From the days of putting up snow fence to prevent roads from drifting after farmers finished their harvest, to the days of all-wheel-drive trucks that take no nonsense in winter snow, Roger Cummins has had a front seat view of history unfolding in White Township.
A month away from reaching his 44th anniversary of service on the township road crew, Roger formally retired from his lengthy tenure in late September. He was the senior driver on the road crew, and stored decades of experience and wisdom in a steel-trap memory.
Reflecting on his years, Roger told about his assignment to raise manholes on Home Street, off Ben Franklin Road North. It was a significant date for him. Nov. 7, 1977: his first day at work for White Township.
“I remember the day we were paving Ellenberger Road, it was one of my most disappointing memories,” Roger reflected. “It was 9/11. We shut down the project to listen to the reports” of the terrorist hijackings and attacks – before finishing their work with a supply of hot asphalt that couldn’t be postponed.
“Development in White Township was half of what it is today,” Roger said. Brookwood, Sunset Acres, Poets Village, Forest Manor, the Frick Plan and Heritage Oaks – some were in early construction, others were on the drawing boards, some were still developers’ dreams.
The township still had seven or eight gravel roads on the maintenance maps in the late 1970s.
“We had a manager and only one secretary in the office. Ann Willis. She did all her work by hand and with a calculator; there were no computers.
“We had one sewage man, Bill Shaffer, who ran the pump stations,” Roger remembered. “We had three salt and plow trucks and one pickup. There were six people on the road crew, because we did all the mechanical work for the sewage system.”
He carried fondness and respect for his coworkers and the foremen he worked under for two generations.
“I was fortunate to have worked under good supervision, good road bosses,” Roger said. “Everybody has been very caring.”
The township staff and crew remembered Roger, too, for living his philosophy for a long-lasting career in White Township.
“My three main things: pride, common sense and having respect for others,” Roger said. “You’ll get along pretty good in life.”
“Roger has been a dedicated part of our crew for so long,” Township Manager Milt Lady said. “The township is sorry to see this day; but, all of us wish him the very best during his retirement!”