As I am sitting here writing a column I notice it is -1 degree F outside. It makes me thankful that I can choose when I have to work outside.

We often drive by the men and women who make society function by working in the background without notice by the general public. A couple weeks ago there was a pretty significant water main break on First Street due to a combination of the dry weather and first cold snap we had. I drove by several times and noticed the crew working but didn’t give it much thought — until I was speaking with another crew from the water department a few days later. They said the guys were out there all night getting that service fixed and back up for the people who live in the area.

It was about zero degrees that night as well. I don’t know if anyone stopped to say “thank you” to them or came out with some hot coffee or warm food for them during the night, but for what it is worth from a simple columnist, “Thank You!”

I also appreciate what the street crews have done during the last couple little ice/snow events we have had this year. It is nice to be able to drive around on our main roads in the morning with the roads already slushy instead of a solid sheet of ice. The guys doing this on the street crew have to be up all night sometimes, plowing snow and spreading salt so we don’t go skidding through a stoplight — or worse — into an oncoming train! Thank you for giving up your night of sleep to help the rest of us.

I remember seeing a picture a friend of mine took when he was deployed to Kosovo of a man sitting on a V-shaped plow made of essentially two bridge planks with a plank across for a seat hooked up to a horse. He said that was their snow plow for the area. It was about 15 years ago when he took that picture, and I am sure it hasn’t progressed much since then. The people who live in that area most likely just plan on a much slower and shut-it lifestyle when winter comes because of the lack of services like what we pay for. We are fortunate to keep our fast pace of life going all year round because of good services on the local and state level.

Police and fire are out there 24 hours a day as well to help us. Last week I was speaking with a fireman friend of mine he said he would much rather work a fire when it is 100 degrees outside instead of zero because he can always take off clothes and douse himself with water to cool down. The sub-freezing temps are hard on the equipment which can freeze up, plus ice everywhere is a serious fall hazard. I suppose when you put on 30-40 pounds of gear and have to run around on a sheet of ice it can get pretty dicey.

My columns usually try to highlight the waste and excesses of government, but don’t think that I ever forget the good things that happen, usually because of the men and women on the front lines.

— Jason Mitchell is a member of the leadership team of the Harvey County Republican Party. He can be reached by phone at (316) 680- 6456 or email jsmitch73@