WASHINGTON – They would start at 4 a.m. and keep going until the job was done. That’s the kind of schedule members of the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling (JBAB) snow removal team had the moment the region was hit with a wintry mix of snow and ice earlier this week.
When it comes to snow removal, there is 24-hour service across the base, said Andrew Holland, deputy director of JBAB’s public works department. In addition to plowing and salting primary and secondary roads, team members also focused on parking lots by the base clinic, fire department, security forces, commissary and child development centers. Gates on base were also given their due attention.
“Our guys have been hard at work, putting in the hours to make sure the installation is safe for everyone,” Holland said. “A typical shift would be about 12 hours. They know the priority areas that need to be cleared and they do a fantastic job of getting to them right away. Their response was terrific.”
His team has been dealing with the cold weather elements all month. When not plowing or salting roads, they have also been responding to either frozen or broken pipes at several buildings across the installation. The Furnari Dining Facility and Bolling Club were both temporarily closed this week when water pipe breaks were discovered.
“We had three separate breaks at three different times over at Furnari. The Bolling Club had an inch of water both upstairs and downstairs,” Holland continued. “These were no small projects. Though, no one ever complained. They did what needed to be done to get things back up and running. That includes everyone working in these buildings.”
Holland said he was quite impressed with the support and effort he saw from workers inside these buildings. While water was pouring out of one area of the dining facility, he said Furnari workers were at the other end steadily moving food into safe areas so it could be preserved. Staff members also made a point of helping Sailors and other service members at the Potomac Lanes, which was established as an alternate dining venue by the installation’s Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office. As a testament to their dedication, Furnari workers even stayed overnight in a barracks on base to prevent any disruption in service to their customers.
“It’s important that our Honor Guardsmen and all other service members got their breakfast, lunch and dinner. Regardless of weather, that never stops,” said John Robinette, director of JBAB’s MWR. “Our staff at Furnari knows how important that is and how valuable their service is to them. Their dedication and hard work is outstanding.”
In addition to all these efforts, the Army Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) Express store at JBAB also activated a contingency plan to ensure that JBAB customers had access to fresh fruit and dairy products, hot food items, sandwiches, packaged and frozen food, as well as baby and health care items on Monday and Tuesday.
Gas pumps remained open on their normal 24-hour schedule. Before closing at 4 p.m. because of the weather, the store remained fully staffed by AAFES personnel. In the spirit of teamwork and taking care of each other, personnel from JBAB’s Religious Services and PWD delivered hot beverages to JBAB DOD Police Officers braving the extreme cold at the base entry control points. A motto for the organization is “family serving family,” as a large percentage of Express employees are themselves military veterans, spouses, or dependents.