Feb. 23, 2006 – Frederiksted Economic Development Association President Rupert Ross Jr. called them the "last entry in the parade." Department of Public Works Commissioner George Phillips called them "the first responders." On Thursday they could be called happy too, because they have been honored by the community they serve.
At an appreciation luncheon FEDA hosted for members of Public Works cleanup crew and their families at Villa Morales Restaurant, those hard-working individuals who sometimes go unacknowledged for their service to the community were honored.
"After the parades and the Sunset Jazz concerts in Frederiksted the last entry' kicks into high gear," Ross said. "That's the time when the cleanup crew comes down and turns the town back to its pristine state. FEDA is proud to say thank you to these employees who work to make our town better for residents and visitors."
"Public Works is a first responder," Phillips said. He said in times of disaster the Public Works crew members are the first ones out. "They should be given the honor and credit today," Phillips said.
FEDA handed out framed certificates of appreciation to Phillips, Deputy Commissioner of Operations Antonio Messer, sanitation truck drivers Victor Rexach and Miguel Nieves, mechanic Neal Barnes, and laborers Angel Rexach, Rafael Illarraza, Angel V. Soto, Benjamin Rodriguez, Alvira Humberto, Louis James, Lowell Christian, Basilio Concepcion and Melsader Thomas.
Messer, the supervisor of the cleanup crew, congratulated the group for its dedication. He said the crew starts cleaning the streets of Christiansted and Frederiksted at 5 a.m. every morning.
Victor Rexach has worked at Public Works for 25 years. He attended the luncheon with his wife, Maria.
"I like my job," Rexach said. Maria Rexach said her husband's work is hard, and said, "I have to rub his back every day after work."
Thomas, an 11-year employee, is the only woman in the crew. She said it feels good to be recognized for her work and has no problem working in the all-male crew.
"I can do anything they can," she said. "I keep up."
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