Chit Chat Corner: Community service pays off for the local man | Lifestyles

The weather changes a lot of things. In East Texas, there’s a company that still believes in promoting the interior and giving those on the ground floor – or in this case a running board – a good shot at the top. . That company is Republic Services, according to Gene Keenon. He should know, because Gene just celebrated his 28th birthday and is still as excited as he was when he first started out.

Gene said: “1993 was the year my career started at Republic Services. I was 34 with a wife and two very young children. There was a recession going on; nobody was hiring. A friend from Grace Baptist Church told me that Laidlaw (now Republic Services) was hiring. So on Monday I went to the company and filled out an application. Four days later, I returned to find someone else to apply and a supervisor asked me to complete another application. This was important because I later found out that the other supervisor had rejected my first application because he thought I was overqualified for the position of assistant on a garbage truck! “

After the drug test and background check, Gene was hired and the next day he found himself standing on the step of a garbage truck collecting trash and happy to work even though it rained on him. most of the day.

“I have found that no matter how hot, cold or humid, garbage has to be picked up every day and on time,” he said.

“After a few weeks, I noticed that an 18-wheeled vehicle with loaded cardboard bales was still sitting in the parking lot. So, I asked the supervisor about it, and the next thing I knew was that I was the driver to collect the recycled cardboard from the companies and transport it to the paper mill in Louisiana, ”continued Gene. “Along with this job, I had a curbside recycling route once a week to pick up plastic, newspapers, cans, etc. and put them in blue bins. At the time, everything had to be separated in the truck, which had compartments for each type of item. Today, everything is mixed and separated in a material recovery facility. So I was doing both of these jobs when the company started a front-load cardboard recycling route. I also hiked this route until it got big enough for a full time route.

Gene studied and learned as much as he could after being involved in recycling. He started speaking at civic clubs and schools that still called the office for a company representative to talk about recycling.

“I just scheduled the presentations between the routes and did as many as possible,” he said. “I wanted to go out into the public and educate as many people as possible about recycling, which earned me an award from Keep Texas Beautiful. I also wanted to promote the business and what it means in a community by having a local landfill. I started building relationships with local newspapers, sending out press releases whenever I did a project or presentation, which helped spread the word.

Gene had a knack for learning routes quickly, so the operations manager used him to bridge the gaps between drivers in the residential, front-end and rolling sectors as well as the crane truck for container delivery to all job sites. from the East Texas area – which led him to become more involved with the sales team because directions of location in the rural market can be confusing and delivery instructions lacked been sufficiently detailed.

“This was before Google Maps, and drivers were sometimes stuck trying to find the right drop-off point, so I attended the weekly sales meetings and discussed how we could all do a better job helping each other out. each other and be more efficient, ”he said. “During these meetings, the city team would ask me questions about recycling and possibly have me attend one-on-one meetings with city directors and mayors, and then city council meetings to implement recycling programs in cities. “

Promotions have come and gone over the past 12 years; Gene has served as city manager for 30 cities in the East Texas region, negotiating service contracts.

“I am very involved in my cities and I have been recognized with the highest honors in my profession and in my communities for my volunteering, which makes me very humble because I love what I do. Republic Services has just been recognized for the fifth consecutive year as a “Great Place To Work”. My wife Melynda and I raised three children (Cassidy, Hayley, Dakota) here, and I plan to do so for many more years, God willing. I have been in the hands of God. He helped me do all of these things. HE gave me the guidance and wisdom that I pray for daily.

CONGRATULATIONS to Gene Keenon and his family for the many hours of work, both on and off the job, you have put into our communities in East Texas.

LAST WEEK I wrote about an Overton football player by the name of Kenneth Sanders. In the caption of the photo it was stated that he was a former West Rusk football player. The photos were sent before confirmation from his brother, John, of the school where he had played. It was brought to my attention by a former teammate, Ronnie Sartors.

Ronnie said, “I was a senior when he was on the freshman and sophomore team. He was everything: running back, linebacker and great kicker. He gave a straight kick with a square-toed shoe. I have it in an old movie that was recorded during my senior year. A game against Spring Hill, he knocked out a few players on the field. He was tough and he was good. I had gone to college in his freshman year and hadn’t realized he had entered the Navy.

Kenneth died in 1974. His mother, Louberta Sanders, passed away on Mother’s Day in 1983. His brother, John Sanders, the last heir to the family, is looking for photos and keepsakes due to a loss in a fire. He can be reached at (903) 504-6940.

May his love and laughter fill your hearts and homes throughout the week. In the meantime, you can reach us at [email protected] or (903) 984-2593.

May his love and laughter fill your hearts and homes throughout the week. In the meantime, you can reach us at [email protected] or (903) 984-2593.

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Norma P. Rex

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