While waking up to another day of single degree temperatures in the DC area, Rich Courtney, a long-time colleague and friend, sent a note reflecting on the Weatherization crews venturing out on these freezing cold days to help those who are in such dire need of WAP services. All too often, I am neck deep in emails, reports, advocacy, policy issues, and the like. Rich’s reminder about the field workers on a day like this was a good reality check to again acknowledge that the real heart and soul of the WAP are those dedicated field workers.
Rich went on to comment about the “anonymous army of professionals of Weatherization crew chiefs, technicians, auditors, and inspectors who apply their trade year round, and do their jobs most every work day regardless of conditions, seldom yielding to extremes in weather. When they’re finished, most crew members will pack up their tools and equipment and leave without much thanks or fanfare and focus on the next job. I’ve watched crews return at the end of a work day definitely dirtier and certainly more tired than when they started the day. All they want is to return home, spend some quality time with family and rest before they start all over again the next day.”
The terms “anonymous” and “without much thanks or fanfare” hit hard. Regardless of policy, organizational structures, field standards, good management, etc., the ultimate success of the Weatherization Program is really because of the work done by the field workers. Without their commitment and quality work, all the rest is pretty meaningless. Policy and field standards make a difference when they’re implemented on the jobsite; otherwise, they’re just words on paper.
Perhaps many of you readers are like me – on the surface you know and understand the tough conditions and the hard work of the WAP network field staff, but may need that reminder to again put it all in proper perspective. Thanks Rich, for that reminder, and an even greater thanks to the thousands of Weatherization field workers – the auditors, crew chiefs, installer/technicians, and inspectors – who are the real backbone of the WAP!