By Heather Teter / Special to The Tally Wire | Photo courtesy of the City of Tallahassee
Essential workers all over our community are working day-in and day-out to see that the services we rely on stay intact and uninterrupted. While you may not know the names of these individual workers, you do see the results of their hard work every single day.
Meet Kendrick Leon. For the past two years, Mr. Leon has worked for the City of Tallahassee’s Solid Waste Services division, helping to dispose of our community’s unwanted items. A self-proclaimed “early bird,” Mr. Leon begins his days at around 5 a.m. An hour later, he’s in the Solid Waste Services facility located off Municipal Way, giving his equipment a once-over before taking it out.
As a Solid Waste employee, Mr. Leon helps to provide nearly 47,000 residential utility customers living within in the city limits with bulky item and yard waste pickup services. His machine of choice? The rear-steer loader, which picks up bulky items and yard waste and carefully places it within a dump truck to dispose. “Kids love to watch as I operate the telescoping boom arm to pick up materials from the side of the road,” Mr. Leon said. “Most of the time, they can hear me coming; then, they eagerly go to the front window [of their house] or yard to watch.”
With the rotation of the City’s red week/blue week schedule, Mr. Leon gets to see the entire community within the span of two weeks. When asked what he would like customers to remember when setting their unwanted items at the curb, Mr. Leon said,“Remember to put yard waste, like limbs and shrubs, next to the curb and away from obstacles–that helps me to maneuver the rear-steer loader’s arm to pick up the materials safely.”
While the early morning wake-up calls and operating impressive machines seem to suit Kendrick, what he loves most about his job is helping people: “It feels really, really good to help people.”