Construction workers should be appreciated more

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 3, 2006

We complain when something puts us at an inconvenience, but when that something that we are complaining about is removed and the results are very positive, we may experience feelings of joy and pride, especially if it is meant to beautify or to improve a thing or situation.

I live on the east side of Suffolk and I must honestly admit that when I had to travel to the west side several times a day for numerous reasons, and had to detour and make a left turn on Factory Street because of the construction on East Washington Street that we in the black community call the Fair Ground, it sometimes made my blood boil. It seemed that this construction was taking far too much time and putting many drivers at a terrible inconvenience.

Detouring at Factory Street probably was the reason that I had to eventually buy all new tires and throw my car out of alignment due to the rough ride across those tracks on Madison Avenue.


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My aunt, Maddie D. Vann, also told me that she lost a hubcap off her car on Madison Avenue driving across those tracks because of the detour from Lee Street to East End Baptist Church. The car is a 1966 Galaxy and she been told that since the car is a classic, it will be hard to get it back.

Not only that, but it was double trouble after driving around the previous detour and trying to make it to the drive thru window of my bank, SunTrust, on Saratoga Street, where I met with more construction. The inconvenience there was that whenever I drove out of the driveway of the bank, it was impossible for me to drive across the street to make a left coming back toward the News-Herald office.

Then, one day about a little more than a week ago, I got the surprise of my life. I grabbed my purse because I was late for an appointment and thought about the detour that I would have to take to get to it, and was amazed to see that East Washington Street was opened all the way across downtown Suffolk. I compared myself to feeling the way the Egyptians felt when Moses opened up the Red Sea so that they could cross over out of bondage from Egypt.

But I also felt a sense of appreciation for dedicated construction workers who could produce such a sight from what weeks earlier looked as if an atomic bomb had been dropped on it.

The pavement was jet black and smooth and the curve on the left side of East Washington Street leading toward Culloden Street and down Hall Avenue was artistic and fancy. The sidewalk on each side of the street was even widened, and more improvements to building structures are on schedule to take place.

I later witnessed an almost completed Saratoga Street construction, that now had an opening where I could make a left turn after coming out of the drive through. Construction workers also had planted shrubbery and bushes in the center of the site to give it a more beautifying appearance.

My mind went back to the Hilton Garden Inn and Suffolk Conference Center where I began to remember how that location had looked before construction workers produced their magic on it. I thanked God for the skills of these workers who sweated and worked until these constructions were completed.

These improvements couldn’t have come too soon for my organization, the Suffolk Chapter of Les Gemmes Inc., who will be hosting the National Chapter of Les Gemmes Inc., from Sept. 2-10 for their 19th annual Board of Directors meeting. This event will bring more than 200 women from seven states, that include 19 cities, to the Suffolk Hilton Garden Inn for lodging and all activities.

The theme of our meeting will be “It’s a Great Time to be in Suffolk” and the Suffolk chapter will present a preview of our city when we attend the National Conclave in Nashville, Tenn. in April.

The Suffolk chapter is also planning to take this group on Suffolk’s historical tour.

One place that we will take them is through the Fairgrounds, where most of our roots are planted.

The excellent work that these construction workers have and will complete in the future truly makes our theme a proven reality.

Wall is a former News-Herald reporter and regular contributor to the Town Square Page.