By Jerry Whitmore
One recent evening at approximately 5:15 p.m., I heard a chain saw outside my home on 58th Avenue. I went out to see a young man chopping down branches from a dead tree on the mall which had been dropping large dead branches onto the street for weeks. This young fellow, by himself, on the mall was trimming the dead tree so that the large branches would no longer be falling into the street and causing hazards to cars passing. I could only envision a car careening off a piece of wood and hitting a child going to school this fall.
I asked the man who he was and he identified himself as Joe Block, the local Parks Department manager. He said that he works with the local community board and the Bayside Hills Civic Association. I commended him on his great work and he then moved his truck to the area of the wooden debris and by himself loaded the dead wood into the back of his Parks Department pick-up truck.
Joe was very modest and told me that he enjoyed his job and being of service. He asked me if there was any other work that I knew about. I pointed to the two stop signs at 214th Street and 58th Avenue which were blocked by tree limbs and leaves. He neatly trimmed the nearby trees so that drivers can clearly see the stop signs when coming across 58th Avenue. The signs were so blocked that drivers frequently slammed their brakes when they could finally see the signs.
Again, this was a great safety item for the children using this intersection when school starts. The school crossing guard was always complaining about the tree limbs blocking the sign but nobody did anything.
Normally we think negatively of city employees, but Joe changes that notion. He was energetic, cheerful and eager to do the right thing. He is a tribute to the city which employs him and bright star to the Parks Department.
Please note it was 5:15 p.m.—when most city employees are on the way home and he did physical work in cutting and carrying dead wood to his truck. Amazing!