RANTOUL, Ill. (WCIA) – “Sometimes it’s a little rough, but I love my job. I love what I do. I love helping people out,” Jasen Hawn said.
Hawn is one of many essential workers in Central Illinois who are braving harsh winter weather conditions to get the job done. Plus, he’s working extra hard to keep his community informed through the storm.
When he’s not collecting trash on his daily routes, Hawn is posting updates online so his community always knows how to reach him. To him, it’s important that everyone along his route gets taken care of. But that can sometimes mean 12 hour days, with 130 stops per hour – during a winter storm.
“I’ve got from 6 in the morning to 6 at night to get the route done,” Hawn said. “Normally I can get it done with a couple hours to spare. But yeah, it’s long days. Long, hard days.”
Hawn often leaves home before the sun comes up and returns after the sun goes down. He drives 25 miles in almost any weather to provide an essential service to about 5,000 people in Rantoul, and he said he’s the only driver on that route.
“The service that I provide them is not only just picking up their trash, but it’s the personal feel of a small home town,” he said.
It’s more than a job to Hawn. It’s personal. That’s why he even offers his time off the clock to help people along his route when they need him.
“With everything that’s going on in the world today, this is one less thing they have to worry about,” Hawn said.
Hawn posts online when the weather, or a holiday, will impact the trash collection schedule.
“This time, here, with the blowing snow, the dangerous temperatures. That’s going to impact whether or not we’re going to be able to work,” he said.
He also does it just to let people know he cares.
“If they have any issues that need to be taken care of, they can contact me and I can get them taken care of right now,” he said.
He said he’s grateful for the overhwelming number of positive comments he’s received on his posts, but he said he’s felt his community’s support since day one – seven years ago.
“The replies that I get from that page are just heartwarming,” Hawn said.
He’s asking people to have patience with their drivers. And if you live along Hawn’s route, he wants you to know you’re important to him.
“They’re not going to get forgotten. I know every single place. I know my stops. I know who is where. I can look at a picture and tell you exactly where the person’s at,” Hawn said.