The third week of May is National Public Works Week (NPWW), a celebration of the tens of thousands of American men and women who provide and maintain the infrastructure and services collectively known as public works. NPWW calls attention to the importance of public works in community life and seeks to enhance the prestige of the professionals who serve the public good every day with quiet dedication.
In honor of NPWW, Knox County wants to highlight outstanding employees from different public works divisions, starting with Highway Maintenance and employee JaGade DeBurns.
“Whether they’re mowing right-of-ways or filling a pothole our highway crews work hard, under tough conditions to efficiently serve Knox County residents,” said Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett.
JaGade DeBurns, who most know as Gator, is a truck driver with Knox County Highway Maintenance. He has been with the department for 13 years. In addition to driving his church bus and DJing in his spare time, Gator is a rollercoaster enthusiast and once played in an R&B funk band.
“A lot of people get us confused with highway construction, but what we do is maintenance,” said Gator.
Knox County Highway Maintenance is the most recognizable division of public works. Most days highway crews can be seen working on road repairs and maintaining county right of ways, but these workers do much more than meets the eye. Laborers cut and remove storm debris, treat roadways during winter weather, remove dead animals, level roads, mow right-of-ways, repair potholes and perform dozens of other tasks to maintain safety on our county roads. They also act as first responders in storms and other emergency situations.
“We all have different backgrounds, but we gel really well together,” said Gator of his fellow highway crew members. “We may do several different types of jobs in a day. And we’re really safety conscious.”
For all the men and women who work diligently to maintain our roadways, update infrastructure, keep roads safe during inclement weather and all the other countless aspects of public works, Knox County thanks you.
More information on National Public Works Week can be found at www.apwa.net/discover/National-Public-Works-Week
Knox County Celebrates National Public Works Week