city managers as the coach and each department as a player on the team.
Making sure city affairs move smoothly is like winning a championship for the Capital City.