Sunday, December 23, 2007

Portrait of Accomplishment

I interviewed Ron Tunstall the week before he was to retire from 40 plus years of collecting our garbage in Hillsdale.

The resulting story appears in the current Hillsdale News.

You take an immediate liking to this easy-going, talkative guy in his blue bib overalls.

We were surrounded by his hulking garbage trucks as we talked in The Troudt Bros. Sanitary and Recycling staging lot. A gray hen, which inexplicably appeared one day, pecked the gravel for mites nearby.

Ron spoke of the trucks with affection, the way a 19th Century farmer might speak of his trusty draft team. His warmest feelings were reserved for the oldest truck, an International Harvester. "It's the best one of them all," he said.

It's hard to imagine Ron being separated from the rigs. After 70 years serving Hillsdale, he and his wife, Karen (she's from the Troudt side) have sold the Troudt Brothers franchise. The new owners, another family operation, have agreed to hire Troudt's four employees, including Ron and Karen's two sons. One of the sons will manage the Hillsdale operation, but Ron, at age 63, is retiring. He still hopes that he'll be welcomed down at the lot to wash the trucks, just for old time's sake.

I probably didn't need to write any of the above because the photos of Ron reveal the heart of this story far better than words do. This photo and the one in the Hillsdale News, capture Ron's love of his work and its machinery. Still, viewing these photos it's easy to see why Ron wonders about his new life. But seeing him here, you also sense a man who has found satisfaction in all he does — and won't stop now.

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