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The unsung heroes of winter

During a big winter storm, lots of people like to stay inside, sipping their favorite hot beverage while they watch the white stuff pile up outside.

But one group of people goes out in every storm, and the work of these unsung heroes makes it possible for everyone to travel in snowy conditions.

They are the men and women who drive snowplows.

They are employed by the Iowa Department of Transportation, counties and cities. Their mission requires them to maneuver big trucks and sometimes, motor graders, in the worst conditions an Iowa winter can produce.

Getting the roads ready for everyone else’s morning commute usually requires them to be out all night plowing. They work long hours. Darkness, frigid temperatures, ice and blowing snow are the typical conditions they deal with.

While these drivers make it possible for the rest of us to go about our daily routines during the winter, they rarely get a thank you or hear a compliment.

In fact, quite often they’re the target of complaints, obscene gestures and verbal abuse. They get an earful when some of the snow they removed from the street to make it safe for a resident to travel ends up in that resident’s driveway. And other motorists heap scorn on the drivers when the plow truck that’s making it safe for them to drive isn’t going fast enough to suit them.

These snowplow drivers perform a vital task in horrendous conditions. They deserve the thanks and praise of everyone else who has to venture out on wintery roads.

To snowplow operators everywhere, we say thank you for a good well done.

And we urge everyone else on the road to stay clear of the plows.

Let them do their work and your trip will be a lot safer and smoother.